Enterprise: growing plants to sell

Information sheet

If you are looking to fundraise for your school garden why not combine it with increasing your pupils’ horticultural knowledge?

  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): English, Maths, Science, Art&DT

Why choose plants for your enterprise?

  • There are vast numbers of plants, edible and decorative, which can be grown from seed within the school year
  • It is cheap and relatively easy to grow a lot of plants from seed within the school year
  • Schools may already have plants on site which could be propagated (plants for free)
  • Schools already hold events which could be used to host a plant sale
  • Students can grow the plants, organise the marketing and publicity for the sale as well as selling the plants and handling money on the big day

Things to consider before starting a growing enterprise project

Planning is crucial for growing to sell, making a profit and holding a successful event.

Which plants should you grow to make the most profit?

Consider when you wish to start and end the project and research the timing of sowings, flowering, fruiting or harvests to determine suitability. The facilities you have at school will determine which plants you can grow, think about what has grown successfully for you in the past. It is also worth considering purchasing plug plants, they are more expensive than seed but eliminate the need for fiddly jobs such as seed sowing and pricking out, however they will need potting up and space to grow on.

Where and when are you planning to sell plants? 

Make sure you have enough time to grow the plants to the desired size for selling at your choosen event. Will you sell to pupils parents and staff in the playground, catering staff within school, external companies? Will you sell plants on a specific date, for instance, to coincide with Sport days or Summer Fairs?

How much money do you hope to raise and is it for anything specific?

This will affect the numbers of plants you raise and how you price and publicise the sale. You will need to think about the size of the garden or project when deciding how much to raise. Consider holding other fundraising projects to raise you target amount. Do you wish to include information with the plants at point of sale?

Keeping track of your fundraising

If you want a useful guide to keep track of your costs, sales costs and profit made, you can use our Profit and loss forecast Spreadsheet as a starting point. This is a spreadsheet you can download and use as you need it. 
It is also included in our Training Courses.

Practicalities of running an enterprise project

What budget do you have available for the project?
You will need enough to purchase seeds, compost and pots. To reduce costs recycle containers and contact local garden centres to see if they will donate used small pots or compost.

Do you have enough space within school to keep the plants before the sale?
Note tender plants will require a protected environment to keep the plants frost free until the sale.

Are the plants likely to be in school during the holidays?
If so who has access and will be available to water them?

How will you price the plants to ensure a profit?
The project will show children the skills needed for enterprise but a good enterprise project should also make a profit! Estimate costs at the start of the project but remember to track actual costs during the project.