There’s few things more enjoyable than receiving a package in the mail! Maybe it’s partly due to the waiting, or the excitement of unwrapping something & seeing it for the first time… Either way, we love snail mail!
These days, shipping is efficient enough to send and receive all sorts of packages – including plants! It’s actually quite simple to ship plant cuttings, but there are a few things to be aware of to help your cutting arrive healthy. Now that I know the process, there’s no stopping me sharing my plants with the world!
Read on for the guide on how to ship plant cuttings & watch the video tutorial at the end!
You will Need:
A Plant Cutting
Paper towel or sphagnum moss
Cling wrap or small zip-lock bag
Packing material such as paper
Small postage box
The aim of packing a cutting well is to help it survive a few days in the post, so that it arrives healthy enough to plant or propagate.
It’s possible to ship plant cuttings with roots that you’ve been propagating in water, or a freshly-made cutting that is yet to grow.
The Day Before Sending
If you’re sending a new cutting that is yet to root, you’ll want to cut it off the mother plant right before packing. This will help it stay fresh.
The day before sending (and snipping) your cutting, water the mother plant. This will help the plant to be fully hydrated when you cut it. It will also help the cutting stay hydrated for the trip.
Making the Cut
Take the cutting the day you plan on sending it. It’s best to cut the stem on an angle and choose a healthy section of the plant.
Plant cuttings can be all different sizes, but generally smaller cuttings are more successful. This is because the cutting will need to spend less energy keeping itself alive, and can use more energy on growing roots instead!
If the cutting has lots of leaves, remove most of the leaves. This will reduce the energy the cutting has to use while it’s being sent. It’s best to just keep a few leaves at the top of the cutting.
How to Package a Plant Cutting
Use some damp paper towel or damp sphagnum moss to cover the end of the cutting that will eventually be rooted. We’ll want it to stay damp for the trip.
If you’re sending a rooted cutting, I would recommend covering using sphagnum moss instead of paper towel. This well help cover all the delicate roots so they don’t dry out.
Use cling wrap or a small zip-lock bag to cover the paper towel, making sure it’s fairly well sealed so that the moisture won’t dry out.
Some people also like to loosely wrap the whole cutting in plastic, to stop the draw of moisture from the cutting into the packing material.
For woody stem cuttings, another process is to dip the end in warm wax. This will seal the end and make sure that no moisture is lost during transport. In this case, you won’t need to wrap the end in damp paper towel.
Place the wrapped cutting into your postage box and make sure it won’t move around too much by packing the excess space with paper, tissue paper or other materials.
Shipping your Plant Cutting
It’s best to pack and mail your cutting at the start of the week (such as Monday or Tuesday). This will help with ensuring that the cutting doesn’t get stuck in the mail over a weekend, and it will hopefully arrive beforehand.
Depending on how far you are sending your cutting, you may want to use express post. It’s best if a cutting takes no longer than 2-3 days to arrive, for the best chance of survival.
You may also wish to label the outside of your package with something like, ‘Live Plants – no direct sun’. As heat and cold can affect cuttings, also think about the climate when you’re sending cuttings. Below freezing temps are probably not ideal to be posting plants in!
It may also be helpful to let the recipient know when it’s likely to arrive (or use tracking). Once it has arrived, they can then open it straight away which will reduce the likelihood of the cutting sitting in a warm mailbox or on a porch.
Propagating the Cutting
Depending on the type of cutting, different propagation methods might be best. You may like to include some general instructions for the recipient.
Generally, the end of the cutting may need to be trimmed after it’s received to give it a fresh wound. Then, sticking in in water for propagation is generally the best way to go.
Now that you know how to ship plant cuttings, you can easily swap cuttings with other plant enthusiasts. Sharing cuttings is a great way to boost your plant collection for (almost) free! It’s also so fun to watch them grow roots and thrive.
Join me over on Instagram where I share other great plant tips and updates. I’ll also be hosting a plant cutting swap soon – so keep an eye out to join in on the fun!