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I've hear many people say they have never packed plants. Here is a good method to use. I had to mail this brugmansia today so I figured I'd take a few pics. I know there are other methods but this method has given me a 100% NO WILT or Damage rate. Even for plants I have sent out of the country. If mailing multiple plants.Use the same method, except individually wrap each plant in newspaper and lay it down on the shredded paper. Therefore layering each plant wrapped in paper between shredded paper. Under NO circumstances allow the plant foliage to touch plastic or wrap in plastic. This causes wilting, rotting, and breakage.
Here's what you'll need:
1. Paper Towel
2. Plastic Bag
3. Shredded Newspaper
First: I removed the Brugmansia from the pot. Then gently removed as much soil as possible without damaging the roots. I then run the plant and roots under cold water (kitchen sink).
Then I wrap the roots in the Paper Towel (Bounty is the Best! LOL). Next shaped the roots and towel into a circle. I then placed the root ball into a ziplock bag. Now I have placed the ball in the center and taped it on four sides to the bottom of the box. I have also taped the sides of the ziplock bag down to form the perfect ball. It may seem like a lot of work.. But when you get use to it it isn't. I can usually box up a plant in about 3-5 minutes.
When you are finshed...Close the box. If the box does not require you to gently press it down to close. This means there is not enough packing protection. You want to stuff slightly over the top of the box. Therefore the contents are very secure.
Thank you so much for this,Kim.I have avoided trading plants as I was nervous about sending them.I am a ''visual learner" and these pictures are just what I needed! You have done a great service.
I have done a lot of trading as well as received a lot of plants. I watch how other people do it as well.
Last week I shipped a Dave's mug off to a friend. I recycle packing materials. In this case, I cushioned the bottom of the box with a cheap sponge, placed the mug on that, standing up. I packed shredded paper snugly around the sides of the mug. I was also sending a couple seedlings, so after preparing the roots as you show above, I slid the seedlings up into 2 toilet paper cylinders and put them right into the mug. Then I continued with the shredded matter like you show and sealed the box up. There was no breakage and the seedlings survived without getting crushed.
Thanks Molly! Like I said, There are so many other ways. But the most important thing is the newspaper (or paper). So to have used a tissue roll was great. Packing a plant without paper of some sort is dangerous! LOL LOL
DonnaB just send me a Brug..she didn't use shredded paper. But boy was that the best packing I've ever seen. The Brug looked as though it never left her Greenhouse. But it was totally enclosed in newspaper. Roots still moist...Just great packing!
I can sure attest to the fact that MollyMc can pack plants! LOL If the first box gets full, she just loads a second one! :) Hey Molly, your generosity is spread all over Ohio now.
As another that has mailed plants practically everywhere in the US and across the water too, these are very good tips above! Paper towel and toilet paper rolls are really good to drop plants down into. If you don't have those, rolling them in newspaper is also a great way to send plants!
NancyAnn, This staement is not the case here... I figure my traders and my customers are expecting a box of plants, not packing, and I don't disappoint them. Packing the plants tightly together prevents them from moving too much and bruising one another.
This thread is information for packing 1 LARGE plant. And to help them get an idea.
1. As I stated in the begining of the thread, If mailing multiple plants. Use the same method, except individually wrap each plant in newspaper and lay it down
2. I also stated: I know there are other methods but this method has given me a 100% NO WILT or Damage rate.
On Wednesday, I recived plants the way you state here: Packing the plants tightly together prevents them from moving too much and bruising one another
I sent a HUGE box to England..It exceeded the diameters for not having a custom form. Therefore I had to state what was in the box. I listed every plant. It arrived with absolutely no problems. If you are sending a package out of the country you do not have to label what's in the box. If it is within a certain diameter. There's a list on the USPS website. With measurements. It is not required by law that all packages require a customs form. If the box is above the diameters then you have to research, if that country is specific to receiving plants from abroad. I send plants to Kaleem in Pakistan. But I make sure my package doesn't exceed the diameter for his country. I hope this helps.
I have a large assrt. of boxes too. Too many infact... I saw free and I couldn't help myself I guess!
I close using the closest fitting box possible so it cradles the plant. That way it doesn't slosh around in there.
I've been using big plastic bags to wrap the entire plant in. I secure it around the roots but I punch holes around the foliage. I don't think I've ever had a complaint. Even in very hot weather. Newspaper would probably keep them cooler though. I should start doing that.
