How To Make Money Selling Houseplants From Home

Written by: Alexis Schroeder

Publish Date: July 7, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no cost to you.

Are you wondering if you can sell plants that you grow at home?

You can start a plant selling business from home as long as you take some important steps.

Starting and running a home-based plant-selling business can be a lot of fun. This is a rewarding and exciting job and I’ve definitely thought about doing it as someone who has 100+ plants at home.

Tip: It’s important that you research local regulations in your area. Depending on where you live, selling plants from home may require a certain license or permit, as well as compliance with certain guidelines.

These guidelines are in place to ensure responsible growth and distribution of plants and to prevent the spread of pests and invasive species

It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your local government.

What to think about before you open your plant business

  • Which plants to offer
  • How to market them
  • Best ways to establish relationships with customers
  • How to price plants

Legal Aspects of Selling Plants from Home

Business License

The first step you may want to take is checking whether you need a business license in your state.

In certain states and cities, you may need a license to sell plants legally from home. Read the local government’s requirements and obtain any necessary permits.

This is a step you cannot skip, so take it seriously. 

Permits and Regulations

Make sure to get any specific permits and adhere to regulations in your area when selling plants from home.

These might include:

  • Sales Tax Permit: Depending on where you’re running your business, you may need to collect sales tax on the plants you sell. You may be required to obtain a sales tax permit from the state comptroller’s office, and if your plants are sold for agricultural use, you might need to collect the purchaser’s Ag/Timber Exemption number.
  • Plant Shipping Regulations: If you plan to sell plants online, keep in mind that certain plant species cannot be shipped into certain states due to pest concerns. Be aware of any shipping restrictions that might apply to the type of plants you are selling, and comply with these regulations to avoid penalties.
  • Patented Plant Restrictions: Some plants are protected by patents, which means propagating and selling them without permission could lead to legal issues. To avoid violating plant patents, check the label or container the plant is in and look for any trademark (™) or patent number. You might also see “propagation strictly prohibited” or “asexual propagation prohibited” written on the plant.

If you want to start a home-based plant selling business, make sure to research and understand what licenses and permits you need, and which regulations there are in your area.

Types of Plants and Licensing Requirements

It’s crucial that you understand the licensing requirements for selling different types of plants.

In this section, we’ll go over:

  • Patented plants
  • Plant variety protection act and licensed seeds
  • Nursery stock and quarantine regulations

Patented Plants

Patented plants are protected under intellectual property laws.

This means you cannot propagate, sell, or distribute these plants without permission from the patent owner.

Make sure to always check for a patent number on the plant tag or label before selling any plant.

Tip: Obtain the necessary licenses before selling patented plants.

Plant Variety Protection Act and Licensed Seeds

The Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) offers another form of intellectual property protection to new, distinct, and uniform plant varieties that are sexually reproduced or tuber-propagated.

Just like patented plants, make sure NOT to sell or distribute seeds or plants protected under the PVPA unless you have appropriate permission to do so.

Always research the plants you’re selling before you even sell them. Be aware and cautious about where you’re getting your seeds from in order to comply with the law.

Nursery Stock and Quarantine Regulations

If you’re interested in selling nursery stock, this involves a different set of regulations related to quarantines and pest control.

Your state’s Department of Agriculture typically enforces these quarantine regulations to prevent the spread of invasive species, pests, and diseases.

You need to fully understand your state’s specific requirements before selling nursery stock at home. The requirements can include obtaining a permit, inspections, and following the best practices for plant health.

Once you familiar yourself with the different types of plants and what kind of licensing requirements they need, you can feel good knowing you’re running your business legally and ethically.

Platforms for Selling Plants

There are several platforms that you can sell plants on like Etsy, community platforms, and more.

Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace specializing in handmade and unique items.

This is a popular place to sell houseplants. Setting up an Etsy shop is simple and straightforward and quite user-friendly. This makes it easy to manage your listings and sales.

To get started on Etsy, follow these steps:

  1. Create an Etsy account.
  2. Set up your shop, providing basic information like your shop’s name and location.
  3. Add your plant listings, including high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and pricing information.
  4. Promote your shop and interact with potential buyers through social media, forums, and other online communities related to plants and gardening.

Etsy charges a small listing fee, as well as a percentage of each sale, so be sure to factor these into your pricing strategy.

Community Markets

A popular method to sell home-grown plants is via community markets.

Markets are a fantastic way to meet customers and build a clientele of fellow plant enthusiasts. 

