How to ship live plants by courier?

If you decide, overwhelmed by your romantic feelings towards your girl (or boy) friend, to pick some flowers growing in a meadow and send them by courier, make sure that they survive the trip and the recipient will not get a bunch of rotten weeds. If you don’t know where to start while shipping live plants, you will find this article beneficial to you.

What kind of packaging and what type of transport you will choose depends primarily on the size and number of plants, their unit price, and whether they are cut plants or those with a root system.

The wholesaler pushes the Danish trolley

The Danish container trolley, also known as the CC container (short for the inventor – Container Centralen company), looks like a shelving unit on wheels. It is so simple, however great for transporting a large number of pot plants. You may use the trolley for different sizes of plants as the height of the shelves is adjustable.

You may treat Danish trolleys the same way as wooden pallets: they can be exchanged, bought and sold. You do not have to worry about unloading the trolly, but just leave it full and pick up an empty one. They are mainly used by wholesalers.

What do cut flowers and meat have in common?

The best way to transport rootless plants, which mostly refers to flowers and Christmas trees, is a cold store. You may say that cut flowers – although they usually smell quite different and are rarely edible – require similar transport conditions as fresh, raw meat.

The recommendations for the safe transport of roses and beef hearts are identical: it should be fast, cold and sterile. Since fast, then it’s best by plane. Since cold, then in a cold room. Since sterile, then in sealed containers, protecting against the ingress of dirt, bacteria or pests (insects or rodents).

Fully-grown trees also travel

It was once said that gardening is an art requiring decades of work. Nowadays, if you have the right amount of resources, you may turn an empty meadow into a natural forest in a few weeks. All thanks to the possibility of moving fully-grown trees. They are transplanted in exactly the same way as small plants: you have to dig the plant with its roots, transport it to its new location and plant in a properly prepared hole. The only difference is in the scale: a large tree requires gardening equipment (transplanters) and means of transport (lorries, flatbed railway cars) in XXL size. The plant’s roots should be protected carefully against crushing or drying out and at the same time provided with airflow in order not to let the roots boil on a long journey. This is not a task for any amateur gardener. This is a job for professional companies with the right equipment.

Big or small – should be packed in the same way

You usually use courier parcels to ship smaller batches of plants, small-size plants, or often even one plant. Sending small plants by courier is not only fast but also relatively secure. Of course, provided that you use appropriate packaging methods. The main thing is to protect the root system (bare root or root ball) from drying out, and the green part (or herbaceous) against mechanical damage. To retain moisture you may wrap the roots with wet toilet paper (or kitchen paper), followed by stretch film. To protect particularly delicate plants against mechanical damage you should use a thick layer of interlining. However, the most important thing, as with any sensitive commodity, is to properly secure the plant or plants inside the package, and to mark it with “this side up” and/or “fragile” labels.

Young and small plants, which are resistant to bending, may even be shipped in a bubble envelope. However, the way to securely send fragile plants is to put them into a large package and carefully attach the pot or protected root ball to the bottom of the box.

Bouquet into the fridge, then to the post office

It is not easy to rent a cold store, but you can always use home methods to cool cut plants. Loose flowers and bouquets should be put into the fridge for a long time before traveling. Just before shipment, you should wrap their stems with wet kitchen paper or use special water tubes. Then, you should wrap the whole plant with interlining and secure it inside a rigid box – a polystyrene container that maintains the temperature will be ideal. You may prepare the above mentioned bunch of meadow flowers for shipment in this way, however they are not likely to last the journey. Not your fault, but theirs.  Still, your efforts should be appreciated by the recipient and that’s the point.

And last but not least: it’s best to ship your plants (by courier or post) on Monday. In this way you have good chance of avoiding a dead weekend zone, which may be crucial to your plant’s life.