What does a horticulturist do?

From a private garden to a large-scale crop farm, the skills and expertise that horticulturists possess make them a highly valued resource for planning and maintaining a green space. Horticulturists perform a number of varied duties such as determining the appropriateness of different plant species for geographical locations, testing the composition of soil, engaging in native landscape preservation initiatives, ridding plant life of pests and diseases, transplanting and transporting plants and undertaking crucial maintenance activities like weeding and pruning.

Tasks:

  • Identify types of plant species
  • Provide expert advice on plant selection
  • Test soil for quality and contaminants
  • Transport small and large plants
  • Implement irrigation systems

What skills do I need to be a horticulturist?

Horticulturists must enjoy working with plants, getting their hands dirty (literally) and being outdoors. Regardless of work environment, horticulturists need to have a broad knowledge of plant species and understand how to encourage or discourage growth. You may be required to conduct experiments, tracking data and maintaining meticulous records of rainfall, growth, weather and other factors that will determine the outcome of your research. There is room for a lot of variety within horticulture, so whether you love the idea of rejuvenating native bushland or helping secure Australia’s future food supply, there’s room for you in this hands-on industry.

Skills/attributes
  • Strong interest in plants and the environment
  • Knowledge of preservation initiatives
  • Thorough knowledge of plant species
  • Attention to detail in record-keeping
  • Good physical health

Specialisations

There are a number of specialisations available to budding horticulturists. If you love working with plants you can be tailor your studies to explore your areas of interest in the natural world.

Landscape Gardener

Landscape gardeners have a thorough understanding of how to plan, create and nurture garden landscapes in an urban environment. This kind of work often requires you to work collaboratively with a client to incorporate their preferences into the space according to a brief.

Nursery Worker

Nursery workers aid in the cultivation and growth of seedlings and immature plants, for sale in a commercial or retail setting. Nursery workers are able to advise customers on plant choices suited to their indoor or outdoor environment and provide advice for ongoing maintenance.

Greenskeeper

Greenskeepers have a thorough knowledge of grass species, working mostly within the sports industry to maintain sports fields and golf courses. Greenskeepers understand the turf requirements for each sport and are able to implement strategies for healthy growth and maintenance. This knowledge may also be extended to domestic or corporate environments with substantial turfed areas.

Study pathways for horticulturists

There are a number of study options that will help you achieve the breadth of knowledge and qualifications you’ll need to be a successful horticulturist.

Getting Started

Choose a course that builds on your passion for plant life with targeted teaching

Skill Building

Search for courses that allow you to pursue your interest in a green career

Professional Development

Gain knowledge and experience essential to becoming a professional horticulturist

Industry Recognition

You may wish to register with a professional body within your field of horticulture (i.e. agriculture, nursery work or landscaping) in order to improve your job prospects.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your horticulture career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Very strong growth in employment opportunities for horticulturists is expected over the next five years.