I recently received a shipment from a well known, much talked about source,
(using up a gift-card I received from my brother-in-law from Christmas's gone by).
Since there has been much complaint here on the forum about poor packing by certain distributors
along with other problems they have, I thought I would take some photos of the shipment I received,
in order to share what I found when opening the package.
While I have seen better packing, I have certainly seen worse in the past, and feel that
at least they are trying to improve their methods some. I don't know how consistent their efforts are,
and can only report on what my experience has been... this time.
Soft box received. (Box is easily "squished" between my hands, but holds up.)
Inner, Paper wrapped "packages" found with newspaper "padding" wadded around them.
Pots with paper "grass" taped to hold LFS in place and plastic cups taped over the top.
Plants arrive in decent visible condition...
So far, packing seems reasonable for the most part!...
however seeing a rather loose and fragile specimen, I gently and carefully opened the sphagnum medium to expose the root system on one of the plants, and found that when someone "planted" or re-potted this plant, that they bent the root to fit it into the shorter pot! Note the "V" bend in the root!
[This is something I generally do NOT do, unless absolutely necessary. As the plant was loose and moving about, I wasn't just going to press it in harder, compressing the roots even more. In this case now, I trimmed back any broken/dead roots on it, and then added rooting compound to ensure good recovery and lessen transplant shock.] My only real worry or concern at this point, is how long ago was this plant transplanted, and the root bent in two! If it was a while back, no problem, as the plant is alive and apparently recovered.
However, if it was recently done!, then the stress on the plant from re-potting, shipping, relocating to a new environment AND having its roots bent in two, DOES become a concern! I know I have added to it by opening it up, however in view of what I found, I was able to gently pot it back up more correctly, thus improving its chances of future recovery and growth.
I myself, have had pretty good luck with most distributors in the past, however have had a couple uprooted plants or weakened/near broken main stems as a result of plants bouncing around in the box during shipping. Packing is very important when shipping very immature plants, with hardly any root system or ones with fragile, toothpick-like stems.
I have had better luck with fragile plants such as these, being un-potted & wrapped in moistened LFS,
And then bagged up gently, sealed and then wrapped carefully in a padding of some sort. This makes it lighter overall and thus stresses the stems less during shipment... IF DONE RIGHT!
However I suppose I would then be at the mercy of someone un-potting them gently, wrapping them in moss and sealing them in a bag, and then wrapping them up, all without breaking them in the process!
In reality though, I have had more problems over the years, when receiving extremely immature plants that were not even given enough time to develop any root system at all! (This doesn't take that long, and can dramatically improve their odds of survival!) This, along with receiving plants that were not hardened off, virus ridden and/or occasionally bug infested!
Allowing root systems to develop more is extremely important, and while I realize that as a grower,
you may have to charge a little more for a longer "growing period" and the time you put in, it really doesn't take that much time or work to wait a couple/few weeks while the plant develops the parts it needs to live! Don't get me wrong, I am glad to have the opportunity to pay less! But there are times when it is simply careless to send out plants that are barely in a state of potentially surviving.
As I have mentioned at other times, with my being in this "hobby" for the better part of 40 years, I think these are generally small problems to endure, compared to years back, when we could not even have access to such a large selection of species and varieties of such wonderful botanical expressions of life, as we do now!
So while I have had difficulty at times, receiving plants in poor health, with transport damage
or in such a premature and state, as to make the likely-hood of future life and growth a near miracle, I find I am still in a state of gratitude!
How is that possible you may ask?
Well, I have been around long enough to realize that while the potential of survival (let alone growing!) such sick, damaged or barely viable, near pre-embryonic candidates of these rare & exotic plants, while extremely slim, IS still GREATER NOW (bad conditions and all), than it was back when even having a remote chance of acquiring one of these rare, exotic living beauties,
So, end results:
The packing and shipping of the plants I received this time seemed pretty good compared to the many horror stories I have heard of what others have encountered. The previous care and condition of some of the plants I got is still in question, (being observant and critical), but time will tell as far as that is concerned
In the meantime, I will put the plants into quarantine and give them TLC, assuming the worst and hoping for the best. I have certainly rescued worse, and so far things look pretty good.
I hope others have as good or even better packing and handling of their plant orders (including plant condition) as I have, and I do hope that the reputation of this supplier/source can be turned around. We need good and varied suppliers out there, so we can have the opportunity to grow all these wonderful plant varieties, at a competitive price we can all afford.
Good growing and good luck everyone.