How Do You Acclimate Plants After Shipping or Importing?

You can’t always find the plants you want in stores near you. When that happens, you usually have to import or ship them. However, that can put a lot of stress on a plant. If you don’t take care of them properly, you risk them being too shocked and potentially dying. 

But how do you take steps to acclimate your plant correctly? To acclimate your plants after shipping or importing, ensure they are watered with access to indirect sunlight and wait on repotting and fertilizing until they grow bigger. This process could take several weeks to several months, so it is best not to be in much of a rush to re-pot them or move them around. It doesn’t matter if you plan to plant them inside or outside. 

If you are unsure how to acclimate your plants correctly or have questions about the process, continue reading below. We will cover the process of acclimating to your plants and adjusting their humidity. 

What Does it Mean to Acclimate Plants?

When you acclimate plants, it simply means helping them to adapt to a new environment. Any time you are repotting or moving to a new house, you must reacclimate your plant. 

Acclimating for shipping or importing plants is very important, as they are likely very stressed after the process and may even be damaged. Controlling their climate and situation to allow them to grow without further stress is necessary if you want a happy plant. 

By not acclimating, you risk over-shocking your plant and causing them to die. 

Do You Need to Acclimate Plants?

Acclimating is necessary if you want your plant to survive and be happy and healthy in its new home. It reduces the shock and stress they face and is the best way to ensure they adjust to their new environment. 

The process isn’t long or complicated; usually, it only takes about two or three days to ensure your plant is adjusting as it should for the outdoors. At least, that is what some people say. Others recommend waiting at least two weeks before adding more stress to their situation. 

How Do You Treat Plants That Are Shipped?

You will want to start by unpacking your plant as soon as possible. If you aren’t going to be home, try and see if someone will be willing to go and grab it for you. Plants sitting in hot or cold conditions for too long are at risk of death and severe shock. 

However, be careful when unpacking your plant. You want to be gentle and ensure you aren’t hurting it as you open the box or take it out. 


Next, you want to check your plant. Is the soil dry to about 2 inches (5 cm) down? If so, then you want to water. If the soil is moist, leave it alone. 


Once that is done, look at your plant and check for damaged or dying parts. Check the leaves and stems, and don’t be afraid to discard anything that is broken, dry, or dead. If the break was fresh, you might even be able to propagate it and get two plants for the price of one!


We would also recommend adding more humidity to your plant, especially if they are from a more tropical area. You can increase humidity by placing it in a room with a humidifier, making a water tray to evaporate water into the air around your plant, or misting it once a day. 


When first getting a shipped plant, you want to be patient with it. Don’t be in a rush to put it in a new pot. Wait at least two weeks before repotting, even if the plant is root bound. Also, avoid going to a much larger pot when you are repotting. Instead, you usually want only to go up one size or so. 


The same goes for fertilization. You don’t want to fertilize your plant right away. Instead, wait a few weeks. 


Keep the temperature warm. Too much of a breeze or cold temperatures can cause more shock to your plant. The ideal temperature range for most plants is between 65 to 80°F (18 to 25°C). Using a heated mat, keeping it in a well-insulated room, or turning up the heat in your home are good ways to achieve an ideal temperature. 


Keeping your plants away from direct light is also good. Most plants can’t handle direct sunlight and will face stress and sunburn. You also don’t want them in overly shady conditions, as that can harm the plant. 

Instead, you want to ensure that you place them in an open area with a lot of bright but indirect light. A window with a sheer curtain over it is usually the best place. 

Finally, it is important to remember that the plant will recover from the shock. Even if you are treating your plant right away, it may show signs of yellowing and browning on some of the leaves as a late result of the stress. 

How to Acclimate Bare Root Plants after Shipping?

Nowadays, a lot of companies will send plants with bare roots. It helps to save money on shipping as you aren’t paying for the weight of dirt and pots. 

Mostly, they can be treated the same way as regular plants. However, the major difference is that you must re-pot the plant immediately. This must happen quickly, as some plants can wilt in as little as ten minutes. 

You may also want to ask the seller how much humidity they keep the plants in. Suppose it is in higher humidity than you usually have in your area. In that case, you will want to adjust the humidity level to match and then slowly reduce it until it matches your natural humidity or a more acceptable level. 

How Long Does it Take to Acclimate Imported Plants?

Plants can be acclimated in as little as two or three days. However, more often than not, it can take a couple of weeks to several months for a plant to acclimate. Usually, you can tell when the plant has acclimated because it will establish a healthy root system, and new leaves and stems will begin to grow. 

How Do You Acclimate Plants to Ambient Humidity?

After shipping, you will have to revive and heal your plant. However, that isn’t all you have to do. You also need to make sure that you are adjusting the humidity. Plants are generally grown in higher humidity than they will be in your home. 

However, adjusting this humidity too quickly can cause a huge shock that has the potential to kill your plants. That’s why it is best to start with higher humidity and slowly wean your plant off of it.

Generally, you want to reduce the humidity by about ten percent at a time. You do this every few days. 

If you aren’t sure of the humidity in your room or space, hydrometers available will tell you the exact humidity near your plant. 

Some plants just won’t be able to acclimate to your ambient humidity. Most plants need a relatively high humidity unless naturally grown in your area. If you live in a dry area, you might have to work to make your home more humid rather than trying to make your plant more acclimated. 

Most plants can also handle a higher humidity, so if you have plants near those that need high humidity, don’t worry, as they should be fine handling it except for some cacti. 


Acclimating plants is important whenever they are moving. Whether you are taking an indoor plant and moving them outside or moving them to a new home or climate, a plant will need time to adjust to its surroundings. It is even more important with shipped plants as they are stressed from the shipping process and from being in a new climate. 

To acclimate your plants after shipping or importing, ensure you don’t change too much at once; they need to be watered in bright indirect light and wait on repotting and fertilizing until they grow bigger.

Taking time to care for your plant and making sure they can adjust slowly to their situation is key to having a beautiful, happy plant.