Plant Nursery Business – A Beginners Guide

Plant Nursery Business.
Plant Nursery Business.

Plant Nursery Business:

The following content is all about starting a Plant Nursery Business.

How to Start a Plant Nursery Business

What is a Plant Nursery

A nursery is a part of agriculture where plants are propagated, nurtured, grown, and sold out for the home garden or commercial purpose. Under favorable conditions, improved quality seedlings are grown until they are ready for planting on a small scale or in large scale. Young plants that are propagated in nurseries can be sold at retail nurseries or as wholesale nurseries. The sole purpose of nurseries is to supply young plants or saplings to gardens, farms, agriculture, forestry, and for conservation. Nurseries can have stock of various plants such as herbs, shrubs, plants, small trees, big trees, and bonsai.

A nursery plant center offers its customers all types of young plants that are native and imported. A nursery customer can be a home gardener, landscape gardener, or a commercial farmer. A nursery business must cater to a wide range of plants that will be indoor to outdoor plants and container to ground planting plants. Nurseries must be equipped with all kinds of horticulture needs such as all types of plant seeds, soil mix, fertilizers, insecticides, garden chemicals, garden tools, and be able to answer garden inquiries. Apart from plants, the nurseries must be able to assist in all types of inquiries and purchases.

Raising Seedlings in Nursery.
Raising Seedlings in Nursery.

Nurseries can be started irrespective of where you are located but with enough land space to grow plants. Nursery business can be started from the backyard, in open plots, in greenhouses, or in agriculture lands. To start business one must have a clear understanding of what kind of plant species to grow. Usually, nurseries that are located in urban regions would prefer growing flowering plants, decorative plants, vegetable plants and ornamental trees. You must identify the market demand and accordingly must propagate plants in the nurseries. Most of the business is highly seasonal, so prepare with saplings stock early that marketing can be done when the season sets in. Some produce a bulk stock of particular varieties either by seedlings, grafting, or cutting such as timber trees for forestry, fruit trees for orchards, or edible crops for cultivation.

Plant Nursery Business Site Location

Nursery location may be predetermined based on cost investment, availability of the property. If enough space is available in your backyard, it’s the right place to start nursery business if you are a beginner. An open space is all it requires to start a plant nursery. The choice of your location decision will directly influence on marketing the plant saplings, manpower, and future expansion. Location of nursery must be near to major cities and townships, transportation, availability of labor, and convenient for future expansion.Nursery site location must be nutrient-rich or medium soil with good water source. Nursery site must have good soil drainage and free from soil pathogens.

Plant Nursery Business Basic Inputs

Containers: Nurseries must have ample resources to grow seedlings and plants. Nursery bed trays, polythene pots, clay pots, polybag containers, root trainers.

Nursery Soil Media  in Plant Nursery Business -: For successful germination of seeds and plant growth proper soil mix must be prepared and maintained at the nursery. Seedlings must have good medium for rooting, nutrient supply, and firm to hold the seedling. The nursery must have enough stock of sand, red or black soil, sphagnum mass, peat moss, vermiculite, compost, sawdust, and farmyard manure. The soil is the most important ingredient in the nursery business and must be available at low pricing. To make the soil more economical it is recommended to prepare growth medium with pH range 5.5 to 6.5 inside nursery site.

Plant Nursery BusinessChemicals and Fertilizers: Plants and seedlings are prone to many diseases and pest attacks – pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and growth regulators must be administered for infestation. For proper and healthy growth, organic manures and chemical fertilizers are given for nutrient supply.

Nursery Tools in Plant Nursery Business -: Watering cans, hoes, crowbar, grafting knives, grafting tapes, germination trays, digging forks, spades, pushcart, scissors, etc. Adequate tools will help ensure work goes smoothly, while proper designed tools will minimize soil and root damage.

Machinery and Equipment in Plant Nursery Business -: For a speedy operation of nursery and cutting down time and cost-effectively, ensure proper types of machinery and equipment are available in the nursery. Nursery operations such as potting media filling, container filling, transporting, watering for a large nursery on a daily depends on vehicles and automated machines for speedy work efficiency and for proper plant growth.

