How to Grow Rare Desirable Plants to Sell


As more people begin to appreciate the importance of conserving rare plants, the demand for them increases. Desirable rare plants can be heirloom varieties of vegetables or native plants. Propagating these types of plants for sale can be a profitable business. No matter where you live, there are endangered and threatened species of plants in your region. From American ginseng in the Northeast and the state flower of Hawaii to old-fashioned varieties of tomatoes, you can help keep plants like these from becoming extinct by propagating them, teaching others about them, and offering them for sale to other gardeners.

Step 1

Research the rare, threatened and endangered plants that are native to your part of the world. Then determine how you can acquire seeds or cuttings without taking them from the wild, which is illegal in most states. Seed catalogs exist and specialty nurseries carry plants for sale.

Step 2

Begin seeds in nursery flats or pots or take cuttings from plants you own or have obtained permission to propagate. When you start cuttings, dip them in a rooting hormone and then grow them in potting soil mixed with perlite or vermiculite. Keep the potting medium moist and expose the plants only to artificial or filtered light until they have formed strong roots.

Step 3

Pot up smaller plants in 3- or 4-inch nursery pots. Most wildflowers are suited to this size pot. If the plant you are propagating is a tree, use a 1-gallon pot or larger.

Step 4

Determine your pricing by visiting a nursery that sells the same or similar plants. Normally, small plants in small pots are inexpensive---$2 to $3 is a common price for such plants. Larger plants in 1-gallon pots fetch a higher selling price---perhaps up to $8.

Step 5

Organize a plant sale in your backyard or find a neighborhood hardware store or other retail outlet that will allow you to hold a weekend plant sale on their premises. Arrange for advertising in your local newspaper. This periodic method of selling your rare and desirable plants is a good one if you have only a small backyard business.

Step 6

Establish a business relationship with a nursery if you have a steady supply of plants to offer at wholesale prices.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to check your local ordinances to find out what you must do to officially start up a nursery business.

Things You'll Need

  • Information about rare plants in your area
  • Rare plant seeds or cuttings
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite or vermiculite
  • Nursery pots or flats
  • Growing area
  • Retail or wholesale source


  • Native American Seed
  • Seeds of Change
  • California Native Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Wildflowers of the Midwest and East
  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  • Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, Hawaii
Keywords: rare plants, endangered plant varieties, heirloom varieties, nursery business

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.