The Advocate - Hepburn

How to pack and send flowers as a gift

There's never a bad time to surprise family or friends with a gift of flowers. Picture Shutterstock
There's never a bad time to surprise family or friends with a gift of flowers. Picture Shutterstock

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"A flower blossoms for its own joy." So said Oscar Wilde. To share the joy of flowers is one of the nicest and most thoughtful things you can do for someone. We as a culture have gotten into the habit of giving flowers on certain occasions, for instance anniversaries, birthdays, and bereavements.

But there's never a bad time to surprise family or friends with a gift of flowers. They're sure to lift the recipient's spirits, even if only for a short while.

Personally delivering the flowers yourself is perhaps the best way to complete the gesture. Of course, that's not always possible. If you're sending flowers to someone who lives on the other end of the city, or in a different state altogether, you'll have to select one of the many delivery couriers in Australia to ship the flowers on your behalf.

You could also order the flowers online and have that company handle the delivery. There's nothing wrong with doing it this way, though it's always better to select the flowers in person. That way you can be sure they're all fresh and healthy; plus, it adds a personal touch to the gift.

Once you've chosen a beautiful arrangement of flowers, the question becomes: how does one go about preparing a bouquet of flowers for shipping? After all, flowers are famously delicate. How can you ensure that they won't get crushed en route to their destination? That's what we're here to discuss. Below is a step-by-step guide to packing flowers for courier delivery.

Preparing to box your flowers

For obvious reasons, you want your flowers to reach their destination as quickly as possible. Don't pick up a floral arrangement and then start to think about what you need in order to wrap and pack them properly. The idea is to buy the flowers and have them in a courier's possession within a few hours. To that end, you must have all your supplies ready beforehand. Apart from the flowers themselves, you're going to need:

  • Scissors
  • Zip ties, twist ties, or bands
  • Tissue paper
  • Packaging material
  • A sturdy cardboard box (possibly two)
  • Packing tape
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Vase (optional)

Now that you've got your supplies, we can begin the packing process.

Trim the stems

Depending on the size of the box you've got, you may or may not need to cut the stems down to size. You should trim the stems so that they're a few centimetres shorter than the length of the box. If you cut them too short, the flowers are liable to move around during shipping, which makes it more likely that damage will occur.

Tie the stems together

This is the reason for the zip ties or twist ties mentioned earlier. Use them to tie the stems together so that your flowers are in a neat bundle. Don't tie them so tight that you're putting strain on the stems. But make sure it's tight enough to prevent individual flowers from coming loose and separating from the bunch. You want to ship your flowers as a single secure unit. If you don't have twist ties or zip ties, you can use rubber bands.

Wrap them up

Now it's time to wrap your bundle of flowers with tissue paper. Cellophane wrap or newspapers are also fine for this purpose. Begin at the bottom, wrapping the paper tightly round the stems. As you work your way up to the top, loosen the wrapping to give the petals some breathing room. When you've finished, use another twist or zip tie to hold the wrapping paper in place. Substitute a decorative ribbon for a prettier appearance.

You might want to place the bundled and wrapped arrangement in a plastic bag for additional protection. And don't forget to add a personal note!

Box them up

We're nearing the finish line now. It's critical that you use an appropriately-sized cardboard box. Get a brand new box if possible. If the box is used, it must be structurally sound with sturdy sides and hard edges. If there's any damage to the box, do not use it.

The box should only be a little bit larger than your bundled arrangement of flowers. Too much space is a bad thing. With that said, don't try to force your flowers into a box that's too small lest they get bent, flattened, or crushed. Telescoping boxes are probably your best bet. (If you're including a vase, the box will obviously need to be bigger, and you'll need to wrap the vase in bubble wrap.)

Carefully slide your flowers into the box. Add packing material to fill any gaps. When you've done that, gently shake the box: there should be no movement inside. Finally, seal the box using good, strong packing tape. Be liberal with the tape. Apply two or three layers to be on the safe side.

Tip: consider putting the box containing your flowers into a larger cardboard box. This will minimise the odds of damage occurring in transit.

Choose a delivery service

With your flowers wrapped, boxed, and sealed, all that remains is to slap on a label and choose a courier to deliver the parcel for you. There are many couriers Australia that specialise in express domestic shipping.

Examples include CouriersPlease, Direct Couriers, Fastway Couriers, Hunter Express, Parcelpoint, Startrack, and TNT Express. These companies can ship overnight to almost any location within Australia.

For shipments within a major metropolitan area, they can usually guarantee delivery in a few hours, with live tracking. Websites like Fast Courier allow you to compare various courier quotes so that you can find the right balance between speed and cost.