How to Start Ornamental Plants Business in UK USA (Complete Guide)

Ornamental Plants Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start an Ornamental Plants Business
  • How much money do you need to start an Ornamental Plants Business?
  • How much money can you make from ornamental plants business?
  • What licenses will you need for your ornamental plants business?


In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is an Ornamental Plants business?

With a worldwide value of around $150 billion and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1%, the Ornamental Plant business is one of the world’s most trending and popular industries. 


The Ornamental Plants Business is an industry that has been around for centuries. 


The demand for ornamental plants has increased with the increasing desire for aesthetically pleasing indoor and outdoor spaces.


They are used to beautify homes, offices, gardens, and public spaces.


They also have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress, improving air quality, and increasing productivity.


The ornamental plants business involves cultivating, producing, distributing, and selling these plants. It can be highly profitable for those passionate about horticulture who understand market demand well. 


The ornamental plants business is a significant part of modern and traditional culture & is profitable; congratulations on your decision to start this business. 

Market Insight: The Ornamental Plant industry is a significant and growing sector in the United States and the United Kingdom.

In the United States, it is valued at around $25 billion, while in the United Kingdom, the organic farming industry reached a total of £1.45 billion.

Ornamental Plants Business

Steps to start an Ornamental Plants business

Starting an ornamental plants business can be rewarding and profitable for those with a passion for horticulture and an entrepreneurial spirit. Here are some steps to consider when starting an ornamental plants business:


1. Develop a business plan: 

This should include a clear business description, market analysis, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and funding requirements.


2. Choose a location: 

Consider factors such as accessibility, climate, soil quality, and local regulations when selecting a location for your business.


3. Acquire necessary equipment and supplies: 

This includes pots, soil, fertilizers, watering systems, and greenhouse structures.


4. Determine your product line: 

Research market demand and identify the types of ornamental plants you will grow and sell. This may include flowering, foliage, succulents, cacti, and bonsai trees.


5. Obtain necessary licenses and permits: 

This may include a business license, nursery license, and sales tax permit.


6. Develop a marketing strategy: 

Consider strategies such as online advertising, social media marketing, and attending trade shows and events.


7. Hire employees: 

Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire staff to assist with planting, harvesting, and sales.


8. Have a set goal and achieve it:

Ultimately, you should know the ultimate goal you want to achieve and try to reach that goal in any way possible. 

Ornamental Plants Business

Types of Ornamental Plants Business 

Types of ornamental plants businesses one can consider, depending on their interests, resources, and market demand.


1. Nursery Business: 

This involves growing and selling ornamental plants in a nursery or greenhouse setting. Nursery businesses specialize in a particular type of plant, like succulents, or offer a wide range of plants.


2. Landscape Design Business: 

This involves designing and installing ornamental plants in outdoor spaces, such as residential and commercial gardens, parks, and public spaces.


3. Florist Business: 

A florist business involves selling cut flowers and ornamental plants and offering related services such as floral arrangements and event decor.


4. Online Ornamental Plants Business: 

This type of business involves selling ornamental plants online through e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon or Etsy. It can be operated from home or a warehouse location.


5. Bonsai Business: 

This involves cultivating and selling bonsai trees, which are miniature trees that are trained and shaped to look like full-sized trees.


6. Indoor Plantscaping Business: 

This type of business involves designing and installing ornamental plants in indoor spaces, such as offices, malls, and hotels.


7. Plant Rental Business: 

A plant rental business involves renting out ornamental plants for events and occasions, such as weddings, corporate events, and photo shoots.


8. Cut Flower Business: 

This type of business involves growing and selling cut flowers, such as roses, lilies, and orchids, for use in floral arrangements and other purposes.

Ornamental Plants Business

Pros and Cons of Ornamental Plants Business

Pros of an Ornamental Plants Business

  • You can easily export ornamental plants
  • Contributes to the cosmetic market
  • Gives employment opportunities
  • Wasteland can be utilized
  • Can be sold out to improve the aesthetics of offices and homes
  • These are natural air purifiers
  • It prevents soil erosion
  • Acts as a stress reliever
  • Works as a Climate regulator
  • Few can be used for home remedies

Cons of an Ornamental Plants Business

  • Long working hours
  • Water bill could be high if the garden size is not under the control
  • Sometimes you don’t get enough space for a nursery for business expansion
  • Seasonal and dying plants can bring in losses if not sold out

Trends & Challenges in an Ornamental Plants Business


1. Premium quality plants are in demand
2. Production of hybrid plants
3. Genetically modified plants
4. Unique colour of plants and flowers


1. Lack of water supply
2. Pest and plant disease
3. Sometimes demand can be less
4. Weather and season might affect plant health and sale

Investment required to start an Ornamental Plants Business

The start-up costs for an Ornamental Plant Nursery can range from £30K – £300K in the UK, while in the US, it’s around $50K – $500K. 


But it heavily depends upon the size, the type of plants or animals being raised, the location of the nursery, and the resources and infrastructure already in place.


