How to Ship Succulents: 6 Essential Things You Need to Know

Succulents, a type of plant that’s easy to grow and ship, are perfect for a wide range of shipping needs. But before you place your order and send them off to their new home, keep these six things in mind.
Succulents for delivery in an egg tray.

The truth is that shipping succulents from one point to another are a challenging task to accomplish. Many things can go wrong with the shipment leading to catastrophic damage. The potting soil may become loose, stems may break, and the succulent may die due to poor shipping conditions. Things are even more delicate with highly sensitive succulents such as cacti. Therefore, there are some things you need to keep in mind if you want to ship your succulent safely.

So, what are the six most crucial things you need to know about shipping succulents? The first and most important thing to know is that everything depends on your chosen shipping material. Be sure the box is sturdy and well-insulated. From there, package your succulent appropriately and make sure that your succulent is protected from shock. Pay attention to temperature while remembering that most succulents do not like extreme heat or cold. The other thing to keep in mind is moisture. Ensure the shipping box remains free from moisture throughout transit. And use plenty of paddings, such as newspaper or bubble wrap, when packing your succulent to prevent unnecessary bumps or jolts that could damage the succulent during transit.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about shipping succulents and the necessary precautions. Read on to learn more.

1. Shipping Material

The most important thing to know when shipping succulents is the type of material you will use. Choosing the wrong box can damage your succulent while in transit.

Consider using a sturdy, well-insulated cardboard box for shipping. Ensure it is big enough for your succulent, and consider using bubble wrap or packing peanuts to keep it in place and protect it from bumps or jolts.

Succulent plants being prepapred to be shipped.
Consider using a sturdy, well-insulated cardboard box for shipping.

One of the best options is corrugated plant shipping boxes explicitly designed for packing plants. The good thing is that most succulents can be shipped without the pot. This cuts the shipping costs and makes it easier to pack your plants.

Feel free to use a partitioned corrugated box if shipping many plants to the same address. The partitions can be diagonal, horizontal, or vertical, depending on the type of succulents you are shipping.

You can get custom shipping boxes made for your succulents that are shipped regularly.

If you are an individual or small business and getting boxes made for you seems expensive, consider assembling the boxes yourself. All you need to do is find regular boxes, add partitions, and you are good to go.

2. Preparing the Plants for Shipping Is Key

Most succulents are best shipped bare roots. All you need to do is pull them out of the container or earth and carefully shake off the massive chunks of soil.

But don’t wipe off all the soil to avoid damaging the root systems. The roots still need some moisture and microbes while in transit.

Carefully wrap the roots with a moist paper towel (feel free to use several). Alternatively, spray the roots with some water and wrap them in plastic.

Consider wrapping the top of the succulent to avoid potential breakage.

A blank tablet and plants in a box.
Most succulents are best shipped bare roots.

For cacti and other sensitive succulents, make sure they have not been watered recently before pulling them out. A partially dry potting mix is the best option for shipping them.

For plants that are already flowering, consider cutting off the flowers before shipping. Target a clean angle cut to avoid damaging the plant.

Once you have cut off the flowers, put the plant in a jar of water for about three hours to absorb enough water to last the entire trip.

Now tie the plants in one bunch and wrap the bottom end with relatively wet paper towels and seal it. This way, your succulent can travel for long distances without withering.

3. Temperature Control

Most succulents are temperature-sensitive, so temperature control is critical when shipping them. The ideal range for most succulents is between 16°C (60°F) and 21°C (70°F). It is also essential to maintain a steady temperature throughout transit.

Consider using cold/heat packs to keep the temperatures regulated when shipping your succulents. You can get them in most stores or make them yourself.

To make your cold pack, fill a resealable plastic bag with frozen vegetables and seal it tightly before putting it in the box.

To make a heat pack, fill a resealable plastic bag with warm but not hot water and seal it before adding it to your box.

4. Moisture Control

Besides temperature control, moisture control is also crucial. Too much moisture or not enough moisture can damage the succulents in transit.

To control the humidity level in your box, get some silica gel packets and put them into the box before you add the plants. The silica gel will absorb any excess moisture, thus keeping your succulent safe during transit.

Once you have packed the plants, put your plant box in a larger box to help insulate it from temperature and moisture changes.

Ensure you fill gaps with packing peanuts or similar material for extra insulation. This way, your succulents can make it through their long journey safely.

5. Take Note of Shipping Rules and Regulations

Although shipping live plants over long distances in most parts of the world don’t require special equipment, there may be laws and limitations you need to know before you start the process.

These laws and regulations are applicable when shipping plants locally and internationally.

For instance, most succulents can be shipped to the United States as long as mailing them is not prohibited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Check the USDA database to read the guidelines for mailing plants in each state.

Succulents beside the box.
Use recognized couriers such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS to ship succulents.

The guidelines usually differ from state to state based on the impact of the mailed plants on local vegetation.

It is also essential to take note of the rules and regulations when shipping plants internationally. Countries have different restrictions, so it’s best to contact your local post office or customs service for more information.

For instance, you must obtain a phytosanitary certificate before shipping succulents internationally from the United States.

The destination country’s Department of Agriculture or Horticulture issued the certificate. It attests that succulents are free from pests and diseases.

Also, it is crucial to make sure you properly label your package. Most countries recommend labeling packages with a basic description of the contents (i.e., live plants) and an indication of their value. This helps ensure your package arrives safely and on time.

For courier services, you will need fast shipping since plants are perishable. A tracking number is also essential so you always know your package’s location. Use recognized couriers such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS to ship succulents.

6. Label Your Succulents Appropriately

You will need a standard shipping label containing the basic information about your shipment, the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, and the courier code.

It is critical to use handling labels to communicate the content of your package with the handlers. Ensure your handling label is prominently visible and states “Live Plants” to prevent delays or accidental mishandling.

Succulents with label tags.
It is critical to use handling labels to communicate the content of your package with the handlers.

It is also essential to ensure you include care instructions for the recipient. These instructions should outline how best to take care of their succulents after they arrive. This gives the recipient an idea of what to do once they receive their plants.

Can I Ship Succulent Cuttings?

Besides potted succulents, you can also ship succulent cuttings. Make sure you water the succulent before taking the cuttings. Carefully wrap these cuttings in a newspaper or soft tissue paper.

Alternatively, use egg cartons and cover them with soft tissue before you close the carton. Place the carton in a cardboard box and label it appropriately.

From there, shipping the cuttings is similar to shipping a potted succulent. This means you still need to fill the box with packing peanuts and wrap it in plastic before you mail it.

How Long Can Succulents Survive Shipping?

Since most succulents are sturdy, they can survive shipping for one or two weeks if you wrap them properly. However, it is essential to note that the shipping time may vary depending on the distance, weather conditions, and type of succulent.

How Can I Recover Succulents from a Long Shipping Time?

Once you order succulents and pay, how long the shipping time takes is out of your control. So, knowing how to recover succulents from an extended shipping time is crucial.

plant in a box.
Unpack the plants carefully and cut away any dead leaves.

The first step is to inspect the package for any sign of damage or leakage. If there is visible damage, contact the sender immediately for re-shipment.

Next, unpack the plants carefully and cut away any dead leaves. Once you are done, transfer the succulents to a new pot with fresh soil. Provide adequate light and water to help them recover quickly and start growing again.

Final Word

Shipping succulents can be challenging, but you can quickly learn with practice. As long as you follow the laws and regulations, properly label your shipments, wrap them in appropriate packaging materials, and provide proper care instructions, you can easily send succulents worldwide.

Last update on 2023-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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