Shipping Plants Internationally by Courier

Sending potted and outdoor plants overseas by mail or courier

Shipping plants across the country or internationally may be a tricky task, but it is definitely not an impossible one. Discover how to pack your plants for shipping with expert tips from our specialists. Follow these tips on how to ship house and outdoor plants by courier to have them delivered in the safest way possible and pay close attention to the restrictions of this service.

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Plants are usually restricted or prohibited items for shipping. Please note that insurance may not apply.


Things to know before shipping potted plants

If you are to send live plants using a courier or mail service, you have to take precautions to do it right. Here are a few things to bear in mind before shipping plants locally or internationally:

  • Make sure you have the necessary paperwork and certificates for shipping plants overseas before booking the courier service. Check our Regulations Section below for more details.
  • Depending on the species of plants you are shipping, you will need to understand their particular needs such as temperature, soil or moisture conditions. In most cases, plants require a temperature-controlled shipping service to make sure they will arrive safely, so please pay attention to the shipping conditions of the service you book.
  • Check the weather in both your location and the recipient’s location. Try to delay shipping if either you or the recipient are expecting extreme weather or temperatures.
  • Consider the estimated time of delivery when sending plants by courier to make sure your plants can survive the transit time. Shipping plants with a direct delivery service will minimise the amount of time they are in transit.
  • Organise the collection at the beginning of the week so that the plant can be delivered as soon as possible, without having to be stored at a courier depot over the weekend.
  • You can use handling labels such as “Fragile” or “Handle with care”, but please bear in mind that general couriers are not obliged to treat shipments as such.


How to ship live plants internationally?

At Eurosender, we offer various shipping solutions for door-to-door deliveries.
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*Please bear in mind that some courier companies may include plants in the list of prohibited items. For any clarifications, please contact our team of specialists via chat.


How to pack small or potted plants in a box

These guidelines apply to sending plants by courier if they are small enough to be shipped in a parcel comfortably. Follow the steps below when preparing your plants for transport before sending them via courier:

  • Water your plant to make sure it is adequately hydrated for the journey (without overdoing it). For succulents that tend to hold water, don’t water them on the day of collection.
  • When sending potted plants via courier, cover the pot with bubble wrap and put several pieces of cardboard scrap on the soil to secure it properly.
  • If you wish to ship the plant without the pot, remove the plant from the soil and protect the plant’s roots by covering them with several moist paper towels, bubble wrap and a collar of cardboard. Afterwards, place them in a plastic bag secured with adhesive tape.
  • For larger plants, two plastic bags can be used – one to enclose the roots, tied with a string or rubber band at the base of the stipe, and then the whole plant can be placed in the other bag.
  • If the transit distance will be long, add a couple of teaspoons of polymer moisture crystals to water to make a slurry and apply this to the roots before placing the plant in the plastic bag.
  • To prevent breakage, stabilise any errant growth with plant ties, rubber bands, or twist ties.
  • Protect the top of the plant with newspapers or cling film.
  • Heat packs are a great way to protect temperature-sensitive plants from extreme heat or freezing temperatures. Get a sturdy cardboard box and place the packed plant upright on top of the padding covering the heat pack. Fill all the empty spaces in the box.
  • Seal the box and reinforce the edges with adhesive tape. Consider labelling it with “Fragile” or “Handle with care”.


Regulations on shipping house and outdoor plants abroad

Sending plants inside the EU

When shipping plants or seeds within the European Union, check whether it needs a phytosanitary certificate, as it depends on the type of plant you are shipping. The same recommendation goes for plant seeds delivery by courier or by mail. The European Union applies strict regulations to plants that are sent from outside the EU. However, there are no legal requirements for additional sanitary checks and certificates if you are shipping a plant that is grown and transported within the EU.

Sending plants to/from countries outside the EU

When it comes to sending plants internationally to countries outside the EU, you need to check the rules and regulations of both countries regarding international plant transport. You can find useful information through the relevant departments of agriculture.

The first step is to check whether the species of plant you want to send is allowed in the delivery country. Secondly, the sender needs to arrange all necessary documents for it to be cleared during customs clearance. In the USA, for example, one is required to have a permit for transport and transit when importing plants onto American soil. In Australia, the plant species must be listed as allowed on the BICON website and may need to go through quarantine upon arrival.


FAQ about shipping plants with a courier service

Will any courier company ship plants?
Not all courier companies will ship plants internationally. For example, DHL, TNT and UPS will not send parcels that contain plants. However, each courier has specific rules and requirements for different shipments and services, so we recommend checking this further with the designated courier for your route. When booking Express or Regular Plus shipping services at Eurosender, please make sure not to include these items, as the courier will refuse to collect the parcel. If you need further assistance, you can reach us by chat, phone or email before shipping to discuss your options further.
Is it legal to send plants overseas?
If the specific species of plant you want to ship is allowed in the country of destination and you have all the necessary documents required for the shipment and customs clearance, sending plants overseas is possible. Always check the local authorities' rules before shipping such items. In general, small quantities of plants, trees, or plant products could be transported internationally for non-industrial, non-commercial, or scientific purposes.
Is it possible to send indoor or house plants as gifts by courier?
Most courier companies consider plants as restricted or prohibited items. However, many people still choose to ship plants abroad by courier or mail since sending indoor or potted plants can be great gift ideas. Make sure your plants are well-packed to withstand transit. However, please be aware that when shipping outside of the EU, every parcel (even gifts) must go through customs procedures, and the respective taxes may be applied.
What are the most suitable plants for shipping with a courier service?
The most important thing to consider when booking a plant courier service is the transit time because you have to make sure your plant can survive the duration of the journey inside the packaging. For that reason, less demanding plants such as cacti or succulents might be good options for plants to ship. Learn more about shipping succulents and cacti.
Is sending seeds in the mail allowed?
In general, it will not be difficult for you to ship such items by post domestically, even though countries like the USA apply local restrictions for interstate parcels sent via postal services. When sending seeds abroad in the mail, you need to check the import regulations and restrictions of the destination country.
Does insurance apply when sending potted or outdoor plants via courier?
Unfortunately, insurance does not apply to restricted items, such as plants. Therefore, if you choose to ship live plants abroad, be it succulents, cacti, seedlings or big plants such as fruit trees, you will be doing so at your own risk. For this reason, correctly packing your plant is of utmost importance.
How to ship plants from Europe to the UK, and vice versa?
Since Brexit came into effect on 1 January 2021, a phytosanitary certificate is required to ship most outdoor and house plants to the UK, as this is now considered an international border. As well as this, all plants will be inspected by customs authorities and have a physical health check at the destination.
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Take into consideration these guidelines when sending plants by courier or mail. Nevertheless, please consider that following them does not guarantee that the courier company will transport your parcel without restriction. In case you decide to ship any type of plant by courier, Eurosender will not be held responsible for any damages caused by the transport of your shipment.