How do I ship rooted cuttings?
If you are digging roses from the garden, you'll want to remove all soil from the roots before you ship. Garden soil can host insects, microbes, and pathogens which might not be compatible with the area to where the roses are being sent. Be a good neighbor! To remove soil, soak the roses in a bucket of water to loosen the garden soil. After they have soaked for awhile, you can usually loosen the soil completely by swishing the plants gently in the water.
Roses in containers can be unpotted, and the excess soil gently teased out of the rootball. Roses have fine feeder roots which are easily broken, so do this carefully. Soaking the roses in a bucket can also be used, but I like to keep a bit of the soil on the rootball, it seems to lessen the stress of the move. If the cutting is more than 6 months old or gallon sized, they'll need to be shipped with soil unless they are sent bareroot in the late winter/early spring.
Wrap the rootball in damp paper towels. Place the wrapped rootball in a plastic baggie, and use rubber bands to firmly wrap up the baggie, making sure no air is left in the baggie. Don't be afraid to wrap too tightly, I've had more problems with rooted cuttings that were wrapped too loosely than too tightly! Also, make sure no paper towel is left unwrapped at the top of the package, as this can act as a wick to siphon off the moisture from the rootball.
Attach a marker with the name of the rose. If you don't have plant markers, a popsicle stick can be used, or you can cut up any plastic (milk jug, butter bowl lids, anything!) and write the name with a waterproof marker.
Wrap the entire rose up in a sheet of newspaper. Place the roses in a cardboard box. Use as small a box as is possible to keep the shipping cost down, but make sure the roses can fit in the box without bending or smashing them. Use crumbled newspaper to fill in any extra space, this will keep the roses 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. 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