How Long Can Plants Survive in the mail? What You Should Know

When we simply cannot find a particular plant in our neighborhood nursery, we frequently resort to ordering it online. The plant and the shipping circumstances will determine how long it can survive.

Anubias and Java ferns, which are little, water-loving plants, can live in the mail for 7 to 12 days, while larger, more established plants like air plants and jasmines can endure for much longer. When buying plants online, factors like packaging, handling, and shipping time all have a significant impact on how long the plants will survive.

Only when the circumstances are right for the plant within the container will plants survive longer periods of time during shipping.

We will discuss several elements that influence plant survival rates during the critical shipping time in this post.

What to Expect When Shipping Plants

When plants are transported, they often wilt; this is typical. This is why.


Plants naturally exhale air, which causes them to release water—or, as some might say, sweat. See our article to learn more about why plants perspire.

The amount of water in the plant and the soil or paper it is wrapped in is decreased by this transpiration.As a result of the water being lost to the packaging, the plant will start to wilt.

Consider it similar to the cucumber experiment. When a cucumber is cut and salt is added, the cucumber starts to lose water to the salt and turns flaky.

It is a similar mechanism to that which takes place during plant respiration.

Some of the plant’s leaves may consequently start to turn yellow.

This does not imply that the plant is beyond saving. De-stressing is what the plant requires. (continue reading this post under Recommendations for Reviving a Plant after Shipping)

Pro Tip

If there are any yellowing leaves, don’t remove them just yet. It’s possible that these leaves can still photosynthesize and provide food for the plant.

You can now remove any diseased leaves from the foliage after two weeks, when the plant has fully healed, to stop those parts from utilizing essential nutrients.

Heat does more harm than cold

If plants are subjected to circumstances of high heat or cold while being transported, they might experience great stress.

Plants emit water as they transpire, as previously mentioned. This is carried out as a defense mechanism against heat so that the plant can cool down.

Because of this, some water-loving plants may wilt and get squishy and soft.

Some plants that exhibit these traits are also referred to as stemmed plants because they have long stems or bark that is primarily bright green since it is primarily formed of water.

On the other side, cold weather can help plants retain their moisture content by reducing the transpiration process.

Plants are occasionally supplied with a cold pack incorporated into the shipping package due of this.

Plants that Can Survive Long Shipping Periods

Plants that can withstand the rigors of shipping will typically be hardier, have larger leaves, and robust, well-established stems and barks. Additionally, potted plants and bulbs travel nicely.

The plant’s ability to endure shipping is also greatly influenced by the shipping packaging.

Other elements that impact a plant’s capacity to survive include

  • During shipping, handling
  • Shipping time

Here is a collection of plants that were acquired online and endured long shipment times.

Animal Speciesshipping tolerance for duration
Sarracenia2-3 Weeks
Drosera2-3 Weeks
Nepenthes10–15 Days
Heliamphora10–15 Days
Container plants3 weeks
Darlingtonia3–4 Weeks
Drosera/Utricstwo to three weeks
Plants in crypts3 Weeks
VeitchiiA month or more
Plants from Riccia and Rotala5-7 days
Java ferns and anubias10–12 Days
Aerial PlantsA month or more
Stephanotisa month or more
Sambac, Jasmine2-3 Weeks

Plants that Cannot Survive Long Shipping Periods

According to our study, few customers who buy plants that have spent more than five days in shipment experience success.

  • Sundews struggle, especially if they are supplied bare-root
  • After a week, Nepenthes tends to wilt.
  • After 5 days, Lobelia Cardinalis experienced issues.
  • Most plants with stems mash up.

Once more, the likelihood of these plants surviving depends on the packing, duration, and handling of the transportation process.

How Plants Are Shipped 

Plants may be delivered bare root and wrapped in moist paper, peat moss, or even custom boxes.

Plants with bare roots are exactly what they sound like: naked roots! Hence, there is no soil included. As the excess weight of the dirt is removed, this shipping method is quite economical.

The wet wrapping gives it the hydration it needs to endure the week-long trip from the supplier to your home.

