Lavender can be one of the most profitable cash crops for small growers. Even a small backyard lavender garden can produce a surprising amount of income. Best of all, unlike many other seasonal crops, such as flowers, that are worthless if not sold at harvest time, lavender can be dried and made into even more profitable products. Here are seven of the best ways to turn lavender into cash.
1. Fresh lavender bouquets. For a small grower, this is a very profitable way to sell lavender. Most growers sell direct to the retail public, either from their garden or at the local farmer’s market. At our local Saturday market, lavender bunches sell for $6 each. A 20′ x 20′ growing area can produce around 300 bunches each year, worth $1,800. Larger plots are even more profitable. A quarter-acre can produce about 3,000 bunches, worth $18,000.
2. Dried Bouquets. Unsold lavender bunches can be dried by hanging upside down and sold to crafters and florists, who use the bunches for dried floral arrangements. Also, the flower buds can be removed from the bunches and sold or used to make sachets and other value-added products.
3. Sachets. Lavender sachets can be used anywhere the air needs freshening or deodorizing, such as drawers, closets, even in smelly shoes! Most sachet sales come from repeat customers, who love the scent of lavender. Sachets are also sold to local retailers. The Saturday market is a great place to sell sachets, especially if they are made using decorative fabric scraps.
4. Dream pillows. What’s a dream pillow? Lavender is known for it’s calming effect, so putting it in a pillow makes sense to help encourage restful sleep, and is one of the most profitable value-added lavender products. Medical studies have even found that lavender can help calm kids with ADHD. One enterprising lavender grower has created a line of animal-themed dream pillows for kids, grossing over a million dollars each year from her pillows.
5. Live plants. Most lavender growers find selling live plants a very lucrative addition to their lavender business, as the profits are huge. To ensure the lavender plants are exact duplicates of the parent plants, growers root cuttings from them, rather than growing from seed. The only expense is for pots and potting soil, with named varieties in a 4″ or 6″ pot bring $5 and more. Growers can also wholesale potted live lavender plants to local garden centers and nurseries in their area.
6. Pet Products. There are many profitable pet products that can be made from lavender, but a lavender flea repellant is always a best-seller. Many commercial flea repellants use powerful chemicals that can have toxic side effects. Lavender is a all-natural flea control that not only repels fleas, it makes pets smell better! The typical markup over the cost of materials is around 500% to 800%.
7. Lavender soap. Many users consider lavender soap an essential in the bathroom. With so many molds available to soap makers, lavender bars can be created in an almost unlimited variety of sizes and shapes. Of course, soap is a repeat product, and a very popular gift item. New soap makers can get started easily by using a “melt and pour” soap base.
As you can see, lavender growers have so many ways to make money from this remarkable plant. By using value-added products, the income from a patch of lavender can continue year-round instead of being limited to just harvest time. You’ll find over 20 ways to profit with a lavender business in my book, Lavender Farming. Click here to learn more.