Plants are the component that can bring a house envied curb appeal, paint the most vivid colors in the dullest of areas, breathe life into the air we breathe. They are an essential and highly desired item and modern shipping methods have made them even more accessible.

A plant can survive in the mail for 7 full days of shipping without any problems. Some plants can live up to 2 weeks. To ensure that your plant doesn’t dehydrate and begin to lose leaves, keep shipment below 7 days. If you have a plant needing less water or sunlight, you can extend past 7 days. 

Plants are an integral part of our ecosystem, but also a key component to many individuals’ hobbies. There are so many plant species around the world that would not be made available to the general public without the help of modern-day shipping methods. Although it may seem a bit risky to pop a plant in the mail, they are typically more resilient than they may appear.

How to Get Your Plant Ready For The Mail

No one has any qualms sending a birthday card, getting a get-well box together, mailing a postcard from overseas, or even packing up your favorite sweater to ship to your sister in California. However, a live plant can seem like a bigger risk as they need constant water and sun to survive, right? Below is a list of what you need to know and how to ship your plants without them arriving withered, or even worse, dead.

How to Prepare Your Plant

If you are garden sharing and not one of those big-box buyers, it is likely that you have a little bit more emotionally invested in the plant you are about to ship. You were the one that received it as a little sprout or tiny baby, watched it grow as you watered and sunned it as needed, and were there for its very first new leaf or flower to appear. Ok, you may not be this invested, but you want to make sure that your plant is properly prepared for its great escape.

Although it may seem like a good idea to pack your plant in its planter, go ahead and leave the container it is in at home with you. Pull the plant gently from the container and be sure to shake off as much excess soil as you can. The roots of your plant may still look quite dirty, but be sure to leave any clinging soil on the roots as this helps to keep the roots moist and will extend their survival rate when shipping.

After you have the roots exposed, be sure to wrap them in a wet paper towel to keep them nice and hydrated during their big trip. If you are shipping your plants for an extended amount of time, you can combine moisture crystals with water and coat the roots with the spread. Once you have the roots taken care of, find a way to protect the plant itself from damage. After all, you want it to not only be healthy upon arrival but also look beautiful.

For larger, sturdier plants, you can gather the stems and stabilize them with rubber bands or something else of that nature. By tying them together, you help to decrease the movement of the plant which in turn helps to prevent breakage when being moved around. For smaller pants, and even bigger ones if you do not want to fuss with stabilizing, you can wrap them in some sort of heavy paper or multiple layers of newspaper to keep them from damaging.

How to Safely Pack Your Plant

We all know how shipping goes: you mail your item, it gets tossed around, and the box arrives with a few battle scars to prove its extensive journey. This same story applies to your plant, as mail persons simply cannot distinguish what is within what box, therefore, the safety of your plant falls on you. Be sure to ship the plant in a box that can handle a bit of a beating. You want the box to be thick, sturdy, and easily reinforced with tape.

After you have picked the perfect vessel in which to ship your precious plant, be sure that it has a snug fit. By this, I mean make sure that there is not a ton of extra room surrounding the plant. You want your plant to fit snug into the box so that there is not a lot of space for it to fall over or be tossed up against the walls of the box. This could cause damage to the leaves and roots which could result in a pretty tuckered out plant upon arrival.

Once you have your plant situated and ready to go with only the best of the best box and little room for jostling, you need to call in some reinforcements Be sure to take the box well to keep any accidental opening from occurring. The tape is a beautiful thing when it comes to holding the impossible together – car bumpers, handlebars, kitchen chairs, and you guessed it, your plant’s shipping box.

The Best Way to Label

I know you are not shipping the world’s rarest diamond or a live boa constrictor, but your plant does need some special labeling to get it safely from point A to point B. We are all adults here and know that you obviously need to put both a return and shipping address on the packaging, but you also can notify the carrier of what is within.

To do this, place a label on the top that either says “perishable,” “live plant,” or “handle with care.” Of course, this does not guarantee the safety of your plant, but for the most part, carriers work to acknowledge this sort of label to ensure that no harm comes to your package. This may be going the extra mile, but it could be the one step that keeps your plant from being tossed around like a package of paper towels.

How to Choose Shipping Methods

There are multiple avenues to take when it comes to shipping and using different mailing agencies. In the United States, you can use the U.S. Mail, UPS, and even FedEx. to get your plants safely to their new destination. The system you use is totally up to personal preference and what is available to you within your area so use the company that you feel most comfortable and familiar with. If you had a bad experience with one, try another.

The biggest point here is to ship your plant with priority shipping. This may cost you a few extra dollars, but it is well worth it to ensure that your plant arrives in a timely manner without having to dilly dally too long in warehouses and on bumpy. When applying the priority label, be sure that it is easily seen and in an area that will not be overlooked. This helps to keep your package on track and hopefully less damaged during shipping.

Once you have properly prepared, safely packaged, and labeled properly, your plant is ready to venture out on its own. Shipping plants is a fanatic way to send a little piece of joy to any part of the world. So, get your plant ready, ship away, and pat yourself on the back for giving others a little bit of nature from your neck of the woods.

What is Plant Sharing?

Of course, you have the big shipment of plants going to different nurseries, arriving at local depot stores, and making their way onto the shelves of big-name chains. There of course is an expedited process that has been carefully laid out in order to ensure that consumers get beautiful plants without shipping inhibiting their survivability. Although big companies may bring their truckloads, how does the everyday gardener get those hard to find plants?

Plant sharing is something that has exploded in recent decades among gardeners. Now, at its core, plant sharing is nothing new at all. All sorts of different plants and seeds were brought from places around the world to new lands in order to create more productive and beautiful landscapes, but this modern-day form takes plant sharing to the next level.

Plant sharing or plant swapping happens between hundreds of thousands of gardeners all around the world. The basis behind plant sharing is that two people or more have plants that the other wants, but does not have access to. They then take both plants, pack them up, label them, and wish them well as they take off in the mail. Once both individuals have received their new plants, the transaction is complete and they each have a new species.

By using mailing systems, gardening aficionados are able to get their hands on plants that normally would be totally off-limits due to geographical restraints. Plant sharing has also helped to establish a community that offers help for gardening, breeding, and simply keeping plants alive. Mailing has made all of this possible and helps to get plants from the most basic to the most exotic to their new forever homes. A win-win for everyone.

PlantMail Survival Duration
Snake Plant5-7 days
Peace Lily3-5 days
Pothos3-7 days
Spider Plant3-5 days
Rubber Plant5-7 days
ZZ Plant3-7 days
Monstera Deliciosa3-5 days
Philodendron3-7 days
Chinese Evergreen3-5 days
Boston Fern2-4 days
Sarracenia2-3 weeks
Drosera2-3 weeks
Nepenthes10-15 days
Heliamphora10-15 days
Container plants3 weeks
Darlingtonia3-4 weeks
Drosera/Utrics2-3 weeks
Plants in crypts3 weeks
VeitchiiA month or more
Plants from Riccia and Rotala5-7 days
Java ferns and anubias10-12 days
Aerial PlantsA month or more
StephanotisA month or more
Sambac, Jasmine2-3 weeks

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