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Old Oct 11, 05, 9:33 am   #1
 
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Importing tulip (and flower) bulbs from Netherlands to USA

Thought this might be the best forum... (mods feel free to move)

What are the rules concerning the personal importation of flower bulbs (specifically tulips and fritillaria imperialis) from the Netherlands to the USA. Myself and others I know have done it before. A relative of mine once brought 500+ bulbs with!

But I now find out from a flower merchant that it is forbidden to bring bulbs into the US, except those with a short-term health certificate sold normally only in the airside shops at Schiphol. Is this true?

I want to bring a very large number of bulbs for someone who has just moved into a new house, as a gift, and think buying a few hundred at See Buy Fly might get very expensive and/or not be possible. Anyone have experience with this?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 11, 05, 9:53 am   #2
 
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When you enter the US you feel a custom form where you specify that you are not bring in any organics stuff

One solution could be to get a few from the airport and most of them from other shop and then merge them in a single bag with the certificate. however I don't know if the certificate is valide for a certain number only. This seems to be too easy.

other solution is to have a nice smile, be well dressed and cross your finger
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Old Oct 11, 05, 9:57 am   #3
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The USDA site puts flower bulbs on its "General List of Approved Products" with the following disclaimer:

Check with the consulate or agricultural office in the country of origin to confirm that your item is allowed. A phytosanitary certificate is required for propagative material. Pre-departure inspection is required for passengers traveling from Hawaii to the mainland, Puerto Rico to the mainland, and from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/cl..._prod_inus.xml

There are plenty of sellers outside the airport that have the necessary cert. Look for the numbered phytosanitary certificate attached on the label.
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Old Oct 11, 05, 10:00 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrien
When you enter the US you feel a custom form where you specify that you are not bring in any organics stuff

One solution could be to get a few from the airport and most of them from other shop and then merge them in a single bag with the certificate. however I don't know if the certificate is valide for a certain number only. This seems to be too easy.

other solution is to have a nice smile, be well dressed and cross your finger
Sorry, but this is really bad advice. This rule is in place to protect agriculture from foreign pests. People smuggling in non-certified items put a large industry and the environment at risk. USDA takes this very seriously.
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Old Oct 11, 05, 10:42 am   #5
 
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I would also take APHIS/USDA seriously. I certainly declare bulbs, as well as cheese on my customs form; even other yummy Dutch thingies such as cookies, chocolate, or licorice. None of those items are an issue, but bulbs must have the certificate.

Flowers, bulbs, etc., from the Netherlands are also readily available inside the U.S., e.g. at wholesale clubs such as Costco, Sam's Club, BJ's.

I'd wanna say we got a batch of bulbs (tulips) at Costco earlier this year. Perhaps 50 for less than US$10; but I'd have to run it by my s/o to confirm.

So if you want to be really (cost?) efficient, consider that route. Perhaps a gift certificate, or something.
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Old Oct 11, 05, 1:52 pm   #6
 
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letiole, thanks for the information and sources. I thought there was some sort of legal way to import bulbs, as we have always declared the bulbs we brought in without any issue. (I also take import of live, organic products seriously as a potential threat to other ecosystem and bioindustries.) That is why what one vendor told me about a blanket ban puzzled me.

NilsHolgerson, also thanks for advice. I can get about 500+ mixed bulbs here for around 25 euros, maybe less. It is also the thought that they came all the way from Holland that makes them that little bit special. And of course they fit nicely into the 64kg weight limit (as if I ever have that much).
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Old Oct 11, 05, 2:43 pm   #7
 
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The legal bulbs with certificates are available in town at the flower market as well as at Schiphol.
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Old Oct 11, 05, 5:53 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchmeckFlyer
NilsHolgerson, also thanks for advice. I can get about 500+ mixed bulbs here for around 25 euros, maybe less. It is also the thought that they came all the way from Holland that makes them that little bit special. And of course they fit nicely into the 64kg weight limit (as if I ever have that much).
Right, I definitely understand your wanting to bring them from the Netherlands yourself. I presume "here" means the Netherlands; 500 bulbs for 25 is fabulous. Assuming they come with the certificate: you're good to go! My significant other wants you to know that we recently acquired a bunch of bags of 40 Dutch mixed tulips at US$6.99 a bag, and 25 narcissus at US$4.99 a bag. The bags refer to www.flowerbulbinfo.com for more than you wanted to know about bulbs...

Oh, and regarding weight limit, it's down to 2x 23kgs in Y now; not counting any elite privileges you might have on top of that. So don't go overboard.
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Old Oct 18, 05, 9:03 am   #9
 
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An update...

I just finished speaking with a flower merchant in Haarlem who is able to sell every kind of bulb imaginable that fulfills the import and sanitation requirements of US customs, and the Department of Agriculture.

Basically, he has to inspect the bulbs, clean them, and pack them appropriately no earlier than two weeks before scheduled departure. He issues a phytosanitary certificate that is valid only two weeks, and contains information such as my flight number, intended date of entry to US, and address in US. Although the prices are slightly higher than other wholesalers, they are definately much much lower than the prices of markets in Amsterdam that sell bulbs with the certificates, for example. A call to the embassy to confirm the procedure (to avoid suddenly discovering something "new" at customs, resulting in seizure of my bulbs) was positive.

I can get 500 mixed tulip bulbs, a whole bunch of Queen of Nights, and a bunch of imperialis for about 100 euros. And all suitable for import to the US. I think it will be a nice gift... and it grows back every year.
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Old Oct 18, 05, 9:16 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchmeckFlyer
<...>a flower merchant in Haarlem who is able to sell every kind of bulb imaginable that fulfills the import and sanitation requirements of US customs, and the Department of Agriculture<...>
That's excellent SchmeckFlyer. Would you mind sharing name and address of this particular flower merchant with us, or me if your prefer doing a PM?
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Old Oct 18, 05, 9:35 am   #11
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Glad to hear.

Just in case you wanted another gift suggestion for your friend , my very favorite fritillaria and you so seldom see it in the US:

http://www.aphotoflora.com/Fritillar...is25-03-05.jpg
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