How To Acclimate Plants After Shipping In 4 Easy Steps

If you want to learn how to acclimate plants after shipping to give your new plant the best chance of success, then this is the guide for you.

I can’t count the number of plants I’ve ordered over the years, and I use the same 4 steps that I’ll outline below each time to help them settle in and thrive within weeks. The process involves rehydrating them in water, pruning any damaged leaves or roots, and then repotting them in a suitable soil mix.

Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks I’ve learned through years of experience.

Quick Disclaimer – Most plants come with a guide for repotting them after shipping. I’ve found that a lot of these can be generic and are not helpful for most plants, but it’s up to you which method you decide to use.

On Arrival

When you order plants online, it’s important to be prepared for their arrival.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your plants are healthy and ready to thrive once they arrive.

Inspecting the Package

When your package arrives, take a moment to inspect it before opening it. Look for any signs of damage or mishandling during transit. If the package looks damaged, take photos of the damage before opening it.

Once you’ve inspected the package, carefully open it up. Be sure to take your time and avoid damaging the plants as you remove them from the packaging. If the plants are wrapped in paper or plastic, remove the wrapping carefully.

Remember, many sellers offer a guarantee on their plants, so be sure to contact them if you have any issues or concerns at this stage.

Rehydrating the Plants

After you’ve removed the plants from the packaging, it’s important to rehydrate them.

Give them a good drink of water to help them recover from the stress of shipping. Be sure to use room temperature water, as cold water can shock the plants.

A ponytail palm in a brass pot next to a money tree
A ponytail palm I recently added to my collection – The first step for acclimatizing it was watering the soil generously.

If the plants are very dry, you may need to soak them in water for a few hours to fully rehydrate them. This is especially important for plants that have been in transit for a long time or that were shipped from a different country.

For cuttings, simply place the roots in water. Depending on the size of the plant, you can do this in a cup or the sink, whichever is more suitable.

If your plant is shipped in a container, water the soil generously until it comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom.

Acclimating the Plants – 4 Easy Steps

Once you’ve rehydrated your plant, it’s time to pot it in some soil and get it prepared to grow.

1. Repotting & isolation

When your plants arrive, they will either be shipped in a pot or as a cutting ready to be propagated.

A lot of potted plants won’t need to be repotted, but sometimes it’s a good idea as it lets you inspect the roots for signs of damage.

Cuttings obviously will need to be repotted, and in either case, it’s important to choose the right type of soil mix. The majority of houseplants prefer well-draining soil with ingredients like compost, perlite, sand, and others.

If any of the roots look damaged, prune them using a pair of sterilized scissors as they will only rot and potentially spread root rot to the other roots.

Once repotted, isolate your plant for 1 to 2 weeks to ensure it doesn’t contain any pests. Pests will quickly spread, so it’s important to rule this out.

2. Adjusting to the Climate

During isolation, you can focus on the basic care requirements to ensure it acclimatizes properly.

Plants that are shipped to you may be coming from a different climate than your own.

It is important to acclimate them slowly to prevent shock. Start by placing them in a room with a similar temperature and humidity to where they were grown.

After a few days, gradually move them to a room with different conditions until they are in their final location.

3. Adjusting to the Light

Plants that are shipped to you may not be used to the amount or intensity of light in your home. It is important to acclimate them slowly to prevent sunburn or stress.

Start by placing them in a bright, indirect light for a few hours a day.

For plants that require direct sunlight, gradually increase the amount of time they spend in direct sunlight until they are able to tolerate it.

4. Adjusting to the Watering Schedule

If you rehydrate your plant when it arrives, you shouldn’t need to water it for a while.

Keep in mind that the watering schedule varies depending on the type of plant, where it is placed, and many other factors.

Cuttings usually need more water to promote new root growth, whereas established plants need less.

Tips For Long-Term Success

When it comes to acclimating plants after shipping, you want to make sure you set them up for long-term success.

Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Consider The Type Of Plant You Have

Different plants have different needs, so it’s important to consider the type of plant you have when acclimating it after shipping.

For example, some plants need more sunlight than others, while some need more water. Snake plants, for example, are known for being extremely hardy and requiring very little water or humidity.

A close up of a Bird of Paradise plant
A recent addition to my collection – As you can see, this bird of paradise is still acclimatizing

Anthuriums, on the other hand, thrive in humid environments but still prefer bright, indirect sunlight.

Make sure you research the specific needs of your plant and adjust your care accordingly.

Meet The Care Requirements

Once you know the care requirements of your plant, make sure you meet them.

This includes things like watering, fertilizing, and providing enough light. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your plant, or do some research to find out what it needs.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid overwatering your plant. While it’s important to keep it hydrated, too much water can lead to root rot which is very difficult to reverse.

It can also attract pests and cause other diseases, so it’s important to avoid overwatering as much as possible.

Another important factor to consider is the temperature. Some plants thrive in warmer temperatures, while others prefer cooler environments. Make sure you’re keeping your plant in an environment that’s suitable for its needs.

With a little bit of research and some careful attention, you’ll be able to enjoy your new plant for years to come.

In Summary

Most plants acclimatize pretty quickly after shipping, but you should be prepared for some issues at first as your plant adjusts.

Don’t be surprised if a few of the leaves turn yellow or brown, or if they start to droop. Research your specific plant and use the steps in the article to ensure it thrives and says healthy for the long term.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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