Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to Start Your Own Bamboo Nursery

Bamboo is one of the most widely-used plants in the world. Over half the population uses it in one way or another. There simply is a high demand for quality bamboo. Looking to make some extra cash or start a new career? Then you should consider growing bamboo for profit.

In addition to being one of the most widely-used plants in the world, it is also the fastest-growing plant. The current record is a bamboo plant that grew 47.6 inches in 24 hours! It also has many, many uses. Scaffolding, water pipes, parrot stands, vases, privacy screens, medicinal and many more. Your bamboo plants can make you a nice profit in no time.

Before you start growing bamboo, you need to think about the climate in your area. Certainly warmer climates will be able to grow more varieties of bamboo, but cold ones can too. Be aware though that if temperatures in the wintertime frequently drop below zero F. then you should consider growing something other than bamboo. If temperatures consistently stay above zero F. then you could have the perfect climate for growing bamboo. To protect your bamboo from cold winter winds and temperatures, plant your plants on a slightly-sloping hillside facing south or in a sheltered area.

You also need to think about the soil. Most plants will need soil with a neutral pH. And don’t forget to give your bamboo plants plenty of room to grow. For sale as landscaping plants, a large (5 gallon) pot works well for most varieties.

Once you’ve made sure you have plenty of room, good soil and that you’re growing in a climate that bamboo plants can thrive in, now you’re ready to pick out which plants to grow. So how do you do that? Simply put, you need to grow what sells. As is true with any business, if you can sell a product people want to buy, then you’ll make a profit. So how do you find out what people want to buy? It’s time to do some research.

Visit your local garden center and see what bamboo plants they keep a large amount of in stock. What seems to be the popular sellers? What are the prices like? Next, talk to landscapers and commercial growers and find out what they grow, or what they typically like to buy. You can also pick up gardening magazines, and find out what the latest trends are in bamboo plants.

When you’re ready to propagate your plants, be sure to use containers, such as pots and planters. Container-grown plants can be sold almost any time of the year. Be sure to get containers that “breathe,” as this will help ensure good water drainage.

There are many ways to sell your plants. If your town allows it, you could sell right out of your backyard nursery. Or maybe you’d like to sell to landscapers and garden centers. If you can grow what they’re looking for, you could see a lot of repeat business. Maybe you’d like to sell through the mail. Place an ad in a gardening magazine, and watch those calls come pouring in. And don’t forget about the bamboo products you could make, such as privacy screens, fencing and parrot stands. Any “value-added” products will put more profits in your pocket.

You can be growing bamboo for profit in no time. If you can grow what people want, then your bamboo business will be the talk of the town. To learn more about growing and selling the most popular varieties of bamboo

