Nursery Programs

Nursery Programs

What do I need to do to start a nursery operation?

Anyone who wishes to have a nursery in the State of Alabama must be certified by the State. Those seeking certification must complete an application including a nursery stock source list and pay the appropriate fee. Those applying to be a nursery grower must be inspected prior to their approval. Your City/County government may have additional requirements, such as a business license.

Do I need a nursery Certificate to sell fruits and vegetables?

No, only live plants with roots.

Do I need a nursery certificate to sell succulents?

Yes. All sellers of live plants must be certified.

I grow in my yard/small greenhouse and have less than $5000.00 in annual sales for the plants I grow, do I still need a certificate?

The Department of Agriculture & Industries (ADAI) does not currently have a Hobbyist classification for nursery growers. Any grower with gross sales under $100,000.00 will pay the minimum fee of $50.00 for their certification and be inspected annually.

Why do I, as a landscaper, need a nursery certificate if I don’t have a retail location?

If you purchase plants then resell them to the homeowner, even at cost, you are selling live plants and therefore you must be certified. Holding a nursery dealer certificate also ensures that you are purchasing from certified nursery stock sources.

Will I need both a nursery growers and nursery dealers’ certificate if I plan to do both?

Maybe. If you are growing and selling from the same physical location, a nursery growers’ certificate will cover both operations. However, if you are selling from a separate location, such as craft fairs, farmers markets, or a retail location, you will need to have a separate dealer’s certification.

Do I need a nursery dealers’ certificate If I only plan to sell online, at craft shows or at the farmers market?

Yes. Even though the physical location may change, or your store exist in cyberspace, you must still be certified to sell live plants.

I have a grower’s certificate from the Farmers Market authority, why do I need a grower’s certificate from the Department of Agriculture and Industries as well?

The growers permit, issued by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, for the Farmers Market Authority, only certifies that the person selling the plants, fruits, and vegetables, is the person that grew them. This permit does not replace the need to have a nursery growers’ certificate, issued by the Department of Agriculture and Industries.

I will be traveling through Alabama, do I have to declare what plants I have? Do they have to be inspected?

No. House plants in a vehicle or inside a closed container truck will not need to be declared or inspected.

I’m moving from another state to Alabama. Do I need to have my plants inspected?

No, provided none of your house plants are on the federal or state noxious weed list. There may be some restrictions on the import of citrus trees, however. (See citrus program for more information)

What do I need to do to sell plants outside the state of Alabama?

We encourage all sellers who ship plants out of state to research the agriculture laws for the State they are shipping to and to obtain any and all compliance agreements that would be required. They are also encouraged to request a digital shipping tag and/or purchase adhesive shipping tags to accompany their shipments. These are available through the Plant Protection office.

I want to purchase certain plants from mail order nurseries, but they won’t ship to my area, why?

Certain plants are prohibited in the State of Alabama and therefore, those nurseries cannot ship those plants into our state.

How can I purchase plants from a wholesaler?

Certified nursery growers typically require the buyer to be a registered nursery or landscape professional (i.e., have a nursery number issued by the Department of Agriculture) before they will sell at wholesale prices.

I want to purchase plants from someone who is not a certified grower/dealer, is that okay?

Plants for resell should not be purchased from uncertified sources as they run the risk of spreading disease and plant pest. You should only purchase from plant sources that have been certified and inspected.

I am a florist. Do I need a nursery dealers’ certificate?

If you sell live plants, plants with a root system and in soil, you are required to have a nursery dealer certificate. If you only sell cut flowers, you do not. Please call if you have questions about the plants you carry.

Will my nursery need to be inspected? How often?

All nurseries are subject to inspection. Nursery growers are inspected once a year (more often if required) when plants are present. Nursery dealers are typically inspected once every 2 – 3 years.

I have a plant pest/disease problem, where can I get help?

Homeowners should consult their County Cooperative Extension Agent or a local nursery for information about treating or combating plant pest/diseases. Nursery grower/dealers should contact their inspector, who may refer them to an appropriate agency for additional assistance.

What is the fee structure for a nursery certificate?
CertificationFeeExceptionsLate Fee
Nursery Dealer$20.00Not Prorated15%
Nursery Grower$50.00 first year$50.00 to $230.00
Based on Annual Sales
Online Transaction fee4%
Sweet Potato$100.00Plus $5.00 per Acre inspection fee15%
Digital Shipping TagNo ChargeNA
Adhesive Shipping Tag$15.50 per 50 tagDigital tag will be sent as wellNA
Can I apply and pay online?


Can I apply and pay over the phone?


Can I come by and pay in person?

We would prefer that you not pay in person as we are not set up to accept payment in person. If you must pay in person, please call ahead and make an appointment to ensure that we have the proper paperwork ready, and staff is available to assist you.

Can I pay with Cash?

Check or money order is preferred. If you must pay in cash, only correct change is accepted. Anything above the required fee will be considered a donation.

Can I pay with a debit/credit card?

Only online.

Do you take checks or money orders?

Checks and money orders are the preferred payment method for all mail in applications. Please make the check/money order payable to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

Where can I purchase plants from?

A list of certified Nursery growers and Dealers is available on their respective program webpages.

Are there any restriction as to which plants I can import/grow as a homeowner?

Homeowners cannot import or grow plants that are on the noxious weed list, originate in a quarantined area, or that are prohibited by USDA APHIS PPQ.

Where can I report pest, disease, or invasive plants?

You may report pest, disease and invasive plants to your local County Extension Agent, your Inspector and/or to the Plant Protection division of the Department of Agriculture and Industries.



Can I purchase Citrus trees for my own personal use?

