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How to make money growing plants

Posted by mandyf on March 29, 2012

Is it possible to turn a profit growing plants in your backyard? The answer is an emphatic yes! Gardening for pleasure or to supplement the food you have available for your dinner can make you some serious money. It really isn’t very difficult to do if you already have a green thumb and and the space to devote to a small plot you can dedicate to growing plants for profit.

Before diving in to what plants can yield the best profits, this article will be broad based in that it will attempt to identify many different plants to offer enough variety for everyone to find something that both meets their available space and a variety of locales as it is well known different plants thrive under different conditions. In some cases the best fit for you may be a vegetable, while for others it may be a shrub, tree, or ornamental type of grass. Whenever possible information will be provided to help demonstrate the value per square foot for each plant mentioned.

Ground covers of all sorts can provide some amazing returns as they continue to grow in popularity each year. Ground covers are always an attractive landscaping option because they require little maintenance and water. It can take up to a year to get them to grow large enough to sell, but considering they are ridiculously cheap to begin growing, usually about $1 per gallon pot, less if you can strike a deal to buy immature plants in bulk. Four of those one gallon pots equals one square foot when mature which wholesales at $3 per square foot, and retails around $5. Either way it is a nice return.

Ornamental grasses like Pampas grass cost a little more to start out in some cases, but they remain in high demand because of their versatility. The biggest profits are obviously realized when grown from seeds, but if you are willing to sacrifice a little profit to to start out with smaller immature plants that just some nurturing to get big enough for sale in short order, you can still do fairly well. As there are hundreds of varieties of ornamental grass you can find plenty of options for any growing climate and desired reasonable profit range.

One more option in this genre of plants is to try your hand at landscaping shrubs and trees. In order to grow tress from saplings like maples or cottonwoods, you will need a fair amount of space and TLC. The loss rate regarding saplings can be problematic at times, but the profits realized on survivors can more than make up for that. The downside with these can be finding a buyer at times, but if you live near a nursery you can usually move them without much trouble. A more reasonable angle to many growers is to try their hand at plants which are always in demand like rhododendrons, junipers, azaleas, firs, and the always popular and easy to sell Japanese maple. The nice thing about these is you can take small quick profits in relation to plant size or go for bigger profits by holding off on a sale until they reach greater maturity.

For vegetable growers the choices are incredible to turn some backyard profits. What you choose to grow for profit should not only take into account where you are but space available to you. As root plants can eat up your square footage in quick order you usually won’t want to devote too much space these. Leafy greens and vine plants generally require less space and can return bigger profits per square foot based in part on bulk. With that in mind follows some of the best vegetables to grow for profit.

Cilantro -$21.50 per sq/ft

Arugula-Roquette – $20.82 per sq/ft

Green Salad Mix -$17.55 per sq/ft

Chives and Dill -$16.40 per sq/ft

Lettuce -$16.40 per sq/ft

Cherry tomato (Small and medium) – $15.57 per sq/ft

While those are the big profit makers they are far from the only options you have to work with. In the range of $7.75 -$10.00 you can try your hand at turnips, winter squash, large tomatoes, tomatillo, cucumbers, and sometimes basil sneaks into that range. Continuing down the list to the $4.50 range which is about the lowest you can go and still profitable are jalapeno peppers, choi, summer squash, celery, Swiss chard, pumpkins, and red radishes.

The biggest thing to really keep your profits rolling is to remember that you will have to hold some of your harvest back in order to be have the seeds to plant again the next year. The first season when you purchase your initial stock is going to obviously return a lower profit. When it comes to growing vegetables it is best to have a plan in place to sell them in advance or make sure whatever you grow is something you won’t mind eating in case the worst comes to worst and you cannot sell them for some unforeseen reason. Most of all however is to enjoy the experience, learn from each season, and constantly be on the look out for trends you can stay one step ahead of.


2 Responses to “How to make money growing plants”

  1. I had to laugh at this post…my mother had a very green thumb and my brother inherited it. Me? Let’s just say that our children used to have pet rabbits and I tried to grow dandelions and mint (both weeds) in the yard and failed miserably!! I think I have more chance of making money at blogging than I do of making money from my yard.

  2. Libby Keane said

    Thanks for the very informative post Mandy.

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