Careers in Horticulture (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 26, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Horticulture is an exciting field that offers many job opportunities. You can follow several career paths as horticulture expands into art, business, health and technology. If you're considering a career in horticulture, it may be helpful to learn about various career options in the field to find a job that is a good fit for you. In this article, we explain what horticulture is, discuss various careers in horticulture, provide annual salaries and explore the primary duties of each role.

What is horticulture?

Horticulture is the study and management of plant life. It typically includes a focus on decorative gardening or agriculture to influence and improve the growth of fruits and vegetables. Horticulture can also focus on plant chemistry, biology, soil science and landscaping. It's an excellent role for people who enjoy the outdoors, research and the environment.

Careers in horticulture

Here are several exciting opportunities if you're interested in pursuing careers in horticulture:

1. Arborist

National average salary: $26.16 per hour

Primary duties: An arborist is responsible for studying, cultivating and maintaining trees and other woody plants. They aim to keep trees healthy, guide their growth, and, if needed, remove them altogether. Arborists typically work outdoors in urban or rural environments and may be hired by landscaping companies, tree nurseries, and parks departments. It's advisable to be physically fit and comfortable working at heights if you're considering becoming an arborist, as your job may require you to be high off the ground in tall trees.

Related: How To Become an Arborist in 4 Direct Steps

2. Botanist

National average salary: $38.04 per hour

Primary duties: Botanists are scientists who monitor at-risk plant species and research how to preserve them. They can develop environmentally friendly ways of fighting diseases, pests and invasive plant species. As a botanist, you may conduct experiments on plants in laboratories, collect specimens and data in the wild or share your research at universities. This work may be rewarding if you're passionate about caring for the environment.

Read More: 9 Exciting Jobs for Botanists (With Salaries and Duties)

3. Entrepreneur

National average salary: $19.67 per hour

Primary duties: Entrepreneurs can succeed in horticulture by starting a plant nursery or a farm, where they grow and sell healthy plants, fruits and vegetables to consumers. You may also consider creating a landscaping business. Such businesses can help homeowners landscape or maintain their properties. You may also focus on larger clients by doing landscaping for companies or organizations. If you consider any of these business ventures, having an educational background in business management and some experience in horticulture may be helpful.

Related: 10 Key Entrepreneurial Skills You Need To Start a Business

4. Herbarium curator

National average salary: $75,940 per year

Primary duties: A herbarium curator is responsible for taking care of preserved plant specimens used for scientific studies. An herbarium is a systematically arranged collection of dried plants that organizations may keep for various uses. Herbarium curators ensure that the taxonomy and nomenclature collections are up to date. You may also be tasked with digitalizing collections and managing databases. It's helpful for curators to have excellent organizational skills.

5. Farmer

National average salary: $17.35 per hour

Primary duties: Farmers own or work on a farm and raise plants or livestock to sell for consumption. As a farmer, it's helpful to have extensive knowledge about the crops that grow in your climate and how to grow and harvest them successfully. Farming can be physically demanding work, so it's essential to be fit and enjoy working in outdoor environments. If you plan on owning a farm, gaining some academic background in business management, agriculture, or horticulture is advisable.

Read More: Farming Apprenticeships (With Steps, Salary, and Skills)

6. Floral designer

National average salary: $17.62 per hour

Primary duties: A floral designer, also called a florist, uses plants and flowers to create works of art. Like designers in other fields, they envision a work of art and then create it. As a florist, you may make flower arrangements for special occasions, like prom, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. In addition, brides and grooms often hire florists to make flower arrangements for their weddings. Floral designers may work at florist shops, flower markets, supermarkets or warehouses.

7. Horticultural lawyer

National average salary: $87,238 per year

Primary duties: A horticultural lawyer takes on cases that are related to agriculture. They may assist farmers or entities by obtaining licenses and permits, zoning and providing legal advice. Lawyers must stay up-to-date with environmental legislation and landowner rights. Some issues that they may deal with include:

  • environmental issues

  • labour issues

  • employment issues

  • marketing issues

  • pesticide use

  • zoning issues

  • seed issues

  • land use issues

  • eminent domain issued

Horticultural lawyers can either be hired by a company or work independently. The requirements to become a horticultural lawyer are the same as becoming a general lawyer, although it's crucial to educate yourself according to your specialty.

Related: How Many Years Does It Take To Become a Lawyer?

8. Horticultural therapist

National average salary: $30.43 per hour

Primary duties: A horticultural therapist uses gardening as a therapeutic method for improving the lives of patients who experience mental health problems. They collaborate with health care workers to best meet the needs of their patients. Horticultural therapists may plan and run a community garden at a retirement home or conduct plant-based activities at hospitals or rehabilitation centres. You may find this a rewarding career if you're a natural caretaker.

9. Horticulturist

National average salary: $21.23 per hour

Primary duties: Horticulturists are agricultural scientists who cultivate and propagate plants to increase harvest, seed productivity, size and taste. They also develop new plants that can grow in various climates or soils and are more resistant to common diseases or insects. Horticulturists may work at nurseries, greenhouses, garden centres, universities, government departments, landscaping companies, botanical gardens and farming operations.

10. Landscape designer

National average salary: $25.23 per hour

Primary duties: Landscape designers create healthy and aesthetically pleasing gardens that flourish for a long time with a proper maintenance plan. Landscape designing is a creative career where you can work with clients to help make their vision a reality. They may work for individuals, large corporations, or the government to design yards, gardens and grounds. Individuals with an eye for design and a love for plants may find this work rewarding.

Read More: What Does a Landscaper Do? (With Job Description Example)

11. Logger

National average salary: $178,285 per year

Primary duties: Loggers cut down trees, turning them into logs that their employers sell for use in industrial and consumer products. If you're considering becoming a logger, being physically fit is essential. Loggers must use heavy and potentially dangerous equipment, like hand-held power chain saws and mobile felling machines. They then tie chains around the logs and attach them to tractors to be driven out of the forest. You may be able to get a job working as a logger with a high school diploma.

Read More: Learn About Lumber Companies in Canada (With Descriptions)

12. Nursery worker

National average salary: $15.35 per hour

Primary duties: Nursery workers care for and grow plants at nurseries. They are responsible for planting, watering and ensuring that the correct soil is used to grow young plants. Nursery workers often help inform customers about which plants are suitable for their gardens and how to care for them. You may consider working at a plant nursery if you enjoy gardening, learning about different types of plants and caring for them.

13. Pest control technician

National average salary: $48,008 per year

Primary duties: The goal of a pest control technician is to eliminate pests that damage crops or food. This work is crucial as it prevents food shortages and ensures that farmers have healthy crops. Pest control technicians often work for pest control companies. A background in horticulture may help you work with different pests and plants.

14. Plant biologist

National average salary: $76,965 per year

Primary duties: Plant biologists study diseases in plants. Their goal is to diminish the likelihood of disease affecting plants that humans rely on for consumption or use. As a plant biologist, you may work in a laboratory or out in the field, examining plant matter to uncover more information about how diseases affect plants. You may use your findings to create new disease-resistant plants, which is helpful to those working in food production, such as farmers.

Read More: What Does a Biologist Do? (With Skills and Salary)

15. Writer

National average salary: $19.37 per hour

Primary duties: Writers interested in horticulture, sometimes called horticulture journalists, can create content for magazines, websites, and television and radio programs focusing on gardening and farming. Writers must meet deadlines and work closely with clients to deliver material that matches their brand voice. You may be able to work as a professional or a freelance writer, full or part-time.

Read More: How to Become a Freelance Writer in Nine Steps (With FAQs)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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