How to Ship Flowers as a Surprise Gift (9 Exclusive Tips for You)

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The perfect flower surprise starts with a flawless packing and shipping process. We will give you tips on how to achieve the latter, so read on!

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Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Packoi Team

According to the Society of American Florists, most people find flowers to be a mood-improving, special gift that relays a precious thought or meaning. Thus, more individuals are sending flowers to their loved ones as a surprise.

But, unlike other gifts, flowers are trickier to transport as they’re fragile. Thus, if you are in the business of shipping flowers to loved ones, you’ll need to know how to preserve the flowers’ beauty and the gift’s surprise factor while bringing them from the flower shop to the recipients’ homes. This article will help you out, covering important points and options regarding flower delivery.

How to Ship Flowers for Your Customer

flowers shipping box

Flowers are fragile, especially when fresh or alive. When tossed around, they can get bruised, broken, snapped, or wilted. 

Thus, when offering flower delivery services, you must do it correctly from the start to the end. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure the flowers arrive safely:

1. Use a New, Sturdy Corrugated Box

Unless the flowers are being delivered right next door (or somewhere similarly nearby), they must be packed inside a box for shipping. However, not just any box will do.

It is recommended to use a new and sturdy corrugated box. It is the best box type for shipping flowers as it is mail-safe, having the structure to withstand being tossed around and still protect the flowers inside. 


When procuring the box, you must also ensure that it is large. It must not be just the right size for the flowers, as there must be space between the walls of the box and the petals and stems. Otherwise, the petals would brush against too much of the box’s surface, which could damage it. 

It may also be interesting to note that some people would pack their flower box into a larger, shipping box. The flowers are better preserved in this way, as they are less likely to be moved about inside the box. However, it can be more costly and a hassle. 

2. Prepare the Proper Packing and Wrapping Material

As mentioned above, the box is much larger than the flowers. The space between the flowers and the box would then be filled with packing material that would help absorb movement or shock and preserve or cushion the flowers.

There are many types of packing material to choose from:

  • Paper towels 
  • Packing foam 
  • Bubble wrap 

flower box with packaging fillers

Besides the packing material, you must secure a proper wrapping material. Before the flowers are placed in the box, they are appropriately wrapped. 

Usually, either wrapping paper or cellophane is used. Other, less common options include bubble wrap and plastic sleeves. 

3. Procure Your Flowers 

Once you have all your packaging materials, you can grab your flowers. It’s not ideal to have the flowers on standby, exposed to the elements, while you collect the other items.

Instead, buy or harvest your flowers as close to packing as possible. If you have to get them ahead of time, ensure that the flowers are kept cool or well-hydrated before packing. 

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4. Cut the Flower Stems Appropriately

Cutting the stems of flowers ensures the flowers fit well inside the packing box. In trimming flowers, the right amount of stem must be cut away. 

If too much of the stem is cut away, the flower may not last long. However, if you cut it too short, it may not leave enough space between the flower and the box. 

Also, note that there is a proper way to cut flower stems. For instance, it is recommended to keep them submerged while cutting to avoid air in the stems. 

5. Wrap the Flowers

After cutting the stems to the proper lengths, the flowers must be wrapped for added protection during shipping. However, the wrapping should also be presentable, as it’ll be the first thing the receiver sees upon receiving the package.

The usual options for wrapping material are cellophane and paper. Others also use plastic sleeves and bubble wrap.

To wrap the flowers, bring the flowers together and tie the stems into a bundle using rubber bands, ribbons, or twist ties. Make sure to wrap tight around the stems, but don’t put pressure on the petals or other delicate parts. 

Then, surround the entire bundle with the wrapping paper or plastic. Secure the material by tying a ribbon around the stems. Make sure the wrapping is not too tight or loose, so the flowers are not smothered or unprotected.

flower with wrapping paper

6. Secure the Arrangement

You can secure the flower bouquet to the box using tie wires, zip ties, or cable ties. They will prevent the flowers from moving about, which will then reduce the chances of the arrangement getting disturbed or damaged. However, if you have properly packed the flowers’ sides with packing materials, this step may not be necessary.

