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Transporting Privately-Owned Houseplants into Washington from Other States or Countries.

What is Washington's definition of houseplants?

These are small amounts of generally tropical and subtropical plants, grown totally in an indoor environment and planted in commercial potting soil. They must be privately owned or can be in the possession of a commercial moving company and are not intended for resale.

What plant conditions or types of houseplants could be of concern to Washington agricultural officials?

  • Plants with visible pests or which no not appear outwardly healthy should not be transported.
  • Densely-leaved or woody plants should be examined closely for gypsy moths.
  • The soil of plants brought from mid-western or eastern states could contain larvae of Japanese beetle. Plants should be gently removed from their pots, visually checked for grubs, and returned to their pots.
  • Potted plants of edible blueberries and grapes will require certifications from the state of origin. Assistance in obtaining this certificate is available by calling the above telephone number.
  • Some cactus or orchid plants brought across international borders may be restricted under the Endangered Species Act. A useful website for checking on endangered status is:   
  • Some plants may be considered noxious weeds in the state of Washington and are legally required to be controlled. A list of these plants can be found at:

What are acceptable growing conditions and potting soil?

The plants may not have been grown outdoors, even for the warmer months of the year. They must have been grown inside a home or an enclosed greenhouse. The soil cannot have been taken from outdoor or landscape sources. It must be a sterile, packaged potting mix.

How do I find out other states' requirements if I have to drive across country?

The National Plant Board maintains a website with a list of each state's plant laws and regulations. The site also provides telephone numbers of state agriculture offices for additional questions. The website is: