Ordering plants from overseas ( Re: Yuzawa Engei)

Submitted by paulhschneider on

Yuzawa Engei in Hokkaido ,Japan is an advertiser in RGQ & has a wonderful website. I'm wondering if any USA members have had success ordering plants from them with particular regard to US customs problems. They seem to indicate that by ordering less then 13 plants that there won't be a customs problem. I have a permit to import small quantities of seed but no plant import permit. Does anyone have valid advice to my question??  paul h.schneider, Eastern Sun Studio & Gardens, Portland, Tennessee 


Submitted by kkoreeda on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 09:01

I have ordered both plants and seeds from Yuzawa in the past.  I have import permits for both "small lots of seeds" and "plants for planting" .  When I ordered seeds and plants from Yuzawa, I sent copies of permits and mailing labels ahead of time.

You mentioned of Yuzawa suggesting that if you order less than 13 plants you might not required to have permits.  My understanding of this particular issue is as follows:  Not requiring permits when importing less than 13 plants (I thought it was up to 12 plants) applies only when you bring them in as a carry on item and not when you have the vendor ship items to you, as long as you provide phytosanitary certificates for the plant materials you bring them with you.  If you are entering through airports where plant inspection stations are located locally, you might check with the customs and border protection office in advance, as sometimes they want you to go through the inspection stations rather than customs service at the airport.  I live in Detroit area and use Detroit airport.  We do not have plant inspection stations in our area and therefore Detroit Airport Customs people will inspect plants if I bring them in as carry on item.  However, I was told that I am at their mercy whether they will inspect plant materials without prior notification and/or arrangement.  Personally, they have not been refused inspection.

Hope this information helps. 

Thanks for your response. I ordered plants from Yuzawa Engei after talking to an APHIS official. He said that as long as plants ordered did not require any Post Entry review based on the extensive list in the Plants for Planting manual, were shipped bare root & the shipment contained a proper Phyto-Sanitary certificate that there should not be a problem. The shipment could not contain over 12 plants( less than 13). I ordered 7 plants: 1 Paris, 2 Disporum, 2 Polygonatum, 1 Asarum, 1Arisaema. All plants that did not require Post Entry review. Plants were shipped late last Sunday 12/4/16 & were in my hands Sat 12/10/16. All packaging was the best I have ever seen on a plant shipment from anywhere in the States. Bare root plants in clean damp sphagnum moss were undamaged. Sochiryo at Yuzawa was very helpful regards emails that went back & forth about the order & shipment. Payment was painless & swift via PayPal. All in all a very professional attitude toward my order & a pleasant experience. I would not have any qualms about re-ordering from these folks & they have some variegated plants that I have not seen elsewhere.

Happy Gardener- shipment received in great shape
Perfect packaging & labeling of each plant
Bare root plant just out of packaging
Another example

Submitted by paulhschneider on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 15:50

I have tried to post a few images of my order from Yuzawa Engei  without any success. They are photos from my Iphone & are in the cloud. Sorry, guess I'm not up to date on all the techno stuff.

Glad to hear you were able to receive your order from Yuzawa and happy.  It was also good to know that 12 plants condition applies to ordering from vendors. 

Arranging phytosanitary certificate in Japan for plants approved for importing to the US is quite straight forward and does not require any fees.  The only problem I find is the lack of vendors willing to offer service as well as plant information in English.   Yuzawa seems to be very popular in that sense, particularly from European plant enthusiasts. 


My curiosity was triggered by this thread and I placed an order for 11 plants, all of which are absent from American catalogs. The process of ordering & payment was easy with Pay. Plants were shipped from Hokkaido 12/26 and arrived on my front porch 12/30. Packaging was excellent. Plants were generous size & packed in moist sphagnum. Still moist on arrival. I spent a nice part of my new year's eve enjoying potting them up. I'm eager to see how they do this spring.

ScottA, happy to hear that you had the same results as I did. Seems like a really sharp outfit! hope all you plants do well. Happy New Year, paul s.

Submitted by IMYoung on Sat, 01/21/2017 - 08:42

Yuzawa Engei  also advertise in the Scottish Rock Garden Club journal - The Rock Garden -  and in the AGS bulletin - I have heard nothing but good reports about plants bought from them in Japan and shipped to Europe and the UK.


edit to say - there was a typo, I have edited my post to make it clear that the reports I hear from those buying from Yuzawa Engei are all satisfied.

I apologise that there was previously a typo in my post above -   I have edited my post to make it clear that the reports I hear from those buying from Yuzawa Engei are all satisficatory.