Wow! You are very fortunate! it would be my luck the foliage would be rotted when it got to me! LOL LOL. Although I give these tips..I never complain. 9 out of 10 times my plants are damaged or I end up totally cutting them by the time I received them. I never tell the sender. It's no big deal...It's just a lot of extra work for me (getting it back in shape). Unless the plant is totally snapped in half! Then there might be a little problem..he he he.
Yeah, I think I'm going to stop the plastic bag method. I'm always in a hurry to pack the plants because I always make whomever is going out take them to the PO for me. Lol. I received brugs in those newspaper cones they were in GREAT condition. I like that method because it's free and fast.
The shreddness I'll use for delicate or small plants. I bet that'll work great on episcias.
Thanks KimGaither! I had to mail a plant today...but saw this thread AFTER I did my mailing. I'm crossing my fingers...I did it slightly different. I like your way...so I printed this page for future references. Thanks for taking the time and posting this thread.
I'm new to shipping plants, but I've sent out a couple of things. I've started using a handful of well hydrated powdered WaterSorb polymer squished around the roots in addition to the moist paper towel, figuring that might help keep the roots nice & moist. I rolled up the foliage in a paper towel cone, and that seemed to work fine. I've used Kim's method of taping down things I didn't want shifting around, such as a little jar of jam I recently included with some rooted cuttings, and that works well.
I'm crossing my fingers at the moment because I just packed up a couple of mints -- in bubble envelopes! I found a thin cardboard box that some doodad came in, cut it to fit into the envelope, and slid the baggie & most of the leaves into this protective cardboard sleeve (not unlike using a TP roll for a seedling). Mints are pretty tough, so even if the foliage gets mangled, the roots should still be good as a start. We'll see how they do!
I think it is a great way to package the plants, Kim. Thanks for the thread. I have mail ordered from several different companies and all the places had different methods and they all came out fine.
I only had one bad experience, and that was when a bareroot plant came as bareroot in a plastic bag with no packing. LOL I learned really quick that this was not a company I wanted to order from. Even though it did look like it was run over by the mail truck also, it survived. LOL
Since then I found the watchdog and it has saved me a lot of grief.
Some of the problems with shipping plants is probably due to different zones and temperatures. I never know when it is a good time to ship things.
So, Kim, do you have any suggestions on when it is safe to ship without fear of the plant succumbing to high temps and humidity or cold temps and frost?
I have a plant that I would like to trade, but it never seems to be a good time for it. It pops up early in spring and often dies back because of late frost. Then in the fall, the foliage dies back to the ground. And ideas when to dig this and offer it?
It is a Tetrapanax and it suckers well so I always have too many and lots to share. But the timing seems almost impossible.
The biggest problem I've found with receiving plants shipped to me is rarely the fault of the sender, it's more often the US post office and its representatives. I mean sure, I've gotten plants in incredibly perfect 6packs with lids in perfect fitting boxes, and the mail carrier is having a good mail day, so everything goes off without a hitch. But if some loser on eBay dug up some stuff from a field, chucked the whole thing, dirt and all into a brown paper bag, stuffed a few of those into a box, with no extra moisture and nothing to store water (like the paper towel in Kim's method), AND THEN the mail guy feels like delivering our mail tomorrow evening instead of this morning and I get it Sat. after dark, then my DH gts home Saturday at 11pm, sleeps until Sunday at 11:30am, wakes up and goes back to work. Did I mention that I garden from a wheelchair with help? The perfectly packed plants survive next to the sink not being planted or in the driveway nearly getting planted before DH gets around to them. The clumps of dried out dirt rarely make it - unless they are daylilies (LOL). We get a refund ~and~ plant the dead stuff anyway. Everything else is somewhere in between. Someone - I think it was also on eBay - sent well rooted seedlings in a 6 pack that was made like a distorted transparent egg carton; plenty of room for everybody's foliage, everything was perfectly moist and happy. All I'm saying is it doesn't have to be that perfect, even the clod with his clods in a brown bag would have been ok if I had gotten them sooner and been able to plant them sooner. It's being dry in a paper bag for week in the back of the mail truck that we can't control.
That must be such a wonderful thing - we are really at the mercy of our Postal Powers That Be. I realized I was threatening this poor eBay guy with bad feedback, and while he could have done a better job, it was the Postal Carrier who broke the camel's back! LOL.
