October 1, 2020

How to ship plants

Shipping plants is easy when you know what to do. Follow this step by step guide to packaging plants bareroot for shipping in the mail.

How to ship plants

Shipping plants is easy when you know what to do. Follow this step by step guide to packaging plants bareroot for shipping in the mail.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Shipping label emailed to you by Symmetrees
  • Shipping box of the appropriate size for your plant and shipping level
  • Ziploc bag or saran wrap
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Newspaper or any recycled paper
  • Scotch tape and packing tape
  • Scissors
Some of the necessary packing material for shipping plants. 

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Step 1: Prepare your plant

For most plants shipping bareroot is the best option. Shipping plants in soil is heavier and, thus more costly, and the pots can move around and may bruise or damage leaves and stems. High humidity-loving plants such as begonia and calathea, however, may do better shipped in their media (see post).

For aroids and succulents, bareroot shipping is ideal. First, clean the roots as best you can, removing of as much soil as possible. I find that it's easier when the soil is dry, damp soil tends to stick. Rinse the remaining soil off in water, this can be done in the sink (careful not to clog it!), with a hose, or hold the leaves of the plant and dunk them in a bowl of water.

Alocasia black velvet with freshly washed roots. 

Step 2: Wrap roots in sphagnum moss

Soak the sphagnum moss in water ensuring to get it all wet. Ring out as much water as possible. Wet moss can increase the likelihood of root rot reducing chances of survival.

Take the lightly moist sphagnum moss and wrap it around the roots. Pack it into a snug root ball ensuring that all the roots are covered.

All roots of this plant are now wrapped snuggly in sphagnum moss.

Step 3: Wrap moss in saran wrap or ziploc bag

For smaller plants, saran wrap works well. For larger plants, a ziploc bag is easier. Either approach, you must be sure to cover the moist moss completely and tightly (but don't crush the roots) with plastic, otherwise it will dry out and the plant may not survive shipping in good condition.

Seran wrap: Lay the moss covered roots on the seran wrap, fold it in half and cover moss.

Tape the seran wrap or ziploc bag closed. It will probably take a few pieces of tape to secure it.

Step 4: Wrap leaves in paper

Now that the roots are wrapped to stay moist and protected during shipping, it's time to focus on the leaves. Paper is preferred because the leaves can breath and it will soak up the excess humidity. Wrap the entire plant up gently, ensuring enough space and that the leaves aren't folded. I like wrapping the plant in a cone, like how a florist would wrap a bouquet. Tape the paper down to make sure it stays wrapped during shipping.

Find a piece of paper large enough to wrap the entire plant. 
Everything should be secured firmly with tape. 

Step 5: Secure plant in box

Use a size and shipping-level appropriate box for the plant. You will need some materials to secure the plant in place, you can use anything like paper, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, anything from your online shopping.

To ensure the plant won't move during shipping, tape it down into the box. If you are shipping multiple plants, place them such that aren't squishing each other.

Now pad the plant by filling the empty space with any of the above materials, I used packing peanuts in my example.

Pad the plants with insulating material such as packing peanuts or paper. 

Step 6: Label and ship!

Print off the prepaid shipping label emailed to you by Symmetrees and tape it to the top of the box. We also emailed you a "fragile plant shipping" sticker.

Drop off the package at whichever courier your buyer selected (Canada Pots, Fedex, Purolator) on Monday or Tuesday only (don't want the plant to spend the weekend in the post office)! You're done!

Ready to ship!

Summary:

For bareroot plants, wrap and protect the roots in sphagnum moss. Protect leaves and stem by wrapping in paper. Secure the plant in the appropriately sized shipping box. Pad the plant with paper or other insulating materials in the box. Only ship on Monday or Tuesday! Send the plant on its way and wish it good health. Soon your plant will be flourishing in its new home!