Individuals with a green thumb often enjoy being outdoors everyday for hours tending to the vegetables growing in their garden or landscaping their yard. The opportunity to turn their hobby into a job exists if they choose to start their own business in the nursery and greenhouse industry. While the industry can be competitive, it can also be profitable for someone who enjoys plants and learns how to start a plant nursery from scratch.

Become knowledgeable. Have experience growing and caring for plants. Take classes in horticulture or obtain a bachelor's degree in plant science. Assess your knowledge and abilities to assist customers in answering questions and choosing the right plants for their yard or garden.

Establish a business plan. Create a business plan that details the different components of starting a plant nursery from scratch. Consider how to produce the plants as well as how to market and sell them. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses the nursery faces based on your present location. Determine the amount of funding required to start the plant nursery as well as how many plants you'll need to sell and at what price to become profitable. Check out the greenhouse business planning guide from the website of the government of British Columbia for a sample plan you can use when drafting your own business plan.

Obtain funding. Apply for a business loan from a financial institution such as a bank to start a plant nursery from scratch. Supply a copy of your business plan with your loan application. Check with the U.S. Small Business Administration to learn if you qualify for a guaranteed, small business loan or one that offers low interest. If you can't qualify for a loan, consider using your nursery to grow vegetables and obtain the money to build and expand it by becoming a community supported agriculture grower.

Register your business. Complete the forms from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to get an employer identification number which identifies your nursery as a business to the federal government. Contact your state and local department of revenue to obtain the necessary forms to collect and pay sales tax. Determine if you need a business license to operate in your city or county. Finally, check with your state department of agriculture to find out if you need a special permit to operate a nursery since you handle living products.

Find a location. Seek out a location for your plant nursery. Find an area with enough space to grow plants in as well as sell them to consumers. Consider purchasing land rather than leasing since this allows you to construct greenhouses as needed to grow in.

Get supplies. Determine if you'll start your plants for your nursery from seeds or plugs, and find a wholesale supplier who can provide you with start-up plant materials you need. Purchase supplies such as pots, dirt, fertilizer and other disposable products to grow and care for the plants in your nursery as well as to sell to customers.

Hire staff. Find employees with experience working in a nursery or greenhouse. Ensure they are knowledgeable and able to provide correct advice to customers with questions about plants grown in your facility. Hire a grower whose primary job is to grow and care for the plants in the nursery until they are purchased by customers.

Promote your business. Use television, radio and newspaper to perform general advertising to the public about your plant nursery. Hold plant and gardening educational programs and seminars at your nursery in the spring to draw in customers. Ask local radio talk shows to allow you to host a weekly, on-air session in which the public is encouraged to call-in and ask questions pertaining to plants and gardening.