WANTED: Sending/receiving seeds/bulbs from other countries?

northernflwr(3)February 17, 2009

I'm completely new to gardening. I like the idea of exchanging seeds and bulbs and was wondering if there are restrictions on trading seeds/bulbs with people from the US or other countries. I remember being at the airport in Amsterdam and they were selling huge bags of bulbs and though I wanted to get some I figured it wasn't allowed. Anyone know? Thanks.

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Most of the time you can successfully ship or receive packages from another country as long as there is a phytosanitary certificate which has been signed off as OK to ship. They just want to make sure there are no diseases or stowaway bugs in the plant material. Just ask the vendors from the other countries about their requirements for shipping internationally.

Sometimes seeds are sent around the world without the certificate and seem to make it just fine. But for bulbs and such, a certificate is probably necessary in order to keep the plant material from being seized by customs officers.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 11:28AM
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A photosanitary certificate (PS certs.) are a must when sending seed/bulbs from country to country. I've had seeds from Malaysia sent to me before without a certificate but with an agricultural customs forms (from Malaysia) filled out and it got here fine. Do keep in mind that one seed is enough to ruin a whole ecosystem. Generally, tropical seeds/plants do not pose as big a risk as plants from similar temperate zones. The water hyacinth 'crisis' in the southern states, the loostrife here are some examples of what happens when plants adapt TOO well and take over.

The other concern is with disease and pests. True that a pest in the Australian outback might not survive in our Canadian climate and die come winter, but the time it lived during the summer might have been enough to spread. They might overwinter in your potted plants and come back stronger and more adapted next year. Unlike pests and insects, bacterial/viral diseases are invisible to the naked eye. The reason why PS certs cost $$ is because they actually test for pests on a microscopic level.

As a general rule: seeds should be sent in a CLEAR resealable baggie with scientific name PRINTED clearly on the baggie. There should be NO plant matter aside from the seeds (meaning no bits of seedpod, bits of leaves, twigs, etc.). Bulbs have to be individually labeled with NO earth/dirt on them. ALL plants should be dirt free and be sent bareroot.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 2:59PM
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Thanks that information is great. Good to know too about the risks to the environment. Very informative. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 5:52PM
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trillium15(z5a Ontario)

I was just going to add, if you are interested in trading seeds to others in the US through this forum, it's not allowed. If you go onto the other exchanges that are specific to certain plants, it clearly states in the rules that it's only open to US Residents.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 7:56AM
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I was only wondering what the regulations were because I didn't know. No one needs to get excited about breaking rules. I think people here like myself are here to learn. A simple question a simple answer. I think the previous post clearly pointed out what the requirements are for importing and what could happen without them.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 4:24PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

I read this post out of curiosity to see the answers. Many years ago, I used to order seeds from Park Seed, Thompson and Morgan, etc. in the USA, and they arrived O.K. I think the rules are stricter now. Even then these companies would NOT ship live plants to Canada, ONLY seeds. Is it still possible to order seeds from US companies? Does anyone know the current rules? I know it's not allowed to exchange seeds through these forums.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:41PM
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You're absolutely right, they've gotten so much tougher now. I've heard from other gardeners that Parks and T&M have a separate little branch in Canada and the seeds come from there (I guess it's easier to inspect a whole crate of seeds than individual orders). I found this on Canada post:

"The importation of plants, seeds, agricultural inputs and agricultural products is regulated and is subject to a number of Canadian laws including:

* Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act
* Plant Protection Act
* Seeds Act
* Canada Agricultural Products Act

The documentation required to import these products depends upon the specific product and the country or State that it is arriving from. In most cases a permit of some type is required. For specific information, please visit http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d19/d19-1-1-eng.pdf or http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca/Airs_External/Default.aspx or contact the CBSA. The CBSA Border Information Service (BIS) line responds to public enquiries related to food, plant and animal import requirements. You can access BIS free of charge throughout Canada by calling 1 800 461-9999. If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access BIS by calling 204 983-3500 or
506 636-5064 (long-distance charges will apply)."

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:00PM
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From almost all sources, the main concerns are disease and endangered/threatened species. Some nurseries can apply for 'a general permit' for lack of a better term, to export seeds. Some nurseries that offer plants usually have 'inspectors' visit every week or every other week to issue the proper documents. Seed companies are more cautious about disease free/cleaned seeds. you should still be able to order from them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:05PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Thanks for the information. The US seed catalogues always look so tempting, but I was afraid that Canadian orders might be rejected. I guess I can always e-mail the US supplier before I order to make sure they will sell to Canada.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 8:42AM
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