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How To Make Money Growing Basil (7 Ways)

Basil growing in pots

Anyone can grow basil.  Basil grows very well indoors year-round.  Most folks (including my wife) grow basil for personal consumption. But what if you have a knack for growing basil, enjoy it and have the space… can you make money growing basil?

Yeah, you sure can.  Unless you plant acres of the stuff, you won’t get rich but you can put some extra money in your pockets doing something you enjoy.

If you get clever, there are less obvious ways to make money growing basil than selling it as fresh basil.  How?

Let’s dive in. 

Your options for making money growing basil

1. Sell your fresh basil locally and/or online

How much money can you get for your fresh basil?

According to Urbanagnews.com, fresh basil can sell for as much as $3 to $4 per ounce or $50 to $60 per pound.  Which begs the question: how much basil can you harvest per plant?  

That answer varies depending on the type of basil but one definitive answer we found here was 4 to 6 one-ounce bunches per plant every other week.  That means each basil plant can produce approximately 100 ounces per year.  At 16 ounces per pound, that amounts to 6 pounds of fresh basil per year (not dried basil).  At $50 per pound, that’s $300 worth of basil per year per plant.  Please note that these figures are rough estimates and assumes growing basil indoors with great care for maximum basil production.  It also assumes getting a good price for your basil.

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Hang a shingle, sell wholesale to restaurants, sell at a farmers market and/or sell online.  With a little hustle you can sell fresh basil.  Be sure to take the necessary steps for keeping your basil fresh if you plant to market it as “fresh basil”.

Sell out of your home or business

By “hang a shingle”, I mean let people you know you have basil to sell and sell it out of your home or perhaps out of an existing business you operate.  My chiropractor sells eggs out of his office.  If you operate some other kind of local business, you can sell your basil there.

Sell to local restaurants

Alternatively, you can approach local restaurants and chefs to see if they’re interested in buying your fresh basil.  If so, you might be able to get a recurring business that could turn your basil growing hobby into a good little business.

Farmers market

Basil sold at farmers market

If there’s a farmers market in your area, rent a stand and sell your basil.  Or, approach other vendors and ask if they’ll sell your basil for you for a cut of the profits.  Here’s an interesting thread discussing selling fresh basil at farmers markets… sounds like it flies off the shelf.

Lastly, if you’re selling basil locally, there’s no reason you can’t sell it online.  Setting up a website is cheap, easy and fast these days.  With proper shipping packaging designed for shipping herbs, you can easily ship them.  It’s light and not bulky so shipping costs wouldn’t be too much.

PRO TIP: If you decide to ship it, test different packaging options first.  Basil is fragile and can easily be ruined in heat, cold temps and if it gets crushed.

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2. Sell basil plants in pots

Basil growing in decorative pot

Another option for making money growing basil is to sell it potted.  There are many folks who prefer to buy an existing basil plant instead of growing their own from seeds.  

Where can you sell potted basil plants?

Your options are pretty much the same as selling fresh basil: out of your home, farmers markets or supply a local greenhouse or nursery.  You can also sell it online.

How much money can you earn selling potted basil plants?

This is pretty easy to figure out.  Home Depot sells 2 potted basil plants for $15. That’s $7.50 each.  Granted, the pots aren’t really pots but instead cheap plastic containers (similar to yogurt containers).

You could go about this in two ways.  One, get cheap, plastic containers and price your similarly.  Two, source nice pots that you can buy wholesale (bulk) and charge more accounting for both the pot and the basil.  For example, you can source some decent herb pots at Alibaba for $.50 to $2.50 per pot.  At those prices, you could profit nicely just by marking up the pot, not to mention your markup for the grown basil plant.  

Example:

Pot cost: Suppose you source herb pots for $2 each.  It takes about 4 weeks for basil planted from seed to grow to 6 inches in height at which point you could sell.  If you prefer to wait until they’re taller and bushier, by all means, wait.

