Growing Woody Ornamentals For Profit

Chinese quince flowers (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Flowering Quince

Woody ornamentals are becoming a popular way to make a floral arrangement look even nicer. The demand for these plants is increasing every year, and some plants are in short supply. Here’s what you need to know to make money growing these profitable plants.

Woody ornamentals are shrubs and trees that will grow back after being cut. They’re often used to fill out bouquets, especially the large ones often used in hotels and special events like weddings. Best of all, they are perennials, which means after you’ve planted them there’s little work left to do other than cutting the branches at harvest time.

What kind of money can you make selling woodies? A recent report by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture revealed that just one popular woody species, willow, could bring up to $56,000 an acre. Sell “woodies” along with your other plants, or focus solely on them and you’ll see a lot of business coming your way.

So what are some profitable woody ornamentals to grow?

Bittersweet – Popular in the fall are ones with a cluster of orange berries.

 Butterfly Bush – Similar to bamboo, these grows big and tall.

 Flowering Quince – These can grow in a variety of colors, from white to red.

Forsythia – From February to April, these produce gorgeous yellow flowers.

Holly - In particular, the evergreen shrub is known for its red berries.

Once you’ve picked the species of plant you would like to grow, what are some tips to get you ahead? Here are some tips from woody growers.

  • 1. Only buy rooted cuttings and grow them to a height of 18 inches before you plant them in their final location. By doing this, you’ll get in production easier and quicker.
  •  2. Don’t plant them too close together. Allow enough room for the plants to grow and access to sunshine to encourage healthy foliage and flower growth and development.
  •  3. Check with local florists to find out what woodies they use in their work.
  •  4. Drip irrigation ensures each plant has just the right amount of water to produce the maximum amount of marketable stems for cutting.

When you’re ready to sell your plants, you have many options. Here are just some of them:

Farmers’ markets – These events continue to be popular. They routinely draw big crowds eager to find the best products from local growers. Set up a stand or booth and get selling! Be sure to put out a mailing list that your customers can sign up for, so you can keep in contact with them and let them know when and where you’ll be harvesting next.

 Florists – Florists have to get their woody ornamentals from somewhere, so why not your backyard nursery? Find out what your local florists are looking for, and if you can provide quality plants at a competitive price, you will find yourself with a lot of continuous business.

 Gift shops – Beautiful dried bouquets are popular sellers at any gift shop. Put some together using your dried woodies to make bouquets look even better.

Fundraisers - People are often more willing to spend money if they know some of it is going to a good cause. Set up a table and donate some of your profits to the charity or cause. It makes your business look good and can bring you a lot of customers as well.

You can be growing woody ornamentals for profit in no time. Pick some you’d like to try, and then follow the tips from successful growers, and you’ll be on your way before you know it. To learn more, read Growing Woody Ornamentals for Profit.