How To Get Your Super Rare Succulents From Korea

Anyone would love to have some rare exotic Korean succulents as a part of their garden collection. And I am no different, but having these beauties isn’t easy and people are often jumbled in import laws and regulation which makes it quite complicated.

Importing plants from Korea can soon become a very long and hectic process, especially if you have no prior experience about how to do it(Believe me, I was in a mess when I did it the first time).

But stay assured, I have done some digging and prepared this ultimate resource to make the whole process much smoother and simpler. By following these steps you can easily understand the whole process very clearly.

So, how to get your succulents from Korea (or any foreign country)?

  1. Decide on what type of succulents to buy and import.
  2. Apply for an import permit if it is required.
  3. Find a Reputable Seller for desired succulents.
  4. Prepare all the Required Legal Documents.
  5. Send the required documents to the seller in case of Permits.
  6. Select a Reliable Shipping Services – Use Express Service in Winter.
  7. Wait until your shipment enters your country.
  8. After the necessary inspection, it will get delivered to your home.
  9. Unbox your succulents carefully and plant them accordingly.

Let’s see each of the above steps in more detail.

Deciding On Which Succulents To Buy

This is an important step as all the following steps are dependent on this one. Succulents have wide variety of species and many sellers are specialized in keeping certain types of succulents whose reference you will see in the next steps.

The most common types of succulents people choose to buy and import is Haworthia and Echeveria. Both of these plants are exceptionally beautiful and easy to care for. If you want to learn about choosing your succulents, please refer to this post from Succulents and Sunshine, they do have great resources on succulents.

Apply for an Import Permit

Permits are required for the importation into the U.S. and transit through the U.S. of regulated plants and plant products for consumption or propagation. Plant and plant product permits include plants for planting such as nursery stock, small lots of seed, and postentry; plant products such as fruits and vegetable, timber, cotton, and cut flowers; protected plants and plant products such as orchids, and threatened and endangered plant species; transit permits to ship regulated articles into, through, and out of the U.S.; and controlled import permits to import prohibited plant materials for research.

USDA APHIS | Plants and Plant Products Permits

The above excerpt is taken from the official website of USDA, you can go to the source for more information about plant import permits. Some of the succulents may come into this category but not the most commonly imported succulent species such as Echeveria and Haworthia, they don’t need it.

Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) regulates the importation of plants and plant products under the authority of the Plant Protection Act. PPQ has different permit forms for different categories of plants as mention below.

PERMIT(PPQ) FORMS Application For Which Type Of Plants
PPQ 525 Application for permit to receive soil
PPQ 585 Application for permit to import timber or timber products
PPQ 586 Application for Permit To Transit Plants and/or Plant Products, Plant Pests, and/or Associated Soil Through The United States
PPQ 587 Application for permit to import plants or plant products
PPQ 588 Application for permit to import prohibited plants or plant products for experimental purposes
Source: USDA APHIS | Plant Health Permit Application Forms

Click here to apply for the Permit online. The above forms are dedicated to U.S.A and might be different for different countries.

Import documents requirement by different countries.
Source: Succulent korea xplant | Import documents requirement by different countries.

You should confirm with your country’s customs department or agriculture department for more information.

Finding A Reputable Seller

This is one of the most important steps as there are many frauds who are ready to loot you by selling you ordinary succulents in the name of some rare exotic species.

You can find reputable sellers online very easily through their Websites, Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, eBay, or by any other means possible, but you must reassure their credibility by doing a thorough research of your own
But don’t worry I have done some research of my own and listing below some of the sellers that I found reliable.

Succulent Seller Websites

1. K-Succulent
This is one of the good sources from where you can get rare and unique Korean succulents. Their How to buy guide is a really thorough and simple guide which will give you a general idea of steps required to buy and import a plant from foreign.

Excellent Service
Price is reasonable

Shipping is really Expensive

2.Xplant Korea
This site claims to be the biggest succulents store in Korea and their collection does look really huge too. They also have some excellent resources on how to buy for overseas, here is an example of that-

Overview of purchasing rare succulents from korea.

Source: Xplant |Flow of purchase for Overseas in Xplant

Shipping charges of importing succulents from korea.

