By Vina Medenilla

In Antique province, Irish Trogani, and her husband Francis, event suppliers, are part of those individuals who began growing plants during the pandemic to cope with stress. From a  hobby, the two entrepreneurs eventually found themselves making money from the plants they propagate. 

Read: Earning amid the pandemic: Event suppliers earn extra income by selling plants

The couple is fortunate to succeed in growing plants and even earn from them in just less than a year. But acquiring new skills always comes with challenges and failures. Irish have shared common concerns they encounter in their garden: slow plant growth, pests, and fungi. 

For spider mites and fungi problems, she applies pesticides and fungicides and ensures proper spacing of plants since overcrowded gardens are more vulnerable to fungal infection, said the gardener. 

She also shared some tips they have learned from their gardening experience: 

Study before buying. Learning the requirements of each plant before purchasing them can save growers from wasting resources. 

In their early months of gardening, Irish kept her plants in a bright-shaded balcony, which led them to suffer from poor growth. She watered them once a week since the potting mix took a while to dry out. To solve this, she changed the plants’ potting mix and transferred them outdoors with 80 percent shade. After a month, Irish started seeing improvements in her plants. 

Value quality. Know how to distinguish healthy plants from the unhealthy ones to also save time in propagation. “Droopy plants are not the best plants if your reason for acquiring a species is to resell or propagate for selling. Even if it is cheaper than the usual selling price, it is still not worth the time and effort,” Irish explained. 

Aside from philodendrons, there are other plants that the couple grows, including different calathea varieties.

Buy from private collectors. Find private collectors or gardeners in the area since they usually offer plants at a much cheaper rate. If it suits the pocket, buy mature plants with strong aerial roots so they can be propagated immediately and put up for sale within four weeks. 

Invest in fertilizers. The use of fertilizers can help in boosting plant growth. Healthy plants have higher resistance to diseases and seasonal changes. 

Track expenses. Keep a record of the daily sales and expenses to assess if the business is earning. “This will remind you to slow down in buying more plants that you can’t take care of or can’t profit from.” 

Maximize social media. Posting photos of plants is useful both for the business and the customers. It allows the seller to know which plants are saleable or have high demand based on the number of people showing interest. Plus, clients get to see the condition of plants before buying them. 

Build a good reputation. Establishing positive relationships is one of the keys to a successful business. “Clients can wait as long as six months if they are certain that they can acquire a good quality plant propagation from a gardener that they can trust,” said Irish. 

Photos courtesy of Irish Trogani.

For more information, visit Arumai House of Aroids.