sending bulbs to Australia

Lee Poulsen
Fri, 18 Nov 2011 15:00:01 PST

>> I am also a Hippeastrum lover. I would like to know can bulbs be sent to
> Australia without causing a lot of problems with Customs.
> See:
> Big problems.
> Mark Mazer

I've sent both seeds and bulbs to Australia. Sending seeds is in some ways easier than sending seeds to the USA from abroad. No permit or phyto or quarantine is necessary when sending seeds. However, you must list the species on each packet you send. The one difficulty is if the Oz government doesn't have the specific species you're sending on their official list of what is allowed in (known as a "white list" rather than a blacklist). Sometimes the problem is that it is listed under a synonym only, or a species name that was commonly used long ago but no longer is. You have to find out what name is used on their list. What is funny is that sometimes a more common species within a genus is not on the list while a much rarer species is on the list! Go figure.

Bulbs and plants are much more difficult to import into Australia. Which is a real problem for them when seeds of a species are not easily available, or not at all. I was able to send some offsets of Paramongaia to several people there when a group of Australians were going through the torturous and very expensive effort to import another rare amaryllid species from a grower here in the USA. I sent my offsets to this grower who then packaged them with the plants he was sending and they all went through the arduous and expensive quarantine procedure that Australia requires. Since the charge is by the square meter of grow space and you have to pay for the space in increments of (I forget exactly) maybe ½ a square meter, it didn't really cost anything extra to place several dormant bulbs alongside and in between the pots containing the other plants in the shipment. Otherwise, it would have cost the minimum charge, just for 2 or 3 bulbs that are dormant and take up very little space. Plus, I think they hold them for observation for many (six?) months before releasing them. It makes getting a phyto certificate in a third world country seem trivial by comparison!   ;-)

I hear that the situation for New Zealand is very similar, if not *more* difficult.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

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