Economics of Growing Lavender

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Growing lavender can be financially rewarding.
Growing lavender can be financially rewarding. (Image: Gordon Cameron image by Cammy from Fotolia.com)

Because of lavender’s many uses, the fragrant herb can be grown for profit. However, there are factors to consider before mowing over your other flowers and planting a field of lavender to sell. You must make sure you have optimal growing conditions, enough capital investment, and a market and labor for the finished product.

Uses of Lavender

Because of its old-fashioned floral fragrance, lavender is a popular herb among flower enthusiasts. It has medicinal properties, such as healing minor burns, headaches and insomnia. You can mix it with soaps, put it in dishes and use it in sachets around your house. Not only is it beautiful, but lavender makes a great pest repellent. Lavender has even been grown at landfills to hide the smell of garbage.

Capital Investment

In order to grow lavender, you need to purchase lavender seeds or plants. The average cost of a fully developed lavender plant is around $12 in 2010. However, you can purchase younger specimens for between $4 and $6. Seeds are just as pricey. Depending on how many plants you want to grow, you can expect to spend $200 for 10,000 seeds.

Optimal Conditions

Lavender prefers limey, sandy soil. If your soil is acidic, you will have to add garden lime to it. If your soil is too rich, you will have to add sand and pebbles to the dirt before planting. Lavender also prefers sand and small pebbles to regular wood mulches, so be sure you buy enough of each. Half a cubic foot of sand or pebbles can cost between $3 and $5 in 2010.

Lavender does not do well in high humidity because of it being fungi-prone. Therefore, be sure to plant your herb where it will get plenty of sunlight.

The Market

Choose the right variety of lavender for your market. True lavender produces only one-third the amount of dried flowers and oil as lavender cultivars. Once you have decided on the type of plant you need, you will have to determine whether you want to sell the dried flowers or the oil from your plants. If you decide to sell the oil, you will need an oil extraction machine. These can cost roughly $9,000.

If you decide to sell the flowers, you need to determine how you will sell them. You can put them in sachets or hand creams and soaps. You can even sell them in culinary dishes, such as lavender shortbread, jam or lemon squares. However you decide to market your lavender, remember that additional ingredients such lemons for cooking, lye to make soap and ribbons to tie up dried stalks, add additional cost.

Labor

Once your lavender production is at a point where you can no longer tend to your plants and products on your own, you will need to hire help. Look into your state’s laws before hiring employees. Depending on the number of employees you retain, the government may require you to pay minimum wage and certain benefits to your employees.

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