Buying plant seeds on Ebay

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Any keen gardener is always on the lookout for new plants to grow and show off. One of the cheapest ways to obtain new plants is to buy seeds and grow them yourself, but there are some things you have to be aware of before you buy those seeds.
 
1, Beware of scams. There are many sellers selling seeds of fake seeds such as blue, black or multicoloured roses (there are no real blue roses, those that are called 'blue' are actually mauve or purple) and black or blue  strawberries, these don't actually exist and by the time you have grown the plants and find out they are not as described it is much too late to be able to leave feedback.
Another problem is sellers putting pictures through Photoshop to 'enhance' colours so that what you get does not match the picture. If a plant is exotic looking or very rare make sure you do some research yourself before buying.
 
A second thing to be aware of is misnamed plants. Sometimes this is done intentionally and sometimes the seller puts a name to a variety that might be right but is more often than not wrong. You have to do some research to make sure what you think you are getting is what you do get.
 
2, It is easy to get excited by an interesting picture but make sure the plant can grow in your area. When you find some seeds you are interested in, do some book or internet research to make sure it will grow in your area and in the conditions you can give it. Unless you have a hothouse, you will not be able to grow tropical plants in Southern Australia, for example, and plants that need a cold spell in winter will probably not survive in the tropics.
 
3, Make sure you plant them at the right time of the year for them to grow.
 
4, Some seeds need to be sown fresh, they will not germinate if allowed to dry out, this is especially true of many plants with fleshy fruits or fleshy seed pods. Do some research and plant them as soon as you get them. Make sure that the seller is selling fresh seed to be sure.

5, Many seeds touted as 'rare' are not actually very rare so don't be tricked into spending too much.

6, Beware of regulations for sending seeds between Australian states. Most people will not be able to send seeds to Tasmania or Western Australia due to border protections and you can be fined if your try. Some seed businesses pay a levy to be able to send seeds to these states.
'Seed' potatoes and some other seeds such as onions can't be sent to certain states or in particular areas within states.
 
  

Importing seeds

There are many types of plant seeds that can be imported by individuals, but there are also a lot of regulations that you must be aware of before you buy seeds from overseas. If you buy seeds that are not allowed into the country customs will take them and send you a warning letter. If you are not sure then you should check the AQIS website which has a page (import conditions database) that can tell you if your item, whether seeds or anything else, can be imported.
 
Some seeds that can NOT be imported include legume vegetables like beans and peas, banana seeds, some grains, tomatoes and corn. These are only a few so unless you know for sure then check before bidding.
Most businesses selling seeds will have their seeds packaged properly but if you are buying off an individual you must ensure that you tell them to make sure the seeds are clean and dry (no fruit flesh, bugs, dirt or other plant matter) and the label of the packet must include in English the common and botanical names.
 
Remember - it is up to you to ensure that the seeds are safe to import, it is not up to the seller to make sure of each countries rules and regulations. If your seeds get seized by customs you cannot start a dispute with the seller as you should have checked first.
 
 
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