How to Ship Succulents: A Detailed Guide

Shipping succulents and cacti may seem like a risky undertaking, but with the right packaging techniques, you can ensure the survival of your plants.

  • shipping succulents
  • methods of shipping succulents by mail
  • shipping bare root succulents
  • shipping succulents in containers
  • packaging succulents and cacti
  • challenges in shipping succulents
  • temperature
  • cacti
  • caring for succulents and cacti that have been sent

sending succulents

Hands putting succulents in pots in a cardboard box.

Succulents and cacti are generally quite hardy and can go long periods of time without water, so they are ideal plants to transport through the mail. Professional nurseries regularly ship their plants across the country and around the world with very few problems.

Whether you’re moving and need to ship your collection to its new home or sharing your passion for succulents with a long-distance friend, shipping succulents and cacti by mail is an easy and safe way to move your plants from place to place.

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succulent shipping methods

Professional nurseries tend to ship their plants bare root or in small containers (or pots). Certain plants do better when shipped in small containers, rather than bare root, so research which method works best for your particular plants. In general, if you have breakable parts that like to fall off, it should be in a container.

Not everyone sends whole plants either. succulent mail often takes the form of cuttings or leaves. dried cuttings also ship well and can be packed in an egg carton for convenience and safety.

Whatever method you choose, ship your plants using the fastest method available from the carrier of your choice. Although succulents do well in transportation, it’s best to minimize stress on your plants by keeping your trip as short as possible.

You may also consider purchasing additional insurance on your package, especially if it is a large shipment or a valuable plant. If you are shipping plants to another state or country, check with the destination department of agriculture to verify that the type of plants you are shipping are permitted.

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(looking at you, australia)

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shipping bare root succulents

To prepare succulents for bare root shipping, you’ll need to make sure the plants haven’t been watered recently. succulents and cacti are best shipped when they are a bit dry.

Gently grasp the plant by the base and lift it out of the pot. shake off excess soil. if the roots are too wet, you can leave the plant outside for a day or two until they are dry enough to pack.

Wrap each plant with soft paper, such as tissue paper, using an additional layer or two if necessary. for cacti, you may need to use a few layers of a stiffer paper such as newspaper to help keep the spines from poking through.

Also read: Hybrid succulents explained

shipping succulents in containers

Woman holding a succulent in a pot over a cardboard box.

Shipping succulents in containers or pots is not much different from bare root shipping.

You will still need to wrap your relatively dry plants in paper, but be careful to wrap and pack the plants in a way that minimizes the amount of soil that falls out of the container.

If you’re feeling particularly dedicated, you can cover the surface of the pot with plastic wrap. that will help keep dirt in (but also moisture, so make sure it’s completely dry!).

If you wrap them carefully, you will also prevent the plants from falling out of their pots during shipping. you should mark the outside of your box to indicate which side is facing up, as well as a warning to prevent tipping.

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packaging succulents and cacti

Choose a sturdy corrugated cardboard box for your succulents. boxes can sometimes (always) be mishandled during shipping, so you’ll want something that keeps your succulents from getting crushed easily.

Remember to label each plant as you wrap it and place it in the box. Proper labeling of the outside of the box will instruct package handlers to treat your box with care. write “perishable” or “fragile” or both on all sides of the box so your warnings are visible from any angle.

Be generous with packing materials. Whether you’re using packing or paper peanuts, you’ll want to make sure all of the empty space in the box is filled. you want your plants to move as little as possible during shipping to prevent damage.

If you are shipping delicate succulents, you may need to use additional packing material around them. make sure your box is roomy enough to accommodate this.

Once your box is fully packed, it’s a good idea to include a packing list before sealing the package. this list will let the recipient know what to expect and will ensure that smaller plants or cuttings don’t get lost in the packing material.

challenges in shipping succulents

Succulent in a pot in a cardboard box.

Be cognizant of these pitfalls so you can be certain your plants arrive happy and healthy!


It’s important to remember your plants’ temperature preferences when you mail them. Certain plants, even succulents or cacti, may not survive a summer trip to Phoenix. Similarly, if you plan to mail your succulents in frigid weather, you may need to make some accommodations.

Heat packs made specifically for plants are a great item to include in your shipment to keep your prized plants from freezing. if temperatures are expected to be below freezing, it might be worth postponing the shipping date until the weather warms up a bit.

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Cacti come in a variety of shapes and sizes which can make shipping a bit difficult. its spines can pierce packaging material and skin. if they are packed near delicate types of succulents, they can even damage other plants in their box, so be careful to pack them well!

Experienced shippers often choose to wrap them in extra layers of paper or strategically place packing peanuts on top of the spines before wrapping.

Definitely wear thorn-proof gloves if you’re handling cacti. the large spines are no joke, and the glochids (the tiny hair-like spines) can be a serious irritant.

remind the recipient of your prickly package to be careful when opening it. a warning note on the plant label or a quick note placed on top of packaged plants should suffice.

caring for succulents and cacti that have been shipped

Including a few care tips in your package can help your recipient help their succulents and cacti recover from their journey as quickly as possible.

remember, the plants have been in the dark for several days when they arrive at their destination. it is important that they are exposed to sunlight as soon as possible. You may want to place your succulents in indirect sunlight at first and gradually expose them to direct sunlight to prevent burning.

Most nurseries find that their plants are best shipped when they are a bit dry, so succulents will need a good watering after being transferred to their new pots.

If succulents experience a difficult journey on the way to their new home, remember that a damaged plant may not be a lost cause. a piece of a broken plant can be treated like a cutting to propagate a new plant.

By preparing your succulent box carefully and deliberately, you can prepare your plants for a safe and comfortable journey!

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