Drying Succulents for Shipping

by Carol

Totally dried, dredged in Diatomaceous Earth

Totally dried, dredged in Diatomaceous Earth

I have a question about drying succulents for shipping.

I understand the packaging, using a few layers of newspapers, and also using the heavy boxes (like the ones used to ship wine), but I'm confused about the drying succulents for shipping part.
Do you simply not water them for a week, until the soil is very dry?

Is there a specific time that you have to dry the succulents before shipping?

How do you tell when they are 'Ready to be Shipped'?

I've learned (from this site), that if you don't dry them, they will try to grow during shipment, and become leggy and discolored.
This all makes total sense, but the succulents, being quite a different animal then most plants, don't require much watering to begin with!

I'm used to getting plants shipped to me with their roots surrounded with peat or moss, then stuffed in little plastic bags to conserve moisture. These plants if they dry out, simply die!

Drying the succulents before shipping is all new to me!

I would also like to know what you use for the planting medium when shipping.
Thanks for all your help!

If you can use this great, if my questions are answered elsewhere on the site, let me know (I'm thinking maybe I would like to try and sell some of these, as I do sell perennials) (at my house ) now.

I did get some really cool looking ones over the summer, and I love the look of them.

I'm thinking-retirement-in a few years, why not get some of these growing, and see what it turns into!
Thanks- Carol/allaboutrosegardening

Comments for Drying Succulents for Shipping

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Aug 15, 2014
Reitirement Project
by: Jacki

I think it's a great idea for a retirement project - not too demanding (as long as you don't get into doing wedding succulents) and a lot of fun. You can see my page about starting a succulent plant business here.

To dry them out for shipping, it's a bit of an art form. You don't want to leave moisture in them which will start rotting in transit, or allow the plants to grow, so they really do need to be totally dry.

Some of this depends on the humidity in the air (if it's damp and cool where you are, or high humidity, it will take longer) and also the size of the plants (larger and juicier plants like large Echeveria will take a lot longer than tiny button like Sempervivum arachnoideum.

One thing that is really quite astonishing is how much drying they can take, and survive. Once they arrive in their new home, they'll perk up and within a week or two, they don't have any signs of stress.

They are shipped in dry newspaper, without any fussing with peat moss or other material. If they are pulled out of their container, and most of the soil pulled off, or the root ball cut off entirely, this will dry out enough in about a week or so.

Hope this helps with your questions, let me know if not.

Mar 22, 2016
by: Nicole

Hi, I'm reading your information and I enjoy your site. Thank you. My question is this. I've shipped succulents and I'm not sure I understand why you dry them out. I usually get my plants shipped within a week and haven't had any issues with growth in that short time. I'm kinda new at this and hope I'm not making any mistakes. No complaints and have gotten pictures from people getting them and the look exactly the same. Am I doing this wrong? Thank you.

Mar 22, 2016
Drying before shipping? Or not...
by: Jacki

Hi Nicole, I generally dry them out quite considerably, and I've also received them very dry, which seems extreme, but they don't seem to mind at all. They are lighter to ship as well, which when you're paying by weight, is a bonus.

The etiolation of the plants in transit varies with each type, some not growing much at all, but any time I've had some shipped before they had been forced into dormancy they never recovered their shape. In the case of Sempervivum, they are also quick to respond to the darkness by going into flowering mode, which of course, means that they don't make any chicks.

Some of the purpose of drying the plants won't matter as much depending on the length of time they'll be in the mail. Sometimes the plants I ship can be in the dark and in transit for over a week, sometimes two.

Use your best judgement, and use these tips as guidelines only.

Nov 01, 2017
Succulents become wet during shipping
by: Febrian

Hi all,

I have a problem with shipping succulents. Many times i ship succulents, they are become wet when arrived.

What you guys think about this? I packed the succulents with used newspaper and plastic hard case container. Do you the succulents need air during shipping?

Nov 01, 2017
Dry means DRY
by: Jacki

Febrian, see my previous comments. Dry means DRY - as in, all water is evaporated from them. The newspaper provides enough air around the plants, but they don't need additional space around them.

Nov 08, 2017
I'm also drying all the succulents
by: Febrian


I'm also drying all the succulents before it shipped. Usually we dry them in 10 days.

But i still not understand why they still become wet and rot ( 3 weeks shipping time ) when they arrived in the receiver.

Do you know the best method how packing succulents overseas? Thanks

Nov 08, 2017
Three Weeks?
by: Jacki

This is a long time for them to be in transit. How are you shipping them? If it's by ocean, this might be why they are getting wet. I would pay the extra for air shipping, which would be quicker.

Nov 14, 2018
Dry but ready
by: Rod

Drying them out before means water them 4 days before uprooted. After uprooting the plant air dry them for at least a day or two. Make sure also that before uprooting they should in sunny area for a few days so that leaves will not fall during transport. But u should consider how long the transport. Make sure that when they receive it it's ready to be watered after planting.

Jul 10, 2020
New Release!
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Due to the interest in this topic, the Succulent Plant Business e-Course has morphed into an e-book. The price is considerably less than the now defunct e-course, so get all this kind of useful information in pdf form on your device; Succulent Plant Business e-Book

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