Have you ever tried to “smuggle” plants or plant cuttings back home from your vacation? I’d never tried it but it turns out, it’s possible.

Consider Exhibit A:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, smuggled plant cuttings

I didn’t know Euphorbia milii ‘Crown of Thorns’ plants grow outdoors in Florida, or that I would lust after them so much. They were everywhere, and with pretty red bracts, and variegated red/pink bracts – so cute!

I wanted some!

I asked permission to take cuttings (granted), and then I searched Florida’s laws about transferring plants across state lines (found nothing saying you couldn’t), and New Mexico’s about bringing in plants from out of state (also nothing saying you couldn’t).

The biggest issues then became how to package them and how to get them through security at the airport.

The packaging problem was solved by a handy Cheerio’s box that protected the cuttings (which were taken two days before my flight so the cuts had a chance to scar over). The cuttings were wrapped in newspaper, then stuffed into the cereal box.

But now security. Should I be proactive and point out how the cuttings have very sharp thorns? Beg the TSA to believe me when I say that I have no intention of using the plants as a weapon against flight attendants? Or say nothing at all?

I chose the latter.

I had no problem throwing them out if I got busted at the airport – they were just cuttings and therefore not technically plants. But it would’ve been a bit of a bummer.

They never blinked an eye at my thorny plants inside the Cheerio’s box inside my carry-on bag. Like they didn’t notice the plants, or didn’t care. I’d like to think the plants were noticed but that the agent who saw them used common sense to determine they were not a threat. Who knows, maybe she was a plant lover herself.

Either way, I’m very excited to have them here. They still have a journey ahead of them – growing roots and all – but they are planted and I’m optimistic they’ll thrive.

How about you? Have you ever taken plant cuttings on an airplane? If so, how did it work out for you?


Good To Grow is an Albuquerque-based interior and exterior landscaping service. We use plants and flowers to decorate offices, homes and patios around the city. We also offer memorial garden services, meaning that when a loved one passes, we can plant a customized garden in his or her honor. If the person who passed was an avid cook, we can plant an herb garden to honor that person’s memory. If a Veteran dies, we can plant a red, white, and blue perennial flower garden. If you lost a beloved pet, we can plant a garden around the burial site.

If you’d like to know more about the landscaping or memorial garden services offered, please send an email to lizatheplantlady at gmail dot com. Thank you for your consideration.