Selling Plants: My Exact Process for Selling Seedlings for Profit

How to Sell Plants From Home
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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2024)

Why Would You Want to Sell Plants From Home?

There are so many reasons to consider selling plants from home!

Selling Plants is Easy Money

So many people love the idea of growing a garden, but they don’t think about starting their own seedlings.

how to sell plants from home

There seems to be a mental block that keeps people from growing their own seedlings. This is really good for YOU. People LOVE the idea of buying seedlings from local growers, and that’s you!

You Have a Green Thumb

If you already have a green thumb, growing profitable plants is going to be easy for you.

You Are Already Growing Plants for Yourself

If you already grow a garden, chances are good that you grow your own plants. Adding a few more plants to each variety you’re growing can put money in your pocket fast!

For example, if you are already growing 50 tomato plants, add 20 more to your total and sell those extra for $3 each. You just brought in $60!

If you do this for just a few other plant varieties, it won’t take long for you to make $100-$200 dollars off your garden. If you’re like me, you could do a lot with an extra two hundred bucks. You can make that and much more selling plants!

 

It’s Never Been Easier to Get in Front of Your Potential Seedling Customers

It’s easier to make money growing plants than it’s ever been. Social media puts your plants in front of hundreds of people without a ton of effort on your part.

Vegetables and Veggie Seedlings Have Never Been More Popular

The trend toward self-reliance has a ton of momentum right now. People want to feel like they can take part of their food supply into their own hands.

selling plants from home

Exerting some control over their food by growing it themselves makes them feel capable and less anxious.

Food Shortages

You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about the food shortages plaguing us recently.

Make Money Selling Plants

Record-setting heat waves, drought, and other natural disasters have wrecked some of our food supply, and many of the effects won’t be felt until next year.

Food Borne Illnesses

When food actually makes it to the shelves, there are still threats we face. We’ve had to evade food-borne illnesses like E. Coli and salmonella in foods like romaine lettuce, onions, and prepared chicken salad, just to name a few recent ones.

Make Money Selling Plants

I bought a Kitchenaid Food Grinder back in the summertime and have started grinding my own beef and chicken blends from roasts that I find on sale.

Doing this isn’t necessarily less expensive, but it sometimes is, and I want more control over my family’s exposure to food-borne illness.

Check the most recent price for the grinder here.

Food Prices

Let’s say you find your favorite foods at the grocery store. Have you seen how quickly prices are going up?

It seems that every time I walk into the store, food prices have gone up.

I went to my local grocery store yesterday as a matter of fact, and I was seeing small containers of tomatoes for FIVE dollars, a single head of cabbage for almost $4, and that was for the non-organic stuff.

make money with plants

I used to be able to ignore the wilted produce and buy it anyway if it was at a good price, but there’s no such thing as a “good price” anymore, and it’s STILL wilted.

I can’t tell you how often I say to myself, “jeez, I feel so bad for people who don’t grow their food”.

I don’t know how people feed their kids high-quality produce and stay within their food budget. The answer is, that they don’t. They end up turning to pre-packaged “food” that’s super-processed and full of preservatives because that’s what fits in their food budget.

I don’t blame them, but I want you to help people in your community grow their own food by planting seedlings in their gardens that they can purchase from you.

Selling Plants Online is Easier than Ever

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Roadside Stands

You Can Grow 100's of Pounds of Food for (basically) FREE

Selling plants allows you to grow your own garden for free. With some basic planning I show you how to do, you can grow 100s of pounds of delicious, healthy, homegrown food at no cost to you.

How to Sell Veggie Seedlings

So we’ve established that selling vegetable seedlings is worth doing, but how do you get started? 

It can feel overwhelming when you think about all the aspects of selling plants profitably, but I’m going to share everything you need to do to ensure your seedling sale is a massive success!

First, you’ll decide which plants to sell, then you’ll figure out how many of those plants you’ll sell.

Next, you’ll create your action calendar that will include everything you need to do to make sure your seedlings are ready to sell.

Decide Which Plants to Sell

There are a few ways to decide which plants you should sell, and I share them all below.

how to sell plants from your home

Grow What You Are Already Growing

In my experience, it’s a great idea to sell what you’re already growing, for a couple of really good reasons.