Source: Xplant |Shipping Options for Xplant

For Context 100,000(Won) = $92(USD) approx

Information on Phytosanitary Certifcate by Xplant

Source: Xplant |Information about Phytosanitary Certificate on Xplant

A huge variety of Succulents are available.
Price is reasonable

Shipping is really Expensive

3. Succulents Plants
This a Spain-based store with some great unique Echeveria hybrids and other rare succulents.

Succulents available on wholesale
Price is reasonable

Only EMS Delivery option is available

Succulent seller On Facebook

zusung collection – They have a huge collection of Korean succulents. Provide excellent services.

Succulent seller on Instagram

– The sellers are very professional and have a huge variety of echeveria available. They also ship worldwide with Phytosanitary Certificate.

@dayukchanggo – Provides Korean succulents for both collectors and resellers as well. They too ship worldwide with Phytosanitary Certificate.

Succulent seller on Etsy

EncounterSucculents – Amazing shipping and quality. The price is also reasonable. You should definitely consider this seller.

StayGoldSucculents – Plants are quite expensive but they are worth it, they have a good assortment available.

Succulent seller on E bay

rexbike2013 – He provides excellent services and provides a variety of rare beautiful succulents. You can also contact him on other platforms for more options.

You can find so many good resources for getting your succulents online, you only have to dig deep enough to check the credibility of the seller.

Points to keep in mind while deciding on your seller:

  1. When you deal with sellers on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media platform just go through their follower’s reviews and comments. You will find relevant information about your seller’s service there.
  2. While dealing with eBay keep in mind the rating of your sellers and feedback about how much percent positive or negative feedback the seller has in the seller information block while viewing the product.
  3. While dealing with Etsy sellers, keep an eye on the number of sales the particular seller has completed and also the reviews and comments below their sales page.
  4. Be aware of clickbait deals, when it sounds too good to be true it’s often too good to be true. Any authentic seller won’t provide you with shady deals or price, always buy from authentic sellers only.

Required Legal Documents – Phytosanitary Certificate, Import Permit, etc.

Before getting into the details, you must be aware of your country’s laws and regulations when it comes to importing foreign plants, as different countries have different regulations and many countries only allow personal use for plants and don’t allow to resale it.

There is some required paperwork that must be done before importing live plants from another country. This paperwork might differ from country to country and depending upon what type of plants are imported and how many of them are imported. Let’s take a look at this table for a better understanding as to why these documents are necessary when are they mandatory :

DocumentWhy it is requiredWhen it is mandatory
Phytosanitary Certificate NPPO uses it to make sure that the plants are pest-free at the time of shipping and were grown in sanitary conditions.Mandatory(in US) for all kind of succulents
Import PermitThis type of permit is required while importing exceeds 12 plants or any prohibited species.While importing prohibited plants or more that 12 plants at a time
Declaration FormTo declare the name and species of each plant while entering the countryNecessary to declare during custom.

Lets see about each of the above documents in detail:

Phytosanitary Certificate

The Phytosanitary Certificate is an official document required while importing live plants and similar agricultural products like plant seeds, soil, etc from a foreign country.

The National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) uses the phytosanitary certificate to make sure that the plants are pest-free at the time of shipping and were grown in sanitary conditions. This document varies from country to country according to different regulations followed by the country of origin for the agricultural department.

Cost – $10(USD)

If you are importing the Succulents from a foreign country to the USA(or any other country for that matter) then your seller must include this certificate with the shipment which makes it much easier to get your plants through customs.

A sample Phytosanitary Certificate
Source: Inco Docs | A sample Phytosanitary Certificate(Varies country to country)

Import Permits

We have already covered this above in applying for a permit step.

Declaration Form

Though you are not required to fill this Declaration form for common succulent species, however, it’s required while importing plants with permits.

The below image can provide a rough idea for what documents might be required for different countries.

Import documents requirement by different countries.
Source: Succulent korea xplant | Import documents requirement by different countries.

You should confirm with your country’s customs department or agriculture department for more information.

Send Documents To The Seller

All the above documents should be present with your shipment when it enters the border of your countries. This will make the whole process of your shipment going through the customs really easy and fast.

Once you have prepared all the documents you require for your shipment then make a scanned copy of each of the signed documents and send it to your seller in a pdf format, never send it in any word or doc format as this might get edited along the way(If it’s by mistake get’s misplaced online or get compromised) and maybe misused, pdf files are uneditable and that’s why is a preferred method to share important information.

A Reliable Shipping service

Well, if you are patient enough and can wait for 3-4 weeks to see your rare Korean succulents, you might opt for any renowned Mail service and it will get the job done.

