Selling plants

old_dirt(5b)February 18, 2014

What are the guidelines, rules, laws, etiquette or whatever for selling hostas? I see named plants for sale at farm markets, yard sales, etc. Is this OK? Is it OK for someone to divide and pot up plants to sell? I tried a search but couldn't find any information.

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from the other plants I grow I know the only real issue is with plants that have patents or ppaf. the orignator is suppose to get there cut from the sale so selling with out paying there money would technically be illegal but I've never seen a court case for it..might be differant with hosta though

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 3:26AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Steve sells plants occasionally. Get his input.

As far as selling them, Mike is correct. Unless it's a patented plant, you can divide and sell all you want with a stick in it with it's name on it.

Any other issue would be issues such as business license, nursery license, sales tax, zoning, etc. Those will only be issues if you sell a lot or someone gets po'd and turns you in.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:14AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Actually, I don't sell plants. Sometimes I give them away. But I do know folks who list plants for sale on Craigslist and sell them that way. If you are a small operation, I doubt if anyone will bother you. The NEHS has plant sales and members are allowed to put their plants up for sale. These sales take place at local botanical gardens, and a percentage goes to that garden. The only caution I would have is that you please be sure that the plants you sell are disease and nematode free.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:09PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Sorry, Steve. I thought you said you sold some in the spring. I guess I had a senior moment there.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Pieter zone 7/8 B.C.

Patent rights are put into place to control the COMMERCIAL propagation of patented material. No patent holder in their right mind would take the time and go to the expense of taking someone to court for selling 6 divisions a season of a patented plant, it's not worth the bother.

My wife and I have had driveway plant sales for the last 8 or 9 years or so and by far the majority of what we sell are divisions of plants we grow in the yard, although I have resorted to buying bags of bare root stock at a good price when I know I can turn around, pot it up and sell it for triple of what I paid for it. While hostas certainly figure heavily in the assortment, we do a good trade every year it seems in bleeding hearts -Lamprocapnos spectabilis in particular- heucheras and assorted herbs such as various mints and oreganos, rosemary etc. In addition we sell bare hypertufa pots as well as potted ones.

We typically do no more than just put some signs around the neighbourhood at critical intersections and put some chairs in the carport from 10.00 to 16.00 hrs and have fun meeting people and turning a few bucks. I consider it a good day when we've done $200. I price our plants at around half of what you'd buy a similar sized one for from the nurseries. Twice a year we participate in a fund raising sale for one of the local gardening clubs who keep 30% for hall rental and club coffers. The spring this year if April 5th and the weather better warm up a bit more to get the perennials to a somewhat saleable size. I make sure what we have on the table is properly labeled and priced and I have both a laptop and an album on hand to be able to show what a moremature specimen of the plant will look like.

We don't have large enough yard -only 50x100- to grow sufficient material to take plants to some of the local flea markets. It's not a money maker when you take time, effort and material like potting mix etc into account, but it generates enough to support my hosta habbit and it's a fun way to meet new, and repeat customers. We only bother doing it on weekends when it's not pouring down, which of course NEVER happens on Canada's We(s)t Coast...The above mentioned club sale will be the first this season and we have found that we continue to do good busines until about the May Victoria Day weekend, so we typcially get in around 6-7 weekends of selling.


This post was edited by pietertje on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 1:11

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 10:38PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

I enjoyed reading your post, Pieter! It's gratifying to give back to the community and the other part of this "win/win" scenario is to make some spare cha-Ching to buy more hosta with! :-)

Years ago I met a fellow gardening customer at a nursery during check-out. We were chatting about our new hosta purchases. During our chat she mentioned this retired couple who lived close by who sold some of their plants out of their garden. I decided to pay them a visit. We became friends and I ended up being one of many who visited throughout the years and purchased perennials (which included hostas) from them. Dirk and Lore said the $ helped to pay house taxes. They gardened on two acres of a virtual paradise. Dirk was crazy over hosta and Lore grew and took care of the rest of the perennials.

I bet I can still list the dozens of beautiful plants I got from them...I was really inspired by this lovely couple and their beautiful gardens.

They would dig up divisions of mature plants - all plants were priced at $3 (years ago) but some specific hosta were a bit more expensive. prices were low because plants were not potted up...they were dug up and bagged. You could bring plastic shopping bags or they were provided. I schlepped home often with MANY of these bags containing my new-found treasures. I had just moved to a newly built area and within one season I had a very nice mature garden!

Occasionally there are neighbourhood garage sales around here which only sell plants. Like Pieter's they are usually in spring. Sometimes customers are invited to view the mature specimens in the garden. Set up consists of a long table on the driveway or inside the garage. Advertising is minimal ... or advertised in garage sale section of freebie community newspaper.

I've often thought of selling divisions of my own but haven't done it yet. I think it would be fun, you could meet new fellow gardeners and talk "hosta" till the cows come home!

I've always dreamed of owning my own nursery for a long time now until one day, while swinging on my swing and admiring my backyard garden I realized that my dream was right under my nose .... I've owned a nursery for as long as I've gardened!!!!! MY OWN GARDEN was my nursery! I just wasn't aware of it then.

If you decide to go ahead let us know how it goes. I wish you success....and I may follow! :-)


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 5:48AM
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For those who collect the seeds and grow on your open pollinated hosta, selling could be a good thing. Then no problem with putting exact names on them, except for the pod parent....something like "unnamed seedling of 'Dick Ward'" as an example. Dividing plants in the ground is a LOT of work. However, since my plants are in pots and must be repotted regularly, I can see it as a benefit to keep my garden from exploding with rampant growth.

Not that I'm likely to sell anything. I am more inclined to give to friends and interested neighbors. I feel exposed and vulnerable when folks I do not know breach my very private space, even the meter reader. We don't find many hosta aficianados in Mobile.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:00AM
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In Michigan all plant sellers, even at things like garage sales, flea markets, etc, are supposed to be licensed and inspected. With hostas the inspectors try to come out late in the year to check for nematode symptoms. Like patent law, which prohibits patented plant propagation for any reason, unfortunately I know lots of people don't abide by this.

If you are going to sell without being licensed and inspected at least make sure you aren't spreading around nematodes and virus.

This post was edited by ctopher_mi on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 10:55

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:49AM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

I hear you fellas. It's an irresponsible person who passes along, whether for profit or otherwise, any diseased plant.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Chris, I'm with you on the not infringing patent rights. Even though I don't intend to sell or propagate anything, from the beginning I listed the patent # if it was known to me on my garden tags. (I also id the nursery and year purchased.) It is a sign of respect for the people bringing me the plant, be it hybridizer or nurseryman. Plus, I'd like to think they might be pleased with what is happening to their hosta in my garden.

I know my hosta are 99.44/100th %%% healthy when they arrive here. But I'm not equipped to certify that they won't have nematodes sooner or later, or pick up a soil-borne problem, and thus I could not--knowing what I know now--pass this along for mere money. But once upon a time, I did not know any better. Now I do.

I believe that ignorance is bliss. You can go along doing something that others shudder to think of, not knowing the possible consequences, and all is well. BUT....the very minute you LEARN BETTER, get hit. That's the way I discovered not to fire red glaze items in the same kiln with will be black not red! It worked for me...until I learned better....oops.

But I digress.
Anyway, that is why I'd not be involved in selling anything...especially MY BABIES!!!!
My neighbor lady sells her daylilies every spring. I have no problem with that. Meaning no disrespect, you understand, but I mean, THEY ARE JUST DAYLILIES!!

Hosta? Now THEY ARE I being crazy here, or does anyone else feel this way? My lord, I'd be so proud to find someone else who knows one hosta from another, right here living in Mobile Alabama, someone to talk to and walk through my garden with, and .......that I'd be giving em things to feed the addiction. I feel that is because hosta are truly the "friendship plant"....

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 2:31PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

I've often been nudged in that sell babies of my plants. Maybe the reason I haven't done so is because I can't bear to part with any hosta except to my kids or my own siblings. I agree with you Mocc, they are my "babies" too, all of them, and all the rest of the perennials.

I don't care if I don't have room, I will make more ------somewhere!!! Because I am picking up steam here....have been shamelessly enabled through the alphabet and am making plans for various purchases! :-)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 3:21PM
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