Importation of citrus tree is restricted in the State of Alabama. Trees must be certified as have being grown in an approved exclusionary facility or have originated from a nonquarantined nursery in the State of Alabama. To prevent the spread of citrus diseases, trees that do not meet these criteria will be confiscated and destroyed. Homeowner’s Citrus trees are subject to periodic inspection by the Department of Agriculture and Industries.

Does it cost to have your citrus grove surveyed?

No, ADAI surveys citrus groves during a biannual survey for regulated pest and disease at no cost to the grower. These surveys occur twice a year.

How are the citrus survey results relayed to the grower?

It depends on the results. During each citrus survey ADAI inspectors attempt to collect contact information on the grower. If a regulated disease is found in your grove, ADAI will send you a letter if they have your mailing address. Otherwise, they will attempt to notify you by phone. If no regulated disease is found during the survey, there will be no need to contact you. There are too many growers to contact if nothing is found. No news is good news.

If I have a regulated pest or disease will my citrus tree need to be destroyed?

It depends on what has been found. If Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is found, you can treat your plant with a foliar spray. You can go to your local garden center and ask for a pesticide approved for citrus plants. If citrus greening or citrus canker is found, your tree will need to be removed as it will die and until then it will serve as an inoculum of the disease and infect other citrus plants in the area.

Is Alabama quarantined for any regulated pests or disease?

Yes, currently Alabama has 3 citrus quarantines in place.

1. The entire state of Alabama is quarantined for Asian citrus psyllid. Meaning citrus plants that are not grown in a USDA approved exclusion facility cannot move outside of the current federal quarantine which can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/maps/plant-health/citrus-map

2. Mobile and Baldwin counties are under currently quarantined for citrus greening, sweet orange scab and citrus canker. Meaning citrus plants grown in the quarantine cannot be moved outside of Mobile and Baldwin county unless grown in a USDA approved exclusion facility.

3. Baldwin county is under a citrus canker quarantine, affecting fruit producers wanting to ship fruit outside of Baldwin county.

How many exclusion facilities are in the state of Alabama?

As of 2022, Alabama has only one USDA approved exclusion facility.



Do I need a Beekeepers license if it a hobby or for my own personal use?


Must my beehives be inspected?

Beehives must be inspected for beekeepers that would send their bees out of state or sell their queens.

Can the Department of Agriculture and Industries help me with bee pest/diseases?

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries can identify pests and diseases but cannot give recommendations for treatments. Please check your county extension office for recommended treatment options.

What are the laws regarding any restriction on beekeeping?

There are currently no state laws restricting beekeeping. Check with your HOAs, municipal offices, and county offices to make sure there are no local laws in your area.

What do I do if I think I have “Killer Bees” or “Murder Hornets”?

If you think you have Africanized Honeybees (Killer Bees), please call to have an inspector come and get a sample to send to the lab to be verified. If you suspect you have Asian giant hornets (Murder Hornets), capture and/or exterminate the insect of concern and send a picture to Plant Protection. Keep the dead insect in case an inspector needs to see it.

What is the fee structure for an Apiary certificate?
CertificationFeeLate Fee
Apiary/Beekeepers$4.00 for 1 to 9 hives
up to
$60.00 for 500 or more hives
Online Transaction
How and when do I register my Bees?

Initial registration may take place at any time. Beekeepers are encouraged to register online at appengine.egov.com/apps/al/adai-apiary. If you would prefer a paper application, please call or email the Apiary Administrator. (See Apiary program for contact information)

When can I renew my Apiary registration?

Renewals begin August 1st. Renewals after November 1st are considered late and will be assessed a 15% late charge. You may renew online at appengine.egov.com/apps/al/adai-apiary.



Do I need a license to harvest or sell Ginseng? Why?

Yes. A license is needed to harvest and sell ginseng. Ginseng is considered a threatened species and must be monitored for both digging and selling.

What is the fee structure for Ginseng certification?
CertificationFeeExceptionsLate Fee
Ginseng collector$10.00
Ginseng grower$50.00Speak with Ginseng Administrator about this option
Ginseng seller$100.00
Online Transaction fee4%


Do I need a license to harvest wild mushrooms?

The State of Alabama does not regulate the harvesting of wild mushrooms but until recently, prohibited the selling of wild harvested mushrooms. If you desire to sell harvested wild mushrooms, please contact the Alabama Department of Public Health. For additional information, follow this link, https://www.sweetgrownalabama.org/posts/2021/10/28/alabama-has-a-new-industry-wild-harvested-mushrooms

Can I get an exemption to grow a plant that is on the prohibited list?

Plants that are on the Noxious Weed list, or are sourced from a quarantined area, are prohibited from being grown, cultivated, imported, or propagated in any way. Exemptions are rarely only granted to university researchers. Contact the Plant Protection Division if you have questions.

What do I need to do to be licensed to grow Hemp or medical marijuana?

Certification for Hemp is through the Hemp program in the Department of Agriculture. Licensing for Medical Cannabis is through the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. A nursery certificate is only required if you will be selling live hemp plants, not oil or fiber. Once you have been approved for cultivation, you must obtain a Nursery Growers certification, be inspected annually, and pay the required fee.

Is there a special license or certificate for organic gardening?

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries does not currently certify Organic Gardeners. However, the USDA does offer a certification for Organic Producers. Growers interested in this may contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service for information on how to participate in this program. https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/crop-production/organic-crop-production/

I know a nursery grower or nursery dealer who is not registered with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). Why aren’t they required to have a license?

The Plant Protection Division of ADAI tries to be sure that all plant sellers in Alabama comply with state nursery laws. If you know of a business that is not registered, please report them to Plant Protection so that we may bring them into compliance.