Your Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty.

Ask Mr. Sage: Shipping Outside the Lower 48 States

Jul 18, 2014

Ask Mr. Sage: Shipping Outside the Lower 48 States

Q: Dear Mr. Sage,
Do you ship to other countries or to parts of the United States outside the continental U.S. -- the lower 48 states south of Canada and north of Mexico? I've heard good things about you from friends back home in Florida. I'll be living in Hawaii for the next 18 months and, after that, moving to Asia. I want to order some plants now. If I'm satisfied, I'd like to be able to order again when I move outside the U.S. Can you help me?
Dedicated Gardener

A: Dear Dedicated Gardener,
The short answer is yes. Yet there is always a long answer.

To begin with, we do ship to distant parts of the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, territories such as Guam and commonwealths including Puerto Rico. Within the U.S., only Guam and Puerto Rico require phytosanitary permits.

We feel that it is only fair to warn you that it can be extremely expensive to ship to foreign countries. Distance is a factor; the price of shipping to locations outside the U.S. is many times higher than fees for domestic shipping and requires costly U.S. phytosanitary certificates. Also, meeting other countries' import regulations, including tariffs and duties for importation, makes international shipping difficult.

Furthermore, although the travel part of the international shipping process isn't slow, handling at the receiving end in your country may make the process take longer and increase risk to plant survival in a box.  We use a bonded plant transportation firm for transport and customs clearance.

In addition to obtaining a U.S. phytosanitary certificate approving export, an additional permit is required when entering a foreign country. Also, foreign importers almost always need to hire a freight broker due to the complexity of the process and the need for a costly quarantine period. It may take months from order to delivery, which means that intermediaries need to tend to the plants before customers are free to take them home.

Whether you are ordering from a distant American location or from a foreign country, there are good reasons behind the steps of this complicated shipping process. These include validating that plants are free of hazards including invasive insects and diseases.

If you are ordering from a foreign country, these are the steps in our mandatory protocol:

  • First, you submit a list of the plants you want and the exact destination where they need to arrive.
  • Second, we draft an estimate of costs and a shipping schedule.
  • Third, you pay a 50 percent, nonrefundable deposit before we proceed further.
  • Fourth, when we receive the deposit, we begin planning the shipment process and keep you informed about the schedule and any steps you need to take.
  • Finally, you pay us the balance of funds for the order before we ship.

FBTS will not break any export shipping rules, so please don't ask us to do so. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself whether importation will be worth the time and expense. If the answer is yes, then we are here to help.

Thanks for Your Question,
Mr. Sage


There are no comments yet.

Plants mentioned in this article
Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.