Lavender is a fragrant herb that can be grown for profit. There are a variety of factors to consider before converting your land to use for lavender, however. Some factors to ponder are your initial capital investment, optimum growing conditions and affordable labor and marketing of your product.
Lavender’s popularity among herb and flower enthusiasts is a result of its strong, floral fragrance and visual appeal. It boasts medicinal properties for healing headaches, minor burns and insomnia, thus making it a popular herb for naturalists. Lavender is versatile enough to be found in soaps, lotions, perfumes, cleaning supplies and sachets. The popular purple herb also makes an excellent pest repellent. The sweet-scented herb is now being grown atop landfills to hide the smell of garbage.
Capital investment is one consideration in deciding whether or not to grow lavender for profit. The average cost of a fully-grown lavender plant is $12. You can purchase younger specimens for between $4 and $6, but you will have to invest your time into raising them. Seeds are also pricey. Ten thousand seeds can cost upwards of $200, and you must raise them from seedlings to full grown plants before reaping any profit from them. You should also consider the cost of substrate in which to grow your plants, as lavender plants are particular about their soil conditions.
Optimum conditions are needed to grow lavender properly. Lavender plants prefer sandy, limey soil. Acidic soil will need to be treated with lime. Garden lime will need to be purchased at a garden supply store for this purpose. Rich soil will need to be roughed up using sand, pebbles and dirt. Half a cubic foot of sand or pebbles can cost you between $3 and $5.
Lavender can be particular about humidity and light, as well. Lavender does well in low humidity, because it is prone to fungi. Plant your herbs where they will receive plenty of light.
Market your lavender accordingly. True lavender produces only one-third the amount of dried flowers and oil as other lavender species, but true lavender is often requested for the making of fine perfumes. You can expect to receive between $30 to $50 for a quart of lavender oil at market. There are nearly 40 different species of lavender, ranging from yellows and reds to deepest purple and indigo. Once you determine the species to plant, you will need to decide how you want to sell your plants. Will you sell them as dried flowers or will you sell the oil from your plants? If you sell the oil, you will need to purchase an oil extractor, which can cost as much as $9000.
If you decide to sell the flowers by combining them with household products or baked goods, remember additional ingredients—such as those for baking, lye to make soap and ribbons to tie up dried stalks—add additional cost. You can choose to add lavender to soaps, hand creams or perfumes yourself. You may even sell them in culinary dishes, such as in lavender-based lemon squares, shortbread or jam.
Take advertising costs into consideration when marketing your lavender. Determine if business cards, flyers or commercials are right for you. The right advertisement media can make all the difference in making your lavender business a success.
Once lavender production is at its peak, you may want to consider hiring employees to help you manage your fragrant profit makers. Check your state’s laws before hiring employees. The number of employees you hire will determine whether or not you are required by your state to pay a minimum wage and provide certain health benefits to your employees.