You Can Make Money Growing Rooted Cuttings and Selling Them Wholesale!
Once you have mastered the science of propagating landscape plants, you will soon discover that you have more rooted cuttings than you possibly can use. This is the time you will have to decide whether or not you should just stop taking cuttings, since you have all you need, or whether you will contemplate selling some of your cuttings to a wholesale plant grower.
So how easy it is to start a small business that sells lining out stock. Lining out stock is what nursery operators call small plants they purchase to plant out in their fields or containers. Lining out stock are also called liners for short.
You may be asking yourself why would nursery growers buy plants?
The fact of the matter is, that nursery growers probably buy more plants than any other group of people in the country. Why one might ask?
The reasons vary, sometimes they can’t grow enough of a particular variety to keep up with demand. Sometimes a grower would like to grow a particular variety of plant, but don’t because they don’t have any place to get several thousand cuttings of that variety.
So instead, what many do is purchase pre-rooted cuttings. They’ll plant them in the field or in containers, and then grow them to a more sellable size. Or they grow them on for a year or two longer so they can take cuttings from them for future plantings.
After they have a supply of their own plants, they can sell the ones they bought in, since they are now landscape size.
As an example, let’s say that Dan the nursery owner purchases 1,000 Variegated Weigela rooted cuttings for 50¢ each. He plants these in his field in the early spring and they start growing like crazy. That summer he goes out and takes 3 individual cuttings from each plant, since it’s important to prune right away anyhow to keep the plants compact and bushy.
Dan sticks those 3,000 cuttings under an intermittent misting system and in about 5 weeks he has 3,000 rooted cuttings that he plants out in his field that fall. So, the following summer he can take about 6,000 cuttings from the original 1,000 plants that he bought, plus an additional 9,000 cuttings from the 3,000 he planted out last fall. Doing the math, that’s a total of 12,000 cuttings that Dan has taken.
He continues to plant his rooted cuttings out in his field and keeps taking cuttings from them until he has all he needs to grow. From that point on, he has access to as many cuttings as he needs from the plants that he has in the field. By now the original 1,000 plants that Dan bought at 50¢ each are large enough to dig out of the ground and sell, and by this time they are worth between $10.00 and $15.00 each wholesale. That’s an $8,000 return from a $500 investment, plus he can produce as many variegated weigela as he wants without purchasing a single additional cutting.
Can it really happen this way? Absolutely. A nurseryman friend relayed the story of a friend who grows and sells all kinds of plants, and he told me that the friend has been buying Dwarf Alberta Spruce cuttings and growing them on and selling them. He doesn’t even root the cuttings himself, he just buys 5,000 every year, pots them up and sells them wholesale. So how many other nurserymen across the country do you suppose do that?
So to get started, you can either buy a couple of stock plants, or purchase several hundred cuttings of the variety that you would like to eventually sell. However, instead of planting them out in a field, it really is better to plant them in beds. Construct each growing bed 4 feet wide so you can easily reach the center to weed or take cuttings, and place your plants in the bed about 10 inches apart.
As long as you are diligent in your taking of cuttings, your source plants will remain fairly compact. After two or three years, dig them up, transplant them into pots, and sell them. By that time, you should have thousands more growing on to take cuttings from. It’s important to start out slowly until you know what varieties there is a solid market for.