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How to Become Horticulturist With No Experience?
1. Work Experience (In-House)
Before you commit to a career change or even try out beginner horticulture jobs, it is worth trying horticulture at home. There are resources and tools available to help you.
While this does require an upfront investment, you can determine whether you enjoy horticulture and if this is a good career option for you.
SeedsNow has a fantastic selection of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flower seeds. It gives you an option to grow your own Organic/GMO-FREE food and practice a lawn care specialist job.
About SeedsNow seeds:
- All seeds 100% GMO-FREE – do not contain any exogenously inserted embryogenesis deactivator genes
- 100% Natural. 100% Non-Hybrid – seeds you can plant then save after harvest and repeat
- Long-Term Shelf-Life – packaged in a re-sealable moisture-proof pack
- Easy-to-Grow – step by step instructions includes on the SeedsNow website
If you’re completely new to horticulture, you may also find the seed banks and variety packs useful. These are collections of complementary seeds. For example, there is a root crop pack that includes different varieties of beets, carrots, turnips, radishes and parsnips.
If you don’t have a massive outside space at your home, Garden Tower Project may prove to be an ideal resource. This site specializes in vertical and organic patio gardening, so you can maximize your growing space.
The Garden Tower system is designed to turn organic waste into organic plants, so you can grow more nutritious food in less space. The system has a tiered structure with a vermicompost column. This is a low maintenance system that maintains a steady temperature and moisture level for your plants.
You can add compostable kitchen scraps and composting worms to your Garden Tower and within 9 months of use, it is possible to transform up to 50 gallons of organic kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost to support the growth of organic food.
The tower features 50 curved pockets to make planting and root removal easier. It also rotates 360 degrees, so all your plants can have adequate sunlight exposure. Whether you want to grow produce or beautiful flowers, the roots have access to all the available soil nutrients to offer hydroponic-like growth rates.
If flowers and produce are not really appealing to you, you can still develop an interest in horticulture with succulents.
Succulents Box is an online store with a subscription program, where you can gain access to popular and rare succulents. You can tailor your subscription to receive one to four succulents or airplants each month starting at $5.
You can also place one off orders from the impressive product catalog containing hundreds of succulents. It is possible to shop for succulents by characteristics such as:
- Pet friendly
However, you can also browse the different varieties of succulents by genus.
Succulent Box also has all the supplies you need to get started. So, you can purchase pots, tools and beginner kits.
2. Work Experience (Near Me)
You can also gain work experience in your local area. If you live in an agricultural area, you may find that there are part time or seasonal opportunities available. Even in other areas, you may be able to gain work experience with local companies.
The best place to start is to check out Craigslist. The employment section on Craigslist will detail if there are any jobs in horticulture businesses, no experience roles and other opportunities within the industry.
This could include part time work at:
- Local parks and gardens
However, you can also approach local companies. This will take a little more confidence as you will need to call or visit local horticulture businesses to ask if they have any opportunities. It is a good idea to take a resume that details your current skill set that may be valuable to a potential employer.
Even if you don’t have any horticulture experience, if you can demonstrate that you’re a team player, have good communication skills and attention to detail, you may appeal to an employer.
While you may need to opt for lower paying entry level horticulture jobs or work for free as a volunteer, it can provide valuable insight into horticulture careers.
Entry level horticulture jobs or working for free as a volunteer can provide valuable insight into horticulture careers.
3. Bachelor’s Degree
Once you have determined that you want a career in horticulture, it is a good idea to consider further education. Many horticulture jobs require a bachelor’s degree in botany, horticulture or a related field.
It is also a good idea to participate in an internship program to gain field experience and skills.
You can learn about:
- Irrigation techniques,
- Pest control,
- Knowledge of gardening techniques and plant care.
Once qualified, you may wish to consider certification. For example, there are credentials designated by the CCA (Certified Crop Advisors) or SSSA (Soil Science Society of America). Many employers will give preference to applicants with certification.
What is the Salary of a Horticulturist?
|Role||Average Annual Salary|
|Plant Care Worker||$41,200|
15 Best Horticulture Jobs
(Provide businesses with insights into plants and soil conditions)
A horticulture consultant provides a number of useful services to businesses and organizations. There are a number of specialties, from offering advice to farmers on efficient crop choices to providing advice to a golf course on grass maintenance.
