Living in Canada means that once end of October hits, it probably becomes too cold to ship plants without some protection. In this article, I will outline some approaches on how to safely ship plants in winter.
- Uniheat heat pack 72 hours
- Insulation foil or insulated box
- Styrofoam pieces
Step One: Check local weather
First, it is important that you check the local weather to determine whether shipping a plant at this time would be reasonable. When daytime temperatures fall close to freezing (at origin or destination), shipping may be too risky and no longer safe. However, with milder colder temperatures, careful monitoring of the weather, express or priority shipping and insulated packaging can be successful.
Step two: Wrap up bareroot plant
Check out this other blog where I outline how to ship bareroot plants.
Step three: Insulation foil or styrofoam box?
I make this decision purely on what materials I have on hand. I always save the packaging of my online shopping and sometimes when I'm lucky I receive a package, usually predatory mites or plants, in a styrofoam box.
Hot tip: If you get meal prep boxes from Good Food, Chef's Choice, etc., you can also use the insulation that comes in those boxes!
I personally do not think it's necessary to use both insulation foil (or cardboard), styrofoam box, and a heat pack. It may get too hot and cook the plant.
I like to use the cardboard insulation from my Good Food boxes. I measure the box I will be shipping in and cut pieces to fit inside it.
- (1) Styrofoam box + heat pack
- (2) Cardboard insulation + heat pack
- (3) Insulation foil + heat pack
Step four: Heat packs
The Uniheat 72 hour heat packs are good option, and the brand and type I use. Uniheat also makes heat packs for 20, 30, 40, 60, and 96 hours. The longer they last, the more expensive they are.
If you are in US, you can buy them direct from the company, here.
In Canada, finding heat packs at reasonable rates is more difficult. They are extremely expensive on Amazon, so I do not recommend shopping there. Heat packs are cheaper if purchased in bulk - smallest quantity is 10 packs.
Where to find heat packs in Canada:
How to use the heat pack:
- (1) Remove the outer packaging
- (2) Wrap heat pack loosely with paper.
- (3) Place the heat pack with the red stripe side faced down on the bottom of the box.
- (4) Ensure there is packaging (newspaper, styrofoam peanuts, etc.) between the plant and the heat pack.
Step five: Finish packing
Place the packed plant on top of the padding covering the heat pack. Fill all the empty spaces in the box. Empty space = space for cold air to enter.
In my example below, I used styrofoam peanuts as this is what I had on hand. You can also pack it with newspaper or bubble wrap.
Close the box and you're ready to go!
Step 6: Attach your label and ship!
Close up the box and attach your shipping label. Make sure to do this as close to the time of shipping as possible so your heat pack doesn't waste all of it's energy while it's in your warm care.
- Monitor your local weather and use your best judgment.
- Save the shipping materials from your food deliveries and other shipments.
- Always reuse packaging in good shape!
- Heat pack has to be red stripe down and wrapped in paper.
- Only ship on Monday or Tuesdays!