The second item needed to start a plant propagation business is plants.
Not just any plants, but the exact plants you will be taking your cuttings from. At this point you need to decide which business you are actually in. Are you making cuttings and growing plants to sell to your friends, neighbors and relatives? If so, you will be in the retail nursery business.
Are you going to sell the rooted cuttings or liners to other nurseries? Then you will be in the wholesale nursery business.
Regardless of which business model you choose, you need to start off on the right foot. Simple retail selling of plants is the simplest of the two business models, but the wholesale model is where you can make the most money. Let’s go over both types of businesses so you can decide which is best for you.
ATTENTION: If you think you may at some point sell any plants , cuttings, or plant material to another nursery, you must begin with the wholesale nursery model!
Selling to the public-Retail
If you decide you are going to sell to the public only and never sell to another nursery, you have chosen the easiest of the two business models. When selling to the public only, you do not need to be as concerned with the exact plant material you are taking cuttings from. As long as the plant you are taking the cuttings from are not patented you can take cuttings. If the plant has a trademarked name, you CANNOT sell the plant using that name, but must sell it as a species only. For instance, if you propagate Burning Bush CHICAGO FIRE™, you cannot sell it as CHICAGO FIRE™, but you can only sell it as Burning Bush sp. (species). Trademarks are names that the discoverer of the new plant has designated for that plant and has registered for that particular plant. Usually it is a name that describes the plant so it is distinguished from other plant of the same species.
Patented plants are a whole different ballgame. Never propagate a patented plant unless you have a written agreement with the patent holder. If you do propagate a patented plant, you will be liable for royalties that propagators pay for the privilege to propagate and sell the plant. If you are found to be propagating patented plants without the proper paperwork, you will still have to pay the royalties and possibly fined for propagating the plants without them. My advice: stay away from the patented plants.
So now that you know that just about any non-patented plant is fair game, you can start to purchase plants to propagate.
Selling to the Nursery industry-Wholesale
If you have decided to sell to the nursery trade, you need to be more selective with which plants to purchase and propagate. Unless you have a written contract to propagate patented plants or to sell trademarked plants by name, you must choose plants that are free to propagate. These are the plants that have been around for a long time and have no restrictions associated with them. Examples are Burning Bush, Goldmound Spirea, Gold Drop Potentilla, and others. You must be absolutely sure to choose the correct plants right from the start. If you sell to another nursery or plant propagation facility, YOU are responsible for assuring them that the plant you sold is one that can be freely propagated. If you sell them a plant that is patented and they get caught, guess who they will be filing a lawsuit against? YOU! Start of on the right foot and choose only plants that can be freely propagated.
Now that that is out of the way, we can talk about stock plants.
Basically, a stock plant is a plant that you take cuttings from. It will be planted in your landscape just for that purpose. Once you purchase a stock plant, you can take cuttings from it and never purchase another one again! You can have one, two, three, or a hundred stock plants to get cuttings from. Only you can decide how many you will need to have to supply you with enough cuttings to root.
Now that you have a basic understanding of which business model you may want to choose and what a stock plant is, I recommend visiting Freeplants.com for even more information on propagating plants to sell and find out which plants you can freely propagate.