Try to figure this one out...I mailed 2 packages, one going to Texas and one going to Sacramento, CA. I live a days drive from Sacramento...the box I mailed to Texas got there on Monday...I mailed Satruday...the box to Sacramento took 3 days...go figure.
Not "tape a plant to a box," tape the baggie/root ball to the box! So it doesn't rattle around! Just use a knife and cut it loose. I usually pack several plants to a box, wrapping the foliage florist-style in newspaper cones, and they hold one another in place with no need to tape.
Just got your begonias...taped to the bottom of the box. Its such a wonderful idea taking the pots out. I never ship anything with pots. Its a waste of money and the plant arrive beat up and dirt all over the place. What a mess! But you box arrived nice and neat, every plant in its place. For begonias to arrive with all their leaves attached in a miracle. Here's a photo of the begonias I got from you yesterday. I need to get out an plant them now. :-)
Kim, I have to admit I 'skimmed' this, so please excuse any redundancy! I just wanted to add that the polymer crystals are a wonderful way to keep the roots hydrated in shipping... and the flat rate boxes are great if you are packing several plants or bare root items... around $8 with confirmation receipt.. no matter what it weighs.
I'm amazed you sent plant material to England, declaring the contents. I thought sending live material was prohibited without special certification. I'd love to be able to trade plant materials oversees.
I hate it when they tape the root ball to the box too, lol. I've bought several plants off of ebay where they taped the rootball(wrapped of course) to the bottom of one of those tube boxes. It might have been nice when it arrived at my door, but by the time I got it out of the box, it was not in good shape. I tried to cut the box open without cutting the plant, impossible. I tried to reach down inside the box to free the plant, impossible. I tried to pull the sticky flap open, also impossible...I finally tugged on it till it came out and got dirt everywhere.(I hope y'all can picture this, it was not a pretty site. I made a big mess in the kitchen)
I guess if it was a square box that I could open and reach down in, it wouldn't be so bad. Like the one in the picture, it's not deeper than my arm will reach!
could it depend on the plant being mailed? I notice that african violet vendors tape the plants and it works really well. IMO it's the only way they don't get all broken up in shipping. Have also seen it done w/ cacti/succulents and it worked well.
plants are potted in teenie tiny pots and the pots are then taped to box.
I think you're right Vossner. These were long vines and plants with long skinny stems. I got some elephant ears(alocasias, kind of fragile) in itty bitty pots. I know they were in perfect condition when they arrived, but I can't remember how they were packed. I think they were in little paper bags inside a box.
Hey, I never thought of wetting the box, that would have made the sticky turn loose or made the box soft so it could be torn open! Thanks, that's a great idea!
The plants weren't bare root, they had dirt wrapped in plastic around the roots. Then that part was taped to the box.
I just unpacked my box from Hazzards, and it was packed exactly like this (which is how they describe it on their web site:
Plants are usually removed from the containers they are growing in and most of the soil is removed in order to reduce the weight. A small amount of moist soil is left around the roots and the plant is then placed in a plastic bag and tied off at the roots with a twistie tie. The top of the bag is stuffed with shredded paper to protect the plants during shipment. Plants are then carefully laid in a box which is layered with more shredded paper. This method has worked well.
It worked well for me because everything arrived in good shape, save a few squished leaves here and there.
When I was just starting out and didn't know any better I ordered some bareroot shrubs from one of those cheap mailorder places, The plants arrived in nothing but a plastic bag, no padding or anything. lol
And I am not kidding, one of the bags had black tire marks on it. It was a disaster. I took them out of the bags and soaked them overnight. They must have been extremely hardy because they did survive. It took several years for them to recuperate. It is the new gardeners like myself who kept people like them in business. lol
Alas, I received a big box of cuttings that someone had sent me, with the numerous baggies taped to the box - somehow they'd worked themselves loose and an incredible amount of the foliage was stuck to the tape - to the box - to each other. Quite a mess! Now I'm a nervous wreck about taping, so I just try to pad well. Thank heavens for paper shredders. (They all think I'm nuts at work - no, that's ok, I'll empty it for you!)
Kim and Molly - you both have the knack. Could be "packed with love and nurturing" does it best!
There is a gentleman from England that sends me seeds that are encased in some sort of translucent surgical tape. I really have no idea how I could extricate those tiny seeds, unless I planted them surgical tape and all!
This is the longest thread I've ever read !! Something missing here . . . SPHAGNUM MOSS Dampened Spahgnum makes a cussion for plants in bags and it is "anti fungal" (prevents fungus or rot for plants in box over long periods of travel) Also . . .
