I have been getting a number of inquires from other gardeners around the country asking where to buy Bababerry plants. In addition, I am often asked about shipping the potted Baba berry plants I propagate each year from my own Baba Berry patch. Up until recently, I have limited my sales to local gardeners. I really haven’t had a need to ship, since I barely keep up with requests for Babas from Southern California gardeners. But last month, I finally gave shipping a try. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, just time consuming.
I found the best descriptions and graphics on how to package a live potted plant with soil intact over at Fedex. The PDF was aimed at the retail flower industry, but it gave me enough visual inspiration, I was able to create a cardboard barricade within the shipping box to hold the live plant firmly in place and still allow for air circulation within the box. Click here for Fedex: Guidlines for Shipping Flowers and Live Plants PDF and more variations on how to box live potted plants for shipping.
After my first attempt at shipping a Bababerry plant, I understand why some online retailers charge a premium for a handling fee in addition to the actual shipping costs at USPS to mail something. Creating a Paypal invoice for the buyer, prepping the plant the night before, making the box, taking time to package very gently, visiting the post office, and emailing tracking number back to the buyer, all added more than an hour to my time to sell of just one small plant. When I ship other plants in the future, I will figure this time into the cost for shipping. Paypal took a portion of the sale for their fees, so I will also have to figure that into the price of a shipped plant. Needless to say, I definitely prefer to do sales to locals.
What it takes to mail a potted plant:
- Grocery bag
- 2 cardboard boxes of similar size, one to cut and one to ship in.
- shipping tape
- packing material like Styrofoam peanuts, shredded newspaper, I used cut up plastic egg cartons
How to make this homemade Live Plant Shipping Box:
- Water the plant the night before and make sure is drains sufficiently enough not to make a wet mess in the box.
- Find a box as close to the same width as the pot as possible and at least as tall as the plant.
- Wrap the pot in plastic grocery bag, tied it shut, but don’t cover the foliage or stem. This is keep moisture from getting to the card board.
- tape the bag to the pot snugly to avoid it moving around during shipment
- Cut 2 similar rectangle cardboard sections from box #1
- tape those 2 cardboard strips inside box #2 at height of top of pot, and fold over (see photos) I kind of made a little table for each side to brace the pot inside the box
- Place the plant in shipping box #2
- Place packing material like Styrofoam peanuts, or in my case plastic egg carton pieces, on both sides of the pot, holding it firm in place to prevent any sideways movement.
- fold the strips/ braces (made from box #1) over the top lip of the pot on each side and tape to shipping box #2.
- Cut another larger rectangle strip out of box #1 to go over the top of the plant and fold down around both sides. Use this to brace against the other cardboard braces that are around the pot. This is to prevent movement toward the plant stem.
- Tape in place
- Tape box closed, label, and ship Priority on a Monday or Tuesday.