Seed cost: You can buy hundreds of seeds for very low cost on Amazon.  It’s a negligible cost.

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Soil cost:  Basil should be planted in at least 6″ pots diameter which requires 3 quarts of soil (great soil calculator here BTW).  A 16-quart of potting mix soil costs $21 at Amazon (you could very likely get soil for much less if you buy in bulk).  This means your soil cost per basil plant will be approximately $5.33.

Total cost to you per basil plant with decorative pot: $7.50.

If you can charge more than $15 per potted basil plant, you can make some decent money.  If you sell lots of potted basil plants, you’ll be able to reduce your costs considerably.

3. Sell dried basil

Dried basil

If you grow organic basil, you can charge a premium selling it dried.  Some folks are getting $17 per pound on Etsy.  How much fresh basil produces one pound of dried basil?  You need 4 to 8 fresh basil leaves to produce one teaspoon of dried basil.  Let’s call it 6 leaves.  One pound of dried basil is approximately 650 teaspoons.  That means you need 3,900 basil leaves to produce one pound of dried basil.

As you can see, producing dried basil requires a lot of basil. Unless you have a serious basil growing operation, selling it dried is probably not your best option.

4. Create gift baskets that include fresh basil and/or potted basil plants

Creating and selling gift baskets is an easy way to add value to your curated products, in which you can include your freshly cut basil.  You could create a true “farmers” gift basket that you sell locally.  I like this idea because you can charge serious premiums by being creative in putting together your baskets.  People who buy them will appreciate their uniqueness and freshness.  

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Gift baskets can easily sell for $50 to $200, depending on what you include.  If you’re into selling fresh herbs and other items such as locally sourced honey, homemade jams, locally made candles and soaps etc. you could put together a spectacular gift basket.

Check out custom gift baskets sold on Etsy to get an idea of what goes into a $60 to $200 gift basket (it’s less than you might think).  Below is an example of a gift basket with dried basil selling on Etsy for $180 (3,222 sales to date):

Gift basket with dried basil

5. Offer local classes on growing basil

If you’re adept at growing basil and other plants, why not offer a local class.  It’s not expensive to rent out space in community centers or other buildings.  Promote it via Facebook ads which can easily target your area, in local print publications and flyers.  You could include all supplies needed (and mark it up) as well.

If you want to get the most out of your live classroom training, video record your classes which you can then sell or post online.  If you offer it for free on YouTube, you can earn revenue from YouTube ads.  If you post it on y

6. Make and sell a course online about selling basil

I touched on this in the local class section. I doubt just a basil growing course could command much but if you have a green thumb you could certainly create a batch of courses and charge money for access to them.  Teachable is a great online course platform (I use it for a course I sell on how to publish successful blogs).  

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However, while I’m all for selling courses and access to premium content, I think the better option is starting a gardening blog with a YouTube channel.  That’s my last suggestion option for making money from knowing how to grow basil.

7. Start a blog and/or YouTube channel all about growing basil

Teaching anything can earn you big bucks with YouTube videos.  They aren’t costly to produce.  You can also launch a blog on which you post your videos and turn those videos into text-based basil-growing tutorials.

How much can you make from YouTube ads?  You can typically count on earning $1 to $4 per 1,000 views on YouTube.  While that might not seem like much, these types of videos can get millions of views.  Because it’s an evergreen topic, these videos can earn you ad revenue on YouTube for years and years.

Here’s an example of a video on how to grow basil that has 6.3 million views.  Assuming $1.50 per 1,000 views, this video has earned nearly $10,000. I suspect it’s quite a bit more.

If you’re going through the trouble of creating videos, I strongly suggest also turning that content into text-based posts on a blog. Blog traffic earns far more per 1,000 visitors than videos. Several of my blogs earn in excess of $25 per 1,000 visitors.

Do it all…

There’s no reason you can’t do some or all of the above to turn your love of growing basil into a lucrative business.