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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Plants with Additional Requirements

Plants for planting shipped into the United States must be free of sand, soil, earth, and other growing media.

For plants to be shipped in a growing media, they must meet requirements of APHIS-approved plants in growing media programs and all of the following conditions:

  • APHIS-approved taxa (See APHIS-approved Plants in Growing Media)
  • In APHIS-approved growing media
  • From an APHIS-approved facility

See the Plants in Growing Media Program in the APHIS Plants for Planting Manual.

Exceptions to Growing Media General Restriction:

Plants are exempt from the growing media restriction when meeting the conditions below:

  • Epiphytic plants (including orchid plants) may be imported on the following growing media:
    • Coconut husks
    • Coconut fiber
    • New clay pots
    • New wooden baskets
  • Plants from Canada that meet Canadian-origin plants in growing media requirements
  • Plants growing solely in agar or in other agar-like tissue culture media

APHIS‐Approved Plants in Growing Media

Only the following plants may be imported into the United States in a growing media.

Aechmea, Ananas, Anthurium, Buxus sinica, Campanula, Cryptanthus, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Ehretia microphylla, true ferns, Guzmania, Holenburgia, Hyacinthus, Neoregelia, Nidularium, Oncidium, Phalaenopsis, Podocarpus macrophyllus, Rhipsalidopsis, Rhododendron, Sageretia thea, Schlumbergera, Serissa foetida, Solanum lycopersicum, Tillandsia, and Vriesea.

Plants for planting offered for importation must meet size and age requirements. Size and age restrictions are based on whether the whole plant or part of a plant is offered for import.

  • Whole plants shipped into the United States should not be older than two years
  • Plant parts are not eligible for importation if stem diameter exceeds 4 inches and plant is taller than 6 feet
For specific size and age restrictions and other variations see the APHIS Plants for Planting Manual.

Seeds or propagative plant parts of the following plants must be treated prior to importation (only for niger seed) or at a U.S. port of entry before they will be released to the permit holder:

  • Abelmoschus spp. (okra) seeds
  • Allium sativum (garlic) bulbs
  • Castanea spp. (chestnut) seeds
  • Dioscorea (yam) tubers
  • Guizotia abyssinica (niger) seeds
  • Hibiscus spp. (hibiscus, rose mallow) seeds
  • Lathyrus spp. (peavine, sweet pea) seeds
  • Lens spp. (lentils) seeds
  • Quercus spp. (oak) seeds
  • Rutaceae (Citrus) family seeds
  • Vicia spp. (fava bean, vetch) seeds

For additional information and treatment requirements, see Plants for Planting Manual (Chapter 3, Specific Restrictions, see Plant Material Requiring Treatment for Entry).

Artificially dwarfed plants (e.g., bonsai or penjing) imported into the United States from all countries, except from Canada, and are less than 2 years old, must have been grown and handled as follows:

  • Any growing media, including soil, must be removed from the artificially dwarfed plants (bonsai or penjing) prior to shipment to the United States (except for plants to be imported in accordance with Approved Taxa for Plants in Growing Media Program)
  • Artificially dwarfed plants must be grown in accordance with the following requirements and the required phytosanitary certificate must contain the additional declarations that those requirements have been met.
    • Artificially dwarfed plants must be grown for at least 2 years in a greenhouse or screenhouse in a nursery registered with the government of the country where the plants were grown
    • Artificially dwarfed plants must be grown in pots containing only sterile growing media during the 2-year period when they are grown

For further details of requirements see the APHIS Plants for Planting Manual.

Plants of certain endangered species are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). To import protected plant species, the buyer must obtain a:

In addition, the seller must obtain a CITES Certificate/Permit from the country of origin. This document must accompany the shipment.

To view lists of plants protected under CITES and ESA, please visit the following links:

Postentry Quarantine restrictions may be placed on the importation of certain taxa of plants for planting based upon an identified pest risk. Plants are required to grow in quarantine for two years. Some are grown for less than two years. Seeds are exempt from postentry quarantine.

For plants required to enter a post entry quarantine, you must obtain the following documents:

  • Postentry Quarantine Permit (form PPQ 546)
  • State Postentry Quarantine agreement with APHIS
  • Postentry Quarantine growing agreement with importer

Plants that require postentry quarantine are as follows:

Abelmoschus spp., Acca sellowiana, Acer spp., Acer japonicum, Acer palmatum, Althaea spp., Anacardium spp., Annona spp., Artocarpus spp., Averrhoa spp., Berberis spp., Blighia sapida, Bromeliaceae family, Brugmansia spp., Carica spp., Carissa spp., Ceratonia spp., Chrysanthemum spp., Chrysobalanus spp., Chrysophyllum spp., Corylus spp., Crocosmia spp. except bulbs, Datura, Dianthus, Dimocarpus spp. Diospyros spp. Durio spp. Eucalyptus spp., Eugenia, Euonymus, Euphoria (Dimocarpus), Ficus carica, Garcinia, Gladiolus, Hibiscus, Humulus, Hydrangea, Jasminum, Juniperus, Leucanthemella serotina, Lansium, Ligustrum, Macadamia spp., Mahoberberis spp., Mahonia spp., Malpighia spp., Malus spp., Mammea spp., Manilkara spp., Melicoccus spp., Mespilus germanica, Nephelium, Nipponanthemum nipponicum, Passiflora spp., Philadelphus spp., Phyllanthus spp., Pinus spp. 2- or 3-leaved only, Pistacia spp., Prunus spp., Pseudotsuga spp., Rhodomyrtus spp., Rosa spp., Rubus spp., Spondias spp., Syzygium spp., Vaccinium spp., and Watsonia spp. (except bulbs).

For detailed description of Postentry Quarantine program see the APHIS Plants for Planting Manual.

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