Has anyone import bonsai trees from another country? What are the steps ?

vp999

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Hi guys! I am interested in buying some bonsai trees from Vietnam because it is so cheap there (tropicals) Has anyone done this and what are the steps involves ? Thanks
 

my nellie

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... ...buying some bonsai trees from Vietnam... ... (tropicals)... ...
I might also suggest that you take into consideration if you can grow tropicals where you live. Zone 7A and tropicals? But perhaps you are intending to grow indoors under growing lights?
 

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I started down this path a long time ago. I started with a contact to the local DNR. The process is long....we had a great chat in person. They gave me websites and paperwork. And each plant has to be certified and insect/fungus proof based on US standards. I recall that trees/plants had to be bare root...no native foreign soil. Freight is costly....and Customs is another problem where freight containing live plants is tightly reviewed when time permits. There’s also Quarantine.....and no one is going to water your trees/plants while in Customs or Quarantine.

I stopped before I started...the problems were to many. At the DNR office they were very helpful but also clearly said....good luck. It’s better to contact certified plant importers....you pay their price...but you would likely pay more doing it yourself and not risk losing what you sent yourself. However, that was about 10 years ago now....it could be easier...or harder...now because of more restrictions. Or, take a trip down to Florida and visit growers (not marked up nursery sellers)....you....might even find a local DC nursery that could set you up for wholesale buying there.
 

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Hi guys! I am interested in buying some bonsai trees from Vietnam because it is so cheap there (tropicals) Has anyone done this and what are the steps involves ? Thanks
First off, WHY? Second, this is an extremely tall, expensive and time-consuming task. The costs associated with quarantine, limited species that can be legally imported, etc. will drive costs up very quickly.

you can hire a brokerage to import, or you can try and navigate the process yourself--if you do it yourself, be prepared to lose more than half of what you purchase in transit, or at the port of quarantine.
A brokerage is probably going to want to handle only bulk imports, single plants or a dozen, there's not enough money to be had. Also Vietnam is not generally a source for imported plants, so there may be extra footwork and paperwork involved.


In case you haven't notice, this is mostly not a great way to get "cheap" bonsai.

As to my first question-why do this? There are exceptional tropical bonsai ALREADY HERE. Many of those trees are going to be a lot less expensive than what you're going to have to invest time and moneywise importing from Vietnam.
 
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First off, WHY?
This is why. Most of these are $50 (fifty) USD.

These are about 75 a piece

These are about 150 to 200.

These are star fruit tree. There are others that in these price range also that probably will be in the thousands if you can find a way to import them.
 

rockm

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This is why. Most of these are $50 (fifty) USD.

These are about 75 a piece

These are about 150 to 200.

These are star fruit tree. There are others that in these price range also that probably will be in the thousands if you can find a way to import them.
good luck with that...IMO, those really aren't worth the trouble or the money. They're basically indoor trees for most of the American market, which is already flooded with cheap imported, climate challenged trees that beginners kill by the thousands. I have friends who have imported much sturdier species, such as big old Chinese elm bonsai in bulk. The luckier imports had a 60 percent survival rate. Unluckier shipments were killed or severely crippled at bare-root fumigation. Most lost money on the deal, and they paid similar money for larger, better elm stock...
 

vp999

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This is why. Most of these are $50 (fifty) USD.

These are about 75 a piece

These are about 150 to 200.

These are star fruit tree. There are others that in these price range also that probably will be in the thousands if you can find a way to import them.

This isn exactly the reason why, finished Desmodium and Water Jasmin bonsai are being sold here for $3k+ and they were bought in Vietnam for a couple hundred or less.
 

vp999

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BTW..I am not looking to import just a couple of trees but maybe 20+ trees or so to make it worthwhile and I will have a green house with growing light set up in my heated garage for the winter to protect my investment.
 

rockm

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This isn exactly the reason why, finished Desmodium and Water Jasmin bonsai are being sold here for $3k+ and they were bought in Vietnam for a couple hundred or less.
Interesting to hear how they're being imported?
 

