By Bob Axmear

Typical plants to ship. You might want to water the plant well the night before just so it is hydrated as much as possible for the trip.
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Wash the roots off as well as you can. To ship to a few other states, especially out west, there are laws about soil on the plants or some don't allow certain plant to be shipped there. Or cleaniness standards.
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These are the materials I use for shipping. Cheap gallon size plastic bags from the sandwich section in the grocery store, rubber bands, and paper towels.
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I wrap at least a couple of sheets of paper towels around the roots, more if the plant is larger. Then I moisten the paper towels. I don't get them dripping but very wet.
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Then I place the plastic bag around the roots up to about where the roots stop and the plant starts and put a label under the rubber band when I fasten the bag shut.
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I use shredded newspaper for packing. I place a layer in the bottom to cushion and stabilize the plants.
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After I fit the plants in the box I cover them with enough newspaper to fill the box completely, otherwise the box can be crushed easier.
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I then attach the label. I purposely covered up who this plant goes to, the address.
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I want to mention a few things. First of all you might watch the weather, your place and where the plant is going. I don't like to ship when the weather is much past 80-85F in either place, especially to where it is going. Nothing worse than your box sitting in the sun all day in a mail van waiting to be delivered. Am sure it gets extremely hot in them.

Another thing is how you ship. The Post Office has really raised rates. Only use the smallest box you you can find, they charge for the box size as well as the weight. If you think you want to ship overnight make sure they can make the connections to do this. If they can't they will charge you for it anyway. I only use Priority which most of the time gets there in 2 days. If your box gets large or heavy you might check into UPS. I shipped mostly UPS this year because of the prices. I try to ship Monday and Tuesday but have a feeling Friday and Saturday are just as good, the plants are probably in transist during the weekend, you could check this.

If you can't find shredded newspaper you could buy a shredder cheap, it is worth it. The worst thing besides the heat and drying out of the roots for a hosta is bouncing around in a box while being shipping. I know some ship in the growing container but to me that is a way to create problems, especially is the pot is heavy and can shift around and crush the plant. Shredded newspaper really holds them in place. I have had people throw a plant in a box loosely with no packing and by the time it is delivered it is about beat to death.

If you ship large amounts you should check into buying a case of shipping tape, from ebay or online. I bought a case about 4 years ago for around $80 and it has lasted me for years. Used to buy those little rolls by the dozen and cost a fortune. And buy a tape gun, worth the money.

If you use used boxes make sure you get a large marker and cross out the old labels and strips of code, the PO will hassle the heck out of you if you don't. I also mark live plants right on the label, if some moisture leaks out you will have a plant back to you otherwise, they always assume it is chemicals or a bomb for some reason. You can also get free priority boxes from the PO, these are handy if you ship many plants.

Good luck

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