It is okay to wait 3-4 weeks during summer as succulent can stay this long without any care or watering, but it can prove fatal during winter as the cold freezing temperature might damage your plants.

Express mail service(EMS) is a good option if you want urgent and fast deliveries(within a week). The shipping cost might be around $30- $40(USD) for one shipment(containing all your succulents). This might sound a bit expensive but it is worth it as you will get your succulents very fast.

DHL, UPS are other decent options.

Waiting for your shipment

The time in which your shipment gets delivered really depends upon the shipping service you chose. I usually select express delivery and get it within a week or two. But on average it will arrive within 3-4 weeks.

Well, you can’t do much in this step as you have done all the hard work in the above steps, now you can rest for a bit and get all hyped up about your incoming plant(I can’t forget how excited I was for my first delivery).

Although, I would suggest to be in touch with you seller and shipment service if it’s taking unusually longer than expected.

Home Delivery After Mandatory Inspection

After arrival of your package, it will go through customs where they will ensure if all the legal documents and declaration matches the package it arrives.

In some cases, it might be passed on to the nearest PIS(Plant Inspection Stations) for inspection and clearance of the plant shipment. For the list of different USDA PIS please refer here.

StatePIS Address
Plant Inspection Station
200 N. Mariposa Rd. B-500
Nogales, AZ 85621
Phone (520) 285-5400 – Fax (520) 287-2117
Plant Inspection Station
222 Kansas Street
El Segundo, CA 90245
Phone (310) 955-3258 – Fax (310) 321-0035

Plant Inspection Station
560 Eccles Ave. 
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Phone (650) 876-9093 – Fax (650) 876-9008

Plant Inspection Station
9777 Via de la Amistad, Room 140
San Diego, CA 92154
Phone (619) 661-3316 – Fax (619) 661-3047
Plant Inspection Station
6302 NW 36 Street
Miami, Florida 33122
Phone (305) 492-1800 – Fax (305) 492-1796

Plant Inspection Station
3951 Centerport St.
Orlando, FL 32827
Phone (407) 825-4222 – Fax (407) 648-6859
Plant Inspection Station
1220 Toffie Terrace
Atlanta, GA 30354
Phone (404) 260-7830 – Fax: (404) 260-7744
Plant Inspection Station
17-3306 Neptune Avenue
Tiyan, Barrigada, GU 96913
Phone (671) 475-1427 – Fax (671) 477-9487
Honolulu Inspection Station
Honolulu International Airport
300 Rodgers Blvd., #58
Honolulu, HI 96819-1897
Phone (808) 834-3240 – Fax (808) 861-8500
National Plant Germplasm Inspection Station
9901 Powder Mill Road
Laurel, MD 20708
Phone: (301) 313-9336 – Fax: (301) 313-9326
(For noncommercial research materials imported under a 588 Departmental permit or Controlled Import Permit.)
Linden Plant InsPhone (908) 986-9200 – Fax (908) 862-2095pection Station
1500 Lower Road
Linden, NJ 07036
Plant Inspection Station
230-59 International Airport Centers Boulevard
Building C-Suite 100-Room 109
Jamaica, New York 11413
Phone (718) 553-3500 – Fax (718) 553-3510
Plant Inspection Station
150 Central Sector
Building C-2, Warehouse 3
Carolina, PR. 00979
Phone (787) 253-7850 – Fax (787) 253-4514
Plant Inspection Station
P.O. Drawer Box 399
100 Los Indios Boulevard
Los Indios, TX 78567
Phone (956) 399-2085 – Fax (956) 399-4001

Plant Inspection Station
19581 Lee Road
Humble, TX 77338
Phone (281) 982-9540 – Fax (281) 982-9550
Plant Inspection Station
835 South 192nd Street, Suite 1600
SeaTac, WA 98148-2394
Phone (206) 878-6600 – Fax (206) 870-8043
SOURCE: USDA APHIS | PIS address by state

Unbox Your Succulents

Congratulations, the waiting is finally over and now you can get your hands on your beautiful succulents. But don’t be too hasty and careless while taking them out.

This type of Korean exotic succulents is often packed as bare rooted without any soil or pot so that they can be shipped more carefully and in a safe manner. Please refer to this short video here to watch how can you unbox your succulents and pot them.

Well, that’s pretty much it, the journey of your rare Korean succulent starting from a seller’s garden to your home finally completes.

Learn even more about succulents!

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