How to acclimate plants after shipping?

Plants go through stress during transit and that is totally normal. In today’s blog post you’ll find out what to do so that your plant will acclimate well in your home. We cover some general tips and advice, as well as the guidelines for our 30-day period plant warranty in case you ordered your plants from our website.

What to do first after you got your plant mail

Sometimes things don’t go as planned and some plants are more sensitive than others. After you received your package it’s important to inspect your plants, even if they look okay at first glance.

  • Does your plant look fine? The substrate seems okay?

Then please leave it alone to acclimate. Do not repot your plant after transit. One of the most important things to do, is to let it be for at least a couple of weeks. Not to mention, the plant is already under a lot of stress (even if it seems fine), so there is no need to stress it more by repotting. Also, repotting your plant before contacting your seller, can void your guarantee (if the seller provides one).

  • Is your plant droopy or has a couple of yellowing leaves?

This can be caused by lack of light during transit or by dehydration. This is not a major sign of concern usually, since any plant can lose some leaves while adapting to its new environment.

  • Droopy leaves and absolutely insanely dry substrate?

Time for bottom watering! Take a clean container, just a bit bigger than the pot in which your plant came. Place the pot in the container and fill it with a few centimeters of water.

Don’t water the soil directly and don’t try to soak your plant in water. If the roots are too dehydrated, and they are suddenly watered, this could lead to root rot. Think about it as another shock for the plant, like how you would feel super thirsty, and your friend would force you to drink a gallon of water at once.

After you bottom water the plant, bring it in a bright area, away from direct sun, and you’ll see it will pretty much recover on its own. Do not repot your plant!

Check the soil

If your plant came in a substrate, inspect it and touch it to determine if you’re plant needs to be left alone or not.

A lot of the time, the plants are watered before shipping to make sure they don’t arrive dead by dehydration. But sometimes this practice can lead to root rot or fungal infections.

The package is closed, with very poor ventilation (or none) and with zero light. In these conditions, a plant is deprived of its main source of energy and cannot absorb properly the water from the substrate. Not to mention, humid environments make the favorite spot for fungal infections to spread. And this… leads to root rot.

If your plant looks fine, but the substrate is soaking wet, let it be for a few days. Place it in a bright indirect area and see how it’s doing. If you can ventilate the room, this it’s even better. And, to increase the recovery chances, raise the room temperature a little bit or use a heath mat. This will help the water evaporate faster, and even if the plant seems fine right now, it can develop root problems if the substrate arrived soaking wet and the water stays in for too long. Do not repot!

If your plant arrived depressed (maybe with pale/yellow leaves, or very droopy, or even mushy) and its soil is soaking wet, contact the seller before proceeding to any other action. Take pictures right after you unpacked your plant, without disturbing it in any way. This will make sure not to nullify your guarantee (if the seller provides one).

The signs described above are an indicator for root rot. And depending on the situation, you might want to remove the soil, cut all the dead roots and place it in water, or a another (drier) substrate. If you have more plants suffering from root rot, place them in different glasses of water. If one of them is more affected than the other, or if you missed cleaning a tiny piece of rot, the infection could spread to the healthier plant and you could lose both plants. But please remember, do not take action alone if you want your warranty to cover for the plant.

Are the leaves damaged? Presenting transport damage, tears or bends? Please do not remove damaged leaves from the plant. This will slow down the recovery process and will make photosynthates difficult. Take photos of the plant, in case things turn for the worse, and let it be for a couple of weeks. When the plant recovers from stress, and it grows a couple of new leaves, you could remove the old damage leaf if you do not like it. (We advise you to keep it on your plant until it dies on its own, since it’s still healthy even though it doesn’t look “perfect”). Do not repot!

What about cuttings?

If you bought cuttings, remove the packaging around the roots. If the plant was shipped in sphagnum moss, coco coir or other substrate, and it feels very dry to touch, place the cutting in water for an hour. This will help you remove the substrate on the roots, easier and minimizing the root damage. After you cleaned the roots, place them in water for a few days, making sure you change the water frequently.

If the roots are strong enough as they are, pot them in a very lightweight substrate (an example could be a mix based on coco coir, bark chips and perlite). However, if the root system is weak, keep your cutting in water a bit longer so new roots can develop.

If your cutting has root rot, take pictures and contact the seller immediately. They would advise you afterwards to remove all the dead roots (which feel mushy to touch and are usually dark colored), place the cutting in water and change the water frequently until the root system recovers.

Recovery during winter shipping

Plants go through temperature stress, especially if they traveled long before getting to your place. If this happens, the plant can lose a couple of leaves during the adaptation period. This is totally normal and should not be a cause of worry.

Winter shipping is a risk for both the seller and the customer. Some sellers even postpone winter shipping which is a very healthy practice for the plants.

We advise you to postpone your order as well, especially if the temperatures during night are below 0°C. (You can check the weather in your country and in the seller’s country as a preventive measure)

A part of the problem can be improved by using heat packs, which we find extremely necessary during winter.

Let’s talk about delivery though, what to do after you received your package during the cold winter months.

It’s tempting to open your package right after you got it, but it’s best if you could wait an hour or so before you do it. This will minimize the damage during unpackaging. Why is that? Plants (especially the ones with thin foliage) are more prone to breakage when they are cold. Bringing them to the room temperature will reduce the risks of damage.

What to do after is pretty much described in the paragraphs before. Inspect them carefully, contact your seller if there is any problem, and place them in a bright spot away from direct sun.

Other tips worth mentioning:

  • If the package is visibly and terribly damaged, please report the damage to the shipping company as well! Take pictures before and after opening the package and let the seller know about your experience! This feedback is very important to us, since we want your plants to arrive safe, not like potato bags thrown around in a storage.
  • Do not place your plant in direct sun! You might want to help the plant recover fast, and place it in a bright not-filtered spot with all the good intentions. Even if it’s a plant that loves direct sunlight, the plant might go under a lot of stress during this time. It’s like she gets flash banged or cooked under the sun without using sunscreen. Leaves will burn and things won’t go well.
  • Place your new plants away from your old plants for a while. Sometimes plants can look fine at the moment, but after some time, they get pests. You wouldn’t want your old plants to get infested as well, so it’s great if you could quarantine your new plants for a week or more.
  • This situation should not happen with trusted sellers, but if it’s your first time ordering from one, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Do not water your plant if the soil is soaking wet or if it’s still moist. Excess water will almost always lead to root rot.
  • Do not fertilize your plants! Even if they seem fine, even if they don’t, please do not feed them! Oftentimes plants come with slow-release fertilizer in the substrate, which may look like small golden, green, blue or gray colored balls (depending on the brand). Those are easily confused with pest’s eggs, but they’re definitely not.
  • If your plant is suffering, again, do not fertilize it! If it’s recovering from root rot, the root system is too weak to be fed and feeding will do more harm than good.
  • Research your plants! If you didn’t get to read about them before buying them, please read about them after! This will give you a lot of useful information on the plant. Plants are different and have different needs. You’ll need to do different things to them in order to recover from transit. For example, if it’s a plant that loves humidity, you might want to use a dome or a bag to increase humidity. So please do your research!
If this helped, share it with someone else! ❤️