How to successfully ship plants using USPS, FedEx and UPS carriers

Shipping plants and seeds is a lucrative business in the United States. The value of this market is over $15 billion and it has been growing for years. Today we are going to reveal all the tips, main steps, and important additions you need to know before you start shipping seeds or live plants.

This is a relatively simple matter to discuss and understand. However, it is different than other shipments you may have sent. That’s why you need to memorize the following steps and points.

Who needs to ship plants and what the main points are?

If you are into a business that involves seeds and plants, you obviously have to ship them occasionally. You may want to ship them to your friends or more commonly to your customers. This applies to any eCommerce business that involves shipments of this type and it is a related matter to many, additional businesses. Here we have the main points you need to keep in mind.

  • Shipping restrictions that affect plants
  • Many states in the United States have different or specific shipping restrictions when it comes to plants. Ideally, you will check with USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to make sure your shipment meets the restrictions.

    Some examples include a ban on shipping citrus fruit or plants to California. Another example is the ban on shipping Mauna Loa and even flowers of jade Vine from Hawaii to Alaska or the mainland of the United States.

    Don’t forget that these are rules which must be obeyed at all times. It is illegal to ship these plans. Also, each state has different shipping regulations so make sure to check with the aforementioned database.

  • International restrictions for plant shipments
  • The same rules and requirements apply internationally. They are even more complex due to the fact every country has a different set of rules. If you are trying to ship plants to foreign countries, you will need a phytosanitary certificate from that particular country. This applies to shippers who ship over 12 plants.

    One example is when trying to send plants to the United Kingdom. You will need an import permit for this purpose. Without it, you are unable to ship plants.

  • Labels and shipping handling
  • All your packages that contain live plants need to be labeled properly. You need to point out which type of plant that is and how couriers should manage the package. You can even provide labels such as ‘’do not rush’’ or ‘’live plants treat with care’’ and handlers will be able to implement those requirements.

    One platform that can significantly help you with labels, in general, is Ship Saving. This platform comes with over a dozen features and can even help you by increasing your shipping value y 50%. Additional features include warehouse management, partnerships with USPS and so much more.

  • Using corrugated boxes for your shipments
  • Corrugates boxes are mandatory for this type of shipment. They are very strong and they are ideal for this purpose. In addition, you can ship plants without a pot when using the boxes in question. There is no need to add that they do come in various sizes and they can be shipped in many, different ways.

    There are two main options in this case scenario. You can either purchase these boxes, preferable if you are a large business owner or you can make your own ones if you are a small business owner.

    Preparing plants for shipping

    This is a simple process, but there are a few steps you need to take. In general, plants are shipped without pots and without soil. You will need healthy plants and you will need to pack them properly so they don’t get damaged during transit. If you do all the steps properly your plants will always reach the destination in perfect condition.

    1. The roots should be moist without soil

    Soil cannot be shipped due to the fact it can contain various issues such as Japanese beetle grubs. That’s why you need to remove the soil (leave just small amounts on the roots themselves) dip them into the water and put a plastic bag over them. Use a rubber band to keep the upper part of the bag in place.

    2. Place 5-10 plants in a bundle

    Always ship 5-10 plants in a bundle. This makes them stronger and more resilient. Yes, you can ship 20 of them in one bundle if that is possible. The only thing you need to know here is that tops must be dry.

    3. Pack them tight

    The worst thing you can do is pack the plants loosely so they move during transport. Instead, pack them tight so they can’t move. Be free to use various mediums for that. You can use packing peanuts, newspaper, or something similar.

    4. Use the fastest shipping option

    When shipping plants you need the fastest service that will deliver the plants to the destination as quickly as possible. Always use the fastest method so you can be positive the plants will be outside the soil the shortest period of time.

    Best courier for shipping plant

    A good thing is that all major shipping providers transport plant parcels. However, there are some differences and there are some variations in the process handling and price. Here you can see all those differences.


    You need to check first with the requirements and regulations of the state where you are shipping a plant. Other points of shipping plants with USPS are:

  • When using Priority Mail Express parcels arrive within 2 business days. The price is $20 for one or under a pound.
  • Priority Mail will arrive within one day and the price is $7 per box.
  • Flat Rate Priority Mail will deliver between 1 and 3 business days. The cost is $12 per box.
  • FedEx

    There are no special packaging requirements here but you also need to check out with state requirements. Other than that, there are several shipping options available.

  • The first Overnight cost around $64 and will be delivered before 8am. This applies to packages up to 1 pound in weight.
  • FedEx Priority Overnight costs $30 for a one pound package and it will be delivered before 10:30am.
  • FedEx Standard Overnight costs $28 and will be delivered before 3pm. The price is for a package of 1 pound weight.
  • FedEx Ground costs $9 or above and applies to packages with 1 pounds weight. It arrives afternoon.
  • UPS

    There are no special packaging needed here. The only thing to keep in mind is the restrictions of the state where you are shipping a package.

  • Next Day Air costs $28 for one pound package. It will be delivered before 10:30 am.
  • UPS Ground arrives afternoon on the next day and costs $14. This refers to a package with a weight of 1 pound or less.

  • Conclusion

    Shipping plants does need a few more things to keep in mind, but we helped you as much as we could so now you are ready to ship your first package with any plant. All you need to remember is that a package must meet regulations for a specific state where you are sending it and you must pack it properly.