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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Why should I create a customer account? [1]
If you have an account you can…
- check your order status and tracking information any time.
- view your order history.
- be notified when out-of-stock items become available.
- post comments for any plant species.
- save time during checkout as you will not have to retype your name and address.
- enter up to 10 addresses.

I have forgotten my password. How do I get a new one? [2]
If you have forgotten your password to log in, go to the login page and click on "Forgotten Password?" to receive an automated response to your e-mail address. We have no access to your account password and have no way of sending you this information manually.

How do I become a seed provider? [3]
Send us a list of the seeds with botanical names that you may be able to supply. We will be happy to make you a quote. If you already have prices in mind, you may include them. Please first check to see if we are already offering these seeds and at what price. We are interested in purchasing seeds that cost less than what we are selling them for.

How do you clean a large quantity of seeds? [4]
We have a professional seed cleaning machine that spins the seeds on an iron disk and washes the fruit peels away with water. A common mixing attachment for a drilling machine in a bucket of water also serves the purpose quite well if seeds are ripe and the fruit soft. Tender, soft-shelled seeds are best cleaned by hand in a bucket of water.

I subscribed to your newsletter a while ago but have not received anything? [5]
We send out a newsletter once per month. If you subscribed less than a month ago, chances are that we haven't sent out an update yet. If you received a confirmation e-mail from us and have clicked on the confirmation link, then your address is on file with us and you'll receive our latest newsletter as soon as it gets published.

How can I contact you? [6]
You can contact us here.

Availabillity

Do you have seeds of ... ? [7]
All available species are listed on this website. If it's not listed on the website, it's not available. To find the desired species you can try any of the following:
- use the search field right below the rarepalmseeds.com logo. If you do not know the exact Latin or common name, you can start to type the name into this field and the website will make suggestions. The search function will automatically search through all plant descriptions for a country, a color, a quality, or anything else you can think of.
- click through the many categories below the search field (A-Z, Plant Group, etc.). You can select a plant group (Palms, Cacti or Bananas for instance), a growth form (such as Tree, Shrub or Perennial), a particular use, or a number of other options and get a list of species that match. To also show currently unavailable species, mark the Stock Status filter "Out of stock" on the right-hand side on category pages.
- use the filtering options on the right-hand side of any plant list to narrow down your search. At the top is the climate filter, where you can set a location and show only plants suitable for that location’s local climate. Below that you will see more filters for sun exposure, water requirements, drought tolerance, wind tolerance and many more.
Prices, available quantities and other important information are shown on each species page.

Do you have seeds of ... in stock? [8]
Every item page shows the seed’s available quantities and prices. Seeds are either "In Stock" (green), "Low Stock" (orange) or "Out of stock" (red).

When will seeds of ... become available again? [9]
If you are interested in seeds that are out of stock, you can choose to be notified by e-mail as soon as they become available. When logged in (please create a customer account first if you don't have one), simply click on the "Notify Me!" button on any species page that is currently out of stock.

Can you send me a printed catalogue? [10]
Sorry, there is no printed catalog. The website shows all species available and is constantly updated.

Ordering

How do I place an order? [11]
Select the seeds and quantities you like and add them to your shopping cart by clicking on the blue "Add to Cart" button. When you are ready to check out, click on "Shopping Cart" at the top right of the website. On the next page you can estimate shipping and taxes. The shopping cart will provide you with a real-time shipping quote to any destination worldwide. To check out, you can choose to continue as a guest or as a returning customer, or to create a new customer account. Follow "Step 1" to "Step 6" to complete your order.

What forms of payment do you accept? [12]
MasterCard, Visa, AMEX or bank transfer. Credit card payments are processed directly and securely via our payment service provider. For your security, no credit card information is stored on our server. Sorry, no PayPal.

Will I receive confirmation of my order? [13]
Yes. A summary of your order will be sent to the e-mail address you provided at check out, so please make sure to enter your e-mail address correctly.

How can we change our online order? [14]
It is not possible to change existing orders. All credit card orders are processed directly and securely via our payment service provider, and the amount authorized through the shopping cart cannot be changed. If you realize, however, that you have made a mistake in your address or other such important information, please send us an email with this information in the subject line (e.g. "address correction for order placed").

I have sent you the same order multiple times by mistake. What do I do now? [15]
Don't worry. When we receive duplicate orders that have been placed no more than a few hours apart, we assume that an error has been made and will complete only one. If you would like to make sure, you may notify us by e-mail. Please include your name and order numbers. You will find the order number at the top of your e-mail confirmation.

