Herbs have many culinary, medicinal, ornamental, and cosmetic purposes. The most profitable tend to be culinary herbs like parsley, dill, and basil. Success at selling herbs greatly depends on finding people to either buy them or make products with them (e.g. oils, soaps, catnip-filled toys).
What Are Some Herbal Applications?
Some herbs have dozens of uses. Sometimes the market goes differently than we expect, so it’s good to have a few herbs that are commonly used in a variety of ways:
- Culinary. Popular culinary herbs are more profitable than most others. Growers sell dry herbs, potted plants, and foods seasoned with culinary herbs (like pesto sauce mixes).
- Medicinal. Some herbs can be used to improve things like sleep, digestion, mood, or flu and cold symptoms. If you’re growing herbs for medicinal purposes, they must be organically grown and labeled.
- Cosmetic. Some herbs can be used in things like lotion, soap, and perfume.
- Ornamental. Herbs can be used for decoration in things like wreaths and floral arrangements.
Where Do I Grow My Herb Garden?
Before you start growing, you should consider the budget and growing location. Growing in a greenhouse can be much easier than growing potted plants, but the initial cost for a greenhouse is much higher.
If you plan to grow in pots, use six-inch pots to make healthier plants. Check the soil quality and pH balance before planting; this may affect the quality of your product and, initially, which herbs you grow.
What Do I Grow in My Herb Garden?
Your budget could greatly influence not only where you grow your herbs but it can also affect which herbs you can afford to harvest. Some herbs take more space than others, so some will take up more space than they’re worth. Choosing popular herbs with many uses is the best way to turn a profit.
Below is a video with useful information for those interested in growing herbs:
Where Do I Sell My Herbs?
Growers should start by selling to local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. If you do your research, you can sell internationally to broaden your market. (Europeans use about four times as much herbs in cooking than Americans.)
You can broaden your market even more by selling to online buyers. Additionally, you could fashion specialty items like soaps, detergents, perfumes, and cat toys. Thriftiness and a little extra work could help you turn a bigger profit.
Which Herbs Are the Most Profitable?
Budget, climate, and space will contribute to which herbs you decide to plant. Plan accordingly so you can make a profit in your herb business:
- Oregano. Oregano has an unforgettable taste, one very popular in Italian stews, soups, and gravies. Oregano’s aroma makes it appealing to nearly everyone.
- Basil. Basil is perhaps the most popular culinary herb. The “Queen of Herbs” can be grown in any type of climate and has many medicinal and cosmetic properties.
- Parsley. This highly-popular culinary herb must be frequently watered during the summer and grown in well-drained, moisture retaining soil. This herb requires a fair amount of sunlight. The ancient Greeks weaved parsley into victory crowns and fed it to horses to quicken their pace.
- Chives. Chives are popular among herb buyers. They only take a week or so to germinate and are much easier to grow in cool weather than other herbs (like basil).
- Cilantro. A fairly popular culinary herb, cilantro aids in digestion and has many other medicinal values.
- Lemon grass. This perennial plant has great medicinal value. It is also used in perfumes, soaps, detergents, and beverages.
- Vanilla. After saffron, vanilla is the costliest spice in the market. Major consumers of this herb are the processed food and medicine industries.
- Kesar. Kesar is more popularly known as saffron. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, so it has the potential to be a very profitable crop. However, harvesting saffron requires a lot of tedious work.
- Chamomile. Chamomile is very easy to grow and is commonly found in soothing teas. These teas help with sleep and digestion, and it is popularly known as a calming aid.
- Catnip. This herb is commonly given to cats, but it also offers pain and stress relief for humans. Catnip also helps people manage flu and cold symptoms.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera is a high-value medicinal herb and has great healing properties. It is also used in cosmetics and beverages.
- Lavender. The “Swiss army knife” of herbs, lavender has many medicinal values including pain relief and improving nervous system conditions. Growers could sell the fresh flowers, and the dried flowers could be used for wreaths and floral arrangements. You could also make herbal pillows, skin care products, and lavender oil (which is one of the top-selling essential oils in the fragrance industry).
- John’s wort. This herb is well-known for boosting mood. St. John’s wort also supports the immune system and can be used in skin treatments and cold and flu prevention. The healing ingredient is found in the top of the plant (called hypericin).
- Marsh mallow. Marsh mallow benefits the digestive tract, the skin, and is good for coughs and in the treatment of bronchitis.
- Yashtimadhu. The root of this herb is popularly known as liquorice. The root of the plant is made of a substance (glycyrrhizin) which is fifty times sweeter than sugar.
- Calendula. Calendula is easy to grow and has many medicinal values. The greatest thing about calendula is that it can grow on poor land with only partial sunlight. However, it does require regular watering.
- Amla. This is a tropical plant and thrives well in light and medium soil types. If you can manage to grow it, amla has high medicinal values and is also in demand in the cosmetics industry.
Herb farming has the potential to be a fairly profitable side business. While some crops like fruits and vegetables can be profitable, they have fewer uses and are generally harder to grow than most herbs. With so many culinary and medicinal uses, herbs may be the most ideal crop for small investors to grow.