It's Easier to Make Money Selling Plants When You Sell Varieties You Know

It’s so much easier to make money selling plants when you’re selling plants you already know how to grow. Trust me; you don’t want to go into a potential new gardening business by deciding to grow plants you’ve never grown before.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Why? Because you want part of this plant selling business to be EASY for you. It’s a plant-selling BUSINESS, after all, so it’s not enough to just grow well or sell well. You have to do BOTH of those things well. It helps if you know you can grow at least a few of the varieties you want to sell. That way you can focus on learning the selling part while knowing you have some of the growing already figured out.

Also, talking about varieties you already grow will be SO EASY for you. You’ll even have pictures of past seasons that you can use to sell your seedlings. You’ll also be able to share any variety-specific growing hacks, tips, or tricks you’ve learned along the way when growing that variety. That kind of first-hand knowledge and experience help people trust you, and people buy from people they trust.

can you make money selling plants

You Know Those Plants Will Do Well In Your Climate

Another plus to selling what you already grow is that you know those varieties will do well in your climate.

If you’ve been growing food for awhile, you know that some varieties just don’t perform well in every climate.

When you sell varieties that you’ve been successful with before, that is very valuable to your customers. They can feel confident that the varieties will likely do well for THEM if you’ve had success with them in the past.

If you’re like me, you care about the plants you grow to sell, even after you’ve sold them.

I have been known to message customers months after the sale to find out how their plants are doing. I want those plants to do well, because that’s the point. Making sure my customers are successful means I’m successful.

When In Doubt, Do Market Research

What do the locals love? Start there.

Go to your local farmer’s market to see what varieties are sold. Also, plant sales at nearby farmers’ markets are great indicators of what does well in your area. There will be a high demand for these varieties.

Resist the urge to get fancy or unique with your varieties if you want to sell as much as possible. Yes, throw in a few unique showstoppers or some that you know are absolutely delicious, but don’t go overboard with varieties no one has heard of, or they won’t buy from you.

how to sell plants

Offer Plants When The Big Box Stores Don't

Offering plants at a time of year when the Big Box Stores don’t sell them is a good strategy.

For example, June/July is a great time for you to sell since most big box stores and nurseries are done selling seedlings and won’t start back until it’s time for fall plants to come out.

That gives YOU a massive opportunity to offer customers something they can’t get anywhere else.

Offer Plants That are Assumed to Be (Or ARE) Difficult to Start From Seed

Offering plants that are tough to get started as seeds but are easy to grow once they have germinated is a proven strategy.

Artichokes, asparagus, and certain flowers are great examples of plants that are popular, but that also have a high perceived barrier to get started with.

Preselling Plants

You might decide to presell your seedlings. What does preselling mean? Preselling is when you ask your audience what seedlings they would like to buy from you BEFORE you grow them.

Preselling seedlings is a great way to get money for plants before you actually grow them.

Business License

Find out if you need one and how to get it. Each state or area handles things their way. 

Grow the Most Profitable Plants You Can

You don’t have to spend a ton of time calculating expenses and profit down to a fraction of a penny to make a profit.

Pro Tip: Include Fast-Growing Plants

Including some fast-growing plants in your line-up is a really good idea for a few reasons.

First of all, they grow quickly so your customer will see a return on their investment FAST.

Second, you can sell fast-growing plants for several months out of the year. Gone are the days when people planted their garden once in the spring and that’s it.

If your customers want to eat homegrown food that doesn’t cost a fortune, they need to plant several rounds of these fast-growing vegetables throughout the season. And YOU want to be the person to supply those seedlings, don’t you?

That’s why it’s a smart business decision to include popular, fast-growing plants in the list of seedlings you grow.

How Many Plants Are You Going to Sell?

You’ve taken the first step and decided that you are going to sell seedlings, you’ve downloaded the “Seedling Variety Planner”, filled it out, and you’ve chosen the best plants to sell.

Great job! You’ve taken massive action on your plan to start selling plants online. Now you need to decide how many of each variety you will plant.

There are 3 things you need to consider when determining how many plants you’re going to sell: how much room you have under grow lights, how much money you can spend on supplies, and how much time you have to take care of your plants.

make money with plants

How Much Room You Have Under Grow Lights

You’ll probably want to start your seedlings under grow lights. If you already grow plants for your garden, there is a great chance you already have grow lights.

If not, check out my post all about grow lights here. It will tell you everything you need to know about which grow lights to buy based on your goals.

The amount of room you have under those grow lights will serve as your upper limit for the number of seedlings you can sell. You have to start those seedlings somewhere, and as they get bigger, you will have to pot them up.

Count on having to pot up tomatoes and peppers once before you sell them. I pot up into 4″ round pots, so I calculate how many 4″ round pots will fit under my grow lights. I can’t grow any more seedlings than that.

