Grow Herbs for Profit: The Best Herbs to Grow + How to Do It

Video how to make money with herbs

Culinary herbs are gaining popularity as more people embrace the art of using fresh herbs to create delicious and healthy meals. Additionally, there is a growing interest in the medicinal properties of herbs, as they can boost immunity, improve health, and treat common ailments. This increasing demand for herbs makes them a potentially profitable crop for market gardeners and permaculture homesteaders. If you’ve ever considered herb farming as a way to generate income, now is the perfect time to start. In this article, we will explore the best herbs to grow for profit, how to start your herb business, and where to sell your herbs.

Grow Herbs for Profit

Which Herbs Are Profitable?

Almost any herb can be profitable if you have the right growing conditions, knowledge, and a good niche market. However, as a beginner, it’s wise to start your herb farming business with popular culinary herbs. These herbs have broad appeal and are known to be the most profitable. Marketing them will be easier, and you’ll have more options when it comes to selling your herbs. As you gain experience and build a loyal client base, you can expand your business to include medicinal and fragrant herbs, as well as value-added products.

Culinary Herbs

Is There Money in Selling Herbs?

Absolutely! Growing and selling herbs can be profitable, and you don’t need a large area to get started. One of the great things about herbs is their versatility and the numerous uses they offer. Whether for medicinal, culinary, cosmetic, ornamental, or fragrant purposes, herbs provide an array of profitable opportunities. You can sell herbs as live plants, freshly cut for culinary or medicinal use, in herbal bouquets, dried, or in various value-added products. With knowledge about your herbs and effective marketing strategies, you can be profitable regardless of the size of your herb garden.

Mixed Herbs

What Are the Best Herbs to Grow for Profit?

The best herbs to grow for profit are popular, multi-purpose herbs that are easy to care for and have a broad market appeal. However, it’s important to research and find a niche market with a consistent demand for the herbs you plan to sell. Many herb growers even get creative and come up with unique niche products to increase their sales. To profit from growing herbs, you need to combine your unique skills and interests with the right sales outlets. By doing this effectively, herbs can become a significant part of your small farm income.

How Much Money Can You Make Growing Herbs?

The amount of income you can generate with your herb farm depends on factors such as your setup, ability, and available space. However, there are a few things you can do to maximize your income:

  • Optimize your use of space
  • Minimize labor on weeding and watering
  • Choose herb varieties with the best flavor
  • Grow herbs with high production rates
  • Find a niche market for your herbs
  • Provide information and educate people on how to use your herbs

Using these suggestions, you could potentially generate as much as $20 to $24 (£14 to £17) per square foot (0.09 square meters) of growing area. For example, a small backyard grower with 100 square feet (9.29 square meters) of growing space could generate around $2400 (£1700) by selling 400 potted herb plants. On a larger scale, an herb farmer can earn over $30,000 (£21,500) per acre of land each year, growing popular and high-priced herbs.

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Best Culinary Herbs to Grow for Profit

Many culinary herbs are both easy to grow and potentially very profitable. Here are some of the best culinary herbs to consider:

1. Basil

Basil is widely considered the most popular culinary herb and is a key ingredient in Italian cuisine. It adds delicious flavor to a wide range of dishes, including pasta sauces, pesto, salads, and pizzas. Basil is in high demand at farmers’ markets, and many chefs need a steady supply of fresh basil. It is easy to grow from seeds, cuttings, or seedlings. You can sell basil as potted plants, cut basil, or dried as a spice.

2. Chives

Chives are hardy, nutrient-dense, and used in various culinary dishes. They have a great smell and taste, and their edible flowers add a vibrant touch to any meal. Chives contain beneficial nutrients and are believed to have anticancer effects. You can sell chives as potted plants or as fresh-cut bundles. Their ability to grow in both summer and cooler weather extends the sales season.

3. Oregano

Oregano is another popular herb used in Italian cooking. It is commonly used with garlic and basil in tomato sauces and to garnish soups and stews. Oregano is known for its culinary use but also has numerous health benefits and has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean region to treat various ailments. You can grow oregano from seeds, and it is also a good seller as cut fresh oregano or as potted plants.

