It’s snowy and cold. The winter days are short and dreary. You find that orchid you just ‘gotta have’ online, but will it get to you safely?
We have been doing winter shipping of orchids across the US for over 15 years. In that time we have shipped thousands of plants, and we have lost exactly zero plants due to cold damage. I’m sure we will have some freeze in transit at some point, it is inevitable, but so far so good!
As long as the packages are moving through the system they are kept warm. The only risk is that a truck or container is left outside over an extended period of time in a cold area. We only ship when nightly lows at the destination are above 22-25 F. When it will be colder than that we hold off and wait to ship when it is safe.
Heat packs are valuable tools for winter shipping of perishables. In a past life when I imported tropical fish they were essential. With orchids, not so much. We pack orchids tightly in the box. Why? To prevent damage to leaves, buds and flowers and to keep shipping costs down. Heat packs warm the immediate area around them. If that is air it’s not a big deal. If it is a plant it will get burnt. In fact, we have seen damaged leaves from heat packs many times but as I mentioned above, we have never seen a frozen plant.
Sometimes heat packs are useful for winter shipping of orchids. Smaller boxes with just a couple plants can be packed so that there is a pocket of air that can be heated by the warmer. Large orders of 6 or more larger plants are almost impossible to protect with a heat pack. Some plants will be adjacent to the heat pack, some will not.
How We Ship
When conditions are cold in the delivery area, we recommend Fedex. With real-time tracking you can see exactly where your plants are and when they will be delivered. We watch the weather in the hub cities and we do not ship if there are winter storms that will cause delays.
If your daytime temperatures are below freezing it is best to have the package held at the Post Office or your nearest Fedex location. Fedex has opened many pickup locations in local drug stores and grocery stores. When we ship to major cities, I often see 5 or 6 pickup locations listed with a few miles of each other.
Having the plants ‘held at location’ for pickup is the best way to make sure your plants stay safe and warm. They are usually delivered to these locations first thing in the morning. Deliveries to residential addresses are made whenever it is convenient for the driver’s route. That can be late in the day so the plants can spend 8 hours out in a cold truck.
Order with Confidence!
If in doubt, add the heat pack at checkout. https://paphparadise.com/product/60-hour-heat-pack/ We will check your weather at https://www.weather.gov/ and determine if it is necessary. If it is too cold to ship we will let you know. We might recommend upgrading to Fedex for a few dollars, or that you have the package held at location. If you follow our recommendations we guarantee live arrival of your plants.