What Are The Most Profitable Herbs To Grow As A Small Business?

Are you looking for some of the most profitable herbs to grow on your small homestead or farm? 

Herbs are one of the easiest plants to grow and they appeal to a wide variety of customers. What makes them so profitable is they require a small investment and an excellent return on as little as 1/4 acre of land.

If you grow them properly and find your market, they will produce a reliable way to increase the profitability of your farm or home-based business.

Here are eight of the most popular and profitable herbs you can grow on your small farm.

Which Herbs Are The Most Profitable?

Culinary herbs are an excellent place to start and are a profitable cash crop for many small farms. They can be sold to a wide variety of customers. You can sell herbs to gardeners, chefs, home cooks, craft makers, and even restaurants.

In fact, if you can secure a local restaurant as a customer, you’ll have a steady demand for your herbs all year long. 

There is a growing market for medicinal herbs as well. Choose the type of herbs for your business based on which herbs will grow well in your area as well as the potential market in your local area. 

So which herbs will make you the most money? Check out some of the more profitable herb ideas below to get you started.

8 of the Most Profitable Herbs to Grow And Sell

The following herbs have good production rates and a proven demand for related products. 

1. Basil

basket of fresh basil cut from the field

Basil is one of the most popular of all the culinary herbs. Due to its high demand, it is also one of the most profitable herbs to sell.

Prices for basil go up in the winter months when it is harder to come by, so be sure to make a plan for growing it in the off-season. You can grow them in a greenhouse or using hydroponics. Basil is very easy to grow hydroponically, which produces a large number of herbs very quickly.

Prices for basil can fetch up to $3-$4 per ounce or $50-$60 per pound.

2. Lavender

fields of purple lavender in bloom

Lavender is one of the most profitable herbs you can grow due to its many uses and strong emotional association. This sweet-smelling herb is used to make soaps, lotions, and essential oils. Lavender is also popular in bouquets and herbal remedies like sleeping pillows and masks. 

You don’t need a lot of land either to grow lavender. You can make a profit on just one or two acres. While it may take a few years to produce enough flowers for retail sale, it is well worth the effort.

Lavender is a Mediterranean herb, requires good drainage and grows well in drier areas. It is also very easy to grow and propagate from cuttings, which is a cost-effective way to start a large number of plants. 

You can make your own dried flowers and herbs by simply tying bunches of the flower stems together with twine and hanging them in a barn, shed, or other well-ventilated structure to dry for at least one week before bringing them to market.

3. Ginseng

bunches of ginseng roots - one of the most profitable herbs for sale at market

Ginseng is one of the world’s most popular medicinal herbs. Grown for its use in herbal medicine, it is most popular with Asian buyers. 

Mature ginseng plants can be sold for their roots. While it takes six years for the plant to develop mature roots, they are well worth the wait.

Ginseng roots fetch $300 to $600 per pound, depending on the quality. You can grow several hundred pounds of roots on a 1/2 acre of land. 

If you don’t have the patience to grow the plant to maturity, you can sell rootlets or even seeds. 

Ginseng is planted in the fall. And rather than being planted in the open ground, it thrives under the shade of hardwood trees or in native forests. 

Seed costs to get started run about $200 per pound of seed.

4. Parsley

bunches of curly parsley prepared for sale

Parsley is another culinary herb that can be sold easily at market. One of the nice things about parsley is it is a cool-season herb. Planting a mixture of cool and warm-season herbs is a good strategy to maximize the growing season.

There are a few other perks to growing parsley. It regrows, so you can take several harvests from a single plant. It is also a biennial, so they only need to be planted every other year. 

Both curly or flat-leafed parsley can be marketed for their culinary use. Flat-leaf is more popular for use in recipes where curly parsley is primarily used as a garnish. 

Parsley can be sold for about $8.50 per pound at wholesale rates and even higher direct to consumer.

A four-foot row of parsley will produce a pound of leaves. This translates to $600 per 100 feet of land. You can double this number if you are selling to the retail market. 

5. Catnip

a tuxedo kitty poses next to its favorite catnip plant

Catnip is another herb with a broad customer base and can be sold in multiple forms.

While we think of catnip as primarily being marketed to the pet industry, it is also used as herbal remedies and teas. Catnip can be dried, grown and sold in pots, or made into an essential oil. 

The price of dried catnip is not as high as some of the other herbs and sells for 30 to 40 cents per pound. However, you can produce up to 900 pounds of catnip on 1/4 acre. 

6. Chives

stalks of chives with purple flowers bundled

Chives are a favorite herb to grow among market sellers since it is so easy to grow. They spread by rhizomes under the ground and are very hardy. So once you have a good crop of chives growing, you won’t need to worry about replanting it. 

Chives can be sold as starts to the garden market and as culinary herb restaurants and chefs.

You can grow 18,000 pounds of chives on one acre of land. The price for a pound of chives can range from between $8 and $12.

7. Cilantro

cilantro plant growing in pretty basket

Spicy cilantro grows similar to parsley in that it is a biennial. It is popular in Mexican, Asian, and South American dishes. But not only is cilantro good in the kitchen, it is also valued as a medicinal herb and is used to ease digestion.

The price per pound for fresh cilantro is 66 cents. It is also a productive crop and produces an average of 20,000 pounds per acre. 

8. Garlic

elephant garlic - a popular gourmet variety

There are many varieties of garlic you can grow for market, but the most profitable one is gourmet garlic. Shown above is elephant garlic which is the most well-known in the gourmet garlic market.

One of the best perks for growing this herb is that they are fast-growing, reaching maturity at just three months after planting. 

Gourmet garlic sells for $16 per pound, which is four times higher than the supermarket variety. One acre will produce between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds. So it pays to choose your type of garlic wisely. 

How Much Money Can You Make Growing Herbs?

Herbs are a profitable cash crop, and the great thing about growing herbs is they don’t take up that much space. 

Depending on the herbs you choose, you can expect to generate as much as $20 to $24 per square foot of growing area. And by increasing your square footage, you can increase your profits. 

You can get started without making a large cash investment if you own your land. You should be able to buy all the supplies needed for your herb business for under $2000. 

Helpful Tips To Get Your New Herb Farm Started

seedlings up for sale with sign 100 varieties of herbs
Decide if you want to specialize in a single herb or be a generalist.

To be successful when you are just starting out, try to find a specialty market for your herbs. Talk to local businesses in the area to get an idea of what they need. Here are three examples of how to specialize.

  • Focus on flowering herbs for dried arrangements.
  • Grow and market seedling stage herbs to local gardening groups.
  • Cultivate a small list of restaurants and sell them high-quality organic culinary herbs.

It’s easier to get a foothold in the market if you can become known for the go-to business for one area of the commercial herb market.

Educate your customers on your growing practices, especially if you are an organic grower. And don’t be shy about giving them a few ideas on how to market your products. You will be in the unique position of talking to multiple customers, so you will have valuable knowledge to share. 

Which Herbs Will You Add To Your Bottom Line This Year?

Growing herbs for profit can be a great way to add more income to your small homestead or farm. And the good news is you don’t need to have a huge property to be successful.