CS lives in an house that's being slowly converted into a rainforest by his rapidly-propagating plant collection.
What's a Fair Price for a Propagated Plant? It Depends
Finding the right asking price for your carefully propagated plants can feel tricky, and it varies a lot by species. Thankfully, with a little internet legwork, you can figure out how to price your plants according to current supply + demand. You'll want to figure out which plants are valuable before propagating: don't waste time on plants that won't sell!
So, what is your plant worth? Sadly, there's no Kelly Blue Book answer, and the plants you thought were valuable may be worth very little. Value is also place-dependent: a given plant could be worth twice as much in the next town over. Propagation can take up a fair bit of space, so knowing which species are worth the shelf space in your area is key.
Use the Questions Below to Determine What to Propagate
I developed a quick question chain to help figure out which plants you should be propagating to sell this year. It's far from perfect, and the amounts change all the time, but it has been insanely helpful in streamlining the pricing process. May you live in a plant-loving town!
Question Chain for Pricing
Note: I'm making the assumption that you are planning to sell your plants directly to buyers in your area. If you're looking to open an internet store and ship plants, that is a much more complicated endeavor and more of a hassle than I know how to handle.
Is your species being sold commercially in your area, and for how much?
At first, it seems like a bad thing if the answer is "yes," but pricing is dead simple if someone is already selling that species near you. Find a plant of equivalent age/size at the commercial retailer as a starting point, and add or subtract 10–25% from their asking price, depending on the relative condition of your plant vs. theirs. Bam. You're done.
What is its current value online?
If the plant isn't being sold in your area, the next piece of the puzzle is figuring out what The World pays for your species. Aim to find two or three sites that are selling your species, take the average, and add 20%. Besides zero shipping costs, you hold at least two major advantages over internet sellers, namely:
- You can likely get the plant to the buyer quicker than the Internet, if they're local enough.
- The buyer gets to see the plant before they pay and doesn't have to bother with sending it back if they don't like it.
This translates to less risk for the buyer and more value for your plants. It's also usually cheaper for the buyer since many plants are difficult to ship or may not ship during a particular season. All of this assumes your species/strain is commercially available at all in your area. If not, then:
What do people actually pay for houseplants in your area?
If there are no other local data on what your species is selling for, base your price around the price of your plant's closest visual equivalent at the nearest houseplant vendor. Especially in person, people compare potential purchases visually. So if the most similar plant to yours is selling for $10, yours probably won't sell for $20.
How long did it take to reach its current size?
Older plants are generally more valuable. The reflection of time on price isn't linear, however. Add at least 20% in value for each year that you've grown the plant to get to its current size/state. In other words, a $10 cutting grown for a year becomes worth a minimum of $12, and $14.40 after two years.
This is definitely a very rough starting point, and the price should be adjusted in consideration of available space, growth rate, and key development milestones that may have been reached, such as blooming or fruiting.
Is there anything else about your individual plant that increases its value?
Just like buying original works of art, plants are individuals, and each one may have individual characteristics that make them more or less valuable. For example: whether or not it's currently flowering, if its shape is unique or particularly pleasing, if it has particularly interesting patterning, if it won a talent show, if it knows how to whistle, etc.
Starting Prices by Group
Here's what I've found to be the maximum reliable sale price (in my area, at least) for the plants below. Cuttings are almost always riskier and worth less than healthy, established plants. So the fastest way to increase value is usually to grow a plant as long as space and the market permit.
Plan on adjusting these numbers for your area, based on the answers to the questions above:
- Succulents (Cutting): $1–3 (Depends mostly on color, shape, size)
- Succulents (Mature Plant): $2–10
- Air Plants (Pups): $3–7
- Air Plants (Mature Plant): $5–25
- Orchid (Keiki): $7–15
- Orchid (Mature Plant): $15–50
- Carnivorous Plant (Immature plant): $5–25
- Carnivorous Plant (Mature Plant): $15–40
- Ornamental Grass (Mature Plant): $3–25 (Price difference based mostly on size, then pattern)
- Philodendron sp. (Cutting): $1–15
- Philodendron sp. (Mature Plant): $5–50 (Some large philodendrons sell for $300 or more!)
When in Doubt, Let Your Market Decide
After answering the questions above, you hopefully have at least a rough estimate of what you think a given plant is worth. What another person thinks may or may not be in the same ballpark.
If you're still not sure, I recommend pricing your first individuals of a given species at a slightly lower price than you think they're worth. Everyone's houseplant market is completely unique, and you'll learn a lot more about what the plant parents in your area want if you lowball your pricing at first.
More Articles on Houseplant Propagation
- To Swap or to Sell?: Provides guidance on determining whether you should outright sell your propagated plants or consider swapping them for other plants instead.
- What to Propagate and How to Do It: Provides guidance on what kinds of plants to propagate and how to best do so.
- Where to Sell or Swap Your Houseplants: Offers suggestions about where and how you can sell or swap your propagated houseplants, even during a pandemic.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.