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