Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fear of shipping - Packing

Pleurothallis palliolata - Flower photo by Richard LindbergTwo double pages of newspaper taped together. Add a bamboo stick for extra strength.For packing plants in pots I build a tube of newspaper. I want a wrapper for the plant that can be easily handled without worrying about bending leaves or breaking off anything.

Safe and easy handling is the first goal; the second is to keep the plant from shifting in the box. I do this by making the newspaper tube the same height as the box it will be shipped in.

The box I use for even very small plants is what the USPS calls a shoebox. That box is 5 x 8 x 14 so I make the tube 14 inches long.

I start with two folds of newspaper. Mouse over the picture. I put the folded side of one on top and the other on the bottom. I slip one inside the other, move them so the combined height is 14 inches and tape them together.

When the pant is extra heavy I will tape a bamboo stake to the pot for extra support. Mostly I just use the tube. It is plenty strong. If the top of the tube is completely empty I may crumple up a sheet of newspaper inside the tube.

Of course not every plant can be made to go inside a tube. I still wrap it in the newspaper as tightly as possible. The shape is more of a cone but it still provides good support and protection. If the top is large I will add crumpled newspaper. I have tried peanuts but decide that they were probably annoying to the person unpacking.

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