How can I cancel my order? [16]
Please send us an e-mail with the words "cancel order" in the subject field. Please include your name and your order number. You will find the order number at the top of your e-mail confirmation. If goods have already been dispatched, we regret that your order cannot be canceled.

Shipping

What countries do you ship to? [17]
All countries. We have completed successful deliveries to about 200 countries and territories. Shipping information can be found here.

What is the delivery time? [18]
Shipping and delivery information can be found here.

How much will shipping cost? [19]
General shipping times and prices can be found here
To get a precise estimate for shipping costs, please add the seeds and quantities you like to your shopping cart. Open the shopping cart, click on "Estimate Shipping and Taxes" and select a country. Click on "Get Quotes" and the shopping cart will provide you with real-time shipping costs.

Are certain seeds prohibited to be imported? [20]
None of the palm seeds we sell fall into this category for any destination in Europe, North America and Asia. In certain countries and for other than palm seeds, restrictions may apply - notably Australia for Musa seeds and New Zealand for all except cycad seeds. Please inform yourself of the import restrictions to your country before ordering.

Where is my order? [21]
The status of your order can be checked in your customer account. Please log in at the top of each page and go to Your Orders.
When the order is dispatched you will receive an e-mail with the invoice and shipping information (including any available tracking numbers). For orders including a phytosanitary certificate, please allow at least 7 additional working days for delivery. If you have ordered as a guest you cannot check your order status online.

Why can it take up to six weeks to receive an order? [22]
Most orders are received much faster. Six weeks is a maximum value which applies to a small number of orders only. All orders go through the following process:
1) Once you place your order on the website, your credit card is automatically charged and you receive an order confirmation.
2) Your order and the shipping method suggested online is reviewed.
3) If the order includes a phytosanitary certificate or other documents, we will apply for those at this point. The processing time for a phytosanitary certificate is currently 7-10 working days.
4) Once all the necessary documents have been obtained, your order is packed and prepared for shipping.
5) The order is now ready for inspection by customs and/or phyto inspection, if applicable.
6) The packages are picked up by the shipping company and forwarded to the destination country.
7) Once the orders arrive in the destination country, they are processed through customs (small orders may pass through customs without being inspected) and then forwarded to the customer. Customs or Agriculture may contact you for additional information if necessary. If you are experiencing problems with customs, see My shipment arrived at customs in my destination country but they are not releasing it. What do I do?
After we receive your order and until it is shipped, your order status online will say processing. After the orders have been shipped, you can follow the progress of shipping with the tracking number provided.

Can you provide a tracking number? [23]
The tracking number(s) will be e-mailed to you when your order is dispatched. Please follow the link in the e-mail. Tracking numbers are also available in your account. Please log in at the top of each page, go to Your Orders and click on the order number of the desired order.
To track your order online, enter your tracking number in the designated field on the website of DHL, UPS or your country's postal service. Please allow 1-3 days after shipping before tracking your order as many sites will only show the status of your shipment after it has entered the destination country.
Here are a few examples of those sites:
Germany: www.deutschepost.de/sendung/simpleQuery.html?locale=en_US
United States: tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction!input.action
France: www.laposte.fr/outils/suivre-vos-envois
International tracking: www.17track.net

My order has been shipped but I didn't receive a tracking number. Why?[24]
Please check your spam filter first. Some messages by the same sender may get blocked while others get past the spam filter. If your order has shipped and you have not received a tracking number after 48 hours, please contact us with your order number and we will be happy to e-mail it to you.

I think my shipment was lost in the mail. What do I do now? [25]
If your shipment is overdue for at least 8 weeks, please contact your local postal service directly with your tracking number. If they say they cannot find it, then please contact us, and we can initiate a postal investigation into the shipment. Please note that we can only file a claim if more than 8 weeks have passed since the shipment was sent.
If the investigation shows that the shipment was lost, don't worry. All shipments are insured against loss or damage. We will replace it either with the same seeds (if still available), with store credit, or with a refund.
If the investigation shows that the shipment arrived in the destination country, it may be stuck at customs. Please see My shipment arrived at customs in my destination country but they are not releasing it. What do I do?
More shipping information can be found here.

My shipment arrived at customs but they are not releasing it. What do I do? [26]
Please contact your local customs office directly to find out why the shipment is not being released. Sometimes the problem is that they cannot identify the nature of the goods. You may need to explain that they are plant seeds. They may be looking for the customs declaration form. All shipments outside of the EU have a customs declaration form, which may be a label or will be located in a pouch on the outside of the shipment. If you have requested a phytosanitary certificate, it will also be located in this pouch. You may need to direct them to these documents.

