Importing plants, bulbs and cut flowers to Western Australia (including potting mix and soil)

Page last updated: Sunday, 20 October 2019 - 2:13pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Western Australia remains relatively free of pests and diseases that adversely affect our agricultural industries and environment. Plants, bulbs, flowers, soil and potting mix can carry pests and diseases that pose a risk to WA. Some plants may be a threat of becoming weeds themselves.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia's Quarantine WA service enforces strict biosecurity legislation, so please check for any restrictions that may apply before importing to WA. It may help avoid a costly fine or even prosecution

In order for organisms and potential carriers (which includes all plants, bulbs and cut flowers) to be allowed entry into WA there are certain requirements that must be met.

First you must determine that the organism (plant species) is listed as permitted on the Western Australian Organism List (WAOL)

Once you have determined that the organism is listed as permitted you will need to check the Quarantine WA Import Requirements Search for any conditions of entry relating to that product.

In most instances plants will require certain treatments and certification issued by the exporting state's quarantine body, or by a business that operates under an approved certification scheme. If you are ordering your plants or bulbs online or by mail order it is advisable to check if the seller is approved to send to Western Australia before you place your order.

Prior approval to import

In some cases you may be able to apply for a prior approval to import plants that can forego some treatments. This must be for less than 20 plants and certain conditions will still need to be met including being washed free of all soil and potting mix. A full inspection on arrival will also need to be carried out. Some species will not be able to be imported by this method. To apply for prior approval please contact Quarantine WA Follow-up Officer on 08 9334 1800. Fees and charges will apply.

Declaring and presenting to Quarantine WA on arrival

All imported plants must be presented to Quarantine WA for inspection. Private travellers should declare all plants to an inspector immediately upon arrival at a checkpoint. Commercial transporters and importers should declare 24 hours prior to arrival at a checkpoint by lodging a Notice of Intent to import which can be accessed from the link on the right of this page.

Importers are also reminded that it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that their plants are presented to Quarantine WA for inspection. Penalties may be applied for non-compliance. If you receive your order by mail or other delivery method and there is no obvious sign that an inspection has occurred you must keep the consignment contained and contact Quarantine WA to organise an inspection. All consignments and/or parcels will generally have obvious signs of having been opened and will be clearly marked with ‘Passed quarantine’ tape once inspections have been completed.

Inspection on arrival

Quarantine WA inspectors will carry out visual inspections of plants for pests and disease and also verify certification to ensure all conditions of entry for each species has been met. Fees and charges are  generally applied to all inspections by Quarantine WA. Many online and mail order companies have entered into a special charging arrangement to accept inspection charges on behalf of their customers, however you need to check this prior to placing your order.

Once consignments of plants have been inspected and found to be free of pests and disease and all certification is verified as correct your plants are free to be planted in your garden. Should there be any insects or disease symptoms present, they will be sent to specialists to identify if the pests pose any biosecurity risk to WA. If there is any risk the plants will usually be seized for destruction.

In some cases treatments may be available, however these can often be very costly and usually not a viable option for small private consignments. Re-export out of WA may be offered as an alternative in some instances. Re-export costs will also be at the importer's expense.

Contact information

Quarantine WA Imports