Gardening can be an expensive hobby! Just ask me how I know. For many of us, we don’t care what the cost is, we just love it and it’s cheaper than therapy. Maybe though, you’re looking for a way to help support your hobby, or make some extra cash. You know you could be sitting on a goldmine in your own backyard. Well, maybe not a gold mine, but if you garden, there are many ways you can potentially make money from your garden. Read on to get all the tips and tricks on how to conduct a Plant Sale and other ways to make money from your Garden.
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For several years I conducted a plant sale every spring at my former home. Over 19 years of gardening there yielded lots and lots of perennials. Plus, I love starting seeds indoors and in my portable greenhouse, and there’s also winter sowing. Between perennial divisions from my own gardens, plus the flowers and vegetables from the seeds I started, I was able to make a good amount of extra cash each spring. This post is a conglomeration of what I learned from my years of conducting plant sales, plus some other ways to make money from your garden. Having a plant sale is also a great way to raise money for an organization you are part of. It is hard work, but I always enjoy talking to other gardeners and giving tips to new ones.
What to Sell at Your Plant Sale
- Perennial Divisions from your flower garden are a huge hit at plant sales and are usually the top sellers. Perennial divisions – hostas, daylily hybrids, black-eyed Susans, Echinacea, Shasta daisies, astilbe and any classic perennial divisions. Pretty much any perennial you need to divide from your gardens, except aggressive or invasive plants. Although it’s tempting, do not sell overly aggressive or invasive plants at your sale.
- Perennial Starter Plants grown from seed. Winter Sowing is a super easy way to grow perennials from seed.
- Lilies, gladiolus, caladium, dahlias or any other bulb that you can start early in pots. Costco sells large bags of bulbs early in the spring for very reasonable prices. See How to Jumpstart Summer Blooming Bulbs.
- Any vegetable plants, especially tomatoes and peppers. Go for a few different varieties that aren’t readily available.
- Annual flowers. Again, go for some different varieties that aren’t readily available at surrounding garden centers. Need help with Seed Starting Indoors, be sure to read this post.
- Containers with mixed herbs – Herb Garden in a Container.
- Put together some creative container gardens using wicker baskets, old purses, galvanized buckets, tea kettles or whatever you can come up with that has good drainage or you can make holes in. Look for these items at garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets or estate sales. Make some flower containers for sun and some for shade.
- If you’re creative (most gardeners are) or if you have a family member that is crafty, also think about including handmade things like garden signs, plant tags, painted rocks, decorative flower pots, etc.
- Make a sign for a Salsa garden and suggest which plants to purchase for your customers. Consider printing some of your favorite salsa recipes with suggestions of which plants to buy. If you have cilantro and onion starts for sale, all the better.
- If done right, succulent gardens can be a money maker.
- Do a combination of annual flowers and sell them together as a Cutting Garden package. Consider adding a sign and a little plan.
- Also, consider doing the same for a pollinator garden.
Supplies You Will Need
- Seeds (Botanical Interests is my favorite online seed source. Lots of unique varieties and have high germination rates.)
- Clean Pots – Lots of 1 gallon pots and 4″ pots. The cheapest way to get nursery pots is to ask friends, family members and neighbors for their empty ones. Be specific on the sizes. I have also purchased them in bulk. For smaller plants, you can also use plastic cups, but be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage.
- Potting Soil (Costco sells huge bags of potting soil for really cheap.)
- Plant Tags This is an affiliate link to tags that I’ve purchased. I also like to use old mini blinds cut up for plant tags.
- Paint Markers – Always use paint markers on plant tags. Permanent markers don’t last in a garden setting.
- Laminator – This may sound silly, but paper signs and watered plants don’t mix. If you laminate your signs you can use them over and over.
More Ideas for Making Your Plant Sale a Success
Make signs for your sale. That includes directional signs that you place around your neighborhood.
Plant tags are a must. Include the common name of the plant (and the variety if you know it), sun requirements and the full grown height of the plant (for flowers & perennials).
For your main plant signs, you will want to include a picture of the plant at its full grown state and in bloom. It’s very likely that your plants won’t be in bloom when you have your plant sale. Include information like; sun requirements, how tall the plant gets and any other pertinent information. There are done for you sign templates in the printables packet that’s available below. I then laminate the sign and tape it to a popsicle stick. If you started plants from seed, simply laminate the seed packet and use it.
I then stick the sign in one pot for each group of the same plants. If a customer chooses the plant with the stake, simply remove it and place it in the next plant in the row. Keep these bigger plant signs so you can reuse them from year to year. This step may seem like overkill, but gardeners who are not familiar with certain plants will want to know what the plant looks like before they purchase it. See the Plant Sale Printables for signs you can use.
You can either put a price sticker (or color coded) sticker on each plant, or make price signs.
Collect cardboard boxes for shoppers to carry their plants. Boxes that are around 6″ high, like the kind strawberry packages come in, are perfect for customers to pack their plants in.
How to Prepare and Get Organized for Your Plant Sale
In order to have a successful plant sale, it’s important to plan and prepare. If you look like you have your act together on the day(s) of your sale, you’ll feel better, you’ll enjoy it more and you’ll probably make more sales.
