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Which Plants Can Make You Bumper Profits?

Dec 14, 2007
Here is a nice collection of profitable houseplants for you to make bumper profits from: Fittonia

Especially valuable for the dish garden or terrarium, fittonia another member of the Acanthacea--is easy to grow in a warm moist greenhouse. Fittonia argyroneuras green leaves are veined with white; those of F. verschaffelti with pink. Plant fittonia in terrariums and dish gardens, not only for the attractiveness of its foliage but also because this plant acts as a guide to the watering of others. When the water supply is running low it wilts rapidly; once watered it soon regains its crisp starchy look. This, again, is a "sales point" for you to capitalize on when talking to customers.

Propagate from cuttings in a 70- to 75-degree house in shade or semishade. Cuttings root rapidly and will be ready for 2-inch pots in a month. Soil for fittonia should contain at least ⅓ peatmoss.

Hibiscus, traditionally a favorite shrub in the South, is not too well known to Northern gardeners. The flowers make it well worth growing, and you can truthfully assure prospective buyers that some varieties make superb house plants. A prime favorite with me and with most visitors to my greenhouse is Hibiscus Cooperi. This has variegated silvery green, cream, and pink leaves and satiny red flowers.

It prefers a soil somewhat on the acid side, a warm greenhouse, and a semishaded position. You can propagate hibiscus by cuttings taken in the spring. They will root in almost any medium.


One of the most popular of house plant vines (some climbers) is Hedera helix or English ivy. Varieties are many, as are leaf forms, sizes, and variegations.

Propagation is carried out by terminal or bud cuttings. Shade from bright sunshine and root in temperature of 60 degrees. Terminal cuttings will be ready for 2-inch pots in about 6 weeks. Good sturdy plants are produced by leaf-bud cuttings, but these generally take up to 5 months.

Joseph's Coat

A midget shrub of splashy hues, Amaranthus tricolour commonly called Joseph's coat--is an excellent seller in small pots. Window gardeners like it and it makes fine bedding plants.

I like to sow seeds in February in sandy loam. In 6 weeks, seedlings are ready for 2-inch pots of loam and leafmold. You can propagate more stock by rooting cuttings in any media. It thrives in a wide range of temperatures--from 50 to 70 degrees.


Among the really unusual pot plants for your sales list is kaempferia, the resurrection lily; Kaempferia rotunda, sometimes called ginger-lily, actually produces flowers before foliage. The flowers, resembling small orchids, are very fragrant one potful will perfume a small greenhouse or a window garden. They appear daily or at 2-day intervals over a period of 4 to 6 weeks; K. rosceana sends forth foliage in early spring and flowers of rosy-orchid in midsummer. The satiny bronze foliage is so lovely that people want the plant even before seeing the bloom.

And when informed of the succession of flowers, they are more eager than ever to possess it.

There are few growers of these lovely plants in the United States; but those who do list them sell the tubers at about a dollar each. The tubers are usually shipped in their dormant season, early fall to winter. As soon as you receive them, plant them in rich porous soil. Keep them slightly watered until growth starts. They need a warm greenhouse and a slightly shaded position.

They increase through new tubers. To propagate, separate the tubers and plant in individual 3-inch pots of soil.

Oxalis, the little shamrock, is a novelty item to have on hand at any time but especially for St. Patrick's Day sales. Grow both the annual and perennial kinds from seed or bulbs started in a cool greenhouse. The bulbous sorts are potted up and grown on, also requiring a cool greenhouse. After flowering, they should be dried off and given a rest. Soil composed of equal parts of sand, peatmoss, and light loam is best.

To propagate, remove the bulblets from the parent and repot them.


Suitable for baskets and pots, or in mixed foliage planting, is Pellonia. Green leaves sometimes marked with black, bronze, or dark red, are characteristic. Propagate as for ivy.
If you plan to sell them from small pots, place two bulbs to a 3-inch pot--up to five for a 5-inch pot display. The annuals, Oxalis rosea with rosy flowers and O. alba with white flowers, are favorites. Perennial O. adenophylla shows lilac-pink flowers in late spring to midsummer; O. Bowiei, red flowers in autumn.
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