What do I need for a nursery license?

calidreamerMay 3, 2009

I am a total newbie and want a nursery license so that I can sell plants online (through my own website and ebay) from my home. I want to legally be able to sell and ship plants across the US. I know it is not a big money maker, but this is what I will enjoy doing. I want to provide rare tropical plants for people to buy and I accept that I may not make anything off of it. I have a regular job and plan to do this on my free time and on the weekends.

I do not have a real stock of plants yet but I will buy my main plants to grow and sell from a wholesale nursery if after I can get nursery license.

I plan to keep the plants in my backyard and they will remain in pots, nothing will be planted in the ground. Is housing the plants in my backyard even acceptable even if it is really small? I know that you have to keep it off the ground so that ants can't get in it, but what sort of structure or equipment is required? If possible, I want to just keep it out in the open with no greenhouse or shaded house, unless it is required for the license. Can anyone comment or share experiences? Thanks a lot.


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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I suggest that you start by finding and reading the website for California's Department of Agriculture, or whatever they call it there. Hopefully, someone from CA will see your post soon and help you too.

I know CA has some pretty strict and detailed regulations about what plants can be shipped in and out of the state, in order to keep plant-borne pests and diseases from spreading. And then there are certain types of plants that are illegal to ship into certain states because they could become invasive (water hyacinths in many southern states, for example).

It's pretty complicated. And it's a lot of work. Years ago, I used to sell a few extra plants on eBay and such, just divisions of stuff from my houseplants and gardens. The packing and shipping was VERY time consuming, and so was the actual eBay listing and collecting of money. I underestimated postage a few times and had to eat the difference.

If you want to go for it, sure, but do it legally. And I think you'll find out pretty fast that it may not be as much fun, or as lucrative, as you thought it would be.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:00AM
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Thanks. I have looked at the CA Ag website already and it is too overwhelming for me. I was hoping someone who has gone through this can share some words about it since I don't know exactly what to do to get started.

Like I said, I don't expect I will make good money from this. I already have a good paying job and also a large amount of spare time that I find myself desiring to do this. I have done this before several years back, like many eBay sellers selling plants from their backyards, but I want to do this legit.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 6:01AM
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One of my main concern is that is it even possible to house nursery stock in a rented house? All sales will be only online. If anyone can help me, I would really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 1:34PM
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why don't you start by calling your agricultural department and ask them to give you the name and number of the Inspector for your region.
This individual will be your best resource and can answer your questions.

you can house nursery stock any place it will grow. the only limitation might be restrictions in your lease or zoning issues related to getting the proper business licenses and insurance.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:02AM
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