My shipment arrived damaged. What do I do? [27]
Superficial damage to the packaging does not necessarily result in damage to the goods. If there is serious obvious damage to the package (e.g. if the damage is so great that contents have been lost) please see our Terms and Conditions for further instructions.

Searching

The Botanical names are difficult to use. Can you list the seeds by their common names? [28]
We do list common names for most plants; however, for many species, there are no common names in most languages, and many common names are rather unspecific and apply to several different species. Botanical names are the best way to find precisely the plants you are looking for. When you use them more, they will appear less cumbersome and hard to pronounce.

In the location filter, why is there only one location for Russia, while there are about 40 locations in Italy? [29]
The climate stations are indeed rather unevenly distributed. The density of climate stations in Europe, for instance, is greater than in thinly settled places. We had to pick climate stations for which more than just basic data are published. Where available, we include more stations in climatically diverse countries, like Italy. Because we sell mostly seeds from hot climates, we have excluded any station roughly below USDA Zone 7. Sochi is the only station in Russia to fit these criteria. There are currently 1,000 stations available and more are to come.

Could you add a search for "wind resistant palm species"? [30]
It's there: Pick the plant group you are looking for, for instance Palms, then select the filter 'Wind Tolerance' on the right-hand side.

Wholesale

Is there a wholesale list like on the old website? [31]
Yes! Here is a quick and easy wholesale list with botanical names and wholesale prices only.

Is the minimum order value per species or for the entire order?[32]
For the entire order.

Can I combine small packet and wholesale orders? [33]
Yes, but the minimum order value of EUR 100 for wholesale applies.

Is it possible to place an order below the minimum order value? [34]
Sorry, no. To offer low prices, orders have to have a minimum value of EUR 25.

Small Packets

How many seeds are in the small packets? [35]
For most species 10 seeds, for some heavy or expensive seeds 2 or 5. Sometimes a few extra will sneak in.

Do I need to have an import permit for small packets? [36]
No, for small packets you will not need an import permit.

Phytosanitary Certificate (Phyto)

What is a phytosanitary certificate? [37]
A phytosanitary certificate (or "phyto") is a certificate issued by the German agricultural department that certifies the seeds to be free of pests and diseases.

Just wondering what happens with the phyto? [38]
The phyto is attached to the outside of the box when we ship your order. Customs or agriculture officials will keep it for their records if they inspect the shipment. Once the seeds have entered your country, the phyto has served its purpose and is no longer required.

Quality of the Seeds

The seeds that I received are covered in green mold (mould). Do I have to throw them away or can I still sow them? [39]
This is NOT mold (mould). The greenish powder you are seeing is a harmless copper-based fungicide that we frequently use to stabilize rot-prone seeds during transit. It does not harm the seeds but we suggest you wash it off before sowing.

The seeds I received look rotten. What should I do? [40]
During transit it is occasionally possible that some perishable seeds may go bad, particularly if customs or the department of agriculture see fit to retain the seeds for a lengthy period of time. If you fear some of your seeds have gone bad, please notify us immediately in writing and provide pictures of those seeds, and sow any potentially healthy seeds immediately. If we think the seeds in question may still be viable, we will ask that you sow them. In case they should continue to rot away after sowing, please remind us with your next order and we will send along a replacement. Due to the high costs of postage and phytosanitary certificates to most destinations, we try to avoid separate replacement shipments. If you are asking for a replacement, please do not throw away any potentially bad seeds as we may ask you to return expensive seeds. Please do not return any seed to us unless we ask you to, however. If the seeds are covered with a greenish powder, this is fungicide, not mold.

Why are some seeds expensive one year and cheap the next? [41]
Prices are usually determined by how difficult it is to collect a certain seed. This fluctuates a lot with weather conditions and other factors. In a bad year, perhaps after a hurricane or cyclone passed through, only a few seeds can be collected, and as the time and effort to obtain these remains the same, the seeds will be relatively expensive. In a good year with plenty of rain, an excellent crop may bring the price way down as we are trying to sell as many seeds as possible.

Viability

Are certain seeds only seasonally available because they do not stay viable until the next harvest? [42]
Many small seeds (such as bromeliad seeds) stay viable for years or even decades if stored correctly. Their seed behavior is orthodox, which means they can be dried to a low moisture content and frozen for long term storage. So, we do actually have many seeds (including bromeliad) available throughout the year.

How do you make sure that perishable seeds remain viable? [43]
Perishable seeds are usually those that cannot be dried. Where possible, we store these in large cooling units at just above freezing. More tropical seeds are stored in damp vermiculite at 16-20° C (61-68° F), a few even warmer, and their storage time is usually limited, as they will eventually start germinating. We are constantly experimenting with seed storage and have discovered interesting storage options for some seeds, while it seems impossible to extend the viability of other seeds to more than a few weeks.