vp999

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Leo in N E Illinois

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I have in the past imported orchids, not bonsai. If anything, the above posters are downplaying the hassles of importing trees. First, no matter the destination in the USA, the only port of entry adequately staffed with APHIS, USFWS and USDA specialists, you should import through the Miami port of entry. Even though every city with an "International Airport" has a customs port of entry office, Miami is the only one fully staffed with agricultural and horticultural experts. At the other ports, the tendency will be "when in doubt, sent it to be destroyed". Exception is the Los Angeles port of entry has a Cycad expert. Or at least did have a Cycad expert on staff, don't know if this is still true since administrations change as the presidents change. Plan on $200 to $500 in fees just for documents. One tree or twenty trees, the document fee does not change. It really is a big hassle. Contact the good folks has Brussel's Bonsai, Brussel Martin has maintained a USDA Quarantine greenhouse on his property. He could walk you through the process, and I would imagine if he had space in his quarantine greenhouse, he might for a fee, offer to serve as your quarantine facility. I gave up on the project long ago. But if you have the ability to tolerate bureaucratic aggravations, by all means, go for it. You will probably loose your first 2 shipments despite your best efforts. From each you will learn what you missed, and improve. You will likely be successful the 3rd or 4th time. Key is to accept that you must do it "their way" even if the bureaucrat seems to make no sense. You won't be able to change their requirements.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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When I was in Florida, I visited the Mai Vang Nursery, just east of the interstate near Sarasota, FL.

They are friendly people. They have plants on their website, which seem expensive, but I believe they do not like to ship, so mark up the prices to cover their "aggravation costs". If you shop in person, the same trees are considerably cheaper. They clearly prefer to use Vietnamese for communication, but they usually have someone on site that speaks English if you don't speak Vietnamese. You might talk to them about whether they import from Vietnam regularly, you might be able to make an arrangement for them to bring in your trees along with their next shipment.

I really like Ochna species as bonsai, I got mine from Mai Vang Florida, Definitely a destination to hit if you are visiting Florida, put them second only to Wigert's as a Florida bonsai destination. They have many, many different species of plants from Vietnam, many fruit species, including Spondias, and the Ice Cream bean plant, and other weird and interesting tropical and subtropical fruit trees.
 

substratum

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When I was in Florida, I visited the Mai Vang Nursery, just east of the interstate near Sarasota, FL.

They are friendly people. They have plants on their website, which seem expensive, but I believe they do not like to ship, so mark up the prices to cover their "aggravation costs". If you shop in person, the same trees are considerably cheaper. They clearly prefer to use Vietnamese for communication, but they usually have someone on site that speaks English if you don't speak Vietnamese. You might talk to them about whether they import from Vietnam regularly, you might be able to make an arrangement for them to bring in your trees along with their next shipment.

I really like Ochna species as bonsai, I got mine from Mai Vang Florida, Definitely a destination to hit if you are visiting Florida, put them second only to Wigert's as a Florida bonsai destination. They have many, many different species of plants from Vietnam, many fruit species, including Spondias, and the Ice Cream bean plant, and other weird and interesting tropical and subtropical fruit trees.
It's wild they don't have an "English version" button somewhere on that website. Are there enough Vietnamese nationals near Sarasota, or in Florida, doing bonsai, to support this place? The notion they are "second only to Wigerts in Florida" is impressive.
 

vp999

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It's wild they don't have an "English version" button somewhere on that website. Are there enough Vietnamese nationals near Sarasota, or in Florida, doing bonsai, to support this place? The notion they are "second only to Wigerts in Florida" is impressive.
Thank you, They are a Vietnamese nursery but their trees are nothing compared to the ones in Vietnam and their prices arn't very good either.
 

vp999

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When I was in Florida, I visited the Mai Vang Nursery, just east of the interstate near Sarasota, FL.

They are friendly people. They have plants on their website, which seem expensive, but I believe they do not like to ship, so mark up the prices to cover their "aggravation costs". If you shop in person, the same trees are considerably cheaper. They clearly prefer to use Vietnamese for communication, but they usually have someone on site that speaks English if you don't speak Vietnamese. You might talk to them about whether they import from Vietnam regularly, you might be able to make an arrangement for them to bring in your trees along with their next shipment.

I really like Ochna species as bonsai, I got mine from Mai Vang Florida, Definitely a destination to hit if you are visiting Florida, put them second only to Wigert's as a Florida bonsai destination. They have many, many different species of plants from Vietnam, many fruit species, including Spondias, and the Ice Cream bean plant, and other weird and interesting tropical and subtropical fruit trees.
Thank you Leo...I go to Florida a couple times a year and will def try to hit this place up next time. I am Vietnamese so I have no problem communicating with them.
 

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