All In The Packaging

By: Ashley Prybycien
March 18, 2021
All In The Packaging
Share this post:

From growing plants to shipping them, it's all in the packaging and making sure our plants arrive to their new homes in great shape! Learn all about our unique packaging and box for shipping plants from Jon Ewing our co-founder! We wanted to share more of a background on our packaging, what it's made out of and how it came about. Let's face it, ordering something online is half of the fun....It's seeing that beautiful package waiting on your doorstep and unboxing it right when you get home that really is exciting! Especially when it's a live plant.  

Packaging says a lot about a brand. What makes Lively Roots approach to packaging plabts so unique?

Our approach is all about our guests delight. It was very important for us to develop a system that would offer a plant safe (healthy), well secured (little to no spillage), and ultimately meet our guests with a delightful experience.

Let’s look at it this way---- Our plants are coming out of conditions that resemble, to them,  a 5-star resort spa, placed in a box and sometimes shipped as far as 3000 miles away. Our challenge was to assure that this journey offered a healthy plant and a great experience for our guests through our method and box for shipping plants.

Also, understand that we have designed boxes to fit the size of traditional grower pots in 6 different sizes such as 4”, 6”, 8”, 10”, 1 gallon & 5 gallon sizes. On top of this, each grower pot must be able to accommodate a decorative pot upgrade…..this takes much effort and consideration within our design. 

Our boxes are eco friendly, what recycled materials are they made of?

They're recycled with anything from used corrugated cardboard to newsprint but essentially a combination of paper and cardboard are used for packaging plants.


When it came to the design of the boxes what was one of the first things you really wanted our guests to see?

The experience is about the "Plant” and guest delight. Our ability to make that experience a pleasant surprise in a clean and healthy manner was key to the process.

How much care goes into the packaging process of a live plant? What are Lively Roots steps?

This is much more involved that it may seem from choosing the best possible plant to perfecting the soil moisture level prior to packaging plants were all issues important to the process. When a plant is picked it is carefully watered (not too much & not too little) to optimize shipping success and the overall plant health. Each plant then receives a custom-made eco friendly layer of coco fabric to assist in compressing the plant soil while shipping, thus minimizing spillage. Our inserts were specially designed to hold the soil in place and protect from root damage during shipment. Once the box for shipping plants is assembled and the plant carefully placed in it’s insert, they are individually taped to better hold and secure the plant and soil throughout the delivery process. Care cards and in some cases ‘gift cards’ are inserted into the box, they are loaded onto our loading dock, picked up by our carrier (generally UPS) and off the go! Each box is careful tracked with our guests receiving notifications accordingly along the way.

The unboxing of a live plant is such a unique experience how many times did it take until you were really satisfied with this particular packaging/method?

We worked through many designs for our box for shipping plants. Our biggest challenge was making them ‘delivery proof’. We found that during transportation they could be thrown, tossed, placed upside down, placed in the sun, the cold, you name it. We added many features to improve this process such as directional information for delivery personnel to the location of box handles to pacers that absorbed the shock and bumps of travel. We are constantly evaluating and redesigning our boxes as we receive input from our guests. At Lively Root we understand that oftentimes a customer complaint more valuable than a satisfied customer as it provides us an opportunity to right a wrong, thus increasing our customer loyalty, trust, sphere of influence and loyalty. At Lively Root we continue to strive to treat every customer as a guest in our home and know that success will follow!

What do you want our guests to take away from the unboxing experience?

Ultimately we want our guests to experience complete satisfaction with the convenience of our service. We understand that we are guiding, and in many cases, educating a much younger generation into our industry. We aim to make this experience a pleasure and demonstrate the joy of plants. At the end of the day our guests expect value and we strive to meet that expectation in everything we do.

Lively Root ships all over the United States, when it comes to packaging live plants for colder climates what steps do we take to make sure the plants arrive safely?

This is something that we take much pride in. I will add that it remains somewhat of a work in progress and we have learned a lot through the school of hard knocks….but we have learned and may very well have the best system currently in the marketplace. There are a number of proprietary procedures that we incorporate with each order to better assist with journey’s through cold climate zones. In addition, we instituted a policy whereas we, at our cost, picked up the cost of 3-day shipping into these zones which minimizes the time our plants will spend inside the box, in a cold warehouse or cold delivery truck. I have two stories that are my favorite regarding both hot and cold weather extremes:

  1. During cold weather testing - during our early days of testing in December of 2019, we shipped to a family member of our Marketing Director in Michigan during a very cold snow storm. Our box and plant arrived in 5 days, sat over-night on the recipients porch and was opened the next morning. To the recipients surprise our plant was protected by the plant packaging was in beautiful condition!
  2. During hot weather testing in August of 2019, I have 4 plants (plants shipped in our industry leading and unique 4-pack) to my own house in 110 degree weather. On the 7th day I found out that the box was delivered to my neighbors house and sat in the full sun for the entire weekend. I opened on a Monday morning and to my amazement the plants felt like they were still in the nursery hothouse and were gorgeous!