How do I pack cuttings for mailing?

AngieAnders(TX 8a)January 1, 2013

Sharing cuttings is a wonderful way to economically try new roses. This can be done at any time of the year, but shipping is not recommended when temperatures are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take cuttings that are no longer than the width of a gallon baggie. It is courteous to make a slanted cut on the bottom and a straight cut at the top, to ensure that the recipient knows which end to root. If possible, try to make the bottom cut between leaf nodes, so the recipient can make a fresh cut if necessary. Remove a few of the lower sets of leaves.

Bundle the cuttings up, and wrap the bottoms in damp paper towels. When shipping hardwood (dormant) cuttings, the "jellyroll method" can ensure fresher cuttings. Lay the damp paper towel flat, arrange the cuttings on the paper towel about an inch apart, then starting at one end, roll the paper towel up.

Put your bundle of cuttings in bottom of a gallon sized plastic baggie. Roll the baggie up, pressing out any extra air. Zip up the baggie.

Make sure to label the cuttings. Use a waterproof marker to write the name on the baggie.

Place the baggies in a cardboard box. Use as small a box as is possible to keep the shipping cost down, but make sure the cuttings can fit in the box without bending or smashing them. Use crumbled newspaper to fill in any extra space, this will keep the cuttings from being battered on their journey.

The USPS will provide Priority shipping boxes free of charge, these can be ordered online, or sometimes they are available at your local post office. Priority shipping generally takes between 2-4 days to deliver, but this is not guaranteed. The insurance the USPS offers won't cover live plants, but delivery confirmation is only a few cents more, and is a good way to ensure prompt shipping.

Submitted by Jeanne

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