Have you got a green thumb and a hole in your pocket? If so, plant flipping might be the perfect side hustle for you! It’s relatively low effort, has the potential to turn a significant profit, and is honestly just a lot of fun! You don’t need any specialty tools or equipment, just a love for gardening and a good head for business.
So, what exactly is Plant flipping? Plant flipping is the process of buying/procuring a plant for below market value, and reselling it at a higher price point. Sometimes this involves bringing a plant back to health or growing them from a seedling, but oftentimes it simply involves marking-up an undervalued plant.
How To Flip Plants / Overview
- Thoroughly research the species of plant you’re interested in flipping (Care, price guide, popularity etc.)
- Buy/procure a plant for below than market value
- Repot, raise or nurse your new plant back to health
- Sell the plant at a marked up cost
- Market your services
The 4 Kinds Of Plant Flipping
Buying Seedlings & Raising Them To Full Size/Adult Plants
It probably goes without saying that a full sized/adult plant is worth significantly more than a seedling, offcut or propagation. Therefore, if you are willing to do the work raising it, you will be able to sell the adult plant for a hefty profit; FAR more profit than if you were to buy and sell the plant as-is.
Unfortunately, this kind of ‘plant flipping’ can take months, if not years to pay off… and requires a significant amount of space for keeping adult plants. Thus, it is not the easiest, nor most common flipping method.
Nursing Sick/Dying Plants Back To Health
Nurseries, big box stores and plant wholesalers are often willing to sell sick, diseased or dying plants to customers at a significantly reduced cost. If you are able to nurse these plants back to health, you can make good money re-selling them.
This is a fantastic way to find full sized plants at bargain-bin prices… without pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes! For wholesalers and growers, it is often not worth the time and effort to bring plants back from the brink- especially if they are carrying a bug or disease that will threaten the rest of their crop. This is where your patience and expertise can really pay off!
Of all the ‘kinds’ of plant flipping, this is arguably the most ethical and profitable. As, not only are you giving a plant a second chance at life, but you’re also making good money doing so! It’s a win win.
Selling cuttings/propagations of established plants is an extremely common way to make money from gardening. Cuttings of rare/profitable species can sell for HUGE amounts on specialty Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, or dedicated websites.
If you want to go down this route, you’ll need to get familiarised with shipping and freighting plants- as, unfortunately cuttings don’t sell particularly well locally. Generally speaking, you’re selling to a very specific client base… who are almost entirely based online.
Buying, Repotting and Selling Plants For A Profit
The last kind of plant flipping is undoubtedly the easiest, but also has the lowest profit margin as a result. It’s all about sourcing plants at a wholesale/low price, and marking them up!
Finding plants priced below market value is the most difficult part of this side hustle-especially as more and more people are wisening up to the true value of their house plants. Even sellers on craigslist and marketplace have been increasing their prices!
If you can find inventory however, this can be an extremely lucrative business! We’ve found the best way to make a profit on flipping plants like these is by changing our their planter. Repot an indoor plants into something a little nicer, and you’ll be able to sell it at a much higher price point. Depending on your market, this might mean hand-painted terracotta pots, hanging planters, or pots shaped like animals!
Related Reading: Side Hustle Ideas For Gardiners
Where To Find Plants To Flip
Garage Sales / Yard Sales
You might be surprised by just how many people sell their indoor (and outdoor) plants at yard sales! I personally make a point of stopping whenever I see one advertised on the side of the road, or in the paper – just to check what they have on offer.
Not to mention, there are often plenty of other funky homewares/yard wares you can sell alongside your plants if you run your own storefront or online business!
Friends, Family and Neighbors
While we’d never recommend taking cuttings from the side of the road, or somebody you don’t know- there’s no reason you can’t ask friends, family members or neighbours for an off-cut of their plants! Similarly, if somebody you know is re-doing their yard or demolishing their house, they might be willing to sell you some of their established plants for a fraction of the cost of buying them elsewhere!
Letterbox dropping is another way to get in touch with plant owners you might want to source clippings from. If you happen to see an enviable plant in a neighbours yard, simply leave your name and number in their letterbox expressing your interest in buying a clipping. You never know, you might be able to nab one for free!
Facebook Marketplace / Craigslist / Gumtree
Buying and selling products on Facebook marketplace is a fast pace game. You really need to be continually checking listings throughout the day if you want to get the best deals! I’ve seen plants listed on facebook marketplace completely free of charge. In fact, it’s not too uncommon of an occurrence!
I’ve even heard stories of people PAYING to have their plants removed, for conveniences sake alone.
All of this to say, online marketplaces such as facebook and craigslist can be a goldmine for plant flippers!
Markets / Boot sales
Markets and boot sales are a great place to source rare and hard-to-come by plant species, but you probably shouldn’t go expecting a bargain! In fact, sellers at farmers markets (and other similar events) are likely to be plant flippers just like you!
So, if you want to try your hand at propagating some rare plants, this could the place to find them. Otherwise, you might want to give this one a miss!
Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade/Purge Groups
Facebook buy, sell and trade groups are another fantastic place to find rare plants, propagations and cuttings. Again, you’re unlikely to snag a bargain here, but you might just be lucky enough find some extremely rare and profitable mother plants to add to your collection. That is, if you’re willing to raise them from cuttings, or pay an arm and a leg for an established plant!
Have you ever been driving through a country town, and seen a sign on the side of the road advertising cheap indoor plants, herbs or shrubs? If so, you’re not alone!
There are plenty of backyard sellers who will sell you plants at rock-bottom costs. You just have to know where to find them.
Big Box Stores
Reselling plants from big box stores is generally frowned upon in the plant community, however there is one exception to the rule! Being: don’t lie about where you’ve bought your plants from. If somebody asks where you sourced you sourced a particular plant- tell them the truth!
Oftentimes, people don’t mind paying a premium for a well looked after, healthy plant, even if it did originate from a big box store. If you’ve spent the time repotting it, watering it, and caring for it- there’s absolutely no reason you can’t resell it! There’s still a market out there- just don’t be sneaky!
Wholesale Landscaping Companies/Direct From Farm
If you’re planning on opening up a nursery, or keeping a large amount of stock/inventory on hand, you may want to look into purchasing plants directly from farmers and wholesalers. While these places can be a little tricky to track down, it’s nothing a quick google search won’t turn up.
Ask about trade and wholesale discounts, and form a relationship with local growers in your area! Often, they’re more than happy to sell directly to on-sellers and small business owners!
Where To Sell Your Plants
Once you have built up enough stock, the best place to sell plants is at a craft market, farmers market or boot sale. Oftentimes people are willing to pay well above market value for items sold here, as they’re looking to support local startups and small businesses. The more unique your product, the more likely you are to make sales!
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t take advantage of peoples good will at these shows/events (you still need to market your products fairly). However, you’ll certainly have more luck selling your goods at a profit here than you would on Facebook marketplace (where there’s far more completion, and price transparency).
While local nurseries often already have their own plant suppliers, there’s no harm in forming connections! Whether you end up selling your plants to them or vice versa, it’s always good to form relationships with other local businesses.
Before deciding to start an online store, it’s important to check the state and federal regulations in your regarding shipping live goods and soil. There may be laws that limit what kinds of plants you are allowed to sell, or where you are able to ship them to. This will vary from country to country, and sometimes even state to state.
Facebook Marketplace / Craigslist
If you’re looking for a quick sale, facebook marketplace is a great place to list your plants, propagation and cuttings. While you’re unlikely to get the best price here (as people are often eager to barter and competition is high), it’s a good place to get you’re feet wet.
Marketplaces are fine for beginners, or moving plants you’re having trouble selling elsewhere, but I wouldn’t reccomend selling here exclusively. There are much bigger fish to fry!
Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade/Purge Groups
Speaking of the “bigger fish”, dedicated buy, swap & sell groups are one of my favourite ways to sell plants. There are plenty of established groups out there- you simply have to search for one in your country or region.