Other plants can be transported without their pots in boxes. This is less expensive to send and is simpler to pack. To stop the soil from shedding everywhere and making a mess, the roots and very little soil are wrapped in plastic.

After receiving the plant, the soil used in this approach should not be removed since it may lead to stress, which we will address later in this article when we discuss how to make sure your plant lives after shipment.

The following items can be used to carry plants

  • cardboard boxes
  • pots made of light plastic
  • Clean potting soil
  • newspaper, wrapping paper, or packing material
  • Bouncy tape
  • Flies collars
  • a plastic bag
  • Rubber bands or ties
  • Printed towels

Recommendations After Receiving a Plant in the Mail

In order to avoid delays, you should first, if you are able, go to the pickup site and acquire your plant.

Tropical plants can become extremely agitated after shipment because they have left their ecosystem and the circumstances they are used to.

Some plants have a tendency to become limp, while others develop yellow blotches on their leaves.

You shouldn’t remove any unsightly leaves from the plant when you first get it.

Prior to beginning the trimming process, give the plant time to recover, which could take one to two weeks.

Send the seller a photo of the plant that you took.

Engage the vendor in dialogue and provide as much information as you can, so they can assist you in identifying the issue and saving the plant from demise.

Many things can go wrong during the shipping process, including:

  • dip in temperature
  • The delivery wasn’t handled properly.
  • The plant dislikes dim, moist areas.

The first thing you should do after receiving the plant is to submerge it in water.

Steps to Ensure your Plant Survive After Shipping

  1. Take the plant out of its box.
  2. Put the plant’s roots in water and leave them there for 24 hours.
  3. If the plant requires water, replace the water (change water after 1 day)
  4. Utilize wet moss if the plant doesn’t like water.
  5. Pot a few days later (5 to 7 days)

You should think about bottom watering if your plant arrived and is in incredibly dry soil.

Bottom watering aids in the soil’s ability to evenly absorb moisture and supply water to the plant’s whole root system. Additionally, it stops root rot and overwatering.

Additionally, you shouldn’t remove the substrate from the roots while repotting a plant after hydrating it (the soil that it came in).

Simply place the plant in the new plant pot with the soil it came with and fill it with fresh soil to cover the plant and substrate.

Do Not Stress Your New Plant

Allow the plant to acclimate to your environment if everything about it is normal and fine once you receive your plant.

Keep in mind that the plant was previously in a nursery setting with other plants in a different atmosphere and humidity.

It is exposed to a completely new and different environment when it is shipped.

Some plants become agitated during shipping; to avoid stress and the symptoms that go along with it, you should just leave it in the soil or container that it arrived in and let it accept and acclimate to your environment.

You should repot the plant in well-draining, well-aerated soil after a week.

To give it room to expand, the new potting container should have a diameter that is 2 inches bigger than the one that was sent.

Keep in mind that plants in nurseries are planted in the smallest container possible and in the most fertile soil available to ensure their survival before being sold.

Because of this, you need be careful and repot the plant in a bigger container than the one it was given.


How long do plants take to recover from shipping?

This is what? Take care when you receive your plant because it may have been entirely dark inside the box during shipping for days. Repotting a houseplant should be done at least two weeks in advance. Your plant will have more time to strengthen itself and adapt “out of the box.”

How do you unpack a shipped plant?

How do plants survive shipping?

Use bubble wrap to protect the pot and the roots when mailing plants that are in containers. To retain the soil in the container, place a collar of cardboard over the dirt and around the base of the plant, then close a plastic bag around the base of the plant.

How Long Can plants survive in the mail?

A plant can travel for a full 7 days in the mail without any issues. Some plants have a two-week lifespan. Keep shipment under 7 days to prevent dehydration and leaf loss in your plant. You can go over 7 days if your plant requires less water or sunlight.

Can a plant survive a week of shipping?

The plant and the shipping circumstances will determine how long it can survive. Anubias and Java ferns, which are little, water-loving plants, can live in the mail for 7 to 12 days, while larger, more established plants like air plants and jasmines can endure for much longer.