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Customs question for seeds from Australia

Posted by sun_worshiper FL 9b (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 27, 12 at 9:30

I am doing a seed exchange with someone in Australia (I'm in the US). I have successfully marked my seeds and they made it to Australia. For the return exchange, does anyone know if seeds coming from Australia need to be marked in any special way to make it through US customs? If anyone could point me to the appropriate resource to read on this topic I'd appreciate it.



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Customs question for seeds from Australia

Hi Angela,

I have ordered clivia seeds through Ebay from 2 different sellers located in Australia and all 5 or 6 times the seeds have come through with no problems at all. They mark on the form that they attached to the bubble wrap envelope "clivia hobby supplies". Even though I think they may have been scanned there were no problems.

If I can help you with any other questions let me know..


RE: Customs question for seeds from Australia

Thanks for the reply Donna. The seeds that are getting sent to me are Scadoxus multiflorus ssp. Katherinae. What would you recommend is marked on the form? Is it important to say "hobby supplies"? Does the outside of the envelope need marked too, or just the customs form? Thanks so much for your help!

RE: Customs question for seeds from Australia


They tape a declaration form to the envelope similar to the one that you must have filled out when you sent yours over (unless you hid them another way).
Clivia seeds come over here regularly from Australia. As for other seeds, I don't know. As for marking "Clivia Hobby Supplies that was just on the form where it is indicated that they want to know what is in the package. I think I would refrain from marking plant material keep from heat or frost, or anything else on the package as that would raise a red flag as to the contents of the package. Believe me, it is much harder to mail to Australia than from Australia to here..

The first and only time I sent hippy seeds to Australia, I marked the package "Photos, do not bend" and filled it with some cut newspaper about the thickness of several photos. Now I'm NOT advocating that anyone else do this, I was just nervous as to what to do the first time. The next time I think I'll just mark the package "Amaryllis Hobby Supplies" and see what happens.

Good luck, I know the first time you do it you will be on pins and needles waiting. It generally take a little over a week, not nearly as long as one would expect for a bubble wrap envelope to come all the way from Australia.


RE: Customs question for seeds from Australia

I get all sorts of small parcels arrive here in Australia with varying seeds in them. One from the US sends seeds in a business envelope with a few sheets of paper folded around the packet. I have another in Europe who declares always and labels any hippeastrum seeds as Hippeastrum Papilio, and one I have got from the US in a jewellery box marked as ornaments. I just say (having inside knowledge of the workings of Australia Post and the connected Customs side of it), beware of "outright lying" if its a seed, say its a seed, no need to be absolutely specific. The capital cities have the dogs sweep over all parcels that come in when they are on duty.If your "jellery box" is opened and seeds discovered, yeah sure they will get through if they can be identified along with the leaflet from customs, but your details along with the recipients will be kept and all further parcels for/from either will be opened as you will be on the register. If there's nothing untoward in the parcels they will still get through, usually just a bit of a delay, but the risk of damage especially to a fragile seed like a hippy, or even the loss of a couple if packets get opened/broken isnt really worth it. Please be careful when posting either way.

P.S. I am also guilty of sending actual plants to both Tasmania and Western Australia, which is a big no no here.

Happy gardening and happy posting, the more trades the better, it helps us all.


RE: Customs question for seeds from Australia

Thanks for the advise!

It is legal to send h. striatum to Australia, which is what I sent. The envelope (in addition to the customs form) must be marked "Clean seed--"Striatum". That was how I marked them, and they made it there fine.

As for importing seeds to the US, a bit of google searching turns up the appropriate pages:
This page links answers the question:
Q: How do I know if a plant or plant part is generally admissible without special restrictions?

And the doc that it links to here:
Shows that scadoxus multiflorus bulbs are regulated, but that seeds are not (at least by my read).

And here is the page governing imports of small seed lots:

This is a bit less clear (to me). It says when phytosanitary certificate is not needed. But I'm not clear if you must meet all of the conditions on this page (but that seems likely). In particular I can't tell if you still need a permit for non-regulated plant material, or only if your seeds are of a regulated species.

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