My favorite part of having my own nursery is the propagation of the plants.
That's it, hands down.
However, you have to use them in some way so you can make more room to plant more.
That's where for me, the crafts come in, and that's also where other people lack the imagination and skill to design and build something unique that can withstand some challenging conditions on a deck or patio.
It's a supply, to fill the demand - which there is a lot of.
If growing the plants is where your heart is, join the club.
I've loved growing and propagating for most of my horticultural career, and I know from talking to others that this is their passion too.
Getting the reputation of 'being able to grow anything' is heart warming, at the very least.
Now it's time to make that reputation pay for itself!
Time is the one factor that you have no control over.
There is no recipe for speeding things up.
The time lag between starting cuttings or seeding those dust like seeds and a finished happy and healthy plant that you can sell is the most frustrating and anxiety producing part of the whole business.
All you can do is provide the best possible growing conditions for the plants, then go away and do something else.
This makes it a good potential for part time work, where you have another job to do while you're waiting.
Even if you don't have an outside job, you can be creating hypertufa pots, or other crafts, and getting them ready to receive the plants when they're ready.
Alternately, you can use a method that will save lots of time, especially when you're just getting started; buy plants full size (or almost) from another supplier.
There are lots of sources of other small hobby growers, and larger wholesale nurseries.
The trick is finding them; some are well kept secrets, due to their lack of knowledge about search engine marketing, or in some cases (the wholesale nurseries) they prefer to sell only large quantities of one kind of plant, seldom selling a bulk random assortment for instance.
Luckily, there are mail order nurseries that fall somewhere in the middle.
They'll be happy to ship you an assortment of succulent cuttings for a really reasonable price (shipping them dry helps to keep the cost of postage down) and you can expect some nice sized plants to develop very quickly once they root.
Deciding how to grow the plants sort of depends a little bit on how you will be selling them.
Many succulents thrive in a community of other similar plants, so as long as you feel confident that they're not also sharing pests to each other, you can grow them in a shallow flat. They like shallower soil, which gives them the opportunity to reach the bottom with their roots, which prompts them to grow more on the top.
Shipping dry succulents means that you have to get rid of excess moisture from the soil quickly, another advantage to growing them in a shallow flat.
Whatever you decide to use for containing the plants while they grow to salable size, keep in mind that often you can ship them wrapped in newspaper to save on shipping the pots.
I've also had good success with selling wedding favor succulents in a plug tray, with 72 cells.
They are small but easy to ship, and look great when they are put into their final decorative pot by the bride and her attendants - the typical method of potting them up consists of a party and some hilarity.