There is a large box about 8 x 8 x 14 at your post office for free with big notes on it "FLAT RATE BOX" ( different from regular priority mail box) For 8.00 it will go anywhere U.S., Hawaii, Puerto Rico !!
Last box I sent from Puerto Rico to Oregon got there in THREE DAYS!!
Logos Formont Calamus / plantcollectors.net
Consider using Press N Seal to wrap the rootball, instead of putting it a plastic bag. I use it to seal a damp paper towel wrapped around the rootball. It works extremely well; every plant I've shipped, so far, has arrived in excellent condition.
Also, I never tape the plant to anything. With enough newspaper, the plant(s) are packed firmly enough so that they don't move, and are well protected.
I found a reference to this tread in the AV Forum - excellent! Thanks so much for taking the time to explain the packing procedure. I am planning on doing some trades in the spring and this is exactly what I needed.
I have a question for shipping out of the country - Canada..What is everyone's experience with that?
If you don't have the press and seal and need to use a zip lock bag, just flip over the side that tends to cut, twist gently that protion beneath the leaves and then one loop around that area w/just reg. scotch tape does the trick...some folks have good luck with the rubber bands but I believe only on the less fragile plants.
As for the moist paper towels - just remember moist not soaked and I was told my those more knowledgable then I - never with Cactus and Succulents (although younger sedums seem to do better WITH the moist paper towel) unless they're going to be in transit for 2 weeks. LOL
I'm glad this message got bumped up as I had not seen it before. The tips were very useful. Thanks! I'll put them into practice now that I find myself getting completely swept up in obsessive plant trading (I ran out of money and the credit cards are maxed out from buying plants and I already have one of everything available in the local nurseries, so I have to go panhandling to you other addicts to get my plant fix for new and exotic varieties).
I will ditto the comments on the Glad "Press-N-Seal" wrap. I just recently got plants wrapped in it and I was so impressed that I immediately went out and bought some for pending plant swaps. The stuff really wraps tighter and holds moisture better than any plastic bag could do, I think.
I wonder if you wish I had read your post prior to sending you the recent A. laxa, T. ohioensis, and C. bungi? LOL I had put off trading until after the major fund raiser was over a few weeks ago and then found I had 15 pending trades to catch up on. Did them all in 2 days, so there was lots of wrapping and packing going on in a flurry of flying plants. I hope I don't get that far behind in trades in the future.
Well, I sent them all out yesterday and only time will tell if the shipment was packaged ok. It didn't shift in the box that I could see.
I'll just have to wait and see how it goes.
With Priority how long is the box usually in the mail system before it arrives? My confirmation number isn't telling me much of anything except that it was accepted. Sigh.
Those begonias are really nice looking for having traveled. I don't envy plant traders one bit. It is so worrisome.
Kim, you should ask for a sticky for this post. I wouldn't have found it had I not remembered it from the past and searched for it. It is very helpful.
It is one thing to read information, but you have it all sorted out and planned out step by step right here with pictures to further clarify what you are saying.
Truly, see if you can get a sticky for it.
So far the people who have received my plants that I wanted to use this information for said they arrived in great shape and loved the packaging.
Or maybe the basics could be incorporated into the trading primer. I read the primer when I first started trading, so I assume other new traders would too and it's easier to find than a specific thread.
Since you are the resident DG plant packing Queen, I thought I'd ask you a Q.
I need a bit of advice: if you were sending a NEWLY-rooted sedum [Autumn Joy type] to India, would you pack the roots in wet paper or send it dry? I don't want it to dry out and die nor do I want it to mold/rot. I will mail it the best way [according to the $$$] so I am assuming it would take a couple of wks to get there.
Well for sedum..just my opinion..
Because you're sending it to India I wouldn't use any plastic of any type in the package. The sedum wont die. They are tough guys! LOL To send them bare root would be the best bet. They can go without water for some time. Also if you send your package air letter post (regular air mail) it shouldn't take more then 7 days. Most of my international packages reach their destination within 4 days (except Cananda) Mail between Cananda and the States seems to be very very slow.
I don't know what the temps are there right now, but I can dmail and find out- I'll let ya know. A very good Q and thanks for the input!
I too have rec'd plants in the summer that were cooked/steamed-and once from a mail-order Co who should have known better!!
