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FYI: Selling/Shipping Plants (eBay or otherwise)

Not a Number

Hello, I must be going...
Staff member

Most people are totally unaware that to ship , sell move or cause to be moved, any plant material, live or dead wet or dry, a Nursery license is required by all States and Federal law.

The individual states ALL require nursery licenses or permits to move plants or plant materials, thru any method of transportation be it USPS or UPS or FEDX or any movement method or shipping method.

What does this all mean to the buyers on ebay? They should check to make sure that who they are buying from is a licensed nursery. Unlicensed backyard growers are responsible for spreading insects , disease, and viruses and illegal invasive weeds and plants into other states were such things have never been found previously.

Noxious weeds that are on the federal list that are shipped become the responsibility of the sender and the individual that ordered them. Causing to ship or shipping is the one and the same as far as the Feds are concerned.

It is a Federal Crime to ship plants without the box they are shipped in to be properly labeled on the outside as to the plant that is inside, the common name of the plant , and the proper scientific name of the plant clearly labeled on the OUTSIDE of the box. A nursery license number , permit number is to be in view as a stamp or a label as well.

Some say that they will never get caught selling and that its ok to do. In Calif and other states as well now , the Ag inspectors are using ag dogs now to id packages that are not labeled legally.

They have also started a sting operation in Calif, they actually order plants from backyard growers and then cite them and or arrest them if they are running a nursery without proper licensing.

With the SOD problem , (Sudden Oak Death) , and other insect problems, they are trying to stop the spread of such problems by backyard ,uneducated , unlicensed growers that are actually causing more problems.

Now, they are not going to arrest Grandma ,who sent her daughter a rose clipping, but they will arrest a backyard grower , who very stupidly is selling on ebay with their feed back of 50 or100 or 1000 plant sales in public view, PROVING they are running a unlicensed nursery and shipping all around the country. All the information they need to prove their case is being provided by the sellers feedback." love the plants , bought from them, before 3 rd year ordering" " great plants, had cute bugs in them " an actual feed back comment ! Case closed.

The fact remains, sellers on Ebay need to be licensed to sell plants, even if you buy the plants from a licensed nursery and resell them. you need a nursery brokers license then , there is NO WAY around it.

The law is clear, to move, to ship, to cause it to be moved requires a license.

The Buyers on Ebay need to be responsible too, they need to refuse to buy from backyard growers.

A buyer can be just as responsible for bringing a illegal plant in as the seller, in fact it is a common way for a buyer to get a prohibited plant they want, to go find a backyard grower and get it. That is why they are making the buyers accountable now , as well as the sellers.

Buy or sell a plant illegally and you may be explaining, as you are paying the $10,000 fine, that you got busted by a cute little dog named Lolly, (she is one of the Ag dogs that are used now in the State of Calif. )

Food for thought, is it worth it? Do you want to risk having your property taken, lose your house, your money, and maybe your freedom?

Be responsible, buy and sell on Ebay the legal way , get licensed and only buy from licensed nursery.

Most sellers could become licensed to sell in most instances too.​


Domestic Quarantines - Code of Federal Regulations Title 7 (Agriculture) Section 301

US Postal Regulations

USDA (see chapter 5)

National Plant Board - copies and links to individual States quarantines, laws and regulations

Note: States fines run from $1000 to $25,000. Federal fines are up to $250,000 for individuals $500,000 for groups or corporations and up to 6-10 years imprisonment.
Warren -- thanks for the buzz-kill.

Someone is getting a nice piece of anthracite coal in his stocking . . .
Thanks for the info.NAN
A postal worker helped me repackage a plant shippment last week. They were super helpful......strange.
Thanks for the info
Seriously, what even prompted this. These laws are antiquated and largely unenforced and most nurserymen agree, at least the dozens of nursery owners and growers I have met. While yes, they do follow the law, they agree that these regulations are antiquated. Based on what you are saying, anybody that sends plants across state lines and receives any sort of compensation is breaking the law if they don't have a license. So every giveaway on here where people ask the winners to pay shipping is breaking the law.... also pretty much every CP nursery in the US doesn't put a label of the contents on the outside of the box.... soooo I'm calling bullcrap.