Few key factors that can affect the cost of starting an Ornamental Plant Business:


  • Land
  • Infrastructure
  • Seeds and plants
  • Equipment 
  • Labor
  • Certification
Ornamental Plants Business

How much does the Ornamental Plants business make?

As mentioned above, there are lots of different types of Ornamental Plants Business that you can choose from. And the average revenue of your business will heavily depend upon the type of business you choose.


Some average income estimates for ornamental plants businesses in the USA and UK:



  • Small-scale nurseries can range from $100,000 to $500,000 per year.
  • Larger-scale nurseries can range from $1 million to $5 million annually.
  • Landscaping business can range from $50,000 to $150,000 per year.
  • Florist business can range from $100,000 to $500,000 per year.
  • An online ornamental plant business can range from $50,000 to $250,000 annually.


  • Small-scale nurseries can range from £50,000 to £250,000 per year.
  • Larger-scale nurseries can range from £500,000 to £2 million per year.
  • Landscaping business can range from £30,000 to £100,000 per year.
  • Florist business can range from £50,000 to £250,000 per year.
  • An online ornamental plants business can range from £30,000 to £150,000 per year.


Note: The actual revenue can vary based on various factors, and it’s essential to conduct thorough research and planning to determine the specific income potential for your business.

Market Insight: One of the biggest Ornamental Plant Nurseries in the US, Dobbies Garden Center, earns about $1.5 billion dollars in revenue every year.

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Ornamental Plants Business

Types of Ornamental Plants you could sell!

There are countless types of ornamental plants, but here are some common categories:


1. Annuals:

Plants that complete their lifecycle in one growing season typically produce showy flowers, such as marigolds, petunias, and zinnias.


2. Perennials: 

Plants that live for multiple years can produce flowers or foliage, such as roses, irises, and hostas.


3. Bulbs: 

Plants from underground storage structures typically produce flowers, such as tulips, daffodils, and lilies.


4. Shrubs: 

Woody plants that can be evergreen or deciduous and range in size from small to large, such as azaleas, boxwoods, and hydrangeas.


5. Trees: 

Larger woody plants, such as magnolias, dogwoods, and maples, can provide shade and visual interest.


6. Climbers: 

Plants that grow vertically and require support, such as vines and creepers.


7. Cacti and succulents: 

Plants that store water in their leaves or stems typically require little water, such as cacti, agaves, and aloes.


8. Aquatic plants: 

Plants that grow in or around water include lilies, lotus, and reeds.


9. Foliage plants: 

Plants are grown for their unique or colorful leaves, such as ferns, coleus, and caladiums.


10. Bonsai: 

Small, intricately pruned trees or shrubs that are grown in containers and shaped over time to create miniature landscapes

Certification and Registration

Certifications needed for an Ornamental Plant Business

While essential licenses such as Business Licence, Health and Safety regulations, and Sales Tax Permits apply to almost all businesses (To read more about the licenses, ‘Click Here to read our Mini Guide’). 


Some specific licenses and permits might be needed to open an Ornamental Plant business in the UK and the US. Those licenses are as follows :


1. Nursery License: 

Depending on the state or country you are located in, you might need to obtain a nursery license to legally grow and sell plants.


2. Plant Import/Export Certification: 

If you plan to import or export plants, you might need to acquire certifications from relevant authorities, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).


3. Pesticide Applicator Certification: 

If you plan to use pesticides in your business, you might need to obtain a pesticide applicator certification from your state or country.


4. Organic Certification: 

If you plan to sell organic ornamental plants, you might need to obtain an organic certification from a government-approved certifying agency.

Note: Obtaining organic certification can be a time-consuming and costly process, and it requires ongoing compliance with the relevant regulations.

Ornamental Plants Business

Choose a location for your Ornamental Plant Nursery!

An Ornamental Plant Business needs a nursery to store, nourish, and water to grow their plants.


While some may neglect this step, to have a thriving plant business and evergreen, you must choose the best nursery for your business. 


When looking for an ornamental plant nursery, here are some tips to keep in mind:


  • Research the nursery by checking its website, social media pages, and online reviews to learn more about its products, services, and reputation.
  • Visit the nursery and see the quality of their plants, their growing conditions, and how well they are cared for.
  • Check the leaves, stems, and flowers for any signs of damage or discoloration.
  • Ask the nursery staff about the care requirements for the plants you are interested in, including watering, fertilizing, and pruning. 
  • Ask the nursery staff about the availability of the plants you are interested in. 
  • Compare the plants’ prices at the nursery to other nurseries. Ensure you are getting good value for your money.
  • If you cannot transport the plants, ask the nursery staff about delivery options. 

A typical day at an ornamental plant nursery

At the nursery, owners or workers take care of plants & other things. Below are the top duties they perform in a day-

1. Work the whole day as a farmer
2. Timely checking & managing of plants according to their stages of growth
3. If the area is big, need to handle irrigation
4. Use authorized pesticides
5. Analysing the count of varieties of plants according to their demand
6. Attending customers, handling money
7. Maintaining accounts
8. Watering, and trimming plants
9. Potting & depotting plants
10. Choosing the correct soil for plants
11. Maintaining storefront for customers
12. Arranging the stock of unavailable plants at the nursery

Ornamental Plants Business

Checklist of Ornamental Plants business equipment

In an Ornamental Plants Business, getting the right equipment so you can better preserve and store your plants is very important. 

