Importing Plants from Ecuagenera to the UK

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.

As for many 2020 and 2021 saw our plant collection growing. For me this was only possible to grow in such a vast way by looking at alternative places apart from the UK market. There were a few reasons for that.

  1. Types of plants available
  2. Prices of the plants
  3. Brexit – making it impossible to look at europe for a while

The main reason I looked at Ecuagenera which is based in Ecuador was the types of plants available. In 2021 my focus changed to Anthurium which seem to mostly thrive in my house and away from Philodendron.

Since I started buying from Ecuagenera they also have launched a website that has European stock (based in Germany) but I have not used that one yet.

I will be talking about my experience using https://www.ecuagenera.com.

Cost

The prices on the website are in Dollars and they can seem so reasonably if not even cheaply priced. However you have to remember that shipping and more importantly taxes will get added as you check out.

Looking at some orders from the beginning of the year this broke down as follows for me.

  • 2 plants for $92
  • shipping to the UK $45.20 (this increases with the amount of plants)
    • This is how the shipping is calculated: The export and import costs from Ecuador to UK is 35% of the price shown on our website and plus $13 shipping to your home address, this is automatically calculated.
  • Transaction fee 4% – $5.49 (I use PayPal)

So far plants costing $92 you end up paying $142.69. Which can still be a really good deal. Just do not be surprised at the extra costs.

Large Regale from Ecua in the back – baby I made from a cutting of the chonk

Shipping

The shipment to the UK happens once a month. So sometimes if you order after that month’s cut off date you are waiting quite a long time for your order.

The parcel will be sent via DPD and you will see a company called Spicesotic mentioned in the notifications. This is because they act as the local broker for Ecuagenera. As far as I understand, one of the reasons Ecuagenera can be so affordable is that they see done big shipment into the UK to spicesotic, this means an inspection will be a lot cheaper as it is one big order rather than each individual shipment.

Unpacking an order

Note, you never pay extra if your parcel was inspected. I have had mine inspected, which you can tell as there will be some tape on your box stating it was, and I did not get another fee. Ecuagenera covers this.

The plants tend to arrive in a cardboard box that often to me is like a Mary poppins bag. How did the plants fit into that!? The plants itself have their roots wrapped in moss covered in cling film and then are in a paper bag. I quite like this way of packing as any extra moisture does tend to escape in the paper bag and doesn’t cause fungus on the leaves.

Most plants will have a handy label with them, which trust me, you should keep and use, especially if you bought Anthurium seedlings as these can look very similar.

Acclimatising ecua plants

Quality of plants

There are several aspects to the quality part, but the main thing you have to remember is that these plants will need to acclimatise. They have literally come from the Ecuadorian Jungle, which will have very different conditions than your UK home.

My main tips are to have a humidifier, and a heat mat. More in this post. In general for me, the plants have been good, often exceeding expectations around size. This can actually be addictive, like “I wonder how big the next plant will be”. With my friend we have had the odd plant that was underwhelming but generally they have all grown. I have had a couple of exceptions.

  1. Anthurium Waroqceanum – my first one just shrivelled away but I managed to make babies from the chonks
  2. Anthurium Debile – twice! This just melted away, once with most of the chonk. The second time I went and cut the chunk straight away.
  3. Anthurium pedatum – over months this deteriorated but I learned a lot.

What I will say is that Ecuagenera are reasonable in their customer support. Especially if plants deteriorate. They often give you the option of sending another free of charge. But you have to send them images and contact them as soon as your order arrives. With my Debile, this already arrived looking bad and then just got worse. They were very understanding and offered me several options.

Forgetii from Ecua

I’d say if you are polite and nice and don’t take the mick they are very good. It is a well established family run business.

One other thing that has happened to me which was a bit frustrating, was that the plant I ordered, twice was not sent to me but the wrong plant was. Each time I had the option to send the plant back at my own cost to Germany (their European headquarters, keep it at a discount price and have a new one sent, or send it back and have a refund).

This was all a bit frustrating as I paid more than I really wanted to in the end but I traded one of the plants and it all worked out.

In general I have found that even if the roots aren’t great on your plant, you often have enough of a chonk to make some extra babies. This is obviously not ideal if you wanted an extra large plant and it dies back but that’s the risk with importing.

Closing thoughts

Important plants via Ecuagenera is pretty fail safe and easy. You do not need the extra details such as a PEACH account and EORI as you may do if you import via Exotica Exportare or an Indonesian company.

The customer service being reasonably good means that even if you lose a plant you may be able to get some help from the lovely people at Ecuagenera. You might be pleasantly surprised at the size of the plant you get and it is kinda fun knowing others also got some plants at the same time as you and you can share these online.

The choice of plants is huge not just for Anthurium. The Philodendron are amazing too. I got a Plowmanii that just blew me away.

Acclimatised Plowmanii

Like with any plant buying, I would say beware of buying during the colder month as acclimatising can be a lot harder as the plants go through more of a temperature shock. In general I think it is a good option and if you would like to try acclimatising plants before placing an order from Indonesia or Thailand.

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