Sending PCI to other gardeners

PCI do not like to be out of the ground. Donít let them sit around for days or weeks before shipping. Send them out promptly by a fast shipping method. Dig and ship PCI plants so that they will arrive in 1-3 days, and not sit over long weekends. Monday is a good day to start this process.

Separate the fans out and trim to 1-3 fans per cluster. Gently shake the soil off the roots, trim old roots back to 4-5 inches long, cut off old dead leaves and trim green leaves to 4-5 inches long. Soak the roots in fresh water for a few minutes before wrapping each cluster up.

Make sure the plants are free of baby slugs, snails, aphids, and other potential pests.

Include a label or write on a leaf the name of the variety, or both.

To keep the roots damp, there are two good alternatives: A pot with a moisture-releasing soil mixture, peat or compost; or damp paper towels in baggies. The Iris Gallery, formerly in Fort Bragg, CA, shipped plants in peat mix inside peat pots for years with very few losses. Matilija Nursery ships in open well-drained media such as perlite, in small plastic pots. Bay View Gardens ships plants in moist newspapers, generally also with few losses.

Punch a few air holes in the box. Do not pack in a large plastic bag inside the box: PCI need fresh air.

Ship for overnight, second day or third day delivery.

Likewise, at the receiving end, open the box promptly in a cool shady spot or cool room.

Check the new clumps; if they are dry, soak the roots for a few hours in fresh cool water, and then plant promptly in their new homes.

If you are sending PCI into or out of quarantined areas, have your plants inspected, and remember to wash the roots carefully.


Quarantine new plants coming into your garden. Hold them in pots for a few weeks, study their growth and health. You may want to use a preventative spray, such as an organic soap spray, to ensure that you are not bringing in new insect pests.

When all else fails, and insect pests or diseases appear, remove and burn or dispose of diseased plants and soil, bringing in clean soil to that area of your garden. Or use pesticides to treat insects, fungi or other disease causing organisms.

If plants arrive in your garden too late to plant outside in fall, or roots are very short and small, then put PCI plants in pots for a few weeks, and plant them in the ground once the roots are a few inches long. Or if cold weather has already arrived, hold them in pots for the winter, and put them out in the spring.

Internationally, SPCNI does not recommend sending PCI across country borders. The weeks to months that such inspections take kills the plants. Itís much better to send seeds across international borders.


Richards, Richard. 1981. Hot and Wet, SPCNI Almanac, Fall 1981, pp 4-6.