Shipping houseplants from US to Germany

The wife got stationed in Germany. I have a place here in the states, but will be moving to & spending more time there than here, and I have some favorite houseplants. Telling me “it’s not worth it, you can always just get the same thing over there” is kinda like telling you cat & dog people to replace Mittens of Fluffy because you can “always get the same breed over there.”

It’s not like I can’t get a Phalaenopsis “Whateveritscalled” in Germany, but I can’t get my phal that I’ve had for ten years that was given to me by a special friend on a special occasion, that’s been moved multiple times around the States, and I’m very attached to.

So has anyone done it? You can ship cats, dogs, snakes, exotic tropical whatevers, as long as you get the paperwork right, etc. But my web searches regarding plants haven’t been very helpful other than “don’t do it” or, get the right Certificate of Health, etc.

Well, that’s what I’d like to know more about. What certificates do I need, how do I go about getting them, and how much does it cost? I live in CA BTW.

What if I just packed them in a box (sans soil of course) and shipped them unmarked? I know the government websites are covered in lots of warnings about lengthy imprisonments, huge fines, castration & public floggings and such, but it’s not like I’m trying to import dangerous, endangered plants I smuggled out of Amazon rain forests. They’re just my damn house plants.

Is it better to ship via APO or regular international mail? UPS? Post 9/11 do they X-ray everything? What are my chances of getting caught? Back in the old days I’d just stick stuff in my luggage & fly. Never got hassled by immigration. These days no way am I flying with anything that’s gonna get me strip searched & imprisoned without due process.

Anyone with thoughts, suggestions, advice, experience?



There are very serious reasons for that (which are the same explaining that you can’t enter the US with a couple of fresh fruits,etc…)

Your “damn house plants” can for instance have parasites, currently not present in Europe (or conversely in the US) and they can spread all over the place. There has been a number of such cases resulting, for instance, in farmed cultures being devastaded countrywide, or a specie of tree being decimated, etc…
That’s why there are, in a number of countries, strict regulations about entering with some food items or living plants. They aren’t implemented or enforced just in order to piss off the tourists or expats, or make some money with the fines. Of course, the likehood that you will cause such an outbreak is extremely low, but you’re not going to be able to compensate, say, 100 000 broke farmers, or to pay for replanting a dozen forests.
I seem to remember that in one case in the US, they have been able to trace back the outbreak to the original “importator”, but I don’t remember the details, and besides I read this somewhere on the web, so it’s wasn’t a reliable source.
So, I would urge you to respect these regulations, despite your “love” for your plants. “It’s been given to me by a good friend long ago” isn’t a good reason to take the risk of causing havoc in local agriculture or wildlife. As for how to know what these regulations are exactly, a call to the german embassy seems the way to go. They should be the best source of accurate infos.

a) Information protection of endangered species by German customs. Site of the relevant convention where you can look up if the species is listed.

b) According to this page you will need a “phytosanitary certificate issued by the country of origin”. This page says you needed such a certificate for bringing the plant to California :smiley: so the Pest Exclusion Branch of your state department of food and agriculture should be able to tell you where to obtain such a certificate.

Also :

If found, they will be destroyed, and you’ll face * lengthy imprisonments, huge fines, castration & public floggings *

I’ve heard of this phytosanitary certificate. That’s good info, and a good link. Thanks.

People buy, sell and trade plants with people around the world all the time. There must be a legal way to do it.

clairobscur, I’m not interested in shipping Dutch Elm disease or a box of Snakeheads around. I know how invasive pests & diseases get spread. Been to the government websites, read all the horror stories.