Sending plants stateside is complex, often costly

Many people get attached to their plants while stationed in Europe and want to mail or hand carry them back to the U.S. Unfortunately, some plants are prohibited from entering the U.S. Most others will have restrictions that are often difficult to comply with and costly to fulfill.

Arrangements with U.S. Department of Agriculture and Customs and Border Protection to send or take plants to the U.S. must be made well in advance. The USDA regulates plants to ensure that foreign plant pests and diseases do not enter the U.S.

Most restricted plants will need a permit from the USDA that will stipulate certain requirements such as treatments or fumigations. Phytosanitary Certificates from the government of the country where the plant was grown are also required for plants intended for planting.

These may be hard to get because the government officials who issue them may be few in number and may not be close to where you live.

Additional declarations on the Phytosanitary Certificate may be required to verify certain things such as if the plant is free of certain pests and diseases based on an official inspection. Only the government officials in that country are authorized to make these declarations.

There are also size and age limitations that apply to most plants being brought into the U.S.

Further, no soil or growing media can be sent to the U.S.

These restrictions still apply even if the plant originally came from the U.S. For further information about mailing or hand carrying plants or other agricultural items, consult the USDA website at or the customs office at (0611)143-537-3951/3953.