If you do not yet have a greenhouse but want to grow tropical plants then I recommend that you read this page where we are going to look at how to make money on the windowsill. Do you already have a greenhouse? Then you are in luck. A greenhouse can be a little money maker if you use it correctly. Below we are going to look at some of the many ways that you can earn money from your greenhouse.
Heated or unheated
Before we look at how you can make money from your greenhouse we have to look at what type of greenhouse you got. Do you have one that only can be used in the summer or is it heated so that you can have plants in it all year around? A greenhouse that can be used all year round gives you a lot more opportunities to earn money. You do not need to keep it hot all year but it is important that it doesn’t become too cold during the winter. Try to keep it above 65 if you want to keep tropical plants. Other types of plants will be okay as long as you keep it above freezing. It is easier to grow profitable plants in a heated greenhouse but it will also be more expensive to heat your greenhouse. You will have to calculate what is the best option based on the climate where you live.
It does not have to be very expensive to heat a greenhouse provided that it is well insulated and that you use the heat already in there. A good way to store heat and reduce your heating bill is to have a lot of water in the greenhouse. Water barrels, as well as ponds, are good options. The ponds will help keep the greenhouse cooler when it is hot and will store the heat it absorbs and help heat the greenhouse when the temperatures drop. Ponds and barrels can often be used to cut your heating bills for your greenhouse in half. It is sometimes possible to achieve even better results provided that the greenhouse is placed in full sun.
How to make money in an unheated greenhouse
Your options are limited if you have an unheated greenhouse. You only have part of the year to make money unless you have somewhere else you can move your plants during the cold season. The length of you growing season will be decided by how far north you live and the climate where you live. If you live far enough south for the greenhouse to stay warm all year even though it is unheated then you should still consider it to be a heated greenhouse.
If you have an unheated greenhouse then you will most likely be able to have two different income streams each year. The first is from planting seeds and selling baby plants in the spring, the second will come from tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables you can grow in your greenhouse during the summer.
I recommend that you always plant seeds in the spring to make sure that you do not have to buy any plants. When you do this you can just as well plant a lot of extra seeds so that you can sell plants to other greenhouse owners and gardeners. This requires little extra effort and can give you a nice extra income. I recommend that you plant as many extra plants as can fit in the greenhouse (and that you think you can sell). It is very important that you keep barrels of water in the greenhouse in the early spring to protect the plants from extra cold nights. The heat stored in the water will help keep the greenhouse warm.
Plant your seeds so that the plants are ready to sell when other greenhouse owners start looking for plans. Plant a variety of common and more unusual types.
Once the extra plants have been sold it is time to remove the seed tables from the greenhouse and plant directly in the dirt beds. Make sure that the ground is warm enough to do this. If the ground is cold then it can be better to wait a little longer. If you got a small greenhouse then I recommend that you primarily plant vegetables for your own consumption and based on your own preferences. This is going to be your most profitable option. Due to the fact that you do not need to pay for vegetables and saves money on your grocery purchases.
If your greenhouse is a little bigger then you can choose to also grow plants that you think are going to produce vegetables that are easy to sell. I personally recommend rare and odd heirloom varieties. Read more about how to choose vegetables on my page about profitable plants or on growing vegetables for profit page.
A heated greenhouse gives you a lot more options about how you can make money. You can choose to use the techniques that I wrote about above for unheated greenhouses. Doing so is to waste the potential of a heated greenhouse.
You can, of course, grow your own vegetables in your greenhouse but I do not think you should limit yourself to only that. If you want to earn as much money as possible you need to optimize the output you get from your greenhouse during the year. Not focus exclusively on a few months of the year.
Please keep in mind that tomatoes produce a gas that most other plants dislike. DO NOT grow tomatoes in a greenhouse where you have other types of profitable plants. Keeping tomatoes in the greenhouse can make it impossible to earn money from other plants.
Grow exotic collectible plants
I have talked about how you can make money from exotic rare plants in this article here. The advice I give in that article is equally applicable in a greenhouse as they are indoors. A greenhouse is in fact preferably as that will make it easier to succeed and will allow you to propagate more plants faster. A greenhouse also allows you to grow more sensitive species that don’t do well indoors.
Growing exotic plants can be very profitable when you have built a good exclusive collection and have large mother plants that allow you to propagate and sell a lot of baby plants. It can, however, be hard to reach that point. It requires a lot of time and money to build an exclusive collection. You can speed up the process if you have a lot of money to invest in your project but to do so can be risky if you aren’t already experienced in keeping the types of plants you want to propagate. It is usually better to start with cheaper plants and climb the plant ladder until you have an exclusive collection. To do so can be done in around 5 years. You will likely spend most of the money you earn to buy new more expensive plants.
Growing aquarium plants
There is a large demand for aquarium plants and a lot of the plants that are sold have to travel far before they reach the aquarium stores. This can affect the health and quality of the plant. Most aquarium stores are therefore very interested in buying locally produced plants if you offer them the option to do so and you can often sell a lot of plants to each store. Most aquarium owners are willing to pay extra to get locally grown plants that will adapt to local water values faster than plants that have been shipped from far away.
Many aquarium plants grow very quickly in greenhouses which makes it possible to earn a lot of money doing this even if you only earn a small amount on each plant. I recommend that you focus on both stem plants and leaf plants. Stem plants grow quickly and will earn you less. Leaf plants grow slower but you will earn more per plants. Leaf plants are often more profitable once you have large mother plants.
If you want to grown aquarium plants you need low ponds in the greenhouse where you can do this. A lot of plants grow quickest in less than a foot of water. Many species prefer to reach above the water if you are going to propagate them. These low thanks will be used to propagate leaf plants. You should also have some deeper containers where you can grow stem plants.
Most aquarium plants prefer a lot of light but do best with a little shade. You can grow hanging plants and orchids above the aquarium plants. You can also grow some fish in the tank with the plants. The number of species that are suitable to be bred this way is low but includes a number of easily sold fish such as fancy guppy and platy.
Learn as much as you can about aquarium plants before you start propagating them to maximize your chance for success.
Another option that can be profitable is to buy cheap bulbs from Asia and grow them out into nice aquarium plants before you sell them locally. This is an easier way to make money but leaves you less profit. If you have room I recommend you both propagate your own plant and grow out bulbs you purchased. The combination will give the best overall result.