Plants are everywhere. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. They are a relaxing part of nature. Plants thrive in well-tended lawns and pristine natural environments. It should come as no surprise that plants are a multi-billion dollar industry.
The people that work with plants are involved in horticulture.
Horticulture is the interaction between plants and people. It is both an art and a science. It can be a career, a lifestyle, or a seasonal job. Horticulturists work on improving, cultivating, and using plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs. It’s a hands-on job where you’ll get dirt in under your fingernails and breath in fresh air every day.
Horticulture has its roots in the science of botany. Botany is the study of plants, while horticulture is the interaction of plants and people. Botanists discover where and how plants grow, how much sun and water they need, why plants do what they do, and how plants can be used by humans. In horticulture, people take that information and apply it.
Horticulture includes landscaping, gardening, types of farming, and even therapy. It’s a field that is hands-on with fruits, nuts, veggies, flowers, trees, shrubs, turf, and herbs. Everyday is different. One job may be to lead tours through exhibits at botanical garden, another might involve digging a drainage ditch or planting flowers outside the Post Office.
All horticulturists need to love and appreciate plants. They might grow flowers, sell trees, trim branches, maintain golf courses, parks, sports fields, install irrigation, build walkways, plant trees, lay grass, remove snow, breed plants, make wine, garden, perform horticultural therapy, design landscapes, aerate lawns, mow grass, cut down diseased trees, or cultivate vegetables. The work depends on the job, but the goal is to ensure the upkeep of gardens and landscapes around the world.
The one thing all horticulture jobs have in common is working with plants. They have many job titles like arborist, landscape architect, landscape contractor, nursery worker, groundskeeper, greenskeeper, horticultural therapist, fruit grower, winemaker, florist, vegetable grower, aquascaper, urban forester, or crop inspector. All of these jobs involve plants and that’s why horticulture encompasses so many different careers.
In order to pursue a career in horticulture, you need to have vast knowledge of everything green. This may include knowledge of botany, biology, entomology, chemistry, genetics, physiology, garden design, plants, or forestry. Many people involved in horticulture go to school for botany, biology, landscape architecture, and of course horticulture. There are many specialties in the world of horticulture…
- Arboriculture – Planting caring, removing, and growing trees and shrubs.
- Floriculture – Growing beautiful flowers and selling them to excited people.
- Landscape horticulture – Dealing with all aspects of landscaping.
- Olericulture – Growing vegetables
- Pomology – Producing and marketing fruits.
- Viticulture – Growing and developing on grapes.
- Oenology – Developing wine and winemaking.
- Post-harvest physiology – Ensuring quality.
Many people start the horticultural journey as a hobby. If they truly love it, they can find certifications for their niche and work their way up to management. There is also lots of seasonal work to be done when the weather is nice, fruits are ripe, leaves are falling, and the soil is soft.
Horticulture jobs exist all over the world. There are careers available in orchards, parks, greenhouses, botanical gardens, seed nurseries, golf courses, sod farms, garden centers, landscaping companies, gardens, and aquariums. Industry, government, universities, and private individuals all have a need for horticulture experts. Horticulture takes place in backyard gardens, commercial fruit growing operations, and professional landscaping.
The planning, the process, and the final results of horticulture make it a rewarding field. The fresh air, the plants, the environment, the demand, and the salary make it an excellent career choice. If you’re interested, get involved today.
American Horticultural Society
American Society for Horticultural Science
Global Horticulture Initiative
Horticultural Research Institute
International Society for Horticultural Science
National Junior Horticultural Association