Four considerations for shipping plants

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The retail market for cut flowers and indoor plant is worth £2.2bn, according to the flowers and plant association. As with so many other industries, this astonishing figure has been reached largely through online sales during the pandemic. Once considered a relatively niche way to purchase greenery, flowers and plants are now flourishing in their new ecommerce surrounds. Shipping plants has become routine.

Houseplants are particularly in vogue. Caring for them has helped us to cope with the stresses and anxiety of home working and fulfilled our need to connect with nature.

The safe transit of plants through a courier system can be problematic due to their delicate nature. Here are four considerations when packing them for shipment, so that they arrive in great condition.

Shipping plants of all sizes needs different pack sizes

Shipping plants of all size

The beauty of plants is that they are living things that change and grow. As they have no set height (or width), the right pack is very much dependant on the type, and age, of the plant. This also dictates the size of plant pot.

The knock-on effect of this is that not every shipment will be the same, so you will need to consider a range of box sizes. This will allow you to fit your packaging to the plants. This, in turn, will reduce the amount of free space in the pack, minimising the risk of plants moving around in transit.

Multi-depth boxes are a great option. They allow you to cut (or fold) the box to a height appropriate for your plants.

Shipping plants needs the right packs

Consider protection in transit

It goes without saying that postal and courier networks can be a harsh environment for a delicate plant. Your plant may not survive if you don’t factor this in when applying your packaging.

Packs that hold the plant in place within the outer packaging provide much better protection. By bracing the plant against knocks and drops they dramatically improve its chances of safely completing the journey.

Protect fragile plant pots by applying bubble wrap or Geami Wrappak to minimise damage from shock or impact.

As the shipment somersaults through the courier network, there is a risk that the soil will become displaced. This increases the risk of plant damage and creates unwanted mess. A cardboard collar applied to the top of the plant pot should help to hold it in place.

The application of “Fragile” notices to the outside of the box will alert couriers to the delicate nature of the contents inside. If you’re shipping plants in high volumes, consider custom printed packaging with handling instructions. You could also include customer instructions to advise them on the best way to unpack their new plants.

By specifying that living plants are inside the pack, you are encouraging customers to unpack the contents on receipt rather than putting them to one side.

Shipping plants long distances needs temperature controlled packaging

Consider the length of journey and temperature range when shipping plants

Shipping plants on a next day delivery service will minimise the amount of time they are in transit.

However, this isn’t always possible and your plant may spend several days in transit. Plants are also very sensitive to temperature, and can easily be damages if they get too hot or too cold. All of these factors can adversely affect their condition on arrival.

Consider temperature sensitive packaging that will offer protection from extreme heat or freezing temperatures. It will help to protect the soil from water evaporation in hot temperature and protect delicate foliage in freezing temperatures.

The unboxing experience for your customer matters

You have given the best possible care and attention to your plants, so you want them to arrive in the best possible condition with their new owners. A little thought into how the customer will receive them will go a long way in building customer loyalty.

In lieu of a retail store experience, the unboxing of the plants will be one of the strongest connections that your customer will make with you.

Make sure the packaging conveys the value of the product. Consider the neatness of the packaging, the inclusion of messaging (either on the inside or outside) and how easy it is to unpack their goods.

Macfarlane Packaging offer a bespoke packaging service which can support you in the design of boxes to suit your plant shipment needs. Contact us today to find out more.

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