I had also thought about waiting 'til the sedums go dormant [for me] and ship it bare-root. Don't know if that would make a difference. This is what I had suggested to the DG'er I'm trading with but I want him to have and enjoy his plants now- lol!
Thank you so very much for the suggestion. You are right- they are tough little buggers- lol! So is it terribly $$ to send them the way you suggest? I have never sent anything overseas- at least I dont think I have- lol!
I didnt know it was legal to ship plants or seeds to another country? If I am wrong please let me know as I would love to trade with people outside of the states. However, I was told that it was illegal to ship plants to other countries or to have plants sent to you from another country. Is this correct? I only ask because I saw on this thread people in the states talking about sending plants and seeds to England and vice - versa. Ok, I will sit back and learn.
Yeah they're probably happy to have specifics on the form instead of having to guess at possible illegal "unknowns" - LOL Not to mention...I'm certain they've got the drug dogs doing their thing - probably keeps the boxes from having to be rummaged through.
Hi, all. This is a great thread. We are a new nursery and I just got a small website up and going. I had a call the other day from someone in Kansas wanting plants and since I have never shipped I was reluctant to do this. I may be a little more relaxed about it now with all these great tips. Most of our plants are large and I don't really think it would be cost effective to ship them, but this would be great for some of my started plants from the greenhouse. Anyway, I am just wondering if you mark your boxes with a "live plant" statement or something or just ship them without marking the box. I didn't see any mention of this in the thread, and am just curious. Thanks! Vicki
I don't know what is right or wrong, but I don't generally mark my boxes. I tell the postman there are plants in there. I don't believe the post office will treat the package any differently (better) if you do mark it. Except maybe in California and any other states that do not want soil shipped into their country, then they may open the package for inspection.
My son told me once he marked a package fragile and it was received in horrible shape. Postal workers sometimes have a sick sense of humor. I therefore don't mark anything and it seems to arrive in good shape.
Good luck with your business.
I've been marking mine "Careful Plants" b/c earlier in the season I didn't want the boxes to be left out in temps that wouldn't be healthy for the plant. I was told if it were marked they would be kept aside. No one's told me of the boxes arriving in bad shape...makes me rethink things though given what has happened with some of ya'lls
Thanks for the replies. Yesterday I received the hard copy of our nursery license/registration, and I guess we are in an area that is quaranteened for Fire Ants. I guess I will stick to selling locally, or at least only within the state; having had to deal with those suckers for 17 years, I certainly wouldn't want to be responsible for sending them anywhere else!
Most of the plants I send in the mail have never been outside yet; & need hardening off, so I state that on a piece of paper in large print in the box. I also mark the outsides of the boxes in red marker Perishable.
If the PO asks me why perishable; then I tell them it's house plants or new seedlings. They've never marked the box after that; & no more questions.
I send some plants (like Hostas) Bare-Root & I state that too. The're washed & inspected by me very carefully.
This may be a DUMB question...but how do you determine the weight of the package? I had a scale, because I sell on ebay...but it is not working, and I have not bought another one.
I use the USPS printed postage, and have the PO pick up here at the house. I know the weight of my ebay items...but I have quite a few plants I plan to offer cutting of. Last year I shipped out over 100 cuttings and seeds to DG folks. This year i will be offering even more.
I am guessing that a box filled with a few of each cutting will weigh about 1 1/2 lbs... I think.
I know all over the US a 1 pound pkg goes out for $4.05...but then it gets messy after a pound.
A 1 1/2 pound package to Lake port, CA is $6.05...but a 1 1/2 pound pkg to santa clara, UT is $5.30. I know one of the rules on DG is you can not charge for items...if I figure full pkgs at a flat rate of $6.05, and actual cost is $5.30 will folks get mad?
I am sorry...I have not been here for a year, until the past few weeks...so I have forgotten how to go about this.
Thanks for ANY help!!!
I have spent so many hours at the post office this year I can't even begin to count! I love this thread. I fret over EVERYTHING I ship no matter how long it takes me to package...rolled newspaper i find works great for things like lilies with long growing foliage...with the paper towel and plastic bag at the bottom..as an addition to CalamusGardens comment...on usps.com you have the option of ordering numerous FREE boxes in various sizes...you can also order free envelopes an stuff your own box in the envelope if it will fit! But the free boxes...I couldn't believe! In my area they will also deliver them right to your door for free...i wonder if they do that all over the US? My post office has never hear of a phytosanitary certificate...
