Bamboo is a popular landscaping plant, so there is a steady demand for container-grown plants. By growing the bamboo plants in containers, you can supply the plants with exactly the right combination of soil, water and fertilizer. This will produce a healthier, better looking plant in less time, so it is more profitable. Also, a potted bamboo plant is ready to load into a customer’s vehicle when it is sold – no digging and no mess!
Why not take advantage of this demand by growing bamboo for profit? Here are a few tips to help you make a solid income growing bamboo. But don’t forget that growing bamboo is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You’re not going to make $60,000 the first season, but by growing the in-demand varieties and smart marketing, you’ll make a good income that can grow each season, just like your crop.
As with most businesses, it’s best to start small and let your business grow naturally. As your bamboo knowledge and experience grows, so will your business. Soon, you’ll be making a solid income every year. To illustrate how it could happen, let’s do the math. Landscaping bamboo in containers, especially the popular varieties, easily bring an average of $30 each. In fact, some of the hard-to-find varieties will sell for up to $150 each.
Growing landscaping plants in containers is very space-efficient, so you’ll be able to grow up to 2,000 plants in just a quarter-acre. Selling those plants at $30 each will get you to $60,000.
When starting out, give some thought to your local “microclimate.” If you’re in a cold area where wintertime temperatures drop down to zero on a regular basis, you should probably not grow bamboo. If the winter temperatures normally stay above zero, you’ll be able to go most of the cold-hardy varieties, and there are over 100 of those.
The quality of the soil in your growing area is not as important as it would be for conventional row crops, as you can blend a container soil mix that is just right for bamboo plants, which prefer a well-drained soil. You can blend it in a wheelbarrow, but a portable electric cement mixer is easier on the back, and costs very little.
What To Grow?
The easy answer, of course, is grow the bamboo varieties that are most popular. Like any business, you need to provide the products that are in demand. A bamboo nursery is no different. You can visit a larger garden center in your area to see what they are stocking and selling. Local landscapers and landscape designers are also a good source of information. Ask them what bamboo varieties they have used in past landscaping projects.
When you’ve potted your bamboo plants, give them plenty of sunlight, water and a small amount of fertilizer. The slow release fertilizers are best, as they feed the plant for several months which produces healthier plants. Don’t worry if the don’t seem to be growing, as bamboos have a growth “spurt, that can take them from a small sprout to full size in about two months. That’s when you’ll see visible growth every day.
Selling Your Bamboo Plants
When you’re ready to sell your bamboo plants, there are several options open to you:
Landscapers & Garden Centers – Selling directly to landscapers is an excellent way to get volume sales, which will help keep your income high. Rather than just one or two plants, they will often buy dozens at a time. When you have a good idea what is ready to sell, put together a simple flyer and mail it to all the local landscapers and garden centers.
Direct Retail Sales – Many small growers sell directly to the public from their backyard nursery. There are advantages to doing this. First, you get to meet customers and help them find the perfect variety. If you don’t have exactly what they want, get their contact information and let them know when you have it. By chatting with retail customers in person, you will gain a better idea of what folks are looking for, so you can adjust your inventory. Second, you get paid full, retail prices and have the cash in hand before the customer leaves.
Bamboo Products – The most popular bamboo products are fencing, privacy screens and garden art. The markups on bamboo products are substantial, so get creative and make additional value-added products to sell.
Mail-Order Sales – Once you are established and have a good variety of hard-to-find bamboo varieties, put together a simple brochure or web site to showcase your plants. Due to shipping costs, the smaller bamboo varieties are best for mail-order sales. An inexpensive ad in a regional or national gardening magazine can bring sales from around the country.
As you can see, the profit potential is high for bamboo, especially if you grow and market high-value landscaping varieties that are in demand. You can start small and use your profits to help pay to expand your bamboo business. To discover more, read Growing Bamboo For Profit.