Ten Most Profitable Herbs To Grow
Growing herbs can be highly profitable and fun. It’s really quite easy too. You’d be surprised how many herbs are available and how many of them are huge sellers for a herb business. Some practically sell themselves. Here are ten of the most popular and profitable.
Basil tops the list as the most popular culinary herb. Basil is a very tender plant and should be kept indoors until there is no danger of frost. Growing basil starts in plug trays can work great for basil. Expect to be selling lots of these, so keep the fresh plants coming.
Standard chives are a steady seller. These will start to germinate after a week or so. And unlike basil, these can actually do quite well in cooler weather.
Cilantro is another popular culinary herb. In addition to its cooking values, it also has many other ones. It is particularly good for digestion and other medicinal values. Expect to sell lots of this at the Saturday farmer’s market.
Oregano is one of the most popular herbs that you’ll find in Italian cooking. Unforgettable taste and aroma give this herb its main appeal. Oregano is a commonly used garnish for stews, soups, and gravies.
Parsley is so popular it even has historical significance. The ancient Greeks used it at the athletic games, weaving it into victory crowns. They also fed it to their horses to make them run faster.
Catnip is commonly used for cats, but can also be a soothing sedative for humans. It has been known to provide pain and stress relief and to also help with flu and cold symptoms.
Chamomile can make for a nice, soothing tea. It also has medicinal values, such as a digestive, sleep, and calming aid. Plus it’s very easy to grow!
Lavender has so many uses it’s been called the “Swiss army knife” of herbs. The medicinal values include usefulness for skin care, women and children’s health, pain relief and nervous system conditions. The essential oil that is found in lavender is one of the top ten in the fragrance industry.
9. Marsh mallow.
This herb has many medicinal values, such as being good for coughs and bronchitis, the digestive tract, and several skin conditions.
10. St John’s wort.
St John’s wort is highly known as a mood-boosting substance, but it has many other values too. It is particularly useful for cold and flu prevention, immune support, and skin treatment. The healing ingredient in St John’s wort is called hypericin and is found in the top of the plant.
These are just a few of many profitable herbs to grow. Given the right care, these herbs can grow into something that will bring joy to your customers and put money in the bank. And before you know it, you’ll be on to success in the herbal business. To learn more about the business of herbs, read Growing Herbs for Profit.
Nature’s 9 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants and the Science Behind Them
We scoured through histories of herbal studies for you
Today, we live in a time when manufactured medicines and prescriptions prevail, but do they have to be the only approach to healing?
Even with all of these engineered options at our fingertips, many people find themselves turning back to the medicinal plants that started it all: Herbal remedies that have the ability to heal and boost physical and mental well-being.
In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, 11 percent Trusted Source of the 252 drugs considered “basic and essential” by the World Health Organization were “exclusively of flowering plant origin.” Drugs like codeine, quinine, and morphine all contain plant-derived ingredients.
While these manufactured drugs have certainly become paramount in our lives, it can be comforting to know that the power of nature is on our side, and these herbal choices are available to complement our health practices.
But the extent of the power they hold is also still being explored. These alternatives aren’t cure-galls, and they aren’t perfect. Many carry the same risks and side effects as manufactured medicines. Many of them are sold with unfounded promises.
However, many herbs and teas offer harmless subtle ways to improve your health. Pay attention to what the evidence says about each herb’s effectiveness as well as potential interactions or safety issues. Avoid using herbs for infants and children and for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. Most herbs haven’t been tested for safety for those who are vulnerable, and trying herbs isn’t worth the risk.
With this cautionary tale in mind, choosing the right plant can seem difficult to someone who simply wants to feel better without taking medication. That’s why, with the help of specialist Debra Rose Wilson, we’re looking at the most effective and therapeutic plants — which have strong scientific evidence to support their safe use.
Making decisions about herbs along with more traditional medicinal approaches is something you and your healthcare practitioner can address together. At times, Wilson notes, ingesting the plants can have even less risk than taking concentrated, manufactured supplements, as there’s more risk of contamination of the product with the manufacture processes. It’s a wonderful way to experience their effects and the satisfaction of growing them yourself. Herbs can also be a way to add a needed nutrient.
However, both plants and supplements, which aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety or quality, can have questionable dosage and might have a risk of contamination. Keep this in mind before choosing supplements from the shelf.
If you’d like to add some medicinal plants to your wellness regimen, Wilson sifted through the latest studies and provides her own ratings system for our list.
These plants have the most numerous high-quality studies and are the safer choices among herbal remedies. She’s marked “0” as unsafe with no research, and “5” as completely safe with ample research. Many of these plants are somewhere between 3 and 4, according to Wilson.
