Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Aquatic Plant Permit Information

Aquatic plants for sale or distribution are considered nursery stock and have the same requirements for registration and inspection. Collecting aquatic plants for research or education also requires a permit. Certain Florida aquatic plants are prohibited and are restricted in movement within the state or to other states.

See A Brief Summary of the Nursery Inspection Law [ Adobe PDF Document 299.52 KB ] or contact your local plant inspector for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Select a question below to expand the answer.

Are all aquatic plants regulated in the same way for harvesting and sales?

No, there are two broad types of aquatic plants subject to regulation in Florida. Aquatic species that have been demonstrated to disrupt waterways or negatively impact Florida ecosystems are defined as “prohibited" aquatic species. These plant species are restricted and require a permit to harvest and in some limited cases, to propagate for export outside the state. Native aquatic plants are usually defined as “non-prohibited” aquatics and are protected from over-harvesting by means of a different permit for harvesting.

Who can obtain a permit for harvesting aquatic plant species in Florida?

Registered nurseries, stock dealers, government agencies, research institutions, and wastewater facilities approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection may apply to collect aquatic plants.

Which permits are required for research and education?

For prohibited aquatic plants, government agencies, research institutions, and wastewater facilities may apply for permission to collect using the  Application and Permit to Move Organisms Regulated by the State of Florida [ Adobe PDF Document ]. The guidelines are the same as for requesting a permit to collect or transport noxious weed species. See the  Noxious Weed Information page for information about completing the form. To collect non-prohibited aquatic species use the form FDACS-08450  Application for Permit to Collect Non-Prohibited Aquatic Plants [ Adobe PDF Document ].

Which permits are required to collect aquatic plants to grow in a nursery?

Anyone importing transporting, non-nursery cultivating, collecting or possessing aquatic plants for business purposes must be a  registered nursery and submit  Application for Permit to Collect Non-Prohibited Aquatic Plants [ Adobe PDF Document ] and send the application to the Division of Plant Industry. Please refer to the  Plant Inspection Office Locator for a plant inspection office local to your area.

Which aquatic plants are prohibited for nurseries?

See the list of Class I species at 5B-64.011 Prohibited Aquatic Plants.  Rule Chapter 5B-64.

Which permit is needed to ship class II prohibited aquatic plants out of state?

Although there are three Class II prohibited aquatic plant species, currently only water lettuce can be sold for export out of the state because federal law prohibits the interstate movement for the other two species, Hygro and Ambulia. The required permit application,  Application/Permit to Possess and Cultivate Class II Prohibited Aquatic Plants [ Adobe PDF Document ] must be submitted to the Division of Plant Industry.

Are there any other aquatic plants are prohibited and restricted within the state?

Yes, any plant species listed as a  federal noxious weed is regulated in the same manner as state noxious weeds. 

Are there any special restrictions for export of aquatic plants?

Yes, plants exported to California must be certified to be free of  Hydrilla.

Can any other prohibited aquatic species be grown under permit for movement out of state?

Yes, with special permission and formal agreements with the Division of Plant Industry, the following plants may be cultivated for export.

Where can I find more information?