4. Parsley

Parsley is an herb with mass appeal and is used as an ingredient and garnish in a wide range of dishes. Flat-leaf and curly parsley are both used in culinary dishes, with flat-leaf parsley being preferred by many gardeners due to its ease of care. Parsley takes time to germinate from seeds and requires constant attention, making parsley seedlings a popular product among growers.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary is widely used in the culinary world due to its strong fragrance and flavor. Potted rosemary plants don’t need to be very large to be sellable and are popular with cooks and home growers. Rosemary has many health benefits and can be used fresh to make tea or incorporated into culinary dishes. Dried rosemary is a popular addition to fragrant sachets and other value-added products. You can sell potted plants, fresh-cut rosemary, or dried rosemary.

6. Dill

Dill is a popular dual-purpose herb grown for both its leaves and seeds. Its leaves have a milder flavor and are used in tartar sauce, while the seeds are essential for pickling. Dill grows fast and can get very large, making it an excellent herb to grow in coastal areas. You can market live, fresh dill to local seafood lovers and restaurants or provide mature plants and seeds to homesteaders and gardeners.

7. Coriander

Coriander, also known as cilantro, is a popular culinary herb with digestive and antioxidant benefits. It is used extensively in Mexican and Indian cooking, making it a staple in many households. Coriander can be sold as potted plants, fresh-cut leaves, or dried seeds. It is a versatile herb with a wide range of uses and offers various market opportunities.

Best Culinary Herbs

Best Medicinal Herbs to Grow for Profit

If you’re interested in growing medicinal herbs for profit, consider these versatile options:

8. Lavender

Lavender is a popular herb with a multitude of uses. It is used in cooking, herbal tea blends, decorating, craft products, and the fragrance industry. Lavender has medicinal properties and is used for skincare, pain relief, and relaxation. You can sell lavender as potted plants, cut flowers, or dried flowers for various purposes.

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9. Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known and is commonly used as herbal medicine to treat various ailments. It is also extensively used in aromatherapy, cosmetics, and as an herbal tea. Chamomile can be sold as seedlings, fresh-cut chamomile, or dried chamomile flowers for tea or other uses.

10. Calendula

Calendula is a flowering plant and one of the easiest medicinal herbs to grow. It is used to make herbal tea and as an ingredient in cosmetics, ointments, and creams. Calendula flowers have culinary uses and are known for their vibrant color. You can sell calendula as potted plants, cut flowers and leaves, or in value-added products such as salves and creams.

11. Marsh Mallow

Marsh mallow has several medicinal benefits and has been used for thousands of years to treat respiratory, digestive, and skin conditions. The leaves, flowers, and roots are edible and used fresh or dried. Marsh mallow roots contain the most mucilage and can be used in teas, poultices, or as a powdered form. You can sell marsh mallow plants, cut flowers, or roots for various applications.

12. Catnip

Catnip is a medicinal herb with health benefits for both humans and cats. It provides herb growers with an opportunity to target cat owners and expand into the pet product market. Catnip is easy to grow and fast-growing, making it a popular choice. You can sell catnip as potted plants or as fresh or dried cat treats.

Best Medicinal Herbs

How to Start Your Own Herb Business

Now that you have some ideas about which herbs to grow for profit, you may be ready to start your own backyard herb business. Here are six steps to get your profitable herb-growing business up and running:

Step 1: Do Some Research

Before diving into herb farming, it’s essential to do some research to identify potential markets for your herbs. Visit local farmers’ markets, chat with herb growers, herbalists, and herb retailers to understand what sells and which herbs are in demand. Research the best herbs to grow in your local conditions and find reliable sources for herb seeds or cuttings.

Step 2: Decide Which Herbs to Grow

Based on your research, it’s time to decide which herbs you want to grow. Consider the demand for herbs in your area, the space you have available, and whether you want to focus on culinary or medicinal herbs. Start with a small selection of popular, multi-use herbs to build your customer base. You can expand your selection as you grow and gain experience.