How Much Money You Want to Spend Upfront

Growing veggie seedlings for profit requires some money upfront. The more seedlings you grow, the more the upfront costs will be.

Here is a breakdown of what it costs me to sell a tomato or pepper plant. You can use these figures to get you started:

  • Tomato or pepper seeds: anywhere from .05-.25 per seed (depends on variety)
  • Seed starting mix= .30
  • Fertilizer= .05
  • Pot= .21

My total cost per 4″ tomato or pepper seedling is between 60 cents and 80 cents per plant. I sell these plants for $3 or $4 apiece easily, and could get more than that for them.

However, I’m more interested in making fresh food and gardening accessible to as many people as possible than in positioning my seedlings as a more expensive product.

Feel free to use the costing information above to determine how much you want to spend. This will help determine how many seedlings you’ll grow!

selling vegetable plants for profit

How Much Time You Have to Take Care of Plants

The final consideration you’ll have to make when deciding how many plants to grow is how much time you have to take care of them.

When you first plant your seeds, you’ll need to check in on them a couple of times a day.

Once the seeds germinate, you’ll check on them once a day, and you may have 15-20 minutes of work to do with them.

The time investment isn’t really that much; it’s just the consistency that it requires that makes it something you need to be willing to commit to.

This is another reason that it’s smart to grow to sell what you’re already growing for your garden. If you are already checking on your own seedlings once a day, it’s really not much additional work to look after the seedlings you plan to sell.

Now that you know how many seedlings you want to grow to start selling plants, it’s time to get the plans started.

Plan Your Sales Date

Now that you know which varieties and how many you of them you are going to sell, the next step is to decide which date you’ll go live with your plant sales.

There are several things to think about that will help you decide when to sell. We’ll go through each of them below.

What Are Your Last Frost Dates and First Frost Dates

Check the last frost date for your zone. You can find that information here. That date is the earliest date that you’ll need to have plants ready for sale.

Most people are ready to plant their spring/summer garden about 1-2 weeks after their last frost date in the spring, so you’ll want your first round of vegetables ready to sell by this time.

If this is your first time having a seedling sale, I would concentrate on having one seedling sale event, and not add succession plantings to it. You can always decide to plant more seedlings and advertise them a few weeks down the road. By concentrating on one selling period, you simplify your workload considerably.

What Supplies Will You Need?

You’ll need to purchase basic growing supplies to get your seedling sale going, and you’re finally ready to do that. Below, we’ll cover all the different types of investments you need to make to get started selling!

Containers

When you’re first starting out, I recommend you purchase the following containers. This is the best combination of economy and usefulness. You don’t want to buy so many different kinds of containers that you spend all the profit you might make down the road.

Containers to Put Under Grow Lights

These are the containers you’ll use when you start your seeds under grow lights.

6 Pack Containers

 use these 6-pack containers (check price here). I like these containers because the compartments are nice and big so you can seed these containers and then grow your plants in the same container without needing more containers. When you use these containers, you’ll be selling the exact containers you seeded, so the plants stay in them.

1020 Bottom Trays and 72 Cell Top Trays

I use these trays for seeding crops that I plan to pot up after 4-6 weeks. By seeding them in these 72-cell trays, I can start a lot of high-value plant seeds without using a ton of precious space under your grow lights.

I use these trays for starting eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes under grow lights. In a small space, I can start 72 plants that have a future value of over $200. Then, after about 6 weeks, I pot them up into larger pots to continue growing until they are sold.

Containers for Potting Up Larger Plants

I use these containers to put my eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes in after they have grown in the 72- cell tray for around 4-6 weeks.

The plants will stay in these containers for a differing amount of time, depending on when your plant sale is, but they should be big enough to allow the plant to stay in them for several weeks.

Soil

This is the medium that you’ll plant your seeds into and that you’ll pot seedlings up into.

If you grow your own seedlings for your garden and you want to grow ADDITIONAL plants for a seedling sale, then you’ll want to invest as much as you can to buy quality mix at a volume.

Personally, I suggest buying a compressed bale of Pro-Mix (check ProMix Bale price here) if you know you want to grow for the long-term. This allows you to spend less per plant on growing mix so that you are making more profit per plant in this new business.

However, you may not want to purchase a whole bale. If you want a smaller quantity so you can pay less $$ but still get a quality product, I suggest Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil (check Happy Frog price here). I have used Happy Frog and been very happy with it. I only recommend products that I use and love.

