A career in horticulture is a rewarding one, no doubt. To plant a seed and watch it produce a gorgeous flower or crop is truly a gift to the eye of the beholder. Not many can say that they see the fruits of their labors evolve into such a beautiful creation… but the Horticulturist can!
But, before you can expect a wonderful creation to peek its head through the ground… the soil must be cultivated, enriched with the right nutrients, and watered to perfection. A Horticulturist is happy to help others grow the best crops ever, but it all begins with a solid foundation.
Take a look at these jump-to links to see what interests you… or better yet, read it all for career inspiration:
- A Little History…
- Are you a home gardener? Are you ready to take it up a notch?
- But I don’t have time to earn a college degree… Can I earn a certificate/diploma online?
- But, what exactly is Horticulture?
- What would my job duties include as a Horticulturist?
- Does a career in Horticulture interest you? Which branch should you pursue?
- What are the differences in Horticulture, Botany, Agriculture, and Gardening? They all sound alike to me.
- Is a career in Horticulture a wise choice?
- Am I cut out to be a Horticulturist?
- Why is Horticulture a big deal?
- How can I share my love of Horticulture or Gardening with others?
- A Few Famous Quotes To Ponder On
- Find a School that is right for YOU!
A Little History…
Some form of farming has been going on since the beginning of time; however, things have changed. As the first crops were probably wheat and barley, they were, most likely, used to make bread. As time progressed, so did the farmers. They learned to cultivate potatoes, rye, cotton, and corn.
Learning to farm the land efficiently changed lives. No more hunting for animals to keep the family fed. They could easily supplement their family’s food source when the wild game supply was not the most plentiful.
Eventually, farmers were able to sell or trade their “extra” crops for useful tools, services, or other dry goods. Our forefathers had to rely on their own smarts and intuition to cultivate crops for their families. However, fortunately, today, Horticulturists play a huge part in the “science” behind the madness.
Are you a home gardener? Are you ready to take it up a notch?
Perhaps you are an experienced flower gardener already, or you’re just proud of your prize-winning tomatoes! That’s great! If so, you’re already ahead of the game. However, if you would like to turn your green-thumb into a full-time career, why not consider becoming a Horticulturist? Your online horticulture program will give you the kick-start you need!
On the flip side, if you do not wish to pursue a professional path in horticulture, you certainly don’t have to, as an online certificate program in horticulture will help you with home gardening as well. You will learn new and innovative technology, along with new techniques in planning, planting, and growing your garden.
Do you desire to win the “Best Zucchini” ribbon at the county fair? Do you want to be the envy of your neighborhood… the one with the prettiest grass, best-trimmed shrubs, and the most vibrant container planters? YES, YES, and YES! A horticulture certificate program is just what you need to take your gardening skills to the next level!
But I don’t have time to earn a college degree… Can I earn a certificate/diploma online?
There are several learning opportunities for you if you are contemplating a position in the field of Horticulture. Educational programs can be completed at the certificate or career diploma level. Or, if you would like to progress, you can also earn an associate and bachelor’s degree in horticulture.
Depending on your desired level of learning, you can often find certificate programs or online videos to help you sharpen your skills; however, some employers do require that you have a certificate or diploma in the field.
In addition, community colleges in your neighborhood often have certificate programs where you can do most of your studies online, although some on-campus attendance may be a requirement. Apprenticeship opportunities allowing hands-on experience is most helpful, too.
For the really ambitious, a master’s degree is available and if you would like to perform extensive research in the field, a doctorate degree is available, too.
But, what exactly is Horticulture?
The term “horticulture” covers a wide array of topics. As most of us take it for granted that mother nature takes care of our earth, sometimes a little help may be needed to produce the plants that emerge from our soil. If you so choose, you can be mother nature’s assistant! – What an awesome job!
Horticulture is a form of science. As a horticulturist, you will use your knowledge to study and examine the growth process of plants and flowers, as well as, fruits and vegetables. Horticulturists often focus on cultivation as they study the soil and the lay of the land, ways to conserve and restore the earth, along with plant propagation.
What would my job duties include as a Horticulturist?
Horticulturists are interested in the scientific approach to agriculture and are often tasked with cultivating plants that produce the best-tasting fruit or vegetables with the most nutritional value possible. They test plants till they find the ones that are easily grown, are resistant to diseases and insects, as well as can withstand the elements of the weather and other environmental factors.
Landscapers and garden designers absolutely appreciate the work of the horticulturist to ensure that live plants are developed into hardy varieties that produce the largest flowers. Home gardeners reap the benefits, as well.
As a horticulturist, you must have an extensive knowledge of plant identification, proper watering requirements, fertilizing techniques, in addition to weed management skills. Lawn care is also an important part of horticulture as ground preparation, drainage, grass varieties, and the fertilization process are integral to getting that nice, lush carpet of green in front of your home.
Does a career in Horticulture interest you? Which branch should you pursue?
Horticulture sounds like a fancy word, but in reality, we all experience it in some sort of shape, form, or fashion on a daily basis… just walk outside your door, and “horticulture” is everywhere you look. Actually, if you have houseplants, “horticulture” is inside, as well.
If you plan to excel at a professional level, you must start with the basics. In addition, you may want to choose a concentration that truly interests you.
Speaking generally here, there are two types of horticulture for you to consider, which are identified as ornamentals and edibles.
- Ornamentals plants are primarily used for decoration, in landscaping, and for pure enjoyment, and often include green plants, trees, and grasses, as well as gorgeous flowers.
- Edibles are as the name implies… the growth of plants that produce fruits or vegetables that can be eaten.
In addition, there are many other areas of study in which you may want to consider as a specialization, such as:
- Landscape Horticulture
- Turf Management
- Postharvest Physiology.
What are the differences in Horticulture, Botany, Agriculture, and Gardening? They all sound alike to me.
Here are a few definitions to keep in mind when thinking about a career in horticulture.
- Horticulture – Primary goal is to cultivate the land for proper planting and results. Typically, unlike agriculture, horticulture does not include crop production in large masses.
- Botany – The study of a plant’s composition, such as it’s physiology and genetics. Botanists are familiar with how plants grow best and what they are used for.
- Agriculture – Is much like horticulture, but perhaps on a much larger level. They research and plant in masses. Agriculture also often includes the breeding of animals.
- Gardening – Perhaps the best term used for one who has a small garden at home, or tends to private estate gardens or city parks and the like.
At whatever level you decide to pursue, the field of horticulture has a lot to offer.
Is a career in Horticulture a wise choice?
If you have a true love for plant life and the outdoors, it is a very wise choice. Will you get rich doing it? Probably not, at least not a first. The true pay-off is in the reward of doing something you truly love!
Here are a few other advantages and perks:
- You can enjoy the outdoors.
- You can help preserve the world we live in.
- You can enter into a field in which there is always something to be learned.
- There are many concentrations in horticulture to pursue.
- If you’re ready, you can be a researcher in the field; helping farmers produce quality