Most Profitable Plants To Grow

Growing plants for profit is a great way to turn your gardening skills into serious cash. While most of us immediately think of tomatoes or salad greens, the most profitable plants are specialty crops that are not always found in a home vegetable garden. Many specialty crops can bring as much as $90,000 per acre, and are quite easy to grow.
Best of all, most specialty crops can be grown without a full-time commitment. If you have a few extra hours a week, then you can be a specialty crop grower. Here are eight specialty crops worth growing:
1. Bamboo. Landscapers and homeowners are paying as much as $150 each for potted bamboo plants, and many growers are finding it hard to keep up with the demand. Why is bamboo so popular? It’s a versatile plant in the landscape, as it can be used for hedges, screens or as stand-alone “specimen” plants. Bamboo is not just a tropical plant, as many cold-hardy varieties can handle sub-zero winters. Using pots in a bamboo business, it’s possible to grow thousands of dollars worth of profitable plants in a backyard nursery.
2. Flowers. If you are looking for a high-value specialty crop that can produce an income in the first year, take a look at growing flowers for profit. A flower growing business has almost unlimited possibilities, from bulbs to cut flowers to dried flowers – often called “everlastings”, for their long life. It doesn’t cost much to get started growing flowers for profit either – just a few dollars for seeds and supplies. Most small growers find lots of eager buyers at the Saturday markets held in most towns.
3. Ginseng. Nicknamed “green gold”, the value of this plant is in it’s slow growing roots. Asians have valued ginseng for thousands of years as a healing herb and tonic. Even though growing ginseng requires a six year wait to harvest the mature roots, most growers also sell young “rootlets” and seeds for income while waiting for the roots to mature. Over the six year period, growers can make as much as $100,000 on a half-acre plot from seeds, rootlets and mature roots. That’s why ginseng has been prized as a specialty crop since George Washington’s day, when ginseng profits helped finance the Revolutionary war against the British. Ginseng production is only possible in areas with cold winters.
4. Ground Covers. Due to high labor costs and water shortages, ground covers are becoming the sensible, low-maintenance way to landscape. Growers like ground covers too, as they are easy to propagate, grow and sell. Bringing profits of up to $20 per square foot, ground covers are an ideal cash crop for the smaller backyard plant nursery.
5. Herbs. Growing the most popular culinary and medicinal herbs is a great way to start a profitable herb business. The most popular culinary herbs include basil, chives, cilantro and oregano. Medicinal herbs have been widely used for thousands of years, and their popularity continues to grow as people seek natural remedies for their health concerns. Lavender, for example, has dozens of medicinal uses, as well as being a source of essential oils. Lavender is so popular, hundreds of small nurseries grow nothing but lavender plants. So to start your herb business, focus on popular plants.
6. Landscaping Trees and Shrubs. With individual plants bringing as much as $100 in a five gallon pot, many small backyard plant nurseries are enjoying success on a small scale. Those that specialize in unique or hard-to-find tree and shrub varieties can charge premium prices and still sell out each year. The secret to success is finding a “niche” that you enjoy, and then growing the varieties that simply can not be found at your average plant nursery.
7. Mushrooms. For those without space to garden, growing mushrooms for profit can produce a great return in a small space. Exotic mushrooms, such as oyster and shiitake, make sense, as they can be grown indoors without soil. Oyster mushrooms, for example, produce around 25 pounds per square foot of growing space in a year’s time. At the current price of $6 a pound, that’s $15,000 worth of mushrooms from a 10′x10′ space! Exotic mushrooms do not travel well, so small local growers will always have an edge over distant producers. At our local Saturday market, the oyster mushrooms are also the first items to sell out.
8. Ornamental Grasses. Because ornamental grasses are drought-tolerant and low maintenance, landscapers are using more and more of them, as are homeowners. Because there are hundreds of shapes and sizes, they can be used for everything from ground covers to privacy screens. It’s easy to get started growing ornamental grasses, as you simply buy the “mother” plants and divide the root clump into new plants as it grows. Using pots, it’s possible to grow thousands of plants in a small backyard nursery.
These are my favorite profitable plants, as they all enjoy strong demand year after year, yet can be grown by anyone who has, or can learn a few basic gardening skills. Given the right care, any of these eight specialty crops can grow into a sizable income for you, and bring years of satisfaction to your customers.

15 Indoorplants for improving air quality at home

In the late '80s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Lucky for us, the plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air

Aloe (Aloe vera)
This easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for a sunny kitchen window. Beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns.



Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. As an added bonus, this plant is also considered a safe houseplant if you have pets in the house.



Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing trichloroethylene, which you may bring home with your dry cleaning. It’s also good for filtering out the benzene that comes with inks. Add one to your laundry room or bedroom — presuming you can give it lots of light.



Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii')
Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.



Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
Another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde, this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green from a hanging basket. Consider it for your garage since car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. (Bonus: Golden pothos, also know as devil’s ivy, stays green even when kept in the dark.)



Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
The colorful flowers of a mum can do a lot more than brighten a home office or living room; the blooms also help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent. This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.



Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
The red edges of this easy dracaena bring a pop of color, and the shrub can grow to reach your ceiling. This plant is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.



Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
A ficus in your living room can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Caring for a ficus can be tricky, but once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.



Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
Bring this beautiful flowering shrub into your home to combat formaldehyde from sources such as plywood or foam insulation. Because azaleas do best in cool areas around 60 to 65 degrees, they’re a good option for improving indoor air in your basement if you can find a bright spot.



English ivy (Hedera helix)
A study found that the plant reduces airborne fecal-matter particles. It has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products.



Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckii')
Combat pollutants associated with varnishes and oils with this dracaena. The Warneckii grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight. With striped leaves forming clusters atop a thin stem, this houseplant can be striking, especially if it reaches its potential height of 12 feet.



Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah')
This easy-to-care-for plant can help filter out a variety of air pollutants and begins to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues. Even with low light, it will produce blooms and red berries.



Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces and often produces flowers and small berries. It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzene and trichloroethylene. They’re also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.



Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
This climbing vine plant isn’t a good option if you have kids or pets — it's toxic when eaten, but it's a workhorse for removing all kinds of VOCs. Philodendrons are particularly good at battling formaldehyde from sources like particleboard.




Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. It topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.