Step 3: Gather Materials

Starting an herb business doesn’t require expensive equipment. You’ll need a dedicated space with adequate sunlight, seed or plug trays for starting seeds, containers with good drainage, growing medium, a watering can or hose, a spade, herb seeds, scissors for cutting herbs, twine for drying, and airtight containers or bags for storing dried herbs.

Step 4: Plant Your Herb Seeds

Start your herb seeds indoors in seed trays or plug trays, even if you plan to grow them outdoors. Fill the trays with the growing medium, moisten with water, and place the seeds on top. Lightly cover the seeds with more growing medium and place the trays in a warm spot with good sunlight for germination.

Step 5: Transplant Your Herbs

Once your herbs are ready for transplanting, water them two hours before the process. Gently remove them from the seed trays and place them in larger containers or growing beds. Ensure proper support by lightly pushing down the growing medium or soil around them. Water the transplanted herbs again and be mindful of the timing if transplanting outdoors.

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Step 6: Care For Your Herbs

Take care of your herbs by keeping them well-fertilized and watered until it’s time to sell or harvest them. Avoid overwatering and use organic fertilizers to ensure healthy and strong plants. Prune your herbs regularly to promote bushier growth. Pinch off flowers to encourage leaf growth. Mulch outdoor herbs in winter to protect their roots from frost.

Step 7: Market and Sell Your Herbs

Once your herbs have reached a sellable size, it’s time to market and sell them. Consider the pricing of your herbs by keeping track of your expenses and factoring in labor and transport costs. Research local stores to set competitive prices. Consider creating value-added products with your herbs, such as herbal teas, dried herb pillows, soaps, and salves, to increase profits. Explore various sales outlets, including farmers’ markets, local restaurants, pet stores, herbalists, essential oil companies, online platforms, and roadside farm stands.

Herbal Body Lotion

Where Can You Sell Herbs?

To effectively sell your herbs, it’s crucial to identify the right sales outlets for your target market. Here are some options worth considering:

  1. From Your Backyard – In some areas, you may be allowed to sell herbs directly from your backyard. While you won’t have passing foot traffic, you can market to your local community through leaflets, bulletin boards, or other creative means.

  2. At Local Fundraising Events – Participate in fundraising events hosted by local churches or charities. This not only creates awareness for your products but also contributes to a good cause.

  3. At Farmers’ Markets – Farmers’ markets are excellent places to sell your herbs, build relationships with customers, and make a name for yourself. Ensure attractive displays and packaging to stand out.

  4. To Local Restaurants – Contact local restaurant owners and chefs to see if they are interested in purchasing bulk fresh herbs. Be competitive with pricing if there are other herb growers in your area.

  5. At Pet Stores – If you’re growing catnip, approach local pet stores to provide them with sachets of catnip to sell to their customers.

  6. Direct to Herbalists – Contact herbalists directly and offer wholesale herbs to them. Consider shipping nationally if you have the capacity.

  7. To Essential Oil Companies – Essential oil companies require fresh herbs for their production. Connect with them to become a grower for their needs.

  8. Wholesale to Herb Businesses – Approach local herb retailers and become a wholesale supplier. This can provide a steady and reliable income stream.

  9. From a Roadside Farm Stand – If you live in a busy area, a roadside farm stand can be a profitable outlet for your herbs. Focus on dried herbs for longer shelf life.

  10. Online – Utilize online platforms such as Facebook, Craigslist, Etsy, and eBay to market and sell your herbs. Be mindful of fees and shipping logistics.

Medicinal Herbs

Final Thoughts

Growing herbs for profit is an excellent opportunity for small-scale farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners. With their versatility and high demand, herbs can become a significant source of income. Start by researching the best herbs for your market, gather necessary materials, plant your herb seeds, care for your plants, and develop effective marketing strategies. Explore various sales outlets and consider creating value-added products to increase your profits. Remember, success in herb farming requires dedication, expertise, and a passion for growing and sharing the incredible benefits of herbs. Start your own herb business today and embark on a journey towards financial success and personal fulfillment!

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