New to plant trading

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

How does this work? Who pays for the shipping? I saw on LadyGreenThumbs thread how to ship them. Is there anything else I might need to know? Should they be shipped Priority(excuse the spelling) Mail? I am so happy about this forum. I have stuff...Bye, Lisa

Crestview, FL(Zone 7b)

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Philadelphia, PA(Zone 6b)

Hi Lisa,
My experience with plant exchanges were very positive and went something as follows:

*always ship priority, which takes about 3 days but is not guaranteed

*the sender pays the shipping cost, it was $3.50 to start for up to 2 lbs. Therefore, each person trading is paying the same thing. The minumum Priority charge is $3.50 for ANYTHING UP to 2 pounds.

*you'll get lots of requests for "plants for postage" or you may send out "plants for postage". This means that someone is sending you a priority mail stamp (the 2 lb. stamp costs $3.50, unless it went up) and you box up the plants and send it out, almost like a SASE (you provide the box and packaging material, though)

*I would trade for example.."I'll send you 8 rooted cuttings of Buddleia weyeriana Sungold for your 5 hostas"...I've also traded by indicating that "I'll fill the box to the 2 pound limit" for your 2 rooted Brugmansia starts ".

*be crystal clear in what you are trading, the size, how many. or if going by shipping weight. That way, no one is disappointed. My first bad experience was I sent a trader 10 rooted honeysuckle bushes and he sent me one dried out piece (READ: one stem) of dragonblood sedum (and he didn't use priority mail, so it arrived almost 2 weeks later dead).

*you can use any box to mail priority, as long as it is properly packaged and labeled

*priority boxes are FREE from the Post Office and you can order them free online and the labels free, too (if you order them free online, you have to sign a paper that you are only using them for Priority Mail and not

*when mailing plants, packaging is important. Basically you rinse off roots and wrap them in something that holds a little moisture, like a paper towel. Then insert the roots in aluminum foil or baggies/plastic..and tape over. You can cushion the plants with those peanuts, air inserts or plain fluffed newspaper.


*you'd be surprised how much you can mail at the basic 2 pound rate!

*I've mailed lots of trees with the Priority tube boxes but these boxes are hard to find, so get them online usually.

*I always ask myself if the trade is worth the shipping expense before I commit to trading with someone.

*I've found that most traders are very generous in what they send and how they package :)

I'm sure many other people will have great plants trading advice. This was just an idea of what plant trading entails. Have fun!

Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks Trish & Trish for the good info.! Lisa

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

The "Trishes" did a good job of lining out the general guidelines of trading. One note - postage DID go up - a 2 lb. priority stamp is now $3.95.

Here's a link for calculating US domestic postage:

And here's one to calculate international shipping from the US:

Lyndeborough, NH

A "heads up"

Tech it is illeagle to send many plants from state to state
without an agi certification.

Sending a diseased plant to CA can get you more jail time than murder.

An agi certificate going from the granite state to the Tax state is $25, Getting caught is $2,500 plus court costs.


Olympia, WA(Zone 8b)

How do the mail order companies do it? I doubt they pay $25 per shipment.... And it is not true about murder in CA. I also do not ship diseased plants and I ship BAREROOT which make a whole world of difference according to the department of AG.

West Portsmouth, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi all,
You may have read my other posts, on trading. Plant trading has been a pleasant experience, for me. Think about it. Right now, we are pouring over the catalogs, 'needing'just about every plant we see. Oh, but those handling and shipping charges! uuggghhh! Plus the cost of the small plants.
When trading plants, you are getting a division from an older plant. This can make a big difference, if the plant is, say, a Digitalis (since they are a biennial). See what I mean.
I generally trade ,like a handful of the plant. This way, several can go into the boxes, it's a good sized start of the older plant, and you can just, mark that one off your, to-buy list. Kool! The last trade I did, we exchanged 7 plants. Great! The cost was about 5.00, I'm in Ohio, the other person was in California.
I will be doing my lists, differently, soon, but for now, check them out. The 'wants' are plants I want; the will-have are the plants I will be able to trade. I like plants, first, seeds, second. Oh, but I runneth-of-the-mouth!

Lyndeborough, NH


You pay for it in your taxes.

Large companies have USDA inspectors assigned to them.


Northern Piedmont, NC(Zone 7b)

I'd like to add, try and mail plants on a Mon. or Tue. Priority mail is not always delivered in 2-3 days! If mailed late in the week, the plants usually end up spending the weekend at the P.O. instead of being planted.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I am pretty new to this too. What I didn't understand at first was that I would get an e-mail from whoever wanted to trade with me and we would decide on the swap and give our snail mail addresses. sometimes people will just mail items to you for a self-addressed stamped envelope. As for the ban on mailing to some states, most catalogs list which states they cannot ship to and those may be the ones that you shouldn't ship to either. Perhaps someone else can tell you how to ship to them. Usually it is CA, OR, Hawaii.

Hi Everyone,
I've shipped the last two years and finally got it down pat!! As everyone has eluded to, Priority mail, ship Monday Tues,BR,wrap well with moist paper towel with most plants,wrapped with saran wrap, pack all you can up to 2 pounds.(I use my wife's weight watcher scale!!!) and get the stamp or check first.
I've been burned just once, sending the plants out first and being promised the postage just after the person recieved her surprise package. Well I'm still waiting. This year I'm continuing sending out my plants to all that want them for a flat $5.00 for the two pounds. If I miscalulate a pound more I'm still covered.. Oh what do I ship?? Hostas, Ornamental grasses, liropie,mondo, and some daylillies.
Happy gardening everyone

MD &, VA(Zone 7b)

sounds like you ship my favorite things, hostas grasses and daylilies!!! :)
Perhaps we'll have some to trade this spring.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

We have green houses and we PAY for our ag certification. We get inspected every three months and are issued a new certificate every year. To ship to Ca, Wa, and Or you have to have something called a phyto cert. And some plants are illegal to ship there no mater how many cert's you have. It is illegal to ship ANY plants to Hawaii. FYI

Rapid City, SD(Zone 5b)

Just a note - South Dakota requires that nurseries, farms and individual "nurserymen" pay for plant inspections themselves, $30 per inspection + 30 cents an acre, plus annual licensing fees. I am still waiting to hear back on how often these inspections are required along with the rest of the regulations.

Huntington Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

I have been trading lots of plants for almost a year now. I live in So. Calif. and have had no problem receiving bareroot plants in the mail. I think if you don't put on the outside that there are plants on the inside, your OK.

I just finished a hugh trade of Agapanthus rhizomes (26) and was lucky to receive all the postage needed to send them.

My first plants that I received were from John..above. He sent me my first hostas and a mondo grass. They are doing great John.

Have fun, Donna

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Hey, Donna-
Good to "see" you over here! I was one of the lucky recipients of your agapanthus plants. Just so you know, they're potted up, and tucked away in my 50-something degree crawlspace until it gets a little warmer here. Thanks again!
Terry ([email protected])

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