How To Ship Succulents?

Starting a succulent collection is a good stress reliever and first-time succulent growers derive great joy from it. Countless varieties can be purchased online and shipped to any state or country. However, succulent enthusiasts are wondering if it is safe and viable to ship succulents. In this article, get to know vital information on how to pack and ship succulents properly.

How to ship succulents?

Succulents are shipped using two ways, either as bare root which is without a container or placed inside a container.  While these plants can survive long journeys without water it is ideal to pack them carefully. Proper coordination with the destination agricultural department should be made to verify if shipping of succulents is allowed to a specific country. 

Shipping succulents through the bare root or no-container method 

These are the advantages of shipping succulents “bare root” or without a container:

Lower postage rates.

The parcel is lightweight and this means that there will be lower postage rates. Also, it is cheaper to ship the plants since the weight of the pot and soil are not included. 

It prevents rotting. 

The plants won’t rot because there is no soil, which tends to be the  culprit if succulents rot during a long journey.  The absence of air circulation and the dark environment also lead to fungi and bacteria growth which could accelerate the damage.

It prevents soil spillage. 

Potted succulents could lead to soil spillage due to constant motion while in transit.

It prevents etiolation.

With soil plants can still grow. In an environment of partial or no light(such as a shipping container, transit vehicle, etc), it is called etiolation, which could lead to the formation of weak leaves and stems during the long journey.

Avoid watering the succulents before shipping and pull them out of their soil gently. Be sure to shake off any excess soil. Leave the plants out for at least two days to dry out the roots, especially if they are too moist.  You may also trim some of the roots if they are too bushy or cramped together.

Shipping succulents in containers 

Another way to ship succulents is by putting them in small containers. Do not water the plants for four to five days before shipping. It will prevent rotting since the soil’s moisture content will increase after packing due to lack of air circulation. This will prevent the drying out of the soil and may cause fungal growth.

It is better to use plastic containers instead of clay pots since the latter are prone to breakage during the journey.

Shipping procedures for succulents

Wrapping the succulents

If you are shipping succulents either with the bare root or container method, you should wrap them with tissue paper or paper. You may layer the paper thickly since it offers extra protection. Spiky succulents should be packed  in many layers of paper to avoid damaging other plants. Do not cover the top part of succulents with plastic wrap as it could retain moisture and may cause rotting. 

Wrap succulents separately. If they are in containers, use plastic to cover the soil in the container to prevent soil spillage. For bare-root succulents, some peat or moss may come in handy to retain some moisture. 

Labeling the succulents 

Properly label each of the succulents after wrapping them. Mark fragile succulents with the word “fragile” so the courier’s staff are well-aware of the contents of your package. Succulents with spikes should be labeled with the word “warning”.

Boxing the succulents 

If you have already wrapped and labeled the plants, it is ready to be boxed. Use a durable and corrugated cardboard box for the succulents. Place the plants carefully inside the box and layer it with more newspapers and bubble wrap. 

Fill any spaces in between the plants with newspapers to avoid the plants moving during handling. Use bubble wrap to reduce mishandling damages. Keep a list of the plants inside the package and mark the box with the word “perishable” or “fragile”. Secure the box with tape and apply it on all sides to ensure that it does not open up during the journey. 

Things to keep in mind when shipping succulents to other states or countries

Succulents cannot survive in areas with low temperatures and frost can kill them. They thrive well in areas with high temperatures. If the temperature of the plants’ destination is expected to drop below zero, it is wise to postpone shipping for the time being. Heat packs are ideal if you are shipping succulents to low-temperature areas as they keep the plants warm for up to a maximum of 72 hours. 

If you are shipping cacti, pack them in extra paper and make sure that the spines do not damage the packing materials and the other plants. Indicate that the package contains cacti by putting the word “cacti inside” to alert the handlers and receiver so they know to be extra careful. 

Things not to do when shipping succulents

  • Do not dampen the succulents if shipping them to an area with warm weather, as it could lead to rotting. 
  • Do not pack small succulents in a large box. 
  • Do not pack the plants in plastic wrappers as it could lead to rotting. 
  • Do not forget to secure the soil of plants that are in containers. 
  • Do not wrap all the succulents in one paper. 

What to do when you receive a package of succulents?

If you received a package of succulents, carefully unpack the package and water the contents. Do not place it in direct sunlight as sudden exposure to it could cause plant stress and may lead to death or leaf loss. If the plants are in bare root, place them in a good succulent mix or cactus pot soil. Water them properly to freshen them, keep them in a shade for a few days and eventually acclimate them to light. 

Conclusion

Succulents may be considered tough or hardy plants, but they should be handled with care when shipped to another state or country. These plants can be shipped either in bare root or containers.  Proper wrapping and boxing procedures should be observed as discussed above. Most importantly, the temperature of its destination should be anticipated in advance to ensure that the plants arrive in good shape.

Image: istockphoto.com / YakobchukOlena

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