Nursery Jobs

People love to plant trees, flowers, and shrubs because having plants around creates a naturally beautiful setting, helps us relax, and gives us fresh air.

Plants are a huge industry. You can get one from your local nursery.

A nursery worker works hands on with a plant from seed to maturity. They pick the seeds they want to plant, then they plant row upon row of them – enough to meet consumer demand. Next they focus on nurturing the plants until they can be purchased. Nursery workers plant, harvest, transplant, cultivate, tend, prune, water, fertilize, and grow plants and trees. They also watch the plants for diseases. It takes observation, monitoring, judgment, and manual dexterity.

Nursery workers are like caring parents who don’t mind getting their hands dirty to make sure their plants thrive. Nursery work is both a labor of love and labor intensive. Nursery workers find themselves in a greenhouse or outdoors in all weather conditions. Lifting, shoveling, digging, cutting, pruning, and planting are part of the game. They log lots of hours on their knees with their hands in the dirt.

Most nurseries focus on certain types plants – those that they think will sell. This may mean flowers, ornamental shrubbery, fruit trees, saplings, or exotic flowers. Typically this is a seasonal business with the most work occurring during the growing and planting seasons in spring and fall.

Nurseries provide plants to both retail and wholesale operations. Stores like Home Depot, florists, and landscapers all obtain plants from nurseries. If you are a do-it-yourself type person, you can go directly to a nursery to buy an apple, aspen, oak, or palm tree. Some nurseries also specialize in mail order plants. That’s right, you can buy a tray of tropical houseplants through the mail. See the Home Depot Jobs page in our retail section.

Every plant is different. Some trees take years to grow and develop. Flowers can often be ready in months. Nursery workers must monitor temperatures, humidity, and soils. Sometimes they will cut plants to create clones or graft tree branches to create stronger and healthier trees and plants. Nursery workers are the professional growers that ensure the best plants grow up healthy, so that plant and tree lovers can buy and enjoy them. It definitely takes a green thumb.

After the initial growing process is over, it’s time for nursery workers to sell the plants. Usually flowers are sold in trays or pots, while trees are balled and burlapped to retain the roots and soil during the journey to their new homes. Nursery workers need to be experts on all aspects of the plants and trees they grow so that they can advise customers on how to keep the plants healthy. Customers rely on a nursery worker’s advice to ensure that their plant lives a long healthy life.

If you want to be a professional nursery grower, apply for jobs at nurseries, greenhouses, and garden centers. No formal education is necessary, but there are degrees available in nursery operations or horticulture technology. Try taking classes in soil science, horticulture, and plant propagation to increase your growing knowledge. It is also a good idea to see if you enjoy and are talented at growing things.

A good resume builder is to become a member of the American Nursery and Landscape Association. Most nurseries are individually owned, but some are part of larger garden centers. Where you work, you will most likely make minimum wage to $10 per hour or $16,000 to $22,000 per year. The biggest plus is that you’ll get 40 hours a week in the freshest air around.

Nursery workers surround themselves with plants and trees all day, every day. It’s a refreshing job that keeps you out of an office. Watching a flower, tree, or shrub grow from a tiny seedling to maturity is what makes a job as a nursery worker so appealing.

Quick Facts About Nursery Employment

Job Title: Nursery Worker
Description: Care for plants and trees through growth and development
Employers: Nurseries and Garden Centers
Pay: $7 to $10 per hour, $16,000 to $22,000 per year

American Nursery and Landscape Association
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association

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