Is it illegal to Send Seeds by Mail?

Is it illegal to Send Seeds by Mail?– No,  Sending Seeds by mail is not illegal. You can send seeds through mail to your loved ones. It’s perfectly fine unless the seed you are mailing is illegal or banned in the particular area. It is better to look out for the local banned or prohibited plant list issued by Agricultural Authorities. They issue guidelines for legal and illegal plants along with some invasive species. If your seeds are not listed in their list then they are good to go through the mail.

You should mention the plant details on the package and their Phytosanitary certificates on the package. These legal documents are issued by local Agricultural Authorities. Many countries have made it compulsory for mailing seeds and live plants. Therefore, You can send seeds by mail with proper documentation.

Is it illegal to Send Seeds by Mail? butterfly-pea-seeds
Is it illegal to Send Seeds by Mail? butterfly-pea-seeds

Check out my previous post: Why Don’t We Have Any Seedless Pomegranate?

Is it legal to send seeds in the mail?

Yes, It is legal to send seeds by mail unless the seed itself is illegal. Seeds like Cannabis, Hemp, and several other wildflowers are outlawed in many countries. You are not allowed to grow such seeds in these restricted areas. Therefore, Such seeds are illegal to mail.

Other than that, If the plant or seed is non-invasive then you can send them by mail to another country. Although you may need a Phytosanitary certificate from your local government Agricultural Authorities.

A phytosanitary certificate is a legal document. It ensures that the seed or plant is legal and non-invasive to a particular climate or country. Custom Authorities will check and confirm this certificate before allowing it in transit. Such documents may take a week or more for clearance by Authorities. Therefore, It is better to go through legal procedures especially if you are mailing a new plant species to another country.

Check out my favorite vegetable seeds online on Amazon.

Can you send seed packets through the mail?

Yes, You can send seed packets through the mail. Although it must have some definite details labeled about its content. The Packet should have a clear mention of the Sender and Receivers name and Address. If it contains a specific seed variety then the nature and non-invasive declaration must be there on the packets. Also, the Phytosanitary certificate should’ve been provided to ensure the seed is safe for its new location.

Overall the packets should declare what type of seed it contains and for whom it is addressed. The origin and destination for the seed are as important as its legal validation for any particular Agricultural zone. Keep in mind you cannot send illegal seeds like Cannabis through the mail. If you try to do so and got caught in the act. Then you may have to face severe legal actions. So it is better not to try, not even for adventure.

Can Seeds in the mail harm our Garden?

Yes, They can harm nearby plants. Some Seeds can sprout plants that are very invasive to particular climatic conditions. Usually, local Agricultural Authorities know this and they also restrict their cultivation for precaution. Although sometimes out of curiosity people try these seeds in their garden. They order such seeds from the online store without knowing their native climate and basic requirements.

When they got these seeds without prescription or detail of growing. They try everything they know to get the result. As a result, they end up with a vigorously spreading plant that tries to devour the entire garden. More importantly in a new area and without any natural predators, some of these invasive plants can become an Agricultural disaster. This has happened to many nations. And trust me eradicating such invasive varieties is not easy. There are more than a dozen different plants that are declared very invasive in different parts of the US.

bitter gourd seeds
bitter gourd seeds

Therefore, make sure you know everything about the seeds that you receive in the mail. If it’s unknown then send it to your local agricultural research center for confirmation. Don’t open or grow unknown seeds received through the mail. Some news reports suggest that during the lockdown in 2020-2021 some notorious people send invasive plant seeds to different Residential addresses all over the US. This has posed a serious threat to local vegetation, Although most of them are fake and done to create chaos. So always be careful with seeds in the mail.

Check out: Difference Between Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Concerns about sending seeds through the mail

The modern E-Com Culture and the rise of internet users have increased the demand for mailing seeds from one country to another. It is a very innovative technology. We can buy or sell seeds as well as live plants to the farthest end of the globe. All of this is possible only through the use of the internet and mailing services that carry the seed from one location to another. Besides the benefits and popularity of mailing seeds, there is some concern that bothers every Gardener.

  1. The legality of The Seed
  2. Authentic/Fake Seeds
  3. Viability of Seeds
  4. The Invasive nature of Plants grown from These Seeds.
  5. Impact of Such plants on soil and other native plants.
  6. Introduction of new Diseases through infected Seeds.
  7. Increase in Pest Attack

The legality of The Seed

The Concern related to the seed in the mail is its legality. You have to make sure that the seed is legal to grow in your locality. Otherwise, you make face legal actions from the authorities.

Plant-like Cannabis is illegal due to its narcotic uses while others may be illegal due to its invasive nature. So checkout for the banned plant list issued by your local authorities. If the plant is listed there then don’t grow it.

If the seeds are of an unknown type or plant them don’t open the packets. Send the package to local authorities for verification. If they allow then only grow them else leave it for good.

Authentic or Fake Seeds

The cases of receiving fake seeds through the mail are so high that trusting any online seller is difficult. Although the problem is reduced a lot in recent years still you can’t say it’s over. Every 3 out of 10 seed packets that I receive especially from random sellers is fake or not up to their description. This is the biggest concern for every gardener with seeds in the mail.

