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Taking Plants Over Borders – Learn About International Travel With Plants

Taking Plants Over Borders – Learn About International Travel With Plants


By: Laura Miller

Did you know transporting plants over borders can beillegal? While most commercial growers realize moving plants acrossinternational borders requires a permit, vacationers may not consider theecological ramifications if they take plants to a new country or even adifferent state.

Ecological Impact of Moving Plants Across International Borders

That beautiful flowering plant growing outside your hotelbalcony may look innocent enough. You might even consider gathering a few seedsor taking a root clipping home so you can grow it in your backyard. But resistthe temptation of sneaking plants over borders.

Bringing non-native plants into an ecosystem can create aninvasive nightmare. Without natural population controls, non-native plants canovertake the habitat of nativespecies and squeeze them right out of existence. Additionally, live plants,clippings, seeds and even fruit can harbor invasive insects, pests and plantdiseases that can desecrate native plant life.

About International Travel with Plants

What if you’re moving or making an extended visit to aforeign country and you want to bring along the tea rose your grandmother gaveyou for graduation or your favorite variety of garden seeds? Be aware that somestates, like California, don’t permit the transport of plants into or out ofthe state. The first step will be to check with your home state to see if ithas such a provision.

Next, you’ll need to find out if the country in which you’llbe residing permits moving plants across international borders. You can findthis out by checking their consulate’s or custom’s website. Be aware thatinternational movers may not accept plants and plant materials for transport.Additionally, there could be fees in excess of the plant’s value and the plantmay not survive the long journey.

Commercially Shipping Live Plants Internationally

Importing and exporting live plants and propagativematerials into and out of the United States has similar restrictions. Generallyspeaking, importing fewer than a dozen plant items doesn’t require a permitproviding that species has no restrictions. Documentation, quarantines andinspections may still be required.

Restricted species and those exceeding the dozen item limit,may require a permit for moving plants across international borders. If you’repositive you want to take your grandmother’s tea rose plant to your new homeabroad, the following steps should be taken to determine if a permit is neededfor shippinglive plants internationally.

  • Species Identification: Before a permit is issued, you must be able to properly identify the plant as to species and genus.
  • Prepare for Inspections and Clearances: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has requirements for inspections and clearances at the port of entry or exit. The foreign country may also have inspections, clearance and quarantine requirements.
  • Protected Status: Research to find if the plant species has domestic or international protective status.
  • Assessment: Determine which, if any, permits you need or regulations that will need followed. There are exemptions for importing or exporting personal belongings.
  • Apply for the Permit: If a permit is needed for moving the plants over borders, apply early. The application process may take time for approval.

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Last modified on Mon 7 Aug 2017 14.12 BST


How to grow heleniums

Grow heleniums in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Stake taller varieties, especially in exposed conditions. Water regularly to prevent the soil from drying out, and deadhead spent blooms to keep the flowers coming. Divide congested helenium clumps every few years, in spring or autumn. Heleniums die back over winter, so cut them back after flowering.

Where to grow heleniums

Heleniums aren’t fussy plants and will be happy in most fertile, but well-drained soils. Although they can stretch to partial shade, a position with plenty of sun will guarantee a good show of flowers.

How to plant heleniums

Dig a generous hole, larger than the pot your plant is in, and add a sprinkling of mycorrhizal fungi before backfilling with soil and a spadeful of garden compost for added drainage.

In this video clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don plants heleniums, for a splash of late-summer colour:

Caring for heleniums

Heleniums need regular watering so don’t allow the soil to dry out. Deadhead blooms to keep the flowers coming, or cut flowers to bring indoors. Clumps can become a bit congested after a few years, so will need dividing in autumn or spring. Taller varieties are worth staking early in the season. Plants will die back over winter, so cut them back after flowering.

How to propagate heleniums

To propagate heleniums, divide plants in autumn or spring. Dig up an established clump that’s large and fairly congested. Split it with a spade and add plenty of well rotted garden compost when replanting. You can also take basal cuttings from new shoots in spring and grow on under cover until they’re established enough to plant out.

Growing heleniums: problem-solving

Heleniums are generally pest-free but can be prone to leaf spot. Remove affected leaves to stop the spread.


How to grow lavatera

Find out all you need to know about growing lavatera (mallow), in this start-to-finish Grow Guide.

Published: Monday, 25 February, 2019 at 4:12 pm

Do not Plant in September

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Do not Take cuttings in January

Do not Take cuttings in February

Do not Take cuttings in March

Do not Take cuttings in April

Do not Take cuttings in August

Do not Take cuttings in September

Do not Take cuttings in October

Do not Take cuttings in November

Do not Take cuttings in December

Lavatera, commonly known as mallows, are available as annual, biennial, perennial or shrubby varieties.

The flowers are large, open blooms, in white or pink and are great for attracting bees and other pollinating insects. With their long flowering season, lavateras are good for filling gaps or including in a summer container display.

Browse our handy lavatera Grow Guide, below.

Where to grow lavatera

Grow lavatera in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Make sure it’s a sheltered spot out of any cold, drying winds.

Planting lavatera

Sow annual lavatera seeds in trays under cover in early spring. When seedlings are large enough to handle, pot on and harden off before planting out into borders.

When planting shrubby lavateras, dig a generous hole, adding compost for drainage and a handful of mychorrhizal fungi to encourage good root development.

Propagating lavatera

If you want to grow from your existing plant, let some flowerheads develop into seedpods and save the seeds to sow the following spring. Or, you can take softwood cuttings.

Lavatera: problem solving

Lavatera is generally pest-free but can be prone to rust and fungal diseases. Remove affected foliage as and when you spot signs of disease.

Caring for lavateras

Deadhead plants through the summer to encourage more flowers. Cut perennial varieties back in autumn and mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost. The shrubby varieties can cope with a mild frost, but will struggle if the thermometer dips below -5°C. Prune in early spring to encourage flowers on new season’s growth.


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