Sue, I shipped a box of 50 cutting priority mail last week (2 actually...) across country, cost 8.05 flat rate ...if that helps!
I absolutely LOVE the packed shreddings idea and have been begging my finace to bring them home from work..but he never seems to remember, after this post I am settled on it..maybe walmart tomorrow to get a cheap shredder while on my hoya hunt!
I am looking for a place to take all the packing peanuts. I will not use them, and I won't throw them away. Is there anyone who wants them? They do not break down so I would like to recyle mine. All the plants that I received well, came wrapped in either newspaper, or a similar paper, plastic only for the plant or around a small pot, and shredded paper. That can be reused or recyled or be used to start a burn pile. I live where we have to burn our leaves and pine needles to keep our land cleared away from our house, since we live in the forest.
I used to work in the post office and they dont squash them on purpose they sorted by hand in the past but think they now use a machine and the heavy packages are thrown on top of the small one and that is why they get crushed. Fran
Fran, I'm sure you're right about the downside of machine sorting... that's why it's good to use packing material inside boxes and sturdier boxes also... although at times I'm tempted to skimp in order to keep a little package under 13 oz so I can send it first class! LOL
Hi All, I was in the post office yesterday and noticed they added some more flat rated boxes. Bigger than the ones for about 9dollars. A couple dollars more but lots more room. Would be good for daylilies or bulbs in bulk. Fran
As I have said before, I have rarely sent a box that weighs over one pound, thus Priority boxes are much cheaper. A pound or under is only $4.75 and the boxes come in so many sizes and shapes. I order them with free delivery from the PO. They used to keep a supply in the PO, but I guess they'd rather sell those $8.00 - $9.00 ones.
If the box does weigh over a pound, it is not that much more, depending on it's destination. You can go to the USPS website and print out a weight schedule. You can also order the boxes online, free delivery to you. They come in bundles of 25 - I keep a supply of all sizes. I have shipped well over 2,000 boxes and can't remember when I had one that cost $8.00.
When you print out your address label, you also get free delivery confirmation. No more standing in line with a stack of boxes. My little digital scale is the answer, and I marked out 36 inches with a marker on my formica desk so I can meausre them quickly. I print out the label and cut off the half with the receipt to staple on my copy of the packing slip for my records. I use a paper cutter to cut off the label - then I lay the label on my desk and put 2" clear tape on all 4 sides, pull it off the desk and slap it on the package.
This is what I said, they don't keep the freebies anymore for Priority, you have to order them. I got an order blank at the PO for the first ones I ordered a few years ago - now I fax in my order or do it online.
I took 5 large blue recycle bags full of peanuts to the local UPS store. They just said thank you. I am sure someone pays for these in the beginning. I have also gone back and given them clean boxes with peanuts, since, as the boxes we have here are not clean.
I recycle all the clean ones, and the dirty ones are waiting for fall in the "burn pile", with all the dried weeds and leaves and pineneedles. I have tried composting, and it ended up to be a messy garbage pile. Maybe later on, I will invest in one that you turn and out comes the "liquid gold". Well, maybe not liquid but better than having to buy mulch in bags from Home Depot. Does anyone has any of those?
I had several cases of Priority boxes that I no longer for that particular size. I had my son take them to our local post office at night and left them at the door to the back part of the office. Hopefully, that put some out front. (I removed the labels from the box so that couldn't readily ID for brought them.
Ive bought hundreds of plants via mail and i hate it when the sellers lets the plant move around in the box. "Lets just say the post contractors don't be careful with parcels even when you write fragile on them". I found the bast way to receive and send plants is wrapping them like you have kim but taping them to the box(box has to be strong so it won't squash). This is neally the only way the plant doesn't move crushing its own leaves. I just use a knife to cut the tape to unpack. I'd rather take longer to unpack then risking wrecking the plant. I feel if a seller has gone to all the trouble of careful packing and taping it shows they care abit. Sending the plant in the pot usually ends up falling out and wrecking it more. just my 2cents worth! hehe!
Just want to add a few things based on my experience as a USPS employee:
For domestic mail, it is better to mark the package "Live plants" than "Perishable". Also, do everything possible to ensure your package will not leak. Packages with wet spots are immediately designated as "potentially hazardous" and REMOVED from the mail stream for safety.
Addresses, both return and delivery, should be placed parallel to the LONG side of the package. Both addresses should be on the same side of the package: return address in the upper left corner; delivery address more or less centered in the lower 1/2 of the item (either envelope or package). Also, the bottom line of the delivery address should be AT LEAST one inch above the bottom edge of the item.
