Shipping & Receiving Victorias
by Kit Knotts
Photos by Sean Hoelscher
Click to enlarge
Once Victoria seedlings are "over the hump", that
is to say they have made four or more floating leaves, each increasing
in size, they are tough enough to send to others. Where we used
to go to elaborate lengths to ship them potted, padded and braced,
we now ship them bare-root successfully.
Safe shipping age begins when seedlings have outgrown their
3 ounce starter cups or have been boosted. We unpot them and
gently float the sand and peat away from the roots. We lay them
on a wet paper towel and loop the stems all the same direction,
stacking the pads like pancakes, face to face and alternately
thorns to thorns. We fold the edges of the towel loosely over
the plant and cover with another paper towel. This package goes
into a ziplock, sometimes several to a bag, with most of the
air pressed out.
It is important to pack the box they will be shipped in tightly
to prevent movement of the plants once inside. Shipping should
be over night or, at the most two days and, hopefully, at a time
when it is neither too hot nor too cold. We write special instructions
on the box.
Older plants can be shipped without the paper towels in bigger
plastic bags but we still prefer to use some wet newspaper to
protect the stems and emerging pads. We always notify recipients
when we send plants and provide the estimated day and time of
Early in the season --
Recipients should have a warm aquarium, tank or tub ready as
well as potting materials at hand. Water should be a minimum
of 82F (28C) and a good light source should be available. It
is a good idea to float the plants out of their packaging to
avoid possible damage pulling them out by hand.
Plants should be potted immediately in sand with a small layer
of peat in the bottom. Those from 3 ounce cups can usually go
into 8 ounce cups with holes or 4" pots with holes. For
larger plants we recommend they go into the same size or only
slightly larger pots until they recover from shipping and transplant
If stems happen to get bent in shipping, they can be massaged
back straight. If leaves have discolored or deteriorated in shipping,
don't cut them off. For some reason, the leaves curl backwards
in shipping but they will flatten back out in a day or two. Try
to place the plants in water where the older pads can reach or
be within an inch the surface. They can be lowered gradually.
After a few days, the plants will need to be fed. We strongly
recommend using our Victoria nutrient "cocktail".
Ingredients and instructions
Since several of the ingredients are not available in stores,
you should have them in hand before you receive plants.
Once you have had your plants for a few weeks, you can stall
them at their current size by reducing water temperature and/or
reducing fertilizer. If you want them to continue to increase
in size, you can increase fertilizer proportionally and increase
pot size gradually as they become pot bound. You will know the
plants are happy when roots begin to grow out the holes. We put
a layer of sandy soil on the bottom of trays and tanks for those
roots to grow into.
Later in the season --
If you receive plants with 8" pads or larger and
your water is warm enough (70F minimum), they can go directly
to the pond. You will want to have their containers and soil
ready before they arrive. Regardless of soil type used, we still
recommend puting a layer of peat in the bottom of the pot.
Be sure to check with your supplier to see if the plants have
been growing outside or in a greenhouse. Those grown in greenhouses
should be screened from the sun for the first few days (ordinary
window screen works fine) as Victoria is extremely prone to sunburn
when first "coming out". For those that have been growing
outside, screening isn't necessary.
You will want to have your nutrients on hand. Though we personally
continue with Pondtabbs and the "cocktail" for adults,
we think that Pondtabbs Plus alone may be suitable for many soils.
The plants should be fed weekly based on pad size and number
for optimum growth and flowering.
If you have turtles, ducks, large koi or crawfish in your
pond, you will need to cage your Victorias until they reach adult