How to sell plants from your home. Turn potted plants into money makers!
From monsteras to pothos, propagation is bringing in cash for plant lovers – with just the snip of a leaf.
Last updated: 22 May 2023
What you’ll learn:
- What is propagation?
- The most profitable plants to propagate
- How to propagate your plants
- How to sell your plants from home
- How to ship plants
Indoor plants are having a moment, that’s for sure. Lounges are transforming into lush jungles, fresh forests are sprouting up on bedroom drawers, and urban apartments have never seen so much nature.
And it turns out there’s a fair bit of money in the plant biz. You might have heard about a rare variegated minima that sold on Trade Me in 2021 for a truly eye-watering $27,100!
If that doesn’t convince you to start propagating your houseplants, we don’t know what will!
What is propagation?
Propagation is how new plants are created. In nature, multiple plants are required to form a seed – quite literally, the birds and the bees with pollen!
Luckily for us, there are two easier methods that only require a single plant and touch of plant surgery. These forms of propagation are known as ‘cuttings’ and ‘division’.
These two techniques are used with various pot plant powerhouses – from succulents to fiddle leaf figs, snake plants, string of pearls, pothos, monsteras, and some variegated species. It’s amazing the number of plants that propagation can work for, but we recommend doing a bit of research on your specific species of plant beforehand to avoid disappointment.
The most profitable plants to grow and sell
The rarer the plant, the more you stand to earn – try filtering your search onsite by 'Highest price' or 'Most bids' to see what other plant lovers in the market are going for.
If you’re looking for specific ideas for plants that are likely to make a good return on your investment, you might want to think about purchasing:
Not all plants are created equal when it comes to selling for profit.
How to propagate your plants: cuttings
The idea of taking scissors to your prized plant might be about as comfortable as cutting your own hair but the good news is that it’s actually pretty straightforward.
1. Making the cut
Start off by identifying the ‘nodes’ on your plant, these are bumpy spots where leaves connect to the stem. Use a pair of secateurs or scissors to make a 45-degree angle cut a couple of centimetres below the node. Doing this on an angle will increase the area that roots can grow and dipping in a root growth hormone will help to speed things along too.
2. Growing the roots
Submerge the node in a jar or propagation station filled with water and make sure to keep out any leaves (they’ll rot). Place somewhere warm and bright, but not in direct sunlight. Plants need oxygen and tap water carries this, so swap out for fresh water every week. After 2-4 weeks roots should start to grow from the node.
When the roots of your cutting are a couple of centimetres long you can plant it. Most plants respond well to standard potting mix made extra moist in these early stages but it can be worth checking what kind of soil your plant prefers to dine on.
Ensure your pot has a good drainage hole or place pumice or rocks at the bottom to help prevent root rot. Continue watering generously for the first couple of weeks.
This method of growing cuttings in water works particularly well for pothos as they’re big H20 fans but it also goes down a treat for string of hearts, monstera deliciosa, peperomia polybotrya and fiddle leaf figs.
There are two common techniques for propagating plants.
How to propagate your plants: division
For those unafraid of a hands-on experience, or short on time, the division technique might be worth a crack. Simply ease your established plant from its container and divide into the sizes you want by gently tugging apart the roots, then move onto step three above.
This technique is best for plants that do better with less water, like the ZZ plant. It’s also a great method for some of the ever popular succulent species, where you can gently twist off leaves and allow them to lay on top of soil till roots appear.
Taking good photos of your plants is key to selling them online.
How to sell plants from your home
So, you’ve done the hard yards and you’re ready to put the harvest up for sale – here’s what you need to know.
The great news is that there’s a market for every step of the propagation process. You could sell a fresh cutting (although one with roots developed is even better), a recently potted propagated plant, or when things have come full circle and you have an established plant on your hands.
As a general rule of green thumb, cuttings tend to go for less than established plants – so a bit of extra TLC and patience can pay off in the long run.
You can sell indoor plants at all stages of the propagation journey.
2. Listing details
Plants are mostly used as decor, and having enticing photos that show them as fresh and lively will do wonders. Often, sellers will give their plants a drink a couple of hours before photographing to help them perk up, and will also mist their leaves with water.
It can be worthwhile including a photo of the original 'mother' plant your propagation has come from, as an impressive sneak peek for the potential buyer – just be sure your description states what you're actually selling.
Including the different names for your plant will help your search results. Often there can be a few names for a single species, for example, the ‘fiddle leaf fig’ also goes by the scientific name ‘ficus lyrata’. If you’re selling your propagated plant to expert buyers, try and meet them in the middle by thinking of all of the search terms they may use.
In terms of pricing, browsing your competition onsite can be a good indicator of what people are looking to pay. If the species is rare, a lower start price can encourage a potential bidding war, if you're willing to take the risk!
Finally, consider offering accessories like a trendy ceramic pot or a glass propagation station with your cutting or plant. It may make the point of difference with your listing and can draw in buyers looking to source a gift or avoid the hassle of repotting.
Little added touches, like a hand-written note, can go along way to turning buyers into repeat customers.
How to ship plants in Aotearoa New Zealand
The beauty of the modern courier is that some providers are able to carry your cuttings or plants, meaning you can sell to anywhere in the country.
There are a couple of precautions you’ll want to take though. Start off by gently and loosely wrapping the node and roots of your cutting in moist paper towel strips, to prevent them from drying out during the journey. Next, lock in the moisture with a layer of tin foil. If you’re sending cactus or succulent cuttings then just use dry tissue as moisture can be a rot worry with these species.
From there, use a cardboard box for added protection, filling out the space with bubble wrap or newspaper to avoid the cutting moving around and becoming damaged. Lastly, write on the package that it’s fragile and line up your courier booking, preferably earlier in the week to avoid weekend delays.
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