Mailing seeds in plastic vs paper?

dondelduxAugust 5, 2013


I received some seeds from overseas that I have been soaking for a few weeks and one batch has five seedlings (which I potted up) with a nice long root and a leaf and the other 5 of the same variety just have a nice root like Kristi's.

Seeds sown on soil never worked all that well for me so I exclusively use the soaking method these days.

My question is; these seeds came in those little plastic baggies. So do any of you think that paper or plastic is better to use when mailing seeds?? I always use those little paper bags but as I'm not on the receiving end of my seeds I can't say if they were good or not.

There were three varieties of seeds in this overseas batch and one batch germinated very red to the point where it actually ate into the little bulblet The other variety has a smaller amount of red and some of the seedlings are nice and green and the third batch is just fine.

Does anyone think that plastic would make the seeds sweat and damage them especially since they are already in a plastic bubble lined mailing envelope? I have had domestic seeds that have germinated red also so I'm not sure it's the length of time in the mail (but it could be a factor).

I am sending some seeds to this friend overseas and am going to put a few varieties in plastic and the same varieties in paper so maybe this might be an experiment.

In a month or so when her seeds germinate I'll let you know if any were red...

Anyone have any thoughts? And another thought I always use plastic when I send pollen. Could this cause the pollen to sweat and damage this also?? Would paper be better for pollen?

Any comments would be appreciated..


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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

These are just MY THOUGHTS...
I would think paper would be better as it's a bit "breathable".

Plastic would retain moisture so seeds don't dry out, but dry heat may be better than moist heat for the seeds.

For pollen I had used wax paper envelopes (the best/worst of both)!


    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 2:42PM
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bunnynomnom(zone 10a)

Hi Donna,

I often put a bubble wrap around the seeds inside plastic bags just in case and write Hand stamp on the outside of the envelope. I see some nice folks put the bubble-wrapped ziploc bags inside a greeting card which provide an extra firm protection. The seeds when packaged that way seem to arrive in very good conditions.

Although it can depend on the country you're mailing to. Years ago I sent some seeds to my friends in Vietnam and the customs people often opened the envelope to inspect or steal stuff inside. I'm not sure if anything is changed now though. Good luck!


    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 2:46PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

I just recalled that I use the bubble wrap as well...hmmm!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:08PM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

I've received seeds from both France and Pakistan in plastic mini envelopes, and no extra packing just a plain envelope, and they germinated well, no red. Yours have also germinated well for the most part. However, in the last batch of seeds you sent the megastar seeds are not doing well. Most didn't germinate (float method), and the 2 that did have weak, red roots, not sure if they will make it. Overall, I've not noticed much difference between paper and plastic. I'll e interested in what you learn with your experiment. Also, if you'd like some test subjects, I'd be happy to send you some of my extra seeds and put some of the same variety in both envelope types and you can experiment with them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Donna , your seeds are doing fine , only 5 didn't germinate yet , 3 in plastic bag , and 2 in paper enveloppe , all beautifull , no red on the root.
I still have 3 seeds from the 'red batch' so I sew them to make a test , one is just germinating but it is too soon to have an opinion.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Hi Beatrice, Glad to hear some of my seeds are germinating for you!! If you don't get enough of the pap hybrid cross to germinate I can send you a few more...your latest seeds are just now sending out roots. They swelled up larger than any other seeds I've seen before splitting, I just knew there was something kicking and screaming inside trying to get out!!

The seeds from your first batch are doing very well also, I planted about 15 of the different crosses in total and I am very pleased as they seem to be doing so well. Many Thanks again,..Donna..:-)

And as far as paper vs plastic we may never really know, it's probably just the seeds themselves and the moisture content or maybe some of them got a little damaged during their trip...

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Hi Donna , sorry for answering so late , 100% of your pap hybrid have germinate ! both from plastic bag and paper enveloppe.

I sowed the 3 seeds from the same variety than your 'red batch' , 2 have germinated and are very healthy , your seeds might have suffered in transport it is sure , maybe summer hot can be as dangerous as winter freeze for seeds. I am sorry about that. I will keep sedlings for you.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:38AM
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When I worked in the greenhouses and seed labs at university, all we ever used were glassine envelopes to store and ship seeds. They stored very well, easy to see and count what's inside and easy to write on.


Here is a link that might be useful: Glassine envelopes

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Thanks Jim and I'll try these next time. This spring I ordered 200 of the small paper envelopes and have a way to go to get through them...:-)...Donna

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 4:57PM
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