Is It Legal To Sell Plants From Home?

In most cases, YES. You can sell plants from home, BUT there are something things you should know before you dive in. In this article, we’ll be covering the potential legal pitfalls you could face if you decide to sell plants from home. So, is it legal to sell plants from home? Sometimes.

So, When Is it legal to sell plants from home?

Selling Your Plants Locally

If you’ll be selling plants locally, then it’s much easier to get started. Most states will require some type of registration, but other than that – you should be okay to sell your cuttings at farmer’s markets, facebook market place, craigslist, and other local venues.

The exception being patented plants. Yes, some plants are actually protected by patents! A person who has discovered and reproduced for themselves a unique variety of plant does have the ability to patent it. Is it likely that these organizations will go after your backyard plant side-business, maybe not. BUT, it is possible if you infringe on their patent and they find out.

So, how do you know if a plant is patented? You can check out the label or container on a plant you’ve purchased. Plants which have been patented should have a trademark or patent number easily accessible. You might also see “PPAF” on the pot, which stands for “Plant Patent Applied For”, or that “propagation is prohibited”.

You may also need to have your plants inspected by your state’s agriculture department. Basically, they will want to check for pests and plant diseases to stop you from unknowingly spreading them across the state. The regulations for this will vary depending on location, with some states treating it more seriously than others.

Selling Your Plants Online

This is where things get really sticky! The federal government needs to control the spread of plant diseases and pests which can quickly get out of control if plants are shipped across state lines without oversight. You can use this page to read up on the federal or state guidelines you need to follow, but licensing can be very complicated when you’re selling across state lines like this.

You also need to be aware that online services also have rules against certain kinds of plants. Normally this is just plants which are considered dangerous, or “naughty” if you know what I mean. However, you should read up on Etsy’s rules and Ebay’s plant rules if you plan to sell there. The USPS also has rules for plants which you should be aware of.

Though, Ebay and Etsy just assume that you have gone through the proper legal channels to sell. The only things on their banned list are things which could potentially get THEM in trouble with the law – so you’ll need to make sure you cover yourself before you start selling!

Also, remember how we talked about ‘plant patents’? Selling online will make it much easier to get nailed if you’re trying to sell cutting from one of these legally protected plants. Copyright holders go after Etsy sellers all the time, so don’t think you’re safe just because you are a tiny business. If they have enough money and time on their hands, they will send out blanket legal notices.

In short, laws could be very different depending on where you’re located, what you try to sell, and where you try to ship them! It’s important to research laws in your respective area before you get into hot water.