Can you ship a plant without it dying? Zip lock bag with water or other procedure? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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Can you ship a plant without it dying? Zip lock bag with water or other procedure?

How long can plants live if you ship them out to someone?

Could you fill a plastic zip lock bag with water and survive for a few days in a dark box?

I know they have those tubes at Petco and they are there for a long time without the plant dying.

Thanks.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 04:05 AM
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Putting a plant in a baggie with water will kill it rather quickly. It is better to put the plant in the baggie without the water. Just take the wet plant, shake off any excess water, and then put that in the baggie. The idea is to keep the moisture while still allowing oxygen. Think more in terms of humidity than water.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 04:12 AM
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Actually the best plants I've gotten have been wrapped in wet newspaper in that baggie.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 06:18 AM
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Yes, I have seen people who have shipped plants to me wrapped in wet newspaper as well. It makes sense to try to keep them somewhat damp while being shipped to you.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 08:35 AM
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Somewhat damp, yes. Saturated, no.

The best way to figure it out is to try a variety of methods on your own. See how long the plants live using each method.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 04:00 PM
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I wet paper towels, squeeze the water out and then wrap the plants in the damp paper towel. That then goes into a baggie that I seal with packaging tape.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Somewhat damp, yes. Saturated, no.

The best way to figure it out is to try a variety of methods on your own. See how long the plants live using each method.
I did just that years ago when we were debating the subject on another forum. I packaged identical groups of plants using several different techniques. Then I tossed the packages into the back seat of my car and left them there for 3 or more days. I found that it made little if any difference whether the plants were in wet newspaper, wet paper towels, dry paper towels, very wet, or just damp and bare. Each sample was in identical ziplock plastic bags, and in opaque envelopes. My car spent time in my garage, parked outdoors in shade, and driven around on various errands. All of the samples survived very well.

Just for kicks I will see if I can find my report on this.

EDIT: I didn't find that report, but now I suspect it was on this forum!
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Last edited by Hoppy; 03-13-2016 at 09:29 PM. Reason: added info
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 04:57 PM
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Hoppy's results are the same as I have experienced over the years from various sellers. Sealed bag with no water or wet paper seems best because it's the lightest for shipping.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
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I packaged identical groups of plants using several different techniques. Then I tossed the packages into the back seat of my car and left them there for 3 or more days. I found that it made little if any difference whether the plants were in wet newspaper, wet paper towels, dry paper towels, very wet, or just damp and bare.
I wonder if the heat from the car added an extra variable to the experiment, interfering with any other results. I'd like to see how that same experiment would work if the plants were left in a moderate temperature. Maybe the next time I'm cleaning out my crypts, I'll so a similar experiment. I'd want to put them in a box and try them indoors (cooler temps) as well as outdoors in the shade (warmer temps, but not hot). Then check them once a day to see when each began to show signs of degrading.

I remember reading somewhere long ago the reasoning for shipping plants with no extra water, newspapers, etc. Just put damp plants in the baggie, blow them up with air, and seal them. I want to say it had something to do oxygen, but I can't remember for sure. I know when people shipped plants to me, those in water or wet paper towels or newspaper arrived in poorer condition than those packed damp with nothing else. It's been so many years, I don't know if I could find that source anymore. It would probably be better to just test it out again. Just not with the heat from the inside of a car.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 11:30 PM
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I wrap them in industrial grade paper cloth moistened with tank water and put them in a ziploc. I then wrap that in either newspaper or some type of insulation depending on the destination. I tend to reuse packing material. I recently sent some plants to a member in Colorado that got lost in the mail for 21 days (priority mail ROFLMA) and they arrived alive. Stubborn little plants.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 03:34 AM
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I might think the car experiment was missing one big item we deal with when shipping. Nobody threw the package! Part of the trauma of shipping is the sudden stops it may make along the way. That can often put the zip-lock out of order as it pops open. Auctions often prohibit zip locks for this reason as they tend to kill fish.
That leaves me thinking the package needs to be modified to suit the type and size of plant as well as how it is moving. If you are taking it to auction in your car, you can do a lot of things that won't survive a two day package trip. Part of that is keeping it moist so I like the idea of fully double bagged and sealed if it is a valuable group of plants. But then it also involves some discretion on what is added with the plants. Something wet will likely help to maintain the moisture on the odd occasion when the bag is split but then it can also act as something of a good or bad idea as well. Too much padding can become a battering ram if it moves too much. Just the right amount can be really needed to cut down the physical damage on other occasions.
The bottom line is there is no real way to guarantee the plants will arrive safe and sound. When you find a fish shipment setting on the porch and water has run off the edge, you may not want to look but with plants, you can still hope.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
I wonder if the heat from the car added an extra variable to the experiment, interfering with any other results. I'd like to see how that same experiment would work if the plants were left in a moderate temperature. Maybe the next time I'm cleaning out my crypts, I'll so a similar experiment. I'd want to put them in a box and try them indoors (cooler temps) as well as outdoors in the shade (warmer temps, but not hot). Then check them once a day to see when each began to show signs of degrading.

I remember reading somewhere long ago the reasoning for shipping plants with no extra water, newspapers, etc. Just put damp plants in the baggie, blow them up with air, and seal them. I want to say it had something to do oxygen, but I can't remember for sure. I know when people shipped plants to me, those in water or wet paper towels or newspaper arrived in poorer condition than those packed damp with nothing else. It's been so many years, I don't know if I could find that source anymore. It would probably be better to just test it out again. Just not with the heat from the inside of a car.
My reason for leaving them in the car was that my mailbox was in the sun, and the postal delivery truck usually arrived at 5:00 pm each day, meaning the packages would be in the truck in the sun all day. I wanted to see if one method of packaging would work better with both cool nights and somewhat hot days. But, all of the methods worked very well.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 04:15 PM
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Actually the best plants I've gotten have been wrapped in wet newspaper in that baggie.
That's in in a nutshell. It's much easier than you may think. Just fight the urge to pack them really sopping wet.

You need to pay more attention to the way they are cushioned in the box to make sure they don't get crushed or fly around in there. Temperatures may be an issue too, so consider the weather where they are starting and where they are destined to go.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 08:19 PM
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That's in in a nutshell. It's much easier than you may think. Just fight the urge to pack them really sopping wet.

You need to pay more attention to the way they are cushioned in the box to make sure they don't get crushed or fly around in there. Temperatures may be an issue too, so consider the weather where they are starting and where they are destined to go.
Every package I've gotten shipped in damp, not sopping wet towel has come through great no matter how hot. I've gotten one package that was just in a baggie and I had spinach. Cooked spinach.

There are some of the regular shippers here who pretty much have it down pat. I love ordering from them. Now if only I could remember who they are.

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