You will need to understand how to present solid business advice and be prepared to travel. It will be necessary to combine your knowledge of plants and soil with the methods to care for them and maintain them correctly.
(Help homeowners and businesses showcase their outside space)
As a landscape designer, you will be combining plants with hardscapes to create a space that fulfills a client’s aesthetic needs. This can be tricky. Many clients will only have a vague idea of what they need and it’s your job to help them to reach their goal.
The landscape needs to have the correct soil to support the plants and a care plan to support them in the medium to long term.
You can work for a wide variety of clients, such as:
- Private individuals,
- Government agencies.
This is a very rewarding career for anyone that wants to create livable spaces where people can interact with flora.
You can find landscape designers jobs on FlexJobs.
(Share your knowledge and plant expertise)
Writing in the horticultural niche is an interesting way to make a living. This is a role for a writer with extensive knowledge of horticultural topics and work can be found writing for:
- Gardening blogs,
- Farming magazines,
- TV and radio shows
- Various social media platforms.
If you have a love for horticulture and you want to share your opinions with others this is an ideal career. When writing for the web a good command of HTML and CSS would be helpful. This is because many clients will want you to submit and format the work directly onto their website.
Check out horticultural writing jobs on Upwork.
(You’ll diagnose plant diseases and work on resistant plant strains)
A plant pathologist conducts experiments on various plant matter to discover the characteristics of plant related diseases. This is an interesting job for people with a scientific background and an interest in deep research.
As a plant pathologist, you may travel to a location where a certain plant disease is occuring.
You would need to:
- Collect samples,
- Examine the soil conditions
- Interact with other team members.
This role would also involve the development of new plant types that are more resistant to disease. This is a very fulfilling role and extremely important when you consider the importance of stable food production.
A plant pathologist is among the highest paying horticulture jobs with $81,700 annual salary.
(Help maximize crop yields for fruit and vegetable crops)
A horticultural inspector has an important role to play in the food industry. They help to maintain a high level of produce yields with a consistent level of quality by assessing various fruit and vegetable crops. This information is crucial for governmental and private bodies that have a vested interest in nutritious and efficient crop yields.
In order to meet quality standards, the horticultural inspector will make recommendations on how to improve the processes.
If you want to work in this role you will need a good understanding of both horticulture and food industry practices.
To become a horticulture inspector for the goverment, a candidate’s age must fall into the range of 21 years to 40 years.
(Focus on creating healthy plants across four main fields)
A horticultural technician is a more hands on role where you will be working with plants on a daily basis. As a technician, you will be responsible for planting, nurturing and maintaining plants.
You could work in four main fields, they are:
As part of your daily work, you will plant, water, prune, fertilize and transplant flora to create healthy plants. This role is a crucial one. It can be vital for any plant based business but it’s also a key part of disease diagnosis and treatment.
(Harness your creativity to create beautiful floral displays)
As an ornamental horticulturist, you would usually be working at a plant nursery, in a florist or at a landscaping company.
As the name suggests, an ornamental horticulturist works with flowers and other decorative plants. This role could involve the creation of low-maintenance flower beds for business and private homes.
In a florist, you may be designing and creating bouquets, wreaths and corsages. When working with a landscaping company you would offer helpful advice to customers on how to use and care for their decorative plants.
If you enjoy working with attractive plants and you have a creative flair this could be your ideal horticultural job.
There are over 550,000 people in the USA working as ornamental horticulturists and the industry is growing at around 3% per year.
Plant Care Worker
(Keep plants healthy and vibrant in a variety of locations)
If you enjoy travel and you like the idea of caring for ornamental plants, then you may find that a career as a plant worker suits your needs perfectly.
A plant care worker uses an extensive knowledge of horticulture to tend to clients plants at their location. You would typically work with fertilizers, insecticides and gardening tools located on site to make sure that the plants remain healthy and well maintained.
It may be necessary to transplant certain flora from a client’s premises to closely examine the soil and plant health. This will help to identify the presence of any disease or insects that may be causing damage to the clients flora.
Here are plant care worker horticulture jobs.
(Care for plants and help customers choose the right varieties)
If you’ve ever visited a plant nursery, you will already be aware that it can be a busy place and there is always plenty of activity.
As a nursery staffer, you would be working with the plants in the nursery to help them grow. A new plant needs a great deal of care and attention. Your job will be to select the correct soil, plant, water and feed the young plants until they are ready for sale.