Manpower in Plant Nursery Business: Nurseries are filled with labor-intensive activities such as pruning, weeding, irrigating, applying pesticides, planting, etc.The nursery must have availability of skilled and experienced labor as full time or part-time. This ensures proper maintenance and seedling production in the nursery.

Plant Nursery Business Activities – Planning and Scheduling

The successful foundation of raisingquality seedling and propagation relies on the best possible planning and timely execution of nursery activities. Despite the fact that seed storing facilities, nursery beds, and germination trays for propagation irrespective of climatic conditions prevailing outside the greenhouse, while following the nursery activities according to natural season farming will encourage seedling production.

Some of the timely scheduled nursery activities that must be planned are as follows:

  • Seeds must be extracted without damaging from a fully matured fruit for seed harvesting.
  • Sowing of seeds in seedbeds or germination trays activity must be done in the cool part of the day either early morning or in the evening.
  • Young saplings must be moved to containers or polybag potsfor marketing must be done at the right transplanting stage.
  • Maintaining mother plants for seasonal propagation is an important nursery management activity.
  • Trained and experienced labor is an asset and their activities will ensure speedy work with successful plant growth.
  • Timely application of fertilizers, chemicals, water, etc., will reduce the production cost.
  • Based on plant species, sowing, transplanting, and distribution activities must be scheduled. As each species has its own season of growth establishment.

Plant Nursery Business – Types of Plant Nurseries

Nurseries cannot be classified as types of nurseries as most of the nurseries have a combination of various nurseries as mentioned below:

  • Plant Nursery Business – Temporary Nurseries:

In this type, the nursery is maintained to supply nursery stock for a limited period after which the stock is replaced with another stock. The nursery is developed only to supply a particular requirement for a particular season. Sometimes particular stock is developed for a targeted stock or for a particular supply contract. A temporary nursery can also be termed for the business that supplies nursery stock at a particular place and abandoned or closes once the business is done or stock gets exhausted or moved to a new location. The stocks always remain for a temporary or limited period. For example Gladiolus, Amaranthus, Chrysanthemum, tomato, bean, etc., are produced for summer season and production is stopped when new season sets in.

  • Plant Nursery Business – Permanent Nurseries:

Supply of nursery stock and services lasts a year long. The nurseries are relatively larger in extend area having permanent structures and features. The plant stock is produced continuously having permanent mother plants for propagation. The permanent nursery may include vegetables, flowers, and fruits nursery supplying plants throughout the year either as retail or wholesale supplier.

  • Plant Nursery Business – Forest Nurseries:
Forest Plant Nursery.
Forest Plant Nursery.

This nursery propagates and grows the stock of forest trees and shrubs, used to distribute trees for forest improvement, landscaping, or forest farms for timber distribution. The nursery supplies plants that are rare, herbal, and medicinal with great economic value. In this nursery, the plants can be divided into sections for supply to market such as ornamental plants, industrial trees, and shrub species. Some of the common plants that stocks in this nursery include, teak, eucalyptus, rubber, sandalwood, pine, oak, etc.

  • Plant Nursery Business – Vegetable Nurseries:
    Most people prefer to go for organic vegetables on their kitchen table. Most vegetables in the market are adulterated with chemicals. Most homes have backyard or kitchen gardens to supply few vegetables on a daily basis. Vegetable nurseries thrive in great demand as home gardeners love to have vegetables growing in their gardens. Some vegetable plants are seasonal, annuals, and perennials. Most nurseries stock all types of improved variety vegetable seeds.
  • Plant Nursery Business – Fruit Nurseries:
    This nursery grows wide varieties and types of fruit trees for home and commercial planting. The nursery keeps stock of common species as well as unique fruit plants. Most home gardeners plant their favorite fruit in their backyard or farms. Since fruit trees can be planted any time of year excluding extreme climate days, some fruit plants can be planted even in containers, so these plants are also in demand year long.
  • Plant Nursery Business – Flower Plant Nurseries:
Flower Plant Nursery.
Flower Plant Nursery.

