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i have shipped hundreds of times.. and the only issues were when the plant package was allowed to sit outside for hours and froze. Even so, only some plants would be affected.
I just shipped a large assortment to S. Dakota this week, and the day-time temps were below freezing. In the truck, during final delivery is warmer than outside... and with lots of other packages, the in-truck temps doesnt change everytime the door is open . For security for this large SD shipment (which i usually dont even do), i used a fish styro. This is what the recepient wanted, and certainly doesnt allow the temps to drop quickly even if left for an hour on the porch . For smaller shipment, i use a take-out styrofoam container within a plastic bag.
Winter shipping is actually much safer than summer. Some plants can even withstand frost or even freezing, much the same as terrestrial species. I had been keeping some plants outside in a tub and they completely froze (Echindodorus and Vallisneria). After they defrosted they were perfectly fine. That is because these are temperate species. I couldnt say the same for some tropical ones.

Heat is another story. So summer shipping can be trickier. Once they are cooked they are goners. That is why i would be hesitant to use a heat pack. I would be concerned that the box actually gets too hot. Not the same with fish in bags of water. ... then heat packs are a necessity.
When you open a package of plants and they smell like cooked vegetables (thats what overheated aquatic plants smell like), you might as well put them immediately in the trash or on the compost pile. If they get cooked, then stay too long and/or rot in the bag, they need to go down the toilet.
--Neil
 
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