Importing Hosta Seeds from the US

UPDATE 3/17/22 – We’ve made the decision to restrict purchases to only Canada and the U.S. at this time, as only one of the European shipments made at the start of 2022 has been delivered this season, to the best of our knowledge. All other European shipments have now been reported as being rejected by national postal services.

We have been given reasons ranging from customs rejections (but no further information available at this time) to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and still other shipments are suggested that they’ll be delivered yet, although all outstanding shipments have gone “dark”, weeks without tracking data updates, and none have been returned here.

It also appears that shipments are taking longer to process due to the recent changes in EU import policies around VAT and import duties. This aspect of things may be permanent unless we can find a way to expedite the process.

Our thoughts are with our friends in Europe during these troubling times.

In the past, we have been able to ship to the US, Canada, Poland, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Denmark.

We currently know that we cannot ship to Russia or the United Kingdom due to phytosanitary certificate requirements.

In the past, we could ship to the Netherlands, but as of April 2022 we had a shipment returned to us, denoting that a phytosanitary certificate was required. Our understanding of EU law disagrees with this requirement, but it may be under a change at the national level.

We are currently unclear if we can ship to Austria and Germany, as properly declared seeds were not cleared by customs and were reported as rejected, not delivered in 2022, despite being an EU member nation where hosta seeds should be permitted.

If your country is not listed above, email us and we will help you investigate! We used to allow customers from other countries place their orders while getting shipping quotes, but PayPal’s refund policies now mean we pay the fees, even if we refund the entire order! So, now, only pre-approved countries can complete their orders.

Details about Seed Importation, and Individual Country Accounts.

Here in the US, we have a small-lot seed program in place with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)…this is the proper way to bring in seeds from abroad. It’s a free program to participate in but requires sellers from abroad to do a little paperwork. I’ve brought in Begonia seeds from Europe through this program, although the vendor would have much rather just sent unlabeled seeds in the mail! Of course, the seeds never germinated anyway, so all I did was waste a bunch of time and money.

Still, the Internet has helped shrink our planet, and as a result, it can be tempting to purchase ornamental seeds from around the globe…hosta seeds being no exception. Doing this properly, above-board takes a little work. On our end, we will not simply throw seeds into the mail in an unmarked, undeclared envelope and hope for the best, so please don’t ask.

All our seeds are shipped with proper customs declarations, and you, the customer, are responsible for knowing your state and local laws as well as paying any appropriate duties and taxes on your import.

Certain laws and import requirements may come into effect with shipments of a certain value or size, e.g. requirements for Phytosanitary Certificates (we cannot furnish them at this time, although seeds are generally not something that requires them in my experiences to date, in most countries).

We obviously won’t refund purchases simply because you failed to properly import them where you live, or aren’t allowed to have hosta seeds there in the first place. It is best to contact your governmental agencies and ask any questions before purchasing hosta seeds.

This all said, Hostas are not generally thought of as invasive, they don’t even really naturalize, and they’re widespread around the globe. Their seeds don’t transmit any disease that I’m aware of at this time. From what I have seen, pretty permissive laws tend to govern ornamental flower seeds (such as Hostas), particularly when being imported for personal use at the scale we are dealing with. The largest shipment of Hosta Seeds we made to ANY customer on the 2020 harvest was about 1750 seeds, with a total weight of under 2 oz. Most import laws that I’ve seen don’t even start to worry until you get into shipments of multiple pounds/kg. But in the end, every country is unique. It is the buyer’s responsibility to follow all the laws and regulations.

IMPORTANT NOTE for the EU – While we had not had any problems shipping hosta seeds into the EU in the past, it has come to our attention in 2021, via the daylily community of seed sellers, that many of them believe that phytosanitary certificates are required for ALL seed shipments into the European Union.

Our own investigation suggests this is ONLY a requirement for the United Kingdom (see below) post-Brexit, and does not suggest that phytosanitary certificates are required for hosta seed (nor daylily seed) being shipped to the EU.

The EU’s regulations are meant to curb the spread of Xylella, and within those regulations they specifically exempt “seeds” within their definition of host plants. Hostas are not known to harbor this bacterium anyway, but daylilies (Hemerocallis) have in at least one study.

Regardless, the EU regulations clearly exempt seeds, although clearly many people are not reading the rules this way. And, it could well be that a well-meaning EU inspector could still stop a seed shipment, even though the official rules do not require phyto-certs for seeds of host plants.

Understand that ultimately it is your responsibility to know the laws and regulations regarding importing hosta seed (or any other plant or plant product) into your country, and we cannot be held responsible should an import fail, be confiscated, or destroyed.

Additionally, it has come to our attention that EU import policies changed as of July, 2021. It appears that all inbound shipments of any value are now subject to VAT and possibly import duty. For the 2021 harvest, we were unaware of this change, and sending them without pre-paying VAT may have increased processing times. We will investigate our options to collect VAT on orders ahead of time to expedite delivery in 2023, to see if this is a viable option that will help European customers, if we make the decision to re-open shipments to the EU.

Country Specific Information and Experiences

What follows is a list of the information we have found about importing seeds from the US in other countries, and documentation of the process with international orders that are shipped with full customs declarations and real values (e.g. not being declared as “gifts” or with “$0.00” value). We are not actively seeking out information, and it is certainly not complete and is certainly subject to change. But it may help you with your own imports. If you’re doing your homework prior to a seed order, and find valuable information, please send it to us, and we will add it to this page.


We have shipped seeds to Canada without incident several times, starting out in 2017. For the 2020 harvest, shipping in 2021 during the height of the COVID pandemic, total transit times using USPS First Class International were over 20 days (the longest was right around 4 weeks to arrive); our quickest arrival took 13 days. Seed packets experienced up to 13 day periods with no updates between International processing in Chicago and initial arrivals in the Canadian postal system.

Transit times appeared to be even longer in 2022, but all shipments have once again been delivered successfully.

It is noteworthy that small lots of herb/flower seeds under 5 kg are “exempt from CFIA importation requirements” as of 1/6/2021 per the website SeedWise. General information can be found on the Canada Post website at NAFTA should eliminate any tariffs, although it is our understanding that Canadian recipients may still have various duties and taxes to pay on seed shipments of over $20 in value.

That said, none of the Canadian hosta seed customers we’ve spoken with have ever been asked to pay duty or other taxes on the seeds we’ve sent. Since our seeds are properly and transparently declared, we suspect that means that they are not subjected to any fees, however, we cannot promise that!

Czech Republic

Our first shipment to the Czech Republic occurred in 2022, and took 30 days to be delivered. The customer was required to pay an import duty on an $87 shipment of 450 CZK, which at this time is roughly $20 USD, and slightly under 25% of the value of the shipment. The majority of the overall transit time was from the seeds simply sitting in Prague, going through customs, waiting for import duty, and ultimate release. It is unclear whether Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine played a role in this transit time, although other countries have suggested that it is a factor. 

As of April 2022, given all the rejections of seeds sent to Europe from the 2021 harvest, we are highly skeptical that seeds would be delivered to recipients in the Czech Republic, even though we had a successful shipment this year. As such are suspending shipments at this time.


We have successfully shipped to the Netherlands for the first time in 2021. Our customer actually received his seeds before any other international shipments were delivered (including areas much closer, such as Canada); they traveled from Duluth, MN to Chicago, IL, which took a total of 9 days processing before they left the US.  They were received in Amsterdam 4 days after their departure and were delivered 1 day after arriving in the country.

This first customer had anticipated having to pay duties/customs fees of a flat €16 in fixed costs, plus a charge of 21% of the value of the seeds AND the shipping costs; in his case, for a 6 packet order, the costs would have been an additional 65% beyond what he paid for the order. Interestingly, the customer was not required to pay any fees on his seed order as it came through customs in the Netherlands. We can’t say that other customers in the Netherlands would be as lucky and have such a smooth, low-cost transaction!

In 2022, this same customer was required to pay duty on the arrival in an amount that was roughly 50% of the value of the seeds, and as we type this, still has yet to actually receive his shipment; it has been 35 days since the seeds left (compared to 9 days last year). It is clear that European shipping was far more problematic in 2022, but hosta seeds can likely still be imported to the Netherlands, based on this experience.

UPDATE 4/10/22 – After weeks in transit, our latest Netherlands shipment was rejected and arrived back with notice that a phytosanitary certificate was required. While the EU enacted this rule on certain plant genera, hosta seeds are not listed in the prohibitions. Whether this is a rejection in error, or there is another law that prohibits hosta seed, perhaps at the national level, is entirely unclear. As of this time, there will be no further shipments of hosta seed to the Netherlands.


We’ve sent seeds to Poland for the first time in 2021 – after over a month in transit, they were finally on-hand in Poland, headed to their final destination. Sent on January 5th, they arrived at their final destination on February 16th, a full 42 days in transit.

As with all international shipments, they first traveled from Duluth, MN to Chicago, IL, where they were processed for export. After 8 days in the US, they left and headed to Frankfurt, Germany. There was no arrival scan, but 10 days later a first “departure” scan was initiated. Multiple duplicate departure scans occurred over the following 10 days, and finally, after another 11 days (21 days after their last scan in the US), the seeds were finally on hand in Poland. 2 days later, they were delivered to a very patient, and happy recipient.

On this first shipment, the recipient reports that there were no taxes, fees, or duties assessed.

As of April 2022, given all the rejections of seeds sent to Europe from the 2021 harvest, we are highly skeptical that seeds would be delivered to recipients in Poland, and as such are suspending shipments at this time.


We’ve had an inquiry from Germany, so we calculated the shipping costs and added them as an option at checkout. We have had our seeds sent to Poland pass through Germany, so presumably, we can ship safely to Germany. Ultimately, our first shipment to Germany in 2021 spent 19 days in transit and was delivered successfully.

However, the USPS Postal website had a small addition to their website around November, 2020, which suggests that all seeds require a phytosanitary certificate (date as determined by investigations using the website, the change happening between Oct 31st and November 9th, 2020.).

We are unsure if this USPS statement is in reference to EU rules that utilize a blacklist (which hostas are not a part of), or if something happened at the national level in Germany. And, our 2021 shipments were sent and cleared after that statement appeared on the USPS website. However, as of March 8th, a shipment that has been in Germany since mid-February has yet to be delivered. The latest update, as of 3/17/22, is that at least one German shipment has been rejected and set back to us, although nothing has arrived here in the U.S. Perhaps even more infuriating is that this time, the customer paid duty on seeds but never received them.

It appears that the rules have changed in Germany, and if that is the case, we may no longer be able to ship to Germany in the future until we get a better understanding of what is going on.


As of March 3rd, 2022, we are a bit puzzled, but recently learned that a shipment to Austria failed to clear customs and is being sent back to us. 6 weeks later, nothing has arrived anywhere. 

Austria, being an EU member, should allow for delivery of properly declared hosta seed, as they are permitted under EU rules. So, this failure to clear was either in error, or there is a local, country-specific rule to the contrary that neither us, or our customer, were aware of.

There is conflicting information as to whether seeds are allowed or not in Austria. The current USPS website does not mention any prohibition (as it does at this time for Germany), however, another Austrian governmental website does suggest that phytosanitary certificates are required for all seeds (whether this is current, outdated, reflective of a national level law, or an incorrect interpertation of the current EU regulations, is entirely unknown).

We are aware that other hosta seed shipments from other sellers have been delivered into Austria, but these have not been properly declared and as such, would technically be considered “smuggling” into the country (e.g. simply sent in an unmarked envelope as a “letter”). We are aware that other seed sellers will send undeclared hosta seeds abroad, and this may even be simply how they normally do so without giving it any thought. However, Duluth Hosta will not do so, and will refuse any and all such requests. All our seeds will be fully declared and disclosed to support legitimate, legal trade.

At this time, we do not recommend placing any orders from Austria until we can get this sorted out, and have removed Austrian addresses from making purchases.

United Kingdom/Great Brittain

As of September 2021, it is our findings that shipments of Hosta seed into the UK from the USA now require a phytosanitary certificate. While such permits can be obtained, they are highly cost- and time-prohibitive. To obtain a phytosanitary certificate to accompany the shipment of hosta seed, all the seeds being sent would need to be taken to an area USDA office for inspection. Inspectors would be screening the seeds for dirt/soil, weed seeds, and insects. 

Even if the seeds were found acceptable for export with a phytosanitary certificate, the government fees are currently anywhere between $67 and $81 per shipment. 

The bottom line is that we cannot ship hosta seeds to the UK at this time, and any other country that has a requirement for a phytosanitary certificate would fall under the same issues and thus also be on our “can’t ship” list.


As best as we’ve been able to discern, Russia requires phytosanitary certificates for all seeds entering the country from the European Union. This, combined with what we’re seeing with Daylily seed vendors in the US, suggests that in fact ALL seed from any country outside Russia appear to require a phytosanitary certificate, similar to the current state of affairs in the U.K.

As noted prior in the findings for the United Kingdom, phytosanitary certificate costs are pretty high here in Minnesota, costing anywhere between $67 and $81 per order. This is without accounting for the time it would take to drive each order to a USDA facility, to wait while seeds are inspected (our packets are sealed, so we’d have to open them and repack each pack in a new envelope), and then prep a shipment. 

The net result is that the regulations and time investment are cost-prohibitive in our view, and as such, we are not offering to ship any seeds into Russia at this time.

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