Either type or write the delivery address clearly, without any punctuation, using a permanent black ink marker so that it can be read an arm's length away.
If hand-writing the address, use block letters and be as precise as possible. (A zero that has a little bit of "tail" on top can/will be read as a six by the sorting machines.)
Packages weighing over 13 ounces WITH stamps already affixed must be taken to a Post Office and accepted by a clerk; otherwise, it will be returned to you.
Although the Post Office receives a lot of flack, most misdirected and delayed mail is due to *how* the item is addressed: unclear writing, incomplete addresses, etc. For example, my P.O. here in KS receives mail every single day for a town in New Jersey whose zip code begins with zero and has the last 4 digits the same as ours - that zero is mistaken for a six., usually because the handwriting is not clear. Sorting machines do the best they can - with what they have to work with, so "help" the machines by following the USPS guidelines as closely as possible.
One more tip (which is probably above somewhere). Put clear packing tape over the places where you have written the addresses. A postal employee told me that sometimes things are misdirected because the putside of the box gets rained on and they can't read the addresses.
I might also suggest (this may have been mentioned before), that it is a good idea to see a photo of the plant you are going to receive. That way there won't be any surprises, and no complaints to Dave. These days most people have a digital camera or can take a photo with their phone.
Be particularly careful with Hostas, that can carry a virus which will spread to your plants. Another list I'm on is all upset about a person that is trading her Hostas even though she knows they are infected.
lakesidecallas...very very TRUE. If not a camera, please describe exactly what you are shipping, size, condition, etc. I don't like drama...but I have definitely been in a position that I did not receive nearly what was sent. Condition etc. But I have learned in this trading business that if it's something I really really want. I will love it, nurse it, and bring it to my liking :-) But who complains to Dave??? LOL
Just looking through the pics...Boy oh Boy! 2005 was the good ol' days when Postage wasn't Painful!! LOL???
My boxes are costing $9, $12, and more! And you use to could use stamps! Trading just isn't them same...
Dear Kim, I'm so pleased you are still on this thread. Thank you for making something I was unwilling to do, out of fear, so easy. I have shipped all kinds of this with your great guidance, including bulbs in bud that were planted and bloomed within days at their destinations! The info you have given us facilitates relationships. Do you kow how great it is that, ultimately, you help people build relationships?
Hi Donna, Thank goodness we are both still here! Gardening gets better and better. And the more I look around my yard I see all my friends at Dave's Garden. I have plants I received many years ago from folks here. Very very rewarding. I think I owe half my Garden to Carol! Weezingreens...I was walking through the gardens yesterday and could remember where I got some of the plants. But I know I traded for most and came from Dave's.
I remember when I came from the other site (The one who sent me to Disney! LOL) Someone here sent me a beautiful Texas Gold Columbine..Don't know or remember his name. But it wasn't even a trade. He said "Let me send you these" for no reason!
Kim I'm sending off peppermint runners with roots. Any advice? It's my first time sending something living in a trade so I'm a bit worried. I can do shredded paper but I'm not sure how to do the roots since the runners are usually located so close to them.
May I give you some tips ...
Rinse most of the soil off in a bucket of water.
Just spread out a piece of plastic wrap about 12" wide/long
Then lay a piece of paper towel on this,
then lay out the roots and runners and wrap them carefully with the paper towel,
wet the paper towel from a bottle and bend them up to form a pouch
wrap another towel or 2 over this and wet again.
Then wrap these up in the plastic wrap from underneath.
Lay out a newspaper diagonally and place the plant on it, wrap the whole thing up and secure with masking tape.
Use a box that will be large enough not to smash the plants, but as small as possible to keep shipping cost down. I fill in any spaces with crinkled newspaper, but not too tight.
I have shipped many hundreds of plants with this method - works like a charm.
Print your shipping lable using Click & Ship- you get free Delivery Confirmation this way and you don't have to stand in line at the PO., just drop them off. Good luck.
Thanks Azalea. I'm hoping the box I bought isn't too small. My dad, who use to work in the post office, said it should work fine. I have it all ready to pack up in the morning since my son is quite the distraction this evening.
Very Good advice from azalea I hope it helps:-) Thanks..
