How Do I Start a Small Plant Nursery?

Updated April 17, 2017

Start a backyard nursery business, if you have knowledge and experience in growing plants. You can sell your plants at local farmers markets, Saturday markets, festivals or home shows. Contact the chamber of commerce for a list of upcoming events and vendor's fees. However, just because you are growing plants in your backyard doesn't mean you should start out being as professional as you can. Start your nursery in a smaller plant market, such as herbs, annual flowers, bamboo or ornamental grasses.

Contact your city business administration to learn about all the business licenses and permits needed. Learn about any regulations you must follow. Following all the rules from the beginning makes for fewer things to worry about in the long run.

Set up a bookkeeping system and current account for the nursery business. Don't neglect the importance of keeping track of your finances. It will be an important part of the success of your business.

Choose the events you will attend throughout the year from the chamber of commerce list. Find out what you will need for your set-up, such as a vendor's tent and folding tables. Canvas local nurseries and garden centres that may buy wholesale from you. Professional landscapers are always looking for good plants.

Use your backyard greenhouse to start seeds early. Purchase plant starts at wholesale prices, online or from local nurseries. Start cuttings from mature plants that you already have.

Print business cards and simple professional signage that has your business name and phone number. There are inexpensive plastic signs that can be rolled up when not in use. Place your sign at your booth each time you attend an event. Print business forms with your business name.

Print labels for your plants. Make sure every retail plant that is sold has a label with your business name and phone number. This will be one of the best forms of advertising for your business. When you are starting out with a minimum of cash, other forms of advertising can break your budget.


Wait until you have completely grown out of your backyard before looking for a storefront nursery. The expenditure is quite large. You want to be sure you are prepared to pay the extra fees and still make a good profit.

Things You'll Need

  • Small greenhouse
  • Gardening tools
  • Gardening supplies
  • Business license and permits
  • Bookkeeping system
  • Business current account
  • Business cards
  • Sign
  • Labels
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About the Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.