Canadian Gardeners – FREE Plant Inspection Available at Show

Canadian Gardeners – FREE Plant Inspection Available at Show

Canadian gardeners can buy plants at the Garden Show and get FREE phytosanitary inspection so they can bring their plants back across the border when they return home by car, bus or train.

Canadian gardeners that come to the US for the garden show know that they can’t leave home without their passport, and they can’t return home without their passport and their Washington State Department of Agriculture Phytosanitary Inspection Certification paperwork if they buy any plants. Whew! That sounds like a load of paperwork. But at the garden show, we make it easy for our attendees to get this very important inspection paperwork done and even better – we pick up the cost, so it’s FREE.


Why do plants require inspection? According to Cyndi Baumgardner, Plant Services Specialist at the WA State Department of Agriculture, plant inspection is vital to preventing the spread of diseases. Cyndi and her colleagues have the mission of ensuring that unwanted, noxious or even toxic plant pests and diseases are not hitching a ride on plants traveling with their unsuspecting new owners. This prevents pests and diseases from getting a foothold into native plants and wiping out our native populations. One such disease is Sudden oak death (SOD) which inspectors are diligently working to keep out of the region. Sudden oak death is a serious plant disease that attacks many types of plants and trees common to the Pacific Northwest, including azaleas, big leaf maples, huckleberry, California bay laurel, camellia, myrtles, honeysuckle, Pacific madrone, Douglas fir, rhododendrons, and viburnum. 


All of the nursery vendors selling plants at the garden show have been pre-certified by the WA State Department of Agriculture. After you have purchased your plants, take them to Booth #2518 (you can’t miss it – it’s on the far left corner of the Plant Market, adjacent our Outdoor Living). It’s a free service compliments of the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. You’ll need to complete some forms, including the botanical plant names of every plant you want to take across the US-Canadian border. After the plants have been inspected by the WSDA team you can pick them up. When you do cross the border, show the customs agent your completed inspection forms. And if you are traveling with friends all in the same car or on one of our bus or train tours, you can list all your plants together on one form to make it easier!


Nurseries in our Plant Market have searched far and wide to bring you new and unusual plants. Canadian gardeners can take them back home with them, by taking advantage of our free USDA - WA Plant Inspection in booth # 2518.

The garden show has a great lineup of 48 nurseries in our Plant Market. Whether you’re interested in dahlias, lilies, perennials of all kinds, Azaleas, heirloom vegetables, Japanese maples, heaths and heathers, cacti and succulents, conifers, roses, Bonsai, bromeliads, ferns, or orchids, we’ve got it in the Plant Market. To check out the entire list, go to our Exhibitor list and scroll down to Plants and Seeds and also Retail Nursery:


And if you think you might not want to shop for plants because you’ll end up schlepping around heavy containers the rest of the day, think again. We have three FREE Package Check locations where you can stash your new purchases until you’re ready to leave for the day. Our Package Checks are operated by the volunteers from the Arboretum Foundation. They are located in the North Hall by the new entrance to the seminars, on the sky bridge and by the ‘black carpet’ area in the South Hall.  Take it from me – my MO for years was to make a beeline for the Plant Market, buy some new plants, and then put them in Package Check before heading over to the Show Gardens and seminars. – Janet

  • Loree/danger garden
    Posted at 11:05h, 10 February Reply

    This is genius! So smart. Living in Oregon this isn’t an issue for me but I love that you’ve thought of this for the Canadians visiting the show. I was in Vancouver BC last fall and saw several plants that I would have loved to bring home with me…if it had only been this easy.

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