In general, aroids can be shipped safely. Over the last few decades, we've shipped and received tens of thousands of tropical plants. We've been fortunate enough to have had few issues. However, we have learned a great deal from the few times that unfortunate circumstances arose.
We consider aroids intermediate tropicals for shipping purposes. This means, we are comfortable shipping them in non-insulated packaging if the temperature range is between 35-95 degrees on the receiving end. We use insulated boxes if the temperature drops down to 32 degrees and use heat packs if temperatures are below this. For temperatures in the teens, we use double insulated boxes with heat packs on the outside of the interior box. Express shipping is required for the latter and recommended in general; however, 2-3 day shipping also yields good results.
Some stress is to be expected from shipping. Usually an old leaf or 2 may yellow or drop during or shortly after transit. This is expected and as long as new growth is emerging, there should be no issue with plant acclimation and recovery over the next few weeks. Please see our Aroid Growing Tips for our recommendations on acclimation and growing.
Catastrophic damage occurs if the plants are kept at or below freezing for any duration. As with most tropical plants, the cells are not equipped to handle the formation of ice crystals and this causes cell walls to burst. If plants are kept just above freezing, most will experience stress but will not perish directly from the temperature alone. There's been a number of occasions where shipping companies have misconstrued our incoming aroid packages as cut flowers and stored them in fridges at 36 degrees Fahrenheit. On one occasion, we were not alerted of the parcel arrival and they stayed in the fridge for 3 full days. We had few losses (even from the 3 day calamity). We did notice that although the leaves looked to be in very good condition, the plants overall took much longer to establish themselves than would be typical. This was likely due to damage to the roots/stem from the cold. On the opposite temperature extreme, we've had plants very obviously left under warm conditions for too long. Leaves tend to yellow or drop quickly. However, plants usually recover quickly. Under extreme circumstances, the stems go limp and will blacken. Plants are often times recoverable from this but the growth is usually from new nodes on the stem.
If the plants are kept wet for more than a few days during transit, rot sets in. This is especially true for Alocasia. To avoid this, plants are best shipped either potted or in sphagnum moss that has had the water squeezed out of it before packing. Plants are best shipped in rolled paper. Plastic bags can be used but there needs to be holes/slits cut for aeration, otherwise rot may occur if the plants are in transit for more than a few days.
Unfortunately, some species are notoriously fussy shippers and worth a note so as not to cause alarm.
The jewel Alocasia tend to show stress from shipping. Their roots will rot off quickly if shipped too wet. However, they recover quickly as long as the soil is kept on the dry side once received. New leaves will follow 1-2 months after the roots.
Philodendrons in general can be fussy shippers. There are 2 groups that seem the most sensitive.
Those with very hirstute petioles like verrucosum/serpens/squamicule tend to have leaves yellow or drop in transit. This can be accelerated if packages experience warm weather. Don't be surprised if a leaf or 2 is imperfect. However, they recover quickly and usually produce new leaves within a couple weeks.
The strapped leaf Philodendrons like patriciae/heterocraspedon tend to get stressed from shipping as well and can take months to produce new leaves and roots. For this reason, we usually take the extra precaution to ship them potted because things can go south even in good growing conditions.