I should have titled this how to grow and sell rooted cuttings instead of “why do plants have to be inspected?”
This is really about plants that I bought from one of my customers.
In another post, somebody asked me why plants have to be inspected and how can we make any money growing and selling plants if we have to buy the soil that we put in the pots. These are good questions and fair questions. Below is my reply to her as well as some plants that I just purchased and have to plant in my nursery today.
Kathy, this is an excellent question. But first let me start with a question to you and anybody else that buys plants. Would you be comfortable buying plants from a grower that was not meeting the standards of your state? I certainly would not. If we were not regulated, disease and insect infested plants and soil would be sold everyday. Pests from around the world would be shipped virtually everywhere and we would all be in serious trouble with pests in our yards. That’s why there are standards that we have to meet. To keep the unscrupulous, did I spell that right, growers out of the market.
Now to answer your question.
It costs nothing to root a cutting. For many plants you don’t even need rooting compound to get a cutting to root, but since it costs so little to use it I usually do just to increase my success rate. So essentially the plant is as close to free as you can get. For instance, I just bought 200 Emerald Green Arborvitae rooted cuttings from one of my customers. Yes, I buy plants from my customers all the time! So let me show you how Patty packaged these rooted cuttings for shipment to me and we’ll discuss if this was profitable for her or not.
When you ship plants it’s important to keep the tops dry and the roots moist. Patty did a great job doing both. Proper tagging is so, so important. You must have the correct botanical name of the plants that you are buying and selling. Patty stuck a label with both the common name and botanical name right on each package that she sent me. This bundle contains 10 plants. I paid 75 cents each for these rooted cuttings so this bundle is worth $7.50.
Note that these are rooted cuttings and they were shipped bare root without soil as they should be. That means that her cost to make these saleable plants is almost nothing. I bought 200 of them at 75 cents each. That’s $150.00! It adds up! And lots of other people ordered plants from her on the same day that I did.
Most importantly Patty’s nursery is certified by the state or Arkansas where she lives. That makes me very comfortable buying plants from her because I know that her plants have been certified insect and disease free.
After removing the plastic bag I find the roots wrapped in wet shredded newspaper to keep them nice and moist during shipment and until I get them planted today.
You can see how the cuttings were rolled in the shredded newspaper then the paper was thoroughly soaked, then excess water squeezed out. Patty did a great job preparing these plants for shipping. I should point out that Patty’s father bought my Backyard Growing System and just recently he decided that he would retire for good at age 80 and he is turning his nursery over to Patty. Last fall I bought plants from her dad, Norman.
Folks I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of what I do and the people that I work with around the country growing and selling plants. Not in a million years did I think that I’d build the world wide growing community that I have.
Look at that beautiful little plant that I bought for 75 cents. I’m planting these rooted cuttings in a bed today, then next year I’ll dig them out and pot them up or put them in the field. Just a few years in the field and I can easily get $25.00 each for these plants. Think about that! I only paid 75 cents each for them.
But think about what Patty did. She stuck 200 cuttings in a flat, took care of them until they were rooted and sold them to me for $150.00! So my question to you is; “Can you make money doing this?” Of course you can.
In this article about recycling plastic containers we’ve talked about how to get plastic containers for free, but even if you have to buy them a one gallon might cost you 22 cents or so. Probably less if you use a smaller container like I often do.
Next is the soil. You aren’t going to used a bagged potting soil that you buy in the store, actually those soils really aren’t what you want, the plants don’t do well in them. I show you how to make your own potting soil out of materials that you can buy locally. But even after you buy the materials your cost to fill a one gallon container with potting soil is less than 50 cents for sure. And I can assure you these numbers are probably high, but even using these numbers you will have less than 80 cents in a plant that you can sell easily for $4.97 to $9.97 or more. No other business that you know of has that much of a mark up on the products that they sell. That’s the beauty of what we do. http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm
I am inviting you to join us in this exciting adventure. It’s fun and relaxing and it can be really, really profitable.
See ya on the other side! -Mike McGroarty