As the name suggests the nursery stocks flowering plants to sell. Most home gardeners enjoy their garden by never missing flowering plants in it.Flowers remain most profitable and market demanding plants. Most nursery growers try to produce plants that are rare and which are not native to the local regions. Flower nursery can also be divided into sections such as ornamental flower plants and aromatic flower plants. Flower nurseries have a continuous stock of young saplings as well as different flower seeds.

Types of Plant Nursery Business

At the nursery, seedlings and grafts are produced from which fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, and ornamental gardens can be established with minimum maintenance, cost, and care. This saves time, efforts, and money to gardeners to raise seedlings. Nursery business can be done and is profitable as there is a consistent demand for plants for home and public gardens, highways, and gated housing societies. Nurseries are broadly classified as a retail nursery, Landscape, and commercial nursery.

Plant Nursery Business – Retail Plant Nursery: They do business by selling to individuals who grow plants for their home indoor and outdoor gardens. Plants are grown on limited acreage purely for retail sales.

Plant Nursery Business – Landscape Plant Nursery: They have experienced horticultural services for landscape and outdoor gardening activity. From their retail outlet, they produce plants for their own in-house landscape projects by designing, installing and maintain.

Plant Nursery Business – Commercial Plant Nursery: Nurseries having an extended area for growing, grafting, and transplanting stocks by selling in large batches at significantly lower prices to commercial farmers, government agencies for re-vegetation, parks, environmental landscaping, private estates, and to other small nurseries.

Plant Nursery Business – Mail Order Nursery: In this business type, the plants are sold directly to customers no matter how far the order comes from. This business strives on shipping plants directly to customers rather sold through a retail outlet. The nursery gardeners produce high-value ornamental and specialty plants to garden lovers spread across worldwide. In this business, you do not have to produce more species but can have few rare species that can be garden unique. Small as well as large plants that are highly valuable are properly packed and shipped by the nurseries.

Skills Required for Plant Nursery Business

  • Must have knowledge in gardening skills, plant care, mechanics, and nursery business.
  • Be able to understand plant needs and plant growth. It can be about fertilization, irrigation, cutting schedules, growing schedules, and temperature control.
  • Knowledge on pests and diseases and how to control.
  • Mechanical skills – irrigation systems, plumbing, greenhouse ventilation, and general understanding in soil mixing.
  • Knowledge on how to use, maintains, and repair power tools, and equipments.
  • Marketing both wholesale and retail skills are essential.
  • Administrative skills.
  • Skills in landscape designing.
  • Above all must communicate, able to address customers all inquiries.

Plant Nursery Business Economic Considerations

To start a nursery requires a huge investment that excludes land purchase. Expenses might include onetime investment on assets and greenhouse structure, while some expenses can be on daily basis, weekly basis, or on monthly basis and that includes plant materials, supplies, soil grow media, cold storage, irrigation system, trade licenses, insurance, and inspections.

Nursery grower must be able to handle the ups and downs in sales and income generation in the initial years. It takes completely one or two years for nursery to establish for regular income and profits. The grower must realize that nursery is associated with seasonal sales, so he must be prepared to make substantial investments in early years before expecting positive returns.

Plant Nursery Business Marketing

The nursery business can be to a great degree competitive. To stand the competition in the market, the nursery has to effectively showcase its services. Proper advertising in the local newspapers, door to door campaigning, nearby flower shops, offices and markets that sell flowers, wedding organizers, and neighborhood organizations are generally where you sell your plants. Showcasing and selling nursery plants at public exhibitions and expos, advertising on social media, e-commerce sites, and online sales. One cannot simply wait till people to come to know that you are a good plant grower having different stock of plant species but you have to make yourself known at each potential market zone.

Tips for Starting Plant Nursery Business

  • Check the concerned authorities near the nursery site location for a business license, insurance, construction permits, if any government inspections, and water availability at the nursery site.
  • Explore your potential market. What plants to grow or you will grow, quantity, and are they produced as container grown, bare root, or root-balled plant saplings. Prepare early your advertising base.
  • Select a suitable site for starting your nursery can be long leased or own.
  • Research raw material suppliers for the competitive price such as seeds, soil, chemicals, fertilizers, containers, etc.
  • Gather information on the local site growing conditions and potential problems.
  • Research on plant species that you going to grow.
  • After gathering required information prepare a business plan and start the business.

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