Here is a list of essential equipment that you may need for an Ornamental Plant Business 

  • Greenhouses
  • Shade Cloth
  • Planting trays and containers
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizers and nutrients
  • Watering systems (drip or overhead irrigation)
  • Pruning shears and other gardening tools
  • Pesticides and insecticides
  • Soil pH tester
  • Plant labeling tags
  • Seedling heat mats
  • Grow lights
  • Fans and ventilation systems
  • Plant supports and trellises
  • pH adjusters and water filters
  • Thermometers and humidity gauges
  • Potting benches and work stations
  • Seed starting kits
  • Plant supports and trellises
  • Plant stakes
  • Plant caddies
  • Harvesting tools (scissors or snips)
  • Mulch
  • Garden carts or wheelbarrows
  • Safety gear (gloves, protective eyewear, respirators)
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Ornamental Plants Business

Steps you can grow your own Ornamental Plant!

Here are general step-by-step instructions for growing an ornamental plant:


1. Choose a plant species: 

Select a well-suited plant species for your climate and growing conditions that meet your aesthetic preferences.


2. Obtain seeds or plants: 

Obtain seeds or plants from a reputable source. If using seeds, follow the instructions on the packet for planting depth, spacing, and watering requirements.


3. Prepare planting area: 

Choose a suitable location for planting, considering factors such as sunlight, soil type, and drainage. Then, prepare the planting area by clearing weeds and debris, loosening the soil, and adding any necessary amendments.


4. Plant the seeds or plants: 

If planting seeds, follow the instructions on the packet for planting depth, spacing, and watering requirements. If planting a seedling or a mature plant, dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, place it in the hole, and backfill it with soil. Water thoroughly after planting.


5. Water regularly: 

Ornamental plants generally require regular watering to thrive. Water deeply and regularly, especially during dry periods.


6. Fertilize as needed: 

Apply fertilizer according to the plant’s specific needs and any soil test results. However, be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can cause damage to the plant.


7. Prune as needed: 

Prune the plant as needed to promote healthy growth and maintain its shape. Remove dead or damaged branches and stems.


8. Control pests and diseases: 

Monitor the plant for pests and diseases, and take appropriate measures to control them. This may include using natural or chemical pest control methods.


9. Harvest flowers or fruit: 

For ornamental plants that produce flowers or fruit, harvest them as they mature according to the plant’s specific requirements.


10. Enjoy your beautiful plant: 

Finally, sit back and enjoy the beauty and benefits of your ornamental plant!

Some potential customers for your Ornamental Plants Business

1. Homeowners
2. Tenants
3. Offices
4. Schools
5. Religious places
6. Business persons/contractors
7. Gift purpose
8. Walk-ins
9. Online bookings (optional)
10. Other plant lovers

Ornamental Plants Business

Shall I go for an Ornamental Plant Franchise?

Buying an existing Ornamental Plant Franchise of a recognized brand is a good idea; however, it is expensive also.

On the other hand, the franchisor will benefit you will all the existing brand image, customer loyalty, advertising, market research & strategies.

In addition, you will get guidance from the franchisor about training the workforce & ambiance of the premises. 

Some of the top Ornamental Plant Franchises in the UK and USA:


  • Chicago Bloom
  • Walter Andersen Nursery  
  • Urban Earth Nursery    
  • Mickey Hargitay Plants  
  • Plant Place Nursery  

  • Clifton Nurseries
  • Dobbies Garden Centres
  • Hillier Garden Centres
  • Notcutts
  • The Chelsea Gardener


Yes, an Ornamental Plant Business is a good idea; the profits are rewarding. However, you need to analyze your capabilities and limitations as there is no restriction to growing.


The Ornamental Plant market has expanded due to the growing demand for Ornamental plant products.


Success in the Ornamental Plant business depends on local demand for your products, land and labor availability, and the ability to follow regulatory and certification systems.


Happy Farming! 

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

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Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Palmstead Nurseries growing trees, shrubs and perennials (wholesale plant nursery) – YT Channel ‘Palmstead Nurseries Ltd’ 

Best Practical Tips On How To Propagate Ornamental Plants Part 1 | All About Plants EP1 – YT Channel ‘StayAwesome’

A. Startup costs can vary widely depending on the scale and scope of your business. Costs may include land or lease costs, equipment, supplies, inventory, marketing and advertising expenses, and personnel costs.

A. This can vary depending on your location. It’s important to research local and state laws and regulations to determine what licenses and permits are required for your specific type of business.

A. Consider your local climate and growing conditions, as well as customer demand and market trends. Conduct market research and talk to local nurseries and garden centers to get a sense of what types of plants are in demand in your area.

A. Establish an online presence, attend trade shows and events, offer promotions and discounts, provide excellent customer service, partner with local businesses, offer delivery services, provide educational resources, utilize email marketing, and develop a referral program.

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