Before selling at a community market, consider these tips:

  • Research local markets in your area that allow the sale of plants and have available space for vendors.
  • Obtain any necessary permits or licenses, as regulations for selling plants vary by location.
  • Invest in a portable setup, like a folding table and canopy, to showcase your plants professionally and protect them from the elements.
  • Engage with customers, sharing your passion and knowledge of plants, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have.

It’s important to be friendly and approachable when you’re at these kinds of events. People want to go up to booths where they feel welcomed by the business owner.

Income, Taxes and Financial Considerations

Before starting a plant selling business, you need to understand the income, tax implications, and other financial aspects to make sure your business is running smoothly and legally. 

First, be aware of licensing requirements in your state.

You may find federal regulations, like USDA’s may not apply to home produce sales, but you should still check to see if there are any specific local rules you need to follow.

Your plant sales income may be subject to taxes. Depending on your annual taxes and location, you need to report this income on your tax return.

You may even consider setting aside some money you make from your business to cover potential tax liabilities.

It’s an incredibly smart idea to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional who specializes in small businesses so they can help you on this. These professionals can assist you with understanding how taxes on earnings are calculated.

Safety Measures and Best Practices

One of the most important things on running a home-based plant-selling business is following safety measures.

In this section, we’ll go over propagation and packaging procedures to follow so you can avoid any potential issues.

Propagation

One of the most vital parts of a plant business is plant propagation. 

To ensure you’re following standards, follow these tips:

  • Always start with healthy plants/cuttings: Get cuttings from disease-free plants to decrease the risk of spreading infections or pests.
  • Use clean tools and materials: Regularly sanitize your gardening tools, work surfaces, and containers to minimize the chance of introducing diseases or pathogens to your plants.
  • Practice proper hygiene: Wash your hands frequently, and wear gloves when handling plants if necessary. This helps prevent the spread of pests or diseases.
  • Monitor plant growth: Keep an eye on your cuttings for any signs of disease or pest infestations, and take action when necessary.
  • Obtain a phytosanitary certificate if required: If you’re selling plants to customers in other countries or regions with specific regulations, you may need a phytosanitary certificate to confirm that your plants meet the importing country’s standards.

Packaging Procedures

Packaging plants properly is crucial so they arrive to their new home in good condition.

Here are some great packaging tips to help plants during transport:

  • Choose appropriate packaging materials: Use sturdy boxes, padded envelopes, or plastic containers to protect your plants during shipping. Make sure your packaging is big enough to accommodate the plant without damages.
  • Secure the plant: Use bubble wrap, foam, or other padding materials to cushion the plant and keep it in place. Be extra cautious with delicate plant parts like flowers and leaves.
  • Label the package: Clearly mark the outside of the package as “Fragile” or “Handle with Care” to alert postal workers or couriers to handle it carefully.
  • Include care instructions: Providing your customers with a simple care guide for their new plants can help them easily acclimate the plants to their new surroundings and ensure a successful transplant.

By following these safety measures and best practices, you can ensure a successful and sustainable experience selling plants from your home.

Expanding Your Home Plant Business

Building a Brand

Make your business stand out by building a brand. You can do this by choosing certain plants you want to specialize in (cacti, tropical plants, rare plants, etc).

By focusing on a niche and specializing in certain plants, you’ll become an expert in the field and people will come to you for specific types of plants. 

Tip: When you start building your brand, think about what’s your purpose for starting this business. Maybe you want to share with people that buying plants can be sustainable and eco-friendly.

Take advantage of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to show off your business. Share plant tips, show how to arrange plants in a unique way, and get more people drawn to plants.

You also want to craft a simple yet memorable name and logo. Pick out a name that reflects your business and consider trademarking to protect the name and brand.

Once your business is starting up, reach out and collaborate with other businesses in your area.

You can collaborate with:

  • Local nurseries
  • Garden centers
  • Community events
  • Craft fairs
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Local restaurants
  • Local shops 

Remember to become an expert on your gardening skills and always be helpful to customers. You’ll build trust with your audience by becoming an authority in your field while also getting to see your business grow.

Tip: Have fun with this business and inspire others to fill their house with plants. Everyone has a green thumb if they know how to properly take care of plants. 

Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash

Final thoughts

Selling plants can be a whole lot of fun. Before you get started, make sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations.

Once you have the right information to get started, you’ll be confident knowing your running your business correctly and smoothly.

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