7. Cushion the Vase and Other Items 

A customer may decide to send their flowers with other items like a vase or chocolates. You can combine them in the same box to reduce packaging. 

However, ensure that there is a divider between the flowers and the other items. Similar to the flowers, wrap the items first with paper, cellophane, or bubble wrap. The latter is specially recommended for breakable vases.

You can use a sheet of new, corrugated box as a divider between the other items and the flowers. Make sure to pack both sides with packaging material like packing peanuts or foam. Consider using cable ties to secure the other stuff to the box. 

8. Don’t Add Water

shipping flowers

Although most may think that water is necessary when shipping flowers, it is not recommended at all. Indeed, some couriers may not even ship a flower package when there is water. 

Water can leak, damage, or cause mold inside the package. A damaged package can also affect other packages in the batch. Thus, avoid using wet floral foam, filled water tubes, and other water-clogged packaging materials with your flower delivery.

9. Seal and Label the Package Correctly

At the last step of preparing flowers for shipping, you can place the main flower box into a larger shipping box. The gap between the boxes will be filled with packing material. Double-boxing helps reduce the movement of packing paper on the flowers, thereby preserving them. However, that’s an optional, albeit highly recommended, step.

Whether you opt for a second box or not, the final step to shipping flowers is to seal and label the package correctly. You should indicate that there are flowers inside, especially live ones. You may also place fragile warning stickers but don’t forget the shipping label.

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2 Best Courier Options for Shipping Flowers

Several courier brands ship flowers locally and internationally. However, the leading options are USPS and FedEx, so it’s best to be familiar with their guidelines for shipping flowers: 

1. Shipping flowers through FedEx

There are two service options for shipping flowers through FedEx:

  • FedEx Overnight – Through this service, flowers are shipped the next day within the United States. There are three options – FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx Standard Overnight – with FedEx Overnight First guaranteeing the earliest delivery. It must be noted, though, that flower packages cannot weigh more than 150 pounds for this service. 
  • FedEx 1Day FreightThis service is recommended for flower packages that weigh more than 150 pounds. Similar to FedEx Overnight, the package is shipped and delivered the next day.

When sending flowers through FedEx, here are some things you must remember:

  • Do not send flowers before or during a weekend or holiday. Doing so may cause shipping delays and the flowers may not be able to survive them. 
  • Flowers coming to and from Hawaii may take more transit time than those in the continental US. 
  • There must be a corrugated divider between a vase and the flowers. 
  • Place the shipping label on the top of the box. This will reduce the chances of it getting flipped around into the wrong orientation. 
  • The guidelines for shipping live plants and seedlings are different from cut flowers.
  • You must use a telescoping box if shipping flowers in bulk. 
shipping flowers

2. Shipping flowers through USPS

USPS has several services but these are the only ones you can use to send flowers:

  • Priority Mail Express – This service assures you that your receiver will get the package within two days. 
  • Priority Mail – Packages sent via this service are received within three business days. 
  • Ground Advantage –  Receivers get the package in two to five days if you choose this service. 

Flowers, specifically plants, are considered a restricted and perishable item by USPS. Thus, you must meet certain guidelines for them to ship your flower package:

  • There must be no leaking. Thus, if you need to preserve a flower or plant’s moisture content, wrap it with a waterproof material
  • The flowers must be properly wrapped with paper, straw, or some similar material for protection. 
  • The flowers must be compliant with federal and state laws and statutes (i.e. you cannot ship flowers to a location where they are banned). 

Besides all those mentioned above, here are other things you must remember about shipping flowers through USPS:

  • USPS may deliver on holidays or Sundays but there is an additional fee. This offer is also restricted to certain locations only. 
  • You can provide your box but USPS also sells their boxes, which come in standard sizes. If your box is not of standard size, there may be additional fees. 
  • Your flower packages cannot be more than 70 pounds, even for Ground Advantage. 
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5 Tips for Custom Flower Shipping Box Design

A presentable yet sturdy packaging could allow your store to stand out as a flower delivery service. Thus, consider having your flower shipping box custom-made, with these points taken into consideration: 

1. Focus on Durability and Protection

The most important function of the flower delivery box is to protect and preserve the flowers. Thus, it must be made of a durable material. The usual choice of cushioning material is corrugated cardboard, as it is affordable yet sturdy.