Germination

When is the best time for buying and sowing seeds? [44]
It is best to buy seeds when they are freshly available. They should be sown right after you receive them, irrespective of the season. Most palm seeds have better germination if they are not stored at home (i.e. in unsuitable conditions) for a long time. In nature, most palm seeds ripen in fall, they stay dormant in the ground through winter (or possibly a dry season in a desert or savannah), and sprout in spring with the arrival of hot and humid weather. It is not necessary to provide constant high temperatures, but most seeds come up best when the days are hot.

Seeds

How do I get the seeds to germinate? [45]
General germination information for seeds of palms, cycads, bananas, heliconias, aroids, agave, yucca and for tree fern spores can be found here. Germination information for many individual species can also be found on corresponding species pages under the tab "Customer Comments.

Do some palm or banana species need to be given a cold period for best germination? [46]
The only seed we sell that requires this treatment is Musella. No palm seeds have shown better germination after a cold period.

To plant palm seeds do I need to wait for the right moon cycle? [47]
For best results we feel you should sow them as soon as you receive them.

Should I plant the germinated palm seeds after they have some good size root even if there is no sign of the shoot? [48]
We prefer to plant the seedlings as soon as the first sprout appears. If you wait too long the roots get entangled and may be damaged during transplanting. Most palms are tougher than one would assume in their early stages, but no palm likes root disturbance.

Palms

What are the hardiest palms? [49]
The following species can resist freezes down to –15°C (5°F) and some even lower, in order of decreasing hardiness:
Rhapidophyllum hystrix, Sabal minor, Trachycarpus nanus, Sabal x texensis, Nannorrhops ritchiana, Trachycarpus takil, Trachycarpus fortunei, Trachycarpus wagnerianus, Serenoa repens, Jubaea chilensis, Chamaerops humilis var. cerifera and Trithrinax campestris.

What other hardy palms are available? [50]
The following species are quite cold hardy, to around –10°C (14°F), some a little more, in alphabetical order:
Brahea armata, Brahea decumbens, Brahea dulcis, Brahea moorei, Butia capitata, Butia eriospatha, Butia microspadix, Butia paraguayensis, Butia yatay, Chamaedorea radicalis, Chamaerops humilis, Phoenix dactylifera, Phoenix theophrastii, Sabal etonia, Sabal mexicana, Sabal palmetto, Sabal uresana, Trachycarpus latisectus, Trachycarpus martianus 'Nepal', Trachycarpus oreophilus, Trachycarpus princeps and Washingtonia filifera.

How is information on cold hardiness to be interpreted? [51]
More information is available under Frost tolerance.

Are potted palms equally frost resistant? [52]
No. Palms that are planted in the ground will be better protected from low temperatures than potted palms. In pots, frost can penetrate the root ball more rapidly than in the protective ground soil.

Are all parts of a palm equally frost resistant? [53]
The roots are the most sensitive to frost while the trunk and central bud or "heart" may survive well after the leaves have perished. A defoliated palm may well regrow in spring or summer.

Where can I find out more about cold-hardiness in palms? [54]
Please check out our books. You may also wish to consider becoming a member with the International Palm Society, the European Palm Society, or the Pacific Northwest Palm & Exotic Plant Society.

Are palms suitable for hydro culture? [55]
Hydro culture is possible for most species. Further information can be obtained from books, discussion forums, or palm societies.

Which palms provide the best cut-foliage to be used in flower bouquets? [56]
The foliage of the following palms is suitable and can be stored at low temperatures when being shipped with cut flowers. Also, they produce a reasonable quantity of leaves per year: Caryota mitis, most Chamaedorea ssp., Phoenix roebelenii, most Rhapis ssp., Wallichia densiflora.

Which fan palms produce edible fruit/nuts? [57]
There are many fan palms with edible fruits. However, none have sufficient quality to be seriously considered for human consumption.

Cycads

Can you ship cycad seeds to the United States? [58]
We can ship them to almost anywhere in the world, including the US. Cycad species that are not allowed to the US are marked with EU ONLY.

Where can I get more information on cycad seeds? [59]
Please check out our books.

The Cycas thouarsii seeds rattle and are "floaters." Will they still germinate? [60]
A slight rattling can result from light desiccation and will not adversely affect the seeds. Cycas thouarsii seeds are meant to float. It is a coastal plant and the seeds are distributed by water like the coconut. The same is the case with Cycas rumphii, Cycas bougainvilleana and Cycas litoralis. They all have a spongy layer inside the seed that makes them buoyant.

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