Saffron (pictured above) crocuses grow best in dry regions with mild winters, such as coastal California. To help expand their viability, the University of Vermont recommends planting them in high tunnels, a simple protective structure made of plastic sheeting over a frame of PVC pipes, which allows saffron to be grown in much of the country. Crocuses are bulbs and cannot easily be reproduced from seed, so growers plant corms, the fleshy tuberous roots. A list of corm sources for crocus varieties that are suitable for commercial spice production is available here.
Wild ginseng root, a medicinal herb which is found in forests throughout much of the northern and eastern United States, is harvested on a commercial scale and sold for astonishing prices, largely to Asian buyers. It is also planted in open fields, though ginseng cultivated this way commands a fraction of the price, as it is not considered as medicinally potent. Wild ginseng is becoming increasingly rare, however, to the point that many states have severely restricted its harvest. “Wild-simulated” ginseng, which is planted as an under-story on tree plantations and in naturally-occurring forests, has emerged as a popular, and profitable, alternative to true wild ginseng: it sells for $300 to $700 per pound.
Most native hardwood trees are suitable as a canopy for growing ginseng. The forest needs to be mature enough to cast full shade; moist, well-drained soil is ideal. It is typically planted in the fall from seed, which costs up to $200 per pound. Rake back the leaves and plant them directly in the native soil – no fertilizer necessary. The crop is so valuable that a growing guide from Purdue University recommends protecting your investment by “installing security cameras, keeping guard dogs, and embedding microchips” in the roots. The ginseng market varies from year to year, but when the price is high it’s possible to net up to $50,000 per acre. There is one drawback: it takes from five to 10 years for the roots to reach a marketable size.
This common garden plant has various commercial uses, including essential oil and value-added products like soaps and lotions. Profitableplantsdigest.com reports that one eight-acre lavender farm in the Northwest grosses more than $1 million per year from it’s various lavender products. But the simplest way to sell lavender, which requires minimal investment in time and equipment to produce, is as dried flower bouquets. A one-acre planting can produce about 12,000 bouquets per year, which are worth $10 each or more on the retail market.
Lavender grows in a wide variety of climates, but requires well-drained soil. Irrigation and fertilizer are generally not needed. The disease-resistant, fast-growing plants are easily propagated in a greenhouse by cuttings and will grow big enough to produce a sizable spray of flowers in their second year; lavender will continue to flower for 10 years or more after planting. Simply tie bunches of the flower stems together with twine and hang in a barn, shed, or other well-ventilated structure to dry for at least one week before bringing them to market.
This “super food” is grown primarily in China, but the plant is equally well-adapted in North America. Dried organic goji berries regularly sell for $20 or more per pound, with the fresh fruit fetching a significantly higher price at farmer’s markets. With yields up to 7,000 pounds per acre in fresh berries, this is potentially a lucrative cash crop for American farmers.
Goji berries, a close relative of tomatoes, grow on head-high shrubs. They are disease-resistant and adapted to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. In fact, the plants are so robust that they’re considered an invasive species in some regions of the country. For optimal fruit production, grow one of the named cultivars, like ‘Crimson Star‘ and ‘Phoenix Tears‘ (named varieties are not typically invasive). Light harvests can begin in the second year after planting, though it takes four to five years of growth before full production is reached. Planting goji shrubs “bare root” (when they are dormant) in late winter gets them off to fast start.
The most lucrative crops are not always edible. Bamboo, which is used for everything from flooring to fishing poles (and occasionally in Asian cuisine), is one shining example. Each of the many uses of bamboo comes with its own set of constraints; some applications require special processing, while others are only feasible in particular regions. However, it’s quite straightforward to grow bamboo for sale as nursery plants. Simply plant a grove, let it spread, and then pot up small clumps to sell to local nurseries or direct to consumers. A large clump of bamboo in 25-gallon tub can sell for $200 to $300 dollars. Thousands of tubs can be harvested annually from a single acre of mature bamboo.
The first step is to identify which species of bamboo grow best, and are most in demand by consumers, in your area. This is easily accomplished by asking for advice at local nurseries. Bamboo is not grown by seed, but by transplanting small clumps of roots from an existing patch. Since many landowners consider it a pest, consider advertising locally to find people who will let you come remove their bamboo for free – a win for both parties. Since bamboo can spread aggressively, avoid planting it close to other crops or adjacent to natural areas (since it doesn’t spread by seed, you don’t have to worry about it escaping into the wild). Bamboo thrives on heavy irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer – any animal manure will do. Still, you’ll have to be patient. Depending on the variety, it may take anywhere from three to ten years to establish a patch large enough to start digging out clumps for sale.