Starting a backyard plant nursery can be a profitable way to harness your passion for plants and gardening. It is also one of the best ways to boost your income.
As one overwhelmed owner of a roadside nursery once confessed: “It is really free money. You get one plant and multiply it to two or more other plants and then sell”.
Perhaps that was an exaggeration. All the same, you can earn by growing plants in a backyard nursery, if you go about it the right way. The trick is to start small and gradually expand as you get experience and clients.
To earn good money from a backyard plant nursery, you need to specialise in plants that can easily be multiplied.
These include ornamental trees, lawn grass, shrubs and hedges which are on high demand, thanks to the current boom in the landscaping industry.
Once you have identified the spot in your backyard where you want to set up your nursery, start developing your mother plants. These are plants from which you will get the material for multiplying.
Try to ensure that they are healthy. Mother gardens take long to mature, sometimes years, but you do not have to wait for that long before you start producing.
You can always buy planting material like seeds, rootstocks, cuttings, and bulbs, from already established nurseries.
One of them is the National Plant Nursery and Seed Centre at Namanve. Once your “mother plants” are mature, you can propagate more by cuttings or root division, which reduces your plant costs to almost zero-thus the saying that nursery business is free money.
This can really make a difference with ground covers and ornamental grasses, for example, because many buyers need dozens of plants, not just one or two.
Unlike most other businesses which are characterised by hostile competition, in plant nursery business, cooperation is very important, especially when it comes to marketing.
So as you look for a market for your plants, make sure other nursery owners know what you have. It is common for a nursery operator to get a big order, and has to combine with several farmers to meet it.