Note: These are my opinions and experiences, I am no expert and I have not been paid or incentivised to share my thoughts and reviews of any sellers, products or people mentioned in this post.
EDITED on 28th Feb 2022 to include other suppliers.
EDITED on 18th Dec 2021 to include DHL related info.
Not that it matters but my most liked picture in October was one of my two plants that I managed to import using Arthur and his new business Exotica Exportare. So I thought I’d share a bit about the process as I have done it twice now and I do get questions here and there.
If I remember correctly I was his first order across the pond and, it was so smooth for me. I did do a lot of research and I encourage anyone importing to do the same. It pays to be prepared and informed just in case something does go wrong.
What is Exotica Exportare?
Exotica Exportare is a business set up by Arthur Knott who is based in the USA to make certain plants, especially Anthuriums available to more people. His business is basically a broker for international exports of plants. He is not a nursery or a grower of plants. But he is a hobbyist like you and I as well which really helps with the thought and care he takes.
You can read more here. But in essence you can see him as a fellow plant enthusiast that has connections that he is willing to share world-wide. As the name suggests he is collaborating with Jay Vannini, and offers Jay’s plants to international clients but not just that.
Exotica Exportare is what happens when an Anthurium breeding wizard and an Anthurium loving collector collide. Enjoy!
There are certain shops and growers he is also happy to act as broker for. The only one I have used is SKG and Tezula plants. You would have to ask him though if you have something specific on your mind.
Does he make any money doing this!? Well, in short yes. But in my opinion his fee is absolutely reasonable. The other charges are of course, the shipping fees and fees for the phytosanitary certificates which is a legal requirement for exporting/importing of plants. You can read more about his fees here.
What do I as a buyer have to do?
Below I will describe what I did as a person based in the United Kingdom. Then at the end I will describe what actually happened during my two orders. But the most important thing is:
Know your plant importing rules
Exotica Exportare does not deal with the importing rules of your specific country, besides making sure the documentation is correct and plants are sent correctly, ie. have a phytosanitary, were inspected prior to sending, and that the roots are in moss. (There might be other stuff I am not aware of but this is what I understood are the rules).
For the UK there are some official resources available.
If you are wanting to import into Great Britain and Northern Ireland you need to refer to the following. Please remember that the beneath page is in regards to exports from non-eu countries and there is separate page with guidance for imports from EU.https://www.gov.uk/…/importing-plants-fruit-vegetables…
If you are part of the Facebook group “Rare and Unusual Plants – BST – UK” then you can find a thread on importing as well here.
Steps I took, just in case my parcel got inspected or there were problems:
- Registered for the government gateway (needed to be able to register for PEACH)
- Registered for PEACH (PEACH stands for the Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates from the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate. )
- Got an EORI number. (It does state that you do not need an EORI number if you move goods for personal use only, but I have heard of Indo sellers asking for this.)
Now in theory when importing you can then register the import in PEACH. I did try this several times but could not do it. After reaching out to the defra support (they were super helpful) it seemed that I did not need to and it would be fine. Now I am really not sure if this is correct but it worked for me twice without registering the import. I think this was all OK because UPS handled the import and they handle the import tax as well.
The only charge I have yet to actually receive would be an inspection charge. This is not included in Exotica Exportare’s fees so do budget for that also.
Another side note on PEACH and importing. You can link your account to DHL Midlands or UPS (Castle Donnington) for these sort of international Orders. Which can make it slicker to import. I tried to do this but as I had never had an order before they couldn’t. So I am guessing you need to have an inspection before you can link them, but I might be wrong. I suggest asking DHL or UPS when you make an order.
How did I order?
After I had registered with all the government related services I started the process:
For me this was the process for the first order. the second was similar, just that I got an invoice for everything, the plant and fees and charges as Arthur purchased it for me.
- Found plant on Tezula
- Reached out to Arthur to agree:
- which plant I am buying and if he would ship it to the UK
- agree the fees and price
- get his address to send the plant directly to him
- Bought plant directly on Tezula and had it shipped to Arthur
- Got a confirmation the plant was safe and sound at Arthur’s
- Received and invoice for the remaining charges and fees (Arthur also showed me the shipping prices etc)
- Paid said invoice
- Received updates on when plant would be inspected and sent
- Received shipping notification
- Tracked the plant nervously
- Had plant arrive within 3-6 days. (Seriously my first order took less than 72 hours!)
For specific orders, Arthur may create a listing for you on his website which includes the fees etc., which he did for my second order.
Things to keep on mind.
Arthur is a family man and he has office hours. Also he lives in a different timezone, so expect communication to take a few hours/day(s) especially if you reach out outside of his office hours. He is a one man business, but in my experience does try to do everything to be there for you and answer your questions and eep you up to date. It is also worth following his Instagram.
Your parcel may get inspected causing delays and further charges. This is not Exotica Exportare’s fault.
Plants will need to be rehabbed. I did find this to be really easy. I am not sure if this is due to the fact that these are “higher quality” plants than others I have imported before, but the plants didn’t lose any leaves or roots and just continued to grow. I also don’t do anything special. They are in 55-60% humidity in a bright warm room. I have no grow tent or anything. I might just lucky.
How did the plants arrive?
In both cases the plants came well protected and wrapped in a large cardboard box with protective wrapping. Some of it even looked insulating. The roots were wrapped in damp moss and looked so healthy. My Anthurium Ace of Spades grew in the box. 😀
Let me know if you order with Arthur in the future. I have my eye on a couple of things next year but first I need to save a bit and get through the winter. 😀
Shipping with DHL – 18th Dec 2021
The previous two imports I made using Arthur’s com[any were dispatched using UPS. I have since ordered and Arthur now uses DHL for various reasons. If you are on instagram and see fellow UK collectors with DHL you may have seen that since COVID and Brexit this has resulted in many delayed parcels and frustrated experiences.
I had to do a few more things with the parcel going via DHL. Here is what happened:
- Parcel arrives at facility – DHL emails me that they need to add a PEACH request and I need to
- create a PEACH account (I already had this)
- Email PEACH to link my account with DHL
- Confirm to DHL the account is created and Linked
- Receive notification that DHL made the PEACH request
- Peach request approved
- Inspection and customs fees to be paid
- Pay custom fees
- Chase DHL why my parcel is not dispatched
Linking the PEACH account
This might have been overkill but I didn’t want a back and forth so I emailed PEACH with several details. I provided:
- Gov gateway ID
- company Id
- Trader Id
- Peach Signon ID
- Full name
- Email address linked with my PEACH account
- My postcode
- DHL details – DHL at East Midlands Airport, DE74 2TR
Email addresses to contact (DHL sends these to you) – PeachEnquiries@rpa.gov.uk and PeachEnquiries@apha.gov.uk
PEACH is so quick. They confirmed at 9pm the same day.
After emailing DHL that the account was linked I got notifications that the PEACh form was submitted and approved and that the import passed the inspection checks.
Then after another 24 hours my parcel had the status of “on hold”. I contacted DHL and didn’t get a response but after emailing the contact who asked me to set up the PEACH link my parcel was delivered.
So it did take a lot longer going via DHL. I think though that if my account was linked it would have been 1-2 days faster.
Despite this the seedlings I ordered look ok and I only cut off the tiniest bit of root rot and there were new roots growing too. So fingers crossed I have some new plants to show you soon. 😀
Updated list of growers that Arthur works with.