Delaware Department of

Nursery Inspection

ornamental trees and shrubs at a nurseryPlant Industries inspectors look for insect and plant disease pests on nursery stock. The Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Nursery section is responsible for the administration of the Delaware Nursery Law (Title 3 Chapter 13 – Nurseries and Nursery Stock Law). Delaware law defines nursery stock as “any plant for planting, propagation, or ornamentation, including, but not limited to:

a. All plants, trees, shrubs, vines, perennials grafts, cuttings and buds that may be sold for propagation, whether cultivated or wild, and all viable parts of these plants.

b. Any other plant or plant part, including cut Christmas trees or any non-hardy plant or plant part, including but not limited to, annuals, bedding plants and vegetable plants.”

In addition, the Nursery section issues certificates of inspection, phytosanitary certificates, and Nursery Licenses to businesses engaged in a nursery or nursery-related business within the state. Certification and inspections are conducted to prevent the introduction of unwanted plant pests into Delaware and facilitate grower shipments of nursery stock to other states and countries.


Nursery License

Anyone directly engaged with the distribution of plants, plant products, plant material, nursery stock, or horticultural products is required to let the Delaware Department of Agriculture know that they are conducting this business. They must obtain a nursery industry license before starting business operations. The nursery industry licenses are valid for one year (January 1 – December 31) and must be renewed annually.

Citizens wishing to search for a nursery in their county may utilize this online directory:


Learn More about Invasive Plants and Delaware’s Law

Video 1: What Does the Invasive Plant Law Mean for Me?


The Invasive Plants Law went into effect on July 1, 2022, prohibiting any person from importing, exporting, buying, selling, transporting, distributing, or propagating any viable portion, including seeds, of an invasive plant in Delaware. An invasive plant includes any living part, cultivar, species, or subspecies not native to Delaware that has the potential to result in widespread dispersal and establishment; out-compete other species in the same area; exhibit rapid growth or high seed or propagule productions; or become established in natural areas in the State.

If an individual or group is interested in obtaining an exemption for a cultivar from the Invasive Plant List, the Petition to Exempt Cultivar NEW! must be completed and submitted for review.


Video 2: What is an Invasive Plant? 


Video 3: The Benefits of Planting Native Plants


Video 4: Tips to Attract Pollinators


Final Invasive Plant List

Updated 806 Regulations for Invasive Plants, including the Final Invasive Plant List in the Invasive Species Law, was published in Vol. 26, Issue 3, Thursday, September 1, 2022:
(asterisk indicates potentially sold in the nursery trade.)

  • Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii
  • Autumn olive, Elaeagnus umbellata
  • Callery pear, Pyrus calleryana*
  • Chinese wisteria, Wisteria sinensis*
  • Creeping water primrose, Ludwigia peploides subsp. glabrescens*
  • English ivy, Hedera helix*
  • European privet, Ligustrum vulgare*
  • European reed, Phragmites australis subsp. australis
  • European sweetflag, Acorus calamus
  • Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata
  • Hydrilla, Hydrilla verticillata
  • Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii*¹
  • Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica
  • Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica
  • Japanese pachysandra, Pachysandra terminalis*
  • Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum
  • Lesser celandine, Ficaria verna
  • Lesser periwinkle, Vinca minor*
  • Marsh dewflower, Murdannia keisak
  • Mile-a-minute weed, Persicaria perfoliata
  • Morrow’s honeysuckle, Lonicera morrowii
  • Multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora
  • Norway maple, Acer platanoides*
  • Orange daylily, Hemerocallis fulva*
  • Oriental bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus
  • Parrot-feather, Myriophyllum aquaticum*
  • Porcelain berry, Ampelopsis glandulosa
  • Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria
  • Spotted knapweed, Centaurea stoebe micranthos
  • Tatarian honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica
  • Tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima
  • Water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes*
  • Wineberry, Rubus phoenicolasius
  • Winged euonymus, Euonymus alatus*
  • Yam-leaved clematis, Clematis terniflora
  • Yellow flag iris, Iris pseudoacorus*


¹ The following three cultivars of Japanese barberry are exempt from the Invasive Plant List:

  • EXEMPT: ‘UCONNBTCP4N’; Trademark Name – Crimson Cutie
  • EXEMPT: ‘UCONNBTB113’; Trademark Name – Lemon Cutie
  • EXEMPT: ‘UCONNBTB048’; Trademark Name – Lemon Glow

To report possible violations of the Invasive Plants Law at retail locations, please email Jeff Brothers. In the email, include your name, contact information, name and location of the retail operation, date of visit to the retail site, and names of plants suspected of being in violation.

Plant Watch List

Plants listed on the Plant Watch List must be identified with a tag, label, or sign on each plant or in the general vicinity of the plants for sale. (Effective August 15, 2022)

  • Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia

Resources and Signage for Nursery Use


  • Sign (7” x 5” inches) for online use (.png, 176MB)
  • Sign (7” x 5” inches) for printing (.pdf, 2 MB) – Standard Printing, in-house
  • Sign (7” x 5” inches) for printing (.pdf, 2 MB) – Crop Mark and Bleeds

Delaware Native Species Commission (DNSC) Resources


Native and Alternative Plant Resources

Delaware Native Plants for Native Bees
Controlling Backyard Invaders
University of Delaware Plants for Delaware Landscapes
DNREC Native Indigenous Trees of Delaware
USDA PLANTS Database (Plant List of Attributes, Names, Taxonomy, and Symbols)

Ribes and Spotted Lanternfly Permits

Delaware Ribes Permit Application
Delaware Business Spotted Lanternfly Permit Registration and Testing

Contact Us

Jeff Brothers, Environmental Program Manager
Business Phone: 302-698-4583

Rebecca Gartley, Environmental Scientist I
Business Phone: 302-698-4589

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