Interested in Growing Herbs in Southwest Florida
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Marc
Posted on: December 10, 2006

I consume herbs to relieve anxiety, e.g. valerian, St. John’s wort. I live on 5 acres in S.W. Florida and I am very interested in growing herbs to sell commercially on a small scale. Any advice you could offer me would be greatly appreciated.

Your question is so broad as to be almost impossible to answer. I have been to Florida, so I am semi-familiar with the various habitats. However, some very important principles can be developed to assist you toward crop selections. The first is that you need to look at this question as a need to "go back to school."

It is apparent that you must do some homework on the possible alternatives available. My book The Potential of Herbs As A Cash Crop is a good first place to start for the herb trade, and is available through Richters.

Further resources include:

I am also available as an outside consult, to help construct a business plan

Now, this is another very important point. Like all schools, there is a need for tuition. No one ever really shows a profit the first year with new crops. There is the cost for learning, making mistakes, and setting up trial runs. All new ventures should be approached from this perspective, especially when you are not yet even asking the right questions. Marketing is also a major first issue toward crop selection.

That region of Florida has several of the largest floral buyers in the world. While they primarily import, such things as Saw Palmetto berries are gleaned from lawn maintenance crews. That region is also blessed with unusual pods and other native plants. You might also read my book "Native Plants Of Commercial Importance," available from either Acres, USA or Richters of Canada (or my website).

Beyond that, there are more detailed books on specific crops now available. A reading list is given for various subjects or categories in my book "Native Plants of Commercial Importance", also available from Richters.

What you need to do now is begin to educate yourself with asking the right questions. This is one of the functions I serve with these responses. Perhaps we can go into this in more detail via telephone? My phone number is 541-476-5588.

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