Other less common choices are plastic, wood, and metal. They may be more durable than cardboard and have unique properties. For instance, plastic is waterproof and can be transparent. Meanwhile, wood is sturdy and has a rustic appeal. 

However, those types of materials tend to be more expensive; hence, they are not used often for shipping flowers. Still, if you need packaging that is more unique or durable than cardboard, consider any of those three. 

2. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Flowers need proper ventilation to avoid decay. Thus, flower delivery boxes must not be airtight. Otherwise, moisture may condense inside the box and collect on the contents, leading to decay. 

flower delivery box

To ensure proper ventilation, some flower boxes are designed to have vents or flaps. They can be sealed and opened to facilitate proper ventilation, according to the environment and temperature.  

3. Incorporate Moisture Control Features

Moisture is crucial to keeping flowers alive and fresh during transportation. However, it must be controlled, as too much moisture can lead to mold and leaks.

Thus, packing actual water with the flowers, such as sticking stems into filled water tubes, is not allowed. Additionally, several packaging options have been developed to have moisture control features. 

An example of packaging with a moisture control feature is a flower box with a high barrier to water vapor. This barrier creates a high-humidity environment for the flowers, where water loss is reduced. 

4. Optimize for Temperature Variations

Flowers are sensitive to temperature variations. Species imported from certain countries, like tropical flowers, could be even more susceptible to suddenly colder or higher temperatures. 

Thus, a flower delivery box must maintain a relatively consistent temperature range for the flowers. As with ensuring proper ventilation, some flower boxes have flaps that can be opened or closed, depending on the temperature. 

It is not just the box that must be optimized for temperature. The vehicle for delivering the flowers must also be considered. In general, it is recommended to use refrigerated cars, especially when the destination is far away or the flowers are especially susceptible.

5. Make Your Flower Shipping Box as a Gift to Surprise Customers

flower gift shipping boxes

A simple, brown corrugated box that is durable, properly ventilated, moisture-controlled, and temperature-optimized would be good enough for delivering flowers. But would it be good enough for your business to stand out? Most likely not.

Plain packaging will not do, especially if your goal for your business is to become a top, surprise gift deliverer. Presentation is a significant factor in recipient satisfaction, so do not forget to make your box look great, even memorable. 

To make your flower box look impressionable, here are some tips you can follow:

1. Choose an Attractive Exterior Design

You can look at packaging company samples or other businesses’ flower boxes to get an idea of an attractive box design. 

2. Personalize Your Box Based on Your Brand

You can change the standard floral box’s dimensions, color, and even shape to incorporate your brand’s aesthetic. 

3. Opt for a Creative Opening Experience

creative shipping box

A box can open in many ways: lift a lid, flip a flap, or slide a cover. Decide which of those (or other options) are best suited for your flowers. 

4. Decorate the Interior

Some packaging companies allow you to customize both the interior and exterior sides of the box, so take advantage of that. For instance, you can have the outer side of a box for roses to be red, while the inside is black.  

5. Add Decorative Elements

You can add stickers, stamps, calligraphy, ribbons, and other decorative elements that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also reflective of your brand. 

Flowers Circular  box

6. Incorporate Sustainable and Eco-friendly Touches

Sustainability is an increasingly important factor for consumers, so try to order your flower boxes from an eco-friendly manufacturer. 

7. Add a Subtle Floral Scent to the Box

Inquire with your manufacturer to see if they can lace the box with a long-lasting, floral scent. 


Many customers rely on floral businesses to deliver an unforgettable surprise gift to their loved ones. If their flowers are not prepped, wrapped, and packed properly, the recipients may end up with a damaged gift that could ruin their experience and your brand’s reputation. Thus, only work with reliable partners at every step of the shipping process. 

Discover the Perfect Flower Box for Your Business with Packoi

Speaking of reliable partners, you can choose Packoi as your flower box manufacturer! 

We will work with you closely to manufacture a durable, beautiful, and eco-friendly flower box that will protect the flowers and ensure a perfect unboxing experience. 

From design to production of the boxes, we are with you every step of the way so contact us now! 

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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