I don't even use shredded paper anymore..I can sure tell this was in 'The Beginning' LOL
Most Plants Live Bare Root in Plastic for quite some time. So actually you could rinse this plant let it dry on the counter a little, place it in a plastic bag...little peat moss or none. I would suppose this isn't a beginner method but it is amazing how well this does work. This past year I kept plants for months this way. Just threw them in the closet and planted in Spring and they all grew lovely.
But maybe this is too much info for the first time shipping...But Good Luck and I'm sure whatever method you choose you should be fine.
Hummmmmmmmm - This might be ok if the weather is "Just Right" - but if it's too hot, your roots might well be "cooked" if left in bare plastic. I believe the damp paper towels help to insulate and protect them . I remember recieving some plants wrapped in bare platic and they were total mush and unusable.
In the middle if Summer? Yes I would definitely suppose. This is only done in Fall-Late Winter for me (Nov-Mar). I sent a bunch of bare root plants today. Some in plastic and some not. I should have mentioned the time of the year..wouldn't want anyone thinking they could ship plants in plastic during the summer...ha ha!
Maybe this would help resolve the difference between :
"tape them down so they don't rattle"
"but then they're hard to get out"
Maybe cut a piece of cardboard from some other box, so that it fits snugly into the bottom of your shipping box. Now it's like a removable floor. Tape things down to that floor, then drop it into the shipping box. Maybe cut and bend that "floor" so it's a U-shape wedged in place.
The reciepient can open the box, tip it over, and the floor plus plants will drop right out. Now they can reach eveything easily to cut, tear or soak as needed.
At work once, we received an industrial computer very securely packaged and padded in very heavy cardboard. This was via UPS, which is usually less random than USPS. Well, that box had been so mangled and crushed that the HEAVY STEEL CASE the computer was embedded in had been dented, twisted, and a weld sprung loose.
You probably couldn't have done that by throwing it down a flight of stairs onto concrete. We speculated that they must have backed a forklift into it fast and pinched it against a concrete piling. Or their sorting machines included a hydraulic press!
(It was so expensive that when we placed a claim, UPS sent an inspector. His eyebrows went up and he approved the claim right away.
Nothing can protect anything against the occasional creative shipper!
So far, plants from DG people have been packed MUCH better than mail order plants ... "Hirt's Garden" is my only MO experience. They held soil in place with copious grass, moss and weeds growing in the pot ... plus a TINY, TINY bit of the Lavatera that I had paid for ... or rather, apparently, a somewhat different cultivar than had been advertised.
It was ages before I could grow them out big enough to realize the flowers were the wrong color. and I still don't know how unusual that "mossy pot surface with grass and weeds " is in mail order plants ...
I just posted a bad review (I think it was on Amazon). And finally checked their reviews in Garden Watchdog (or whatever it's called in DG). They have mixed reviews, which I interpret as "they SOMETIMES send what they advertise".
Sometimes energy spent complaining is energy wasted, and I read one article that claimed some companies deliberately create negative Internet buzz - so their name comes up first in Google, an that's all it takes to get a lot of sales.
Sometimes greed and sleaze make me tired, other times indignant. Oh, well, 3 years later, 2 of those Lavatera are big, and the others are recovering from being root-bound all last summer (my bad, not Hirt's)
With Forest Farm, you do indeed have to wrestle them out of the box. Thy are beautifully protected. I remember getting a deliver of a plant that was three plus feet tall, and the gentleman from United Postal Service showed me a crushed box, assuming I would want to send it back. He stood there as I opened it, and his jaw dropped when he saw a fresh, perfect shrub - a cotinus Grace.
I am going to be shipping long pieces of Queen of the Night with roots.
The plan is to take them out of their pot of soil, remove most of the soil, wrap just the rooted part in plastic, then cushion the whole plant in paper of some sort to be placed into a sturdy cardboard box of some sort.
I don't want any parts of these rooted pieces to rot; at the same time, I don't want the roots to dry out.
I don't want the green parts of the plant to rot or dry out, either.
I have sphagnum moss here at home that's long and dry, almost like a bird's nest (if it would help to use it).
Ok, I would definately either use damp Sphagnam moss or 2-3 sheets of paper towels, dampen after the roots are wrapped. Then wrap the rooted part woth plastic wrap. Never put the plastic wrap next to the roots or plant - they will gather moisture and rot. You then wrap the whole plant in newspaper and seal the edges with masking tape.
I have been shipping plants of all sorts for over 10 years, I have 2376 positive feedbacks from Ebay , and only about half of the buyers bother to give feedback.