Seeds

Wide Selection of Organic Seeds
High Mowing Seeds High Mowing Seeds
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  • Their germination rates, prices, and selections make them a solid first choice when you want an organic seed company.
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Affordable Selections
Botanical Interests Botanical Interests
  • Botanical Interests has a variety of herb, vegetable, and flower seeds in a consistent pack size, so it's easy to hop onto their website, pick up several packs of seeds, and have your entire garden planting taken care of.
  • You don't have to buy huge amounts to get good prices on seeds, and they have frequent sales.
  • They have expanded their offerings into garden tools and raised beds as well, so they are an excellent one-stop shop to get what you need for gardening.
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Great Seed Options for Southern Gardeners
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  • Great Onion Seed Selection
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Marketing Your Plant Sale With Success

So far you’ve:

  • decided to start selling plants,
  • decided what you’ll sell and how much,
  • planned when your seedlings need to be ready,
  • bought supplies, and
  • started planting.

Now you need to seriously turn your attention to making extra money by attracting new customers to buy your plants.

Here are some places you can sell your seedlings:

  • Existing farmers markets
  • Local pop-ups and festivals
  • Roadside stand
  • Facebook Marketplace

Any of these places will work, and you may decide to sell at several of them at different times.

Places to Sell Your Seedlings

Sell at Existing Farmers Markets

If you are already selling produce at a local farmers’ market, then adding plants to your offerings is a great way to bring in more revenue. You can set up a table next to your produce stand, or even inside your tent, and sell your seedlings.

Make sure to have a good selection of plants to choose from, and be prepared to answer any questions your potential customers may have. You may also want to print out some informational flyers about growing vegetables so people can take them home with them.

Selling at Pop-Ups and Festivals

If you’re not already selling at a farmers market, then consider doing pop-ups or festivals instead. These events are a great opportunity to sell your plants to people who may not be familiar with your business.

Be sure to research the festivals and pop-ups in your area so you know what type of products they feature. Most events will have a section for agricultural products, so make sure you’re included!

Setting Up a Roadside Stand

If you’re looking for a more permanent option than selling at farmers’ markets or pop-ups, then setting up a roadside stand is the way to go. This is a great way to get passersby to stop and take a look at what you have for sale.

This approach is an especially good idea if you plan to have a permanent stand. Selling vegetables you grow from your garden is another great way to make money, but you won’t start making money from the food you grow for awhile.

So a great way to start earning money earlier in the season is to grow your seedlings at the roadside stand. You won’t cut into your veggie sales by selling plants; on the contrary, gardeners are extremely likely to buy fresh produce from others because they know the value of it.

Make sure to choose a location that has high traffic, and be prepared for people who may not be interested in buying plants. Have some healthy snacks or drinks on hand so people will stick around for a while!

Facebook Marketplace

Selling plants on Facebook Marketplace is a great way to reach potential customers who may not be familiar with your business. It’s also a great way to sell plants that are in high demand, such as tomatoes, peppers, and other summer vegetables.

Before you start selling on Facebook Marketplace, you’ll need to create a listing. This involves adding photos of your plants, a description, and the price.

When creating your listing, be sure to include keywords that people will use to search for plants. For example, “tomato plants,” “herbs,” or “flower seeds.”

Make sure your listing is accurate and up-to-date, and be prepared to answer any questions potential customers may have. You can also use Facebook Messenger to chat with potential customers directly!

Additional Tips for Selling Plants

Now that you know where to sell your plants, it’s time to get started! Here are a few additional tips to help you make the most of your sale:

Creating a Catchy Name and Logo for Your Business

When it comes to selling plants, it’s important to have a catchy name and logo that will help you stand out from the competition. This will make your business more memorable, and may even help attract new customers.

When creating your name and logo, be sure to keep it simple and easy to remember. You may also want to include some images of plants or gardening tools in your design.

If you’re not sure how to get started, there are plenty of online resources that can help. For example, Fiverr offers a range of services that can help you create a professional-looking logo for your business.

More Tips on Selling Plants

  1. Make sure to have a good selection of plants to choose from.
  2. Be prepared to answer any questions your potential customers may have.
  3. Print out some informational flyers about growing vegetables.
  4. Consider printing out some recipes using the plants you’re selling. It’s easier for customers to make the purchase if they know what they are going to make with it.

Conclusion

You’ve got all the information you need to make a profit selling plants! Thanks for reading, and let me know which plants you plan to sell first!

 

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