Shipping & Handling Fees

Some of our customers ask why our Shipping and Handling (S&H) fees are higher than the actual Shipping costs.

Well, first and easy answer is simply S&H means Shipping & Handling and not just Shipping!  Yes, we charge for handling and I am proud to say that we are one of the best in the business with a safe delivery rate of 98% of shipments.

The process of importing and preparing plants is a process regulated by numerous authorities and legal standards.  A shipment from Thailand is different from a shipment from Malaysia.  All international shipments of plants require plants to be bare root. 

Due to the damages caused to our South Florida facilities by Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005, the no longer grows plants in Florida.  Our facilities serve as a transit and packing facility with limited greenhouse space.  Our plants are all grown in our farms located in Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.  We air freight regular shipments of plants to meet demand to our US facility as well as direct to other international destinations primarily to nurseries and wholesale bulk customers.  Our retail customers located in the United States receive their plants via our South Florida facility.

The following list of steps is a high level summary of our process:

  1. A customer order is received (retail or wholesale) and then plants are selected from the farms, de-potted and inspected for quality. Plants are treated with an approved insecticide and fungicide.
  2. Local Authority sends out inspectors to check and test the plants for insects, fungus, viruses and other anomalies including quality.  Once the inspection is completed, the Local Authority issues a Phytosanitary Certificate.
  3. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (aka CITES) inspects our paperwork and plants and then issues a Cites Certificate allowing international transportation of the plants.  This is done to protect endangered and protected plants from being transported illegally
  4. Plants are now bare root and prepared for shipment to their destination either to the USA or to the international destination of choice.  As orchid plants grow older roots buried in the medium harden and hold the plant stationary while newer roots meander around the pot and medium. On some plants, when needed, we will trim some of the older roots.
  5. Plants are then allowed to air out in our plant racks and excess moisture is evaporated in the warm tropical air.  Plants are then individually packaged and labeled using our PID system based on the plant type and size.  The plants are then packaged in master cases and shipped to the USA or other destination. We usually have 2 to 3 shipments a month.
  6. When plants arrive in the United States they are a mix of Retail and Wholesale orders.  The plants will go through another series of inspections and test by the USDA, CITES, US Customs & Homeland Security.  This process is efficient and when completed the plants are brought to our South Florida facility for final quality inspection and customer packaging.
  7. Retail orders are shipped out in groups of several hundred packages per day using USPS with delivery confirmation.  Normally we ship on Monday and Tuesdays with expected delivery by that following Friday.  Check our shipping schedule for specific dates of expected delivery.  In order to keep our costs low and ultimately our prices low, we cannot ship outside of our posted shipping cycles.

As you can see this process is very labor intensive and process sensitive.  Any mistakes will stop shipments dead in their tracks and cause problems or delays.  Rest assured that we are experienced in this process and rarely have trouble with the authorities or regulators.  Our plant preparation process and packing materials we create will allow our plants to live for weeks in the box unless they get exposed to extreme weather conditions while in transit.

We calculate our S&H fees based on both the domestic and international portion of the trip to you from the farm as well as add in when needed to pay for packing and labor.  We do not profit from these fees.  When you compare others with us you will find our S&H fees plus plant costs delivered to you much lower than anyone else.

If you have any questions, always feel free to ask us.  We will do our best to serve you with high quality Customer Support and Plants!