Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Send Plant Cuttings by Mail

My mother has a very green thumb. Each year she takes cuttings from one of her wandering jew plants and plants them in the front garden. By the end of the summer, they have gone gangbusters.

Since my mom lives near Chicago, any plants left out after the first frost die off. My mom is always able to grow enough plants indoors to start over outside in the spring, but when possible we like to make cuttings to share with others.

My mother-in-law in New York had been on the hunt for this variety of plant for several months without success. So I decided to send her some cuttings in the mail to transplant.

First, I took the garden clippers and cut some clippings. I wanted to make them reasonably long (sometimes below the first set of leaves) but not too long to fit into a small USPS Priority Mail box.

Then I soaked some paper towels in water and wrapped a soaking wet paper towel around each stem. I then put each stem + paper towel combo in a small plastic baggie (not a ziplock, because I figured they'd need some oxygen).

I then packed them up and shipped them off to upstate New York! I made sure to give each of the ladies at the post office a clipping as well.


They arrived a few days later generally no worse for wear. My mother-in-law repotted and watered them and they have held up nicely.


A few caveats: some states, like California, may have rules against importing cuttings. Also, I sent this during fall when the weather wasn't too hot in any of the states it traveled through, and luckily none of the states had freezing temperatures, but take the weather into consideration before you put plants in the mail.

Photo credit: Final photo courtesy of Margo Downes.

3 comments:

BNS said...

It doesn't take any real horticultural skills to clone or grow Tradescantia pallida (wandering jew plants). I introduced these plants to my gardens and they quickly became a nuisance. I constantly had to rip them out of unwanted areas and toss them into my back woods. I now have about an acre of woods covered with these plants.

BNS said...

It doesn't take any real horticultural skills to clone or grow Tradescantia pallida (wandering jew plants). I introduced these plants to my gardens and they quickly became a nuisance. I constantly had to rip them out of unwanted areas and toss them into my back woods. I now have about an acre of woods covered with these plants.

Purple Passion said...

Great article! I'm getting ready to send some purple passion plant cuttings from Canada so this is great info.

I'm not sure why BNS felt that comment even relevant, other than to be negative about the plant you used as an example?