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mordalphus 06-05-2010 02:10 AM

Best method for shipping floating plants?
Anyone know a better method for shipping floating plants like frogbit or water lettuce? Every time I send them out priority and it takes more than 2 days, the plants all die except for maybe 1 or 2.

Basically I put them in a fish bag with a moist paper towel.

I tried a ziploc bag once and that was definitely worse.

Anyone had any success with other ways?

-- Liam

Byron 06-05-2010 10:25 AM

Frogbit is very tempermental. I sent some to a member and it arrived dead; course, for some reason it took US Post a week to deliver it; my plant packages to Texas [I live in Vancouver, Canada] got there in 3 days, but it was 7 to California.

I packed them in bags with about an inch of water from the tank. I sealed the bags with the water and air, then placed the bags in a stiff cardboard box. In all cases they arrived still sealed and intact, no leaks or anything. I suspect 7 days of no light was too much for the Frogbit.


mordalphus 06-05-2010 11:44 AM

Yeah, I live in seattle, and so far it's taken them:

2 days to hawaii (wow)
4 days to illinois
4 days to louisiana
5 days to texas!!!

out of all of those, about 1-2 plants survive

I'm doing an experiment now, i have 4 bags of water lettuce:
1 with extra water with paper towel
1 with them floating in water with air
1 with them wrapped in paper towel soaked in diluted vitamin b1
1 with them wrapped in paper towel soaked in diluted vitamin b1 and fertilizer mix

I'm tossing the box around and moving it from hot rooms to cool rooms, and I'm hoping that after 5 days I can open the box and see which one survived the best. I'll share that info here.

Also, anyone else with input, please feel free to input it.

-- Liam

zof 06-05-2010 08:54 PM

I wonder if the lack of light could be over came by using some LED throwies in the shipping box? May not be much light but at least it might be better then none? For those who don't know LED throwies are just an LED taped to a coin cell battery.

redchigh 06-06-2010 11:55 AM

I had that same idea once, but IME shipping costs are the worst part of selling plants online.

Most aquatic plants will survive a while in high humidity- they don't require constant submersion as long as the humidity is high enough. I think a bag of mostly air with an inch or two of water would be best, and insulation (styrofoam, peanuts, newspaper, etc) would help more than additions to the water.

SA ships their plants in soaked newspaper, and that's the technique I've been using just because it seems like you can fit more into a box that way.

If it was me, I would have a 5th esperiment with a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide in with the plants. (peroxide is corrosive, but breaks down very quickly into hydrogen and oxygen, and plants consume oxygen in darkness... )

Perhaps try a plant in some damp newspaper in a bag and see if it helps at all. You really have to focus on shipping costs and total mass as well.....

My guess is that the b1 won't really have any affect, and the ferts won't either. Now, if you used ferts along with an LED, THEN you might see a benefit.

Byron, what was the weather like? Perhaps the frogbit simple froze at some point in transit.

Sweet Aquatics 06-06-2010 12:18 PM

As far as water lettuce. We ship it in bags of 1 or 2 plants around 8" across with just a little bit of water, enough to get the greenhouse effects. Keeping the roots moist is the key. Water lettuce is very tough and can easily handle being in a box for long durations. I had a box of water lettuce get lost in the mail and finally returned 14 days later. All plants were intact and had very minor yellowing on the outer part of the leaves

Frogbit I have never shipped but, have received it many times from a friend in Alabama without any problems. It always arrived in 3-4 days and was packed in an insulated box with wet newspaper and an ice or heat pack.

mordalphus 06-06-2010 01:26 PM

Hmm, sounds nice SA, but my water lettuce plants are the dwarf variety, and they seem to be much more vulnerable. I think I've got the frogbit nailed down now... It needs to either be in a breather bag, or not sealed, and only damp, with no visible puddling of water in the bag with the paper towels.

And as for hydrogen peroxide(h2o2)... Not a chance, the way peroxide works is it rapidly oxidizes organic matter, that's why it splits into water and oxygen, the extra oxygen particle bonds to unprotected organic matter and destroys the DNA.

Just add some h2o2 to one of your planted tanks, it's not pretty.

So I let the box spend all day yesterday in a room that was mid 80's Fahrenheit, then after the sun went down me and the old lady played catch with it across the living room. I then repeatedly dropped it from 6 feet, since apparently this happens quite frequently (enough for the post office to ask you if the package can survive a 6 foot drop). Then I put it in a room that remains around 70 where it will remain until tonight. Then I'll let it sit outside for a night.

I'll keep this updated as sort of a journal so as to document the box's journey.

mordalphus 06-09-2010 07:58 PM

4 Attachment(s)
So an update for you people who were curious which method works best for shipping dwarf/mini water lettuce for 5 days.

Here are my results.

First, the bag with extra water. I just put a few ml of extra water, enough so the paper towel was wet (not damp).

Second picture is with just a damp paper towel soaked with dilute vitamin b1 (superthrive brand)

Third picture is with just a damp paper towel soaked with dilute seachem flourish, and vitamin b1

Fourth picture is packaged floating in 2 inches of water, in a bag with about 3 inches of air.

I think it's obvious that floating the water lettuce in a breather bag of water is the best option. Still yellowed but looks much better.

Hope this helps anyone trying to ship floating plants in the future.

-- Liam

Byron 06-10-2010 10:39 AM

This is very useful; thank you for testing these methods and providing the results.

mordalphus 06-10-2010 10:48 AM

yes, although I cannot say this method will work for frogbit, since frogbit isn't hydrophobic like water lettuce, pistias and azollas... Frogbit tends to melt when the emerged surface stays wet. I'll have to try it though.

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