Not only are they a fantastic place to sell your own plants, but you’ll also pick up plenty of helpful tips and tricks for caring for your plants (and maybe an extra plant or two of your own if you’re not careful)!
In order to sell on groups like these, you’ll need to set up a paypal account- as you’ll find this is the preferred method of payment for most buyers in these groups!
Your Own Website
Selling plants on your own shopify, wix, or squarespace website is the next logical step from selling on facebook. Running your own storefront allows you to set your own rules; you can set your own prices, shipping costs, and decide where you will & won’t freight!
Website can be a little tricky to set up if you’ve never dabbled in web development before… however, the drag and drop functionality of some website builders nowadays makes it a little more palatable.
Tips for Packaging Your Plants For Freight/Shipping
Special care needs to be taken when shipping/freighting plants interstate or overseas.
✔ Ensure your box is sturdy enough to take the weight of your plant without buckling
✔ Make sure you give your plant a HEALTHY water 24 hours before shipping (long enough beforehand that the water won’t leak through you packaging)
✔ Use “perishable” and “fragile” stickers on the exterior of your packaging to lessen the risk of damage
✔ Draw arrows on your box so the couriers (and your customer!) know which way is up!
✔ Use tape (cello tape works great) across the top of your pot, to keep the soil in place
✔ Wrap the leaves in brown paper or plastic to help cushion them!
✔ If you live in a cold climate, use bubble wrap, packing peanuts or heat mats to keep tropical plants warm!
If you want to see exactly how another plant vendor handles their shipping and packing, check out The Jungle Haven’s video on youtube!
Technically there are no upfront costs associated with plant flipping, as it is not particularly difficult to source seedlings and clippings for free on marketplace or from friends and family. With that being said, most plant flippers will (at minimum) repot their plants, and provide it with some food and water.
The cost of the pot, potting mix and plant food will vary significantly depending on the size of the plant. For instance, small indoor plants may only cost $2-$3 dollars to repot, while large established plants may cost upwards of $200-$300!
So long as you pass the repotting costs along to your customer, there is very little risk involved in flipping plants.
How Much Money Can You Make Flipping Plants?
It is not uncommon for flipped plants to me marked up by 200-300%, depending on their size and condition. While admittedly this price does not include any holding costs (such as the price of water, plant food, fertilizer etc.), nor does it include the cost of repotting the plant, it is still a significant profit margin.
How To Market A Plant Flipping Business
Find Your Target Audience
The most important step in marketing your business, actually doesn’t have anything to do with your business at all! It’s all about who you’re selling your products to!
It’s important to do market research before starting any small business, but especially so in an area as niche as the plant industry- as there already a lot of established stores to compete with!
Personally, if I were starting an indoor plant business i’d look at marketing my products to women aged between 20 & 28. I’d focus my time and energy advertising on platforms that appeal to them (such as Instagram and Pinterest). Tiktok can also be a good way to reach this audience, however will require more of your time to maintain!
Tips For Designing A Logo
- Make sure you make it clear what you’re selling – include a plant, tree or flower in your logo
- Ensure your logo appeals to your target audience. Use colors, fonts and styles that you think they’ll like!
- Use your location in your business name or logo, so you’ll appear in local google searches
- Choose one colour and stick to it. Make it synonymous with your brand.
- Make sure your branding is consistent across all your platforms- Esty shops, Facebook groups, Instagram accounts etc.
- Get a stamp of your logo made. You can use this for all your packaging, business cards and even thank you cards & gift tags!
- Use your logo to watermark your product images before you post them on social media or your online store!
Related Reading: How To Design A Logo In Canva
Scope Out Your Competition
The best place to find inspiration for your new business is by scoping out the competition. Take notes of all the things they’re doing right, and the areas where you think you could do even better!
Ideally, you want to be servicing gaps in the market – audiences and areas your competition aren’t focusing on. This is where you’ll make the best profit margins! Whether this be selling different species of plants or shipping to an under-serviced area, find an opening and run with it!