Buy Houseplants from Indonesia (My Experience)
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
6 things I wish I knew before buying houseplants from Indonesia. Buying plants online gives me anxiety, and it used to give me even more anxiety when I buy plants from a foreign country like Indonesia. So many things can go wrong like delays due to customs, dying or dead plants on arrival. I've been through it all so I want to share some tips I wish I knew before buying plants from Indonesia and talk about my recent plant import from Chlorosoil.
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1) Import Requirements - Do you need an import permit?
Check the import requirements for your country. Each country has different requirements about importation of plants. Some countries can be very strict about what plants can be imported and the number of plants that can be imported due to the risks associated with invasive species that might hitch a ride with your plants!
I live in the USA, so I can only speak for my experience on importing plants here. For USA residents, you can check on APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) for most up-to-date information. From what I've researched, it's best to keep under 12 plants so you can avoid getting a import permit (as long as a phytosanitary certificate). If you get more than 12 plants then you will have to apply for an import permit with the USDA APHIS here. The maximum plants I've imported at once is 12, which I split with my friend Cesar to get free shipping! We did not have to apply for a import permit.
2) Phytosanitary Certificate
What is Phytosanitary Certificate? It is a document that verifies that the plants are free from invasive species. It identifies the name/quantity of plants being imported and the disinfection treatment performed. During this disinfection treatments, the plants will need to be stripped of any growing medium like soil so they will be shipped bare root. Phytosanitary needs to be provided by the seller. Below is an example of my phytosanitary certificate from Chlorosoil. They offer free shipping and phytosanitary if you purchase above $450. (You can use my discount code "CHLOROXFELINE” for 5% off your order.) Some sellers will charge extra to proceed with the document, so check with the seller!
3) Quality Plant Sellers
It's also important to buy plants from plant sellers who are experienced!! As you can see, there are many regulations. The plant seller should be able to guide you through the process, making it easier for you as the buyer. I usually look for reviews on their website to see if they have experience shipping to the USA.
Another thing, I look for are unboxing videos from other buyers!! You can really tell the condition of the plants up on arrival and determine if you should purchase from them. It's important to note that each plants is different and will react differently when being shipped. You should always document the unboxing process to protect yourself (preferably a video, I'm going to tell you why in a bit).
4) I Placed My Order - Now What?
Now it's a waiting game! The phytosanitary must be approved before the seller can send the plants. The whole process takes 5-6 weeks from applying for an export permit, getting the plants tested at a laboratory and getting the phytosanitary. I usually check in with the plant seller after 4 weeks to check on the status of my plants.
Once, the plants are cleared to be exported, the seller will send out the plants. You should always ask for a tracking number to confirm that the plants are shipped. Chlorosoil uses DHL carrier for international shipping and a tracking number was provided. The estimated delivery for my plants was a week, however I received it in just 4 days! So I was very excited about early arrival of my package and had to do a live unboxing video on my IG and Youtube.
5) What to do with Plants on Arrival?
Get your cameras ready to film an unboxing video. You want to document the conditions of the plants just in case they come in a bad shape. Photos are helpful but they're not the same as a video. You want to be able to proof that the plants were damaged due to shipping and not damaged by you. I make sure to inspect the leaves and the roots. Remember that leaves are no good to you if the roots are rotted. Some sellers will not take any responsibility after the plants has been sent out. Chlorosoil actually has a replacement/ money compensation depending on the damage on the plants. Each plant seller has a different guarantee policy, so make sure to check their policy before purchasing.
Fortunately for me, the plants from Chlorosoil were in great condition. They sent me 7 plants (free of charge) so that I can do a honest review. I figured the best way to show you the plants was to do a live plant mail unboxing and Q&A session where I can answer your questions about importing plants. Thank you for everyone who was a part of the live! If you missed the live, you can check out the video below.
If you decide to buy from them, you can click here for their website. Don't forget to use my discount code "CHLOROXFELINE” for 5% off your order. (Save a few extra bucks to buy more plants!)
6) Acclimating Plants - What to expect?
The plants will look the best on the first day. Now they have to acclimate to your home, through this process the plants will lose a leaf or two. DO NOT FREAK OUT. That is completely normal. Just imagine if you're the plant, you just migrated to a new country that has different customs and language (You would need time to adjust too).
But there are a few simple things we can do to make this transition easier for our plants. I'm making a care video on what to do with bare root plants after your received them in the mail and how to repot them. Stay tuned for that video! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube video and hit the notification bell so you don't miss it.
Hope this blog helped you :) Leave a comment if you have any unanswered questions. I'll try my best to answer them.