Passports for Plants

Daylily care video: Sensible Gardening and Living

As a daylily enthusiast I so often wish it were easier to attain plants from the United States. Many hybridizers and growers live south of our border and the selection seems endless. Unfortunately international plant shipping it is not that simple as both countries find it necessary to protect their environment from unwanted pests and diseases.

Of course this makes perfect sense and has to be.

Sensible Gardening and Living
Sensible Gardening and Living

What is required are phytosanitary certificates which are issued by a Federal Agriculture Inspector. This phyto is the approval needed that the inspected plants are free of pests and disease and are therefore suitable for importation. The garden or nursery where the plants originate must be inspected, including both plants and their soil. All of this is a lengthy and cumbersome business as well as expensive. The price of a phyto certificate can add several dollars to your plant order.

Over the years many plant suppliers in the United States have stopped shipping to Canada. They simply find the whole process of phytosanitary certification to be too exhausting. Many plant societies used to arranged for plant sales at conventions and meetings by supplying a certificate of phytosanitary, but with newer requirements in place this has also become almost impossible to organize.

The result is I must look closer to home for new additions. Fortunately over the years there are now more plant hybridizers and growers within Canada.  One great advantage of this is that their plant material is hardier and more likely to succeed in your northern garden. A quick internet search on your plants of choice will take you to many suppliers within our own borders.

There are still some USA hybridizers and growers that continue to ship to Canada as well. They have a system in place for providing the necessary documentation you need to import their plants. There is a fee for this service, for which I have seen a spread of between $25.00 per order to $75.00 per order for a phyto sanitary certificate. It pays to do your homework and shop around.

For local sources of plant material check the internet, plant societies and organizations, garden clubs, garden blogs and magazine classifieds You might be surprised what you find growing in your own backyard.

2 thoughts on “Passports for Plants

  1. So true Helen. I often wonder why the nursery trade doesn’t expand their horizons a bit and under regulations of course offer different plant material other than the same-o same-o we get year after year. So much of what you grow would also grow very well here in Canada. Same goes for Asia.

  2. I am wondering whether the importing restrictions will get tougher for the UK given the recent hue and cry over the ash die-back disease which has come in from Europe. I also wonder whether it would be better for the UK nursery trade which is faced with tough competition from Europe constantly underpricing it. However on the other side the UK has been responsible for a lot of plant trafffic over the centuries and this might have a bad effect. It is hard to know what is the best approach but I also know that US garden blogging friends who visited a few years back were fustrated at not being able to take plant back to the US

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