Start as early as the fall before, making lists of which perennials in your garden need dividing. It’s much easier to see which perennials need dividing when they are full grown. If you have the time, energy and space, you can divide the plants in the fall. You will need to pot them and rebury them to insure they survive the winter. Once I clean out my vegetable beds in the fall, this is where I bury my perennial divisions and cover with leaves. That may sound a little extreme, but if you are busier in the spring than in the fall, it makes sense to get a head start.
If you are really ambitious, during winter months think about ways you can prepare for your sale. Make plant tags and signs. make any garden craft items you want to include in your sale. Grow perennials from seed by Winter Sowing.
Timeline for Preparing for Your Plant Sale
12 -15 Weeks Before the Sale
- If you haven’t already done so, set the date for your plant sale.
- Make a list of the plants you want to start from seed. There’s a handy printable available in printables packet to help you keep track.
- Work on Signs
- Work on Plant Tags
6 – 8 Weeks Before Your Plant Sale
- Start Seeds Indoors
4 – 6 Weeks Before Your Plant Sale
- Make a list of the perennials you will divide from your garden, if you didn’t already do so last fall. That’s a list you can use in the Plant Sale Printables Packet.
- Continue starting seeds indoors.
1 – 3 Weeks Before Your Plant Sale
- Divide and pot up perennials from your gardens. Early spring is the best time to divide perennials when they are just poking out of the ground. Damage to plant foliage and transplant shock are greatly reduced. Be sure to use decent soil to fill in around the roots. It’s best to get perennial divisions from your gardens potted up early, so they look good on the day of your sale. Be sure to water your transplants and keep them out of full sun.
- Bump up seed started plants to bigger 4″ pots.
- Add plant tags to your pots. For perennial and annual flowers, remember to include the common name and variety of the plant, sun requirements and the approximate height the plant will be when it is full grown.
A Few Days Before Your Sale
- Put up neighborhood signs.
- Get cash to make change.
- Add plant tags to containers.
- Wipe down sides of containers.
- Add your sale to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or Facebook gardening groups (where its allowed) and any place else you can think of to advertise your plant sale.
The Night Before, or the Morning of Your Plant Sale
- Set up tables for displaying your plants. I highly recommend using sturdy tables, because it’s so much easier for shoppers to be able to read signs and plant tags rather than having them on the ground.
- Put pricing signs up or any other signs you’ve made.
During Your Plant Sale
Be prepared to be very busy. Maintain a friendly attitude and be willing to help aspiring gardeners with questions. Have an email signup sheet for next year’s plant sale. Happy customers will want to come back and they will tell their friends. Ask for help from your friends and family on the day of the sale.
If it rains on the day of your sale, no worries… plants love the rain. If possible move your plant sale into your garage. Popup tents work really well too. Just be sure to have them securely anchored. If neither of those are possible, gather up all the umbrellas you have and offer them to shoppers.
If people like the service you provide and have a good experience at your plant sale, they will want to come back the following year.
Tips for Pricing Plants for Your Plant Sale
This is the tough part! You don’t want to price your plants too low and you don’t want to price your plants too high. As you establish yourself and you have customers returning year after year, you will be able to adjust your prices accordingly.
It’s important not to do all this work and not make any money from it. Keep in mind what you actually spend on seeds, bulbs, soil, pots, etc. so you don’t lose money.
Also be aware of what nurseries and garden centers charge in your area. Remember to tell your customers (or make a sign) that one of the huge benefits of purchasing from a plant sale is that you know where the plants came from and that they were grown locally and without chemicals (if that’s the case). Don’t try to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world. If you’re going to go to the trouble of growing plants from seed, go with flowers or veggies that aren’t run-of-the-mill.
Other Ideas for Making Money from Your Garden
- If you don’t have time to do a full blown plant sale, start just a few varieties of seed (like tomatoes and peppers) and take orders for them. Use email, Facebook and word of mouth to advertise. If this is something you’re interested in, The Reid Homestead blog has a really good article on how to do this.
- What about selling flowers from your own backyard cutting garden? Gingham Gardens has a really good tutorial, along with ready-made plans for creating your own cut flower garden. Consider taking it a step further and grow extra flowers to sell, like your own mini flower farm.
- Consider a roadside stand or renting space at a local farmer’s market to sell plants, extra produce, or fresh flower bouquets.
- Have a Flower Stand at the end of your driveway and offer fresh cut flower bouquets. Use mason jars or cheap vases you picked up at thrift stores or garage sales.
- Create a Vegetable stand selling fresh produce and herbs from your garden.
- If you have ample gardening space, grow and sell pumpkins from your garden.
Disclaimers and Other Important Information About Having a Plant Sale
It is your responsibility to check with your local government or state to see if any permits or licenses are required to sell plants, flowers or vegetables from your home.
The perennials in your gardens may be patented and it may be illegal to sell divisions.
Please don’t try to sell (or give away) invasive or overly aggressive plants to unsuspecting new gardeners. If you do decide to sell plants like lily-of-the-valley, for instance, be sure to let buyers know that it can be aggressive.
Also, there are invasive species that could be spread from one gardener’s soil to another. These invasive species include jumping worms and Japanese beetle grubs. Be responsible and do your best to not pass these along and be sure you are not spreading these invasive species to other’s gardens.
Questions or Comments – What do You Think?
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on How to Conduct a Plant Sale and Other Ways to Make Money From Your Garden. These ideas can be a great way to make extra money. Can you think of an idea I didn’t mention? If so, please leave a comment and share your idea with us. We answer questions in the comments section too. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and come back soon!
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