The plants types you will be working with will be used in a variety of applications, such as ornamental, food and research. This is a rewarding job if you enjoy being active and have a genuine love of horticulture.
(Protect plants and crops from damage)
Working in pest management may not be the most glamorous of roles but it is essential for modern horticulture. Every garden owner and farmer understands that they need to protect their plants against various pests that can cause significant amounts of damage. This horticulture job requires a good understanding of industry best practices, agricultural processes and state regulations.
(Use your managerial experience in a horticulture setting)
Any career in horticulture could include a departure into the world of business management. There are a few well established routes that you could take, including:
- Running a horticultural consultancy,
- Setting up a farm,
- Opening your own nursery
- Starting a landscaping business.
There are many other possibilities but you need a good grounding in the horticultural world and some management experience before you get started. If you’ve worked with plants for some time and you want to be an entrepreneur this could be the ideal career to challenge you.
(Develop new varieties of popular fruits)
Fruit is an ever popular food choice and as a nation, we consume large volumes of apples, pears, plums, avocados and others every year. Some trees are grown at home, but most of our fruit is sourced from large farms with huge numbers of trees.
Consumers are often unaware that different fruit varieties can be grown on a single plant, such as: different apples on one tree or various citrus fruits grown on the same plant. This is the job of a grafter. They often work at nurseries or with large scale producers to increase yields of fruit trees.
As you might imagine, you need to have good knowledge of propagation as it related to increasing the variety of plants. This will include grafting and budding techniques to combine a scion and rootstock together. This is a fascinating and rewarding role for people that enjoy working with plants and if you have a good reputation it can be very lucrative.
(Help keep homes, businesses and parks looking lush and green)
A turf contractor works with all aspects of lawn maintenance to keep the grass healthy and free from pests. Many people want a great lawn, but maintaining a lawn is a extremely time consuming and it needs expert knowledge to thrive. An unkempt lawn will ruin an otherwise great looking garden and even lower the resale price of a home.
A lawn needs consistent mowing, feeding, watering and weeding to stay health and look pristine.
As a turf contractor, you will be providing levelling, cutting, repairing and weed killing services for customers.
Even the cutting height will vary according to the season, the location and the type of grass.
You may be working:
- In private gardens,
- On commercial lawns,
- Public institutions,
- Other public spaces.
You will need a good knowledge of soil types, turf species, mowing techniques, thatch removal, weed removal and various pests and diseases. This is a great horticulture job if you like working outdoors and you love lawn care.
(Use your horticulture knowledge to grow delicious produce for customers in your local area)
There is a real demand for locally grown produce that is being met by a new breed of urban farmer. People are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of produce travel to our markets and locally sourced produce is a viable alternative.
This is very different to a typical community garden project because an urban farmer grows a large variety of seasonal produce as efficiently as possible. The produce is then sold locally to people, restaurants or at a farmers market.
Anyone get get started as an urban farmer. If you have access to some unused space or you may need to rent out spare garden land. Many smaller plots can be turned into productive growing land with some effort and many small plots add up to a significant area of farming space.
You will need to understand the key crops that your local area needs and grow produce to meet those needs. Knowledge or soil, pests and plant nutrition are vital and you may need transport to travel between multiple plots. This is a great career option for anyone with entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to grow high quality food locally.
(Keep recreational areas looking lush and beautiful for sports enthusiasts)
As a green keeper you will be responsible for establishing and maintaining turfed playing surfaces, including:
- Tennis courts,
- Racing tracks,
- Bowling greens,
- Golf courses,
- Soccer fields.
This may include nearby landscape features, trees or public gardens depending on the specific role. You will need to understand mowing techniques, turf repair, fertilizing, seedings, weeding and how to deal with pests and diseases.
There are many tools to help with tasks, such as: edging, raking, aerating, irrigation and more. It’s important to understand how to use them effectively.
This is a demanding role that requires formal training and excellent communication skills. If you get a great reputation, your skills will be in high demand and this can be a very lucrative career.
Is Horticulture a Good Career?
With so many different roles, horticulture can be a superb, rewarding career. Of course, you will need to have an interest in plants and green fingers to keep the plants lush and healthy.
Depending on the specific role, there is the potential to earn as much as $81,000 or more a year. While you’ll need formal qualifications and specialist skills to reach these income levels, there are plenty of entry level horticulture jobs.
These can allow you to work in the great outdoors and spend your days caring for plants and flora.