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How to Make Money at Home Growing Small Landscape Plants on 1/20 Acre or Less
by Michael J. McGroarty

Small town, big town, it doesn't matter, if you have a small area in your backyard that you can use for planting, then you can make money growing small plants at home. Actually you can make pretty good money on 1/40 of one acre. That's an area about 30 feet by 40 feet. You will be amazed at how many plants you can fit in an area that small,and at how much money you can make.
Even apartment dwellers can do this! If you live in an apartment, just to get a feel for how fun and rewarding a tiny nursery can be, find somebody with a little piece of ground that they will either let you use, let you rent it, or do a joint venture with you.

Is there really a market for small plants?

The market is huge, something like 4 billion dollars last year alone, and the demand is tremendous. As a small grower, you have a tremendous advantage over the larger nurseries, their overhead is very high. As a backyard grower yours will be almost nothing.

But I live in a small town in a rural area, how many plants can I really sell?

Tens of thousands if you want to. Most people don't realize it, but large wholesale growers are the largest buyers of small plants in the country. They sell so many plants that they just can not produce them fast enough themselves, so they buy them from where ever they can find them. Just pack them up in a cardboard box and ship them anywhere want. I routinely buy large quantities of small plants and have them shipped thousands of miles to my house.

Why do I buy plants if I know how to grow them myself?

There are a lot of reasons, but one is because I am impatient and don't like to grow Japanese Maples from seed. I can buy Japanese Maple seedlings for as little as 54¢ and all I have to do is pot them up and watch them grow. I also buy large quantities of flowering shrubs that I would like to start propagating myself. I buy them for 50¢, pot them up, and often sell them the next year for $4.00. But in the mean time I take cuttings from them to propagate for next year's crop. Then I never have to buy that variety again.

Those are the same reasons that many wholesale nurseries are always looking for great deals on small plants. When they find someone like you, growing in their backyard they are delighted, because they know they can buy what they need for less money from a small backyard grower than they can if they buy from a large nursery. It only stands to reason, your overhead is almost nothing, you don't have to raise the price of your plants to pay for buildings, hundreds of acres of land, trucks, tractors, and dozens of employees.

How much money do I need to get started?

Almost none. All you have to do is root some cuttings, and you're on your way! There are dozens of easy plant propagation techniques that are so easy to learn that young children can do them, and with great success I might add. This propagation information is available to you free of charge at There is also a message board at in case you have questions. On that board you will meet dozens of people who share your same interest.

I really don't know that much about plants, how could I ever learn all there is to know about this business?

All you need to do is learn a little bit about one plant at a time. After you've grown that plant yourself from a cutting, and raised it in your little tiny nursery, you will be an expert on that plant, and then you can learn a few more. It's much less complicated than some people would like you to believe.

How big of an area should I start out with?

That's up to you, but an area about the size of a picnic table is a start. I'm serious. I root my cuttings in flats that are about 12" by 15", and can get between 100 and 150 cuttings per flat. In an area about the size of a picnic table you should be able to root several thousand cuttings at a time.

And guess what? As soon as they are well rooted, they have a value and can be sold immediately! Isn't that cool? Typically a rooted cutting is worth about 50¢. Let's see now, 1500 cuttings at 50¢ each, that's $750.!!! Wow!!! The wheels should be turning now.

Yeah, but how do I find these wholesale buyers?

Now you are going to have to visit I can't tell you everything in this article. Make sure you sign up for my Free newsletter, and stop by the message board and say hi.

What if I don't want to sell 50¢ plants, can't I grow them until they're bigger and get more money for them?

You sure can! That's what I do, I pot them up in small pots and they sell like crazy right from my driveway at $4.00 each. Of course I have some plants that I sell for much more than that. As I sit typing this article I am looking out the living room window at some beautiful Japanese Red Maples that I grew. They are sitting on the edge of my driveway for sale. I get $45. each, and they sell like hot cakes!

This is one of the most fun and rewarding home businesses you could ever get involved in. My kids have learned work ethics, the value of a dollar, and skills that will last them a lifetime. If they want to buy something and don't have the money, they come to me and say "Dad, I want to buy such and such, and it costs $50. and I only have $31." I tell them what I need done, they step out the back door and earn the money they need.

It costs very little to get started, and the rewards can be quite high. It's certainlynot a get rich quick plan (because there is no such thing!), but plenty of people have done very well in the nursery business, all it takes is determination and hard work. You can learn it as you go along. It's much easier than you think.

(c) Copyright 2000

I wish you the best life has to offer.
-Mike McGroarty

Michael J. McGroarty is the author of the popular gardening website where you can find much information on the backyard nursery business.