After several years of trial and error with online seed shopping, I have learned that buy seeds only from authentic trusted sellers. And of course, confirm twice the details before making payments. Keep in mind no one will refund you once you are done with the purchase.

Viability Of Seeds

The expectation of viable seeds is also a big concern with seeds received through the mail. You cannot confirm whether the details given on the package are correct or not. Sometimes the seller may send you old seeds and you cannot do anything about it.

Again to ensure the viability of seeds purchase from reputed online seeds sellers. Don’t fall for lucrative advertisements, they are mostly fake.

Invasive Plants

The seed you receive in the mail may grow into an invasive plant. It is the biggest concern for every gardener. Even local agricultural research centers conduct surveys of new foreign varieties every year to ensure they are not invasive. The Authorities release a list of invasive plants according to their severity. Do check this list before growing any new plant or seed.

If it is listed as invasive then avoid growing them in the open garden areas. Some invasive plants are also banned and declared illegal in some states. Such plants can spread and damage large agricultural areas along with native vegetation. Therefore, know your local climate and the plants that are good to grow in your locality. Avoid buying or importing invasive plants else they may damage your local vegetation.

Foreign seed varieties can also disturb the soil integrity thus damaging local plant species. They can compete for nutrients and space with local species and may dominate them. As a result, local native plants may perish in the presence of new varieties.

Increase in Disease & Pests Attacks

New seeds may carry new diseases in the mail. They can spread deadly plant diseases to new agricultural areas. this may result in severe crop destruction. It has happed in previous years too many crops in different countries. SOmetimes new pests can also travel to a new location with the seed packets. It may cause another serious problem to the local plant species.

The seed that is carrying the disease may survive the infestation coz it is known to them. Although the local plants may not withstand the sudden introduction of brand new plant disease or pest. This is a major concern and somewhat a problem with seeds in the mail.


Proper sanitization of seeds before dispatching and after receiving is the only way to avoid this problem. You can’t do both instead do yours. Open the seed packets in an isolated space and make sure it’s clean. If not then treat them properly before introducing them to your garden.

Is Coconut a Fruit or Seed?

What is The Safe Way to send seed through the mail?

It is perfectly legal to send seeds through the mail. Although you should follow some procedures to ensure their safety. You can either send dry seed or wet pre-germinated seed. Although dry seeds are best to send in the mail. They can survive for long in transit. On the other hand, wet seeds may sprout within the packet. They can also rot or perish in long transit duration.

To ensure Their Safety you can-

  1. Dryout the seed before mailing.
  2. Wrap in weatherproof packets.
  3. Wet seeds should be wrapped with enough moisture for the survival of sprouting seeds.
  4. Use Strong Packaging material like plastic envelopes that can survive moisture without breaking.
  5. Treat the seeds with a contact fungicide and all-purpose pesticides to ensure their safety.
  6. Request a Phytosanitary certificate especially if you are sending the seeds in mail abroad. It will take a week or more to get the certificates so wait until you get it and then package the seeds, especially the wet ones.
  7. Mark essential plant details like name, species, growth condition, plant type, invasive nature if any along with clear sender and receiver name and addresses.

What to Do With unknown Seeds in Mail?

If you receive an unknown seed in the mail inform your local Agricultural center. Send them the package along with the seeds if they ask to. Don’t open the package and if it is open then wrap it properly to keep the seeds within. You will get the results within a week or so from the local authorities.

If the seeds are good to grow then they will hand over it to you else leave it for them to test it out. Never grow or sow unknown seeds received in the mail. It can be any invasive plant species. This may damage your local vegetation. Therefore, take expert help and if there isn’t any option then discard the seeds without sowing them.

You can also take help from any local garden community, nursery, or the encyclopedia itself- “Google Search”.  Only a couple of hours of online research is sufficient to identify the most unknown seeds.

Can you mail seeds in the United States?

Yes, you can send or mail seeds to the US. Although you may need proper documentation about the thorough details of the plant species. It should be legal to take the locality you are sending. Otherwise, it will be scraped in transit.

Some states in The US need proper Phytosanitary certificates for every seed variety. So know the requirements before sending seeds to the US by mail.

Can You Send Seeds To Europe?

Many European countries have a strict policy for sending seeds by mail. You may need to apply for a specific Phytosanitary certificate that confirms the safety of the plant species for a new location. The plant should not compete with local crops. It must not pose threat to any vegetation and wildlife. Lastly, every seed packet must be checked by local authorities for pathogens before releasing in transit. Altogether this may cost you around 125euros per mail to send seeds to Europe.

Can I send flower seeds through the mail?

Yes, you can Send flower seeds through the mail. Although many foreign wildflower varieties are declared invasive in different parts of the US and Europe. So you much check the list issued by local Agricultural societies to ensure your seeds are safe for those areas.

The legality for sending invasive plant seeds varies a lot from one location to another. So you may send these easily to some states while it may require proper documentation in others. Overall flower seeds are perfectly legal to send through mail. It is good until it is banned in any locality.

SO What do you think-Is it illegal to Send Seeds by Mail?- Indeed Itis legal. Only Illegal seeds whether flowers, fruit, or vegetable are not allowed to send through mail.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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