How to package & ship live plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 21
Question How to package & ship live plants?

Hi all,
I just posted on the Swap forum that I have two Ocelot Swords to trade. Problem is, if anyone wants them, I have NO idea as how to package and ship them. Any thoughts, help, suggestions, how-to is much appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 11:36 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: MD, USA
Posts: 2,321
There are a few different methods for doing this. I myself like to just trim them and put them in a fish bag full of air and tie it tight. Then stick it in a priority mail box and send it off. Others have good success by gently wrapping plants in damp (NOT WET) paper towels or newspapers and putting them in plastic ziplock bags. Then put them in the box that way and send them off.

Side Note: I notice you're in Virginia and want to invite you to check out our local plant club if you get a chance. We're from the NOVA/DC/MD area and our website is
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 11:42 PM
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Location: Michigan
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Shipping plants is easy, unless they are really big plants you'll have to prune them. How I ship plants is easy and keeps the plant alive to everyone that I have sent plants too.

I simply, take the plant rinse them in tap water just incase nothing from the tank carries on with the plant. Use damped paper towels, wrapped them, try to be careful so that you won't tare off any leaves or break the stems. I then placed them in either poly bags or ziplock bags, either is fine I guess. Then I placed them in which ever box I want to use, then use news paper or peanuts to protect the plant

Its simple to package them, and the shipping method I prefer is USPS Priority (2-3 business days) for $3.85 up to a pound.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-30-2005, 12:29 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Houston, TX
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zip vs tied

I don't trust zip lock bags to stay sealed in the event of an airplane ride, I've had too many things leak in suitcases on trips.

IMO, it is better to use tied bags, not too puffed up with air, lots of slack in the bag. I wrap the plant in damp newspaper, wet, but not soggy, no dry spots (had a plant ruined when the paper was spotty with water).

No free water in the bag, for it sloshes around and can tear plants if paper was used. Newsprint is pretty strong, better than most papertowels IMO, unless you have the strong type.

Double bag the wrapped plants, for the mail service is pretty upset if wet stuff leaks over other people's mail.

I usually mail on Monday after trimming on Sunday, but I will note that often a Tuesday mailing gets there just as fast, I suppose since the volume on Monday is so heavy. Mail at the post office, Priority, in the free box they have. I ususally use the 2"x12"x9" or something like that, the smaller one is tight for most plants.

If there is much $ involved, you may want to have the buyer pay for Confirmation, for 80 cents or something like that. For something easy to replace, like stems, if it never arrives you are just out postage if you have to replace, but for a hard to duplicate plant like a large sword, you want to be able to confirm that it was delivered.

And, get payment in advance. I was only stiffed one time, for after one time, I learned. No, actually, the guy said he never got the first box, so I sent a second, and that was the last I heard from him. He never paid for any of it, not the item, nor any of the shipping costs. Pretty crummy of him, but who knows what happened.

110G, 10 adult discus, barebottom with plants on wood
58G, 3 adult discus, barebottom with plants on wood
59G thickly planted tanks, rummey nose tetras, kuhlies
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2005, 05:10 PM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Norwood, MA
Posts: 32
A tip I discovered when shipping stuff (not aquarium related) through USPS priority mail, if you go to and print out the shipping label, delivery confirmation is free.

You have the choice of a free label or you can also paying for postage, insurance, etc. (paying for postage requires registering).
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