If you are a small grower with a love for plants, then you may be able to cash in on your green-thumb skills with a side hustle. When we think of growing plants for money, a lot of small growers think of farmers markets and vegetables… but the reality is that you may have some more lucrative options! Can you really make money growing bamboo plants?
That is what we are going to explore!
The Basics: Why Grow Bamboo Plants As A Side Hustle?
It is true that local growers have been hit hard by the ‘corporatization’ of the gardening industry. Most retail chain stores literally have their fresh produce flown in from hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away, and many restaurants rely on corporate suppliers to deliver the things they need.
But is there a way for growers to take back some of this power by growing certain plants locally?
As it turns out, there are… and I’ve been looking into it.
I am not much of a gardener. But this idea came to me as I was researching farmer’s markets. I actually love the idea of local people being able to sell their own produce locally. And whenever I have the chance, I always buy locally as well. I would rather have a pepper or an onion that was grown a mile away than one that was grown on the other side of the country!
Plus, I know that insecticides are a real problem that people are getting more and more concerned about.
But how can you actually make your own money growing plants?
Well, as it turns out, there are certain types of plants that some local markets have a high demand for. And as I started researching this, I realized that vegetables and food-based plants were only part of the equation. There are also a lot of specialty plants that you can grow and sell locally that can bring in quite a bit of cash!
And among them, one stood out as being extra profitable…
Here is what I learned about growing bamboo as a side hustle over the course of my research.
The Basics: Growing Bamboo
Bamboo plants are hard to find in many areas of the United States. And while they may need some TLC in some climates, landscapers and homeowners are paying decent money for potted bamboo plants!
Bamboo is incredibly popular right now. But it is also a relatively exotic plant.
The main consideration for bamboo is that it needs warm weather to thrive. If your yearly temperature ever dips down below zero degrees F, then you may want to choose a different plant to grow (unless you have a greenhouse or some other way to keep it warm).
You will also find that your market will be better if you live in a warmer environment. As a general rule, the further south you live, the better your chances of not only successfully raising bamboo, but also selling it to clients.
It will also take time to ‘grow’ this side hustle (pun intended), because bamboo gets off to a slowish start. If you want to be really serious about it, you should try growing several different varieties, and nurture them through the first year to get them large enough to divide.
During the spring of the second year, you should be able to divide your plants to triple, or even quadruple your stock… but it takes time.
If you have a diverse stock of different bamboo plants, you could (in theory) harvest it at any time of the year. Growing your plants in containers is said to help you with this, as it is the easiest and safest way to start your plants out.
Of course, as with anything, there is an art to growing bamboo. Educating yourself will be an essential part of the process of making this side-hustle work. You will likely want to buy a good book on the subject, and start browsing YouTube for some good videos about how to get your bamboo plants up and growing healthily.
How Much Can You Earn Growing Bamboo Plants?
There are several different ways to earn a profit with bamboo. Here are three that I learned about just from doing some basic-level research.
You can sell bamboo plants directly to landscapers, local garden centers, and other plant-enthusiasts for cash. Some people pay as much as $150 per plant for some different types! Of course, if you can get in with a few different landscaping companies, you can actually make some pretty decent cash… because they will tend to keep coming back to buy from you.
As long as you can provide them enough plants for the right price, and do a good job of growing them, you should have no problem getting some long-term contracts this way.
Local garden centers are another great option for sales. If you can provide them with quality stock, they may very well choose you over someone they’ve never met. Your plants, if grown locally, will likely be healthier and fresher than the plants brought in by truck.
Creating Bamboo Products
If you have a talent for creative arts-and-crafts-type work, you can make bamboo products out of the poles you can harvest. In the winter, bamboo goes dormant… which allows you to harvest bamboo poles. You can build all kinds of things with it!
If you need some creative inspiration, just look up ‘bamboo crafts’ on Pinterest!
Growing Cut-It-Yourself Bamboo
This is, perhaps, my favorite part of what I read over the course of my research. Apparently, there is a practice among some bamboo growers where customers can come into their bamboo forest, and cut their own bamboo… not so unlike people do in Christmas Tree forests.
There are some bamboo growers that earn over $40,000 a year with this business model! They grow and tend the bamboo, and then let customers cut and buy it by the foot.
The most successful versions of these ‘bamboo forests’ often have several different varieties of bamboo available. They also range in size from pencil-thin stalks to bamboo trees that are 6 inches in diameter.
What Do You Need To Grow Bamboo?
Growing this amazing plant will require quite a bit of knowledge and some resources… but it is also not so expensive, or complicated, that the average person cannot do it with a bit of research.
With that being said, here are some things that you will definitely need to help your bamboo plants grow as well as possible.
- Healthy soil
- Basic gardening and digging tools
- Pots or containers for planting starter plants
- A growth area where the plant will receive 5 or more hours of sunlight each day
These are obviously just the basics. But you will likely find, as I did through research, that growing bamboo in the right environment is actually not too difficult. They say that it can take as little as an hour a day to tend a nursery once you have it up and running… and as a side hustle goes, this can be extremely lucrative.
In fact, one of the biggest problems that successful bamboo growers face is how aggressively the plant can spread! It grows and spreads so fast that it can invade other areas if measures are not taken to keep it contained!
My Personal Feelings About Growing Bamboo As A Side Hustle
I actually really like the idea of this side hustle. I have always thought that bamboo was super cool. In fact, when I was a young boy living just down the road from my grandparent’s farm, I used to beg them to let me grow it.
As it turned out, we lived in a climate that simply wasn’t warm enough. But still, researching this brought back some pretty cool memories for me.
As a side hustle, I feel that growing bamboo could be a great way to make some extra money. There is actually quite a market for this, especially in the United States. If your town or city doesn’t currently have some kind of bamboo nursery already, then there is a good chance that this could be an untapped market with the potential for a lot of growth.
It is pretty inexpensive to start, requires minimal education, and only requires a little bit of time every day… especially once you get it going.
I don’t think that this is the kind of side hustle that you could start if you didn’t have plenty of room; so if you live in an apartment complex, I have a feeling that you would need to find more space before you could do something like this.
But if you have a large yard or live in the country, this could be an awesome way to get some garden-time in while also earning some extra cash along the way!
Our Final Opinion Of Growing Bamboo As A Side Hustle
Should you really try growing bamboo plants to make extra money?
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