I have a lot of ferns growing in my garden in the UK. I would like to send one to a friend who has moved away (also in the UK), as it's their favourite plant.

I believe ours are mostly "Male Fern" at this time of year they are still in full leaf.

What would be the best process to dig up a plant and package it so it has a good chance to regrow? Should leaves be removed, should I maybe pot one and wait for it to die back in winter first? Since I'll need to post it, reducing the size/weight as far as practicable would be good.

Will this plant grow inside, or in a pot outside?

  • Pots outdoors would work. Remove most soil and wrap in wet newspaper or rags to ship, but not by air. Send some that way. Cut 2/3 of the roots on others, along with 2/3 of the foliage to offset the shock. All should then grow back. Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 22:12
  • @Mr.Boy Where in the world does your friend live?
    – MackM
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 19:09
  • @MackM thanks - still UK so climate the same
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


I have never shipped any live plant, so I can only offer what I read online.

The folks of Fancy Fronds Nursery in Washington, USA sell ferns through the mail. This is what their FAQ says about their shipping:

We only ship via United States Postal Service Priority Mail to ensure your plants do not spend long in transit. Delivery typically takes 1-3 days from the ship date depending on your location. Plants and are removed from their containers and put into plastic sleeves to help them retain moisture on their journey and protect their fronds. The root-ball and fronds are then carefully wrapped in newsprint to cushion them and protect the fronds from breaking. Plants are packed tightly in a box so they cannot shift and break during transit. We take great care not to stack our plants so deep that they get crushed from the weight, which means you may receive several small to medium sized boxes instead of one large one. All plants are shipped with their name label which includes information on plant size, common name, and preferred growing conditions. We do not bare-root our plants and make every effort to have them arrive with their fronds intact.

Elsewhere on their site they say that they do not air-mail, and they do not mail during seasons with harsh weather. This all matches the plant shipping advice I see elsewhere, other than not bare-rooting the plants.

I don't know if pruning or waiting for a winter die back will stop it from regrowing. My hunch is no, but if the weather is harsh enough to cause it to die back, I wouldn't want to ship it in that weather anyway.

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