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Ask Mr. Sage: How Many Plants Fit in an FBTS Shipping Box?

First posted on Nov 6, 2020

Ask Mr. Sage: How Many Plants Fit in an FBTS Shipping Box?

Dear Mr. Sage,
One of my gardening friends, who has the loveliest Salvias in her yard, told me that she purchases them by mail order from Flowers by the Sea Farm. She says that you always pack them carefully. But even though she has ordered from you many times, she couldn’t quite say how many plants you can fit in a shipping box. I’m concerned about saving on shipping costs. What’s your answer?

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Curious Potential Customer

Dear Curious,
We appreciate your friend’s kind remarks about our effort to ensure excellent shipping.

At FBTS, we ship only well-developed, well-rooted plants, and most are in 3.5-inch pots. Our nursery stock comes in varying heights, branching patterns, and densities of foliage.

It’s our experience that some mail order nurseries severely trim back foliage to increase the number of plants that fit in a box. We don’t. Any trimming we do before packing a plant is for its benefit, such as making temporary dormancy easier while in its shipping box. 

To accommodate different sizes and shapes of plants, and to minimize trimming of foliage, FBTS uses six different sizes of sturdy shipping cartons. We can only generalize about how many plants fit in these  boxes due to variations in plant sizes. But here are estimates:

  • Our smallest box generally fits 2 to 4 plants but sometimes might hold as many as 6 if the plants are very small, such as  Caucasus Sage (Salvia canescens var. daghestanica).
  • The second-to-smallest size holds about 4 to 6 plants.
  • The third box holds 6 to 8 plants.
  • The fourth box accommodates roughly 9 to 15 plants.
  • Our fifth box, which has the greatest volume, can fit about 15 to 30 plants.
  • Finally, our sixth carton is constructed for our tallest plants, which can rise up to 18 inches above their pots when we send them. An example is Giant Bolivian Sage (Salvia dombeyi).

Sometimes we can ship an entire order in one box. Occasionally, especially in the case of very large purchases, we split an order into multiple boxes. Full shipping boxes assure you the smallest delivery cost per plant, so we are careful to tuck as many plants as we can in a box without compromising quality or the plant safety.

Here’s more information about our packing method: First, we make sure that each plant is moist but not soggy before wrapping it in a large sheet of plain newsprint. Second, we separate and cushion these bundles with foam packing peanuts.

Plants shipped in boxes enter a state of temporary dormancy. Then, like Prince or Princess Charming Gardener, you wake them up by unpacking the box on the day it arrives on your doorstep, which should be within three days of leaving our farm. After unpacking your plants, shelter them outdoors in a partial shade location to harden off before planting. Our blog article Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias provides more information about the shipping and unpacking processes.

Finally, here’s an article about mail ordering from FBTS and one that talks about how to recycle and repurpose packing materials, including packing peanuts.

Thanks for your helpful question. Please feel free to contact us anytime for more information; we always look forward to hearing from you.

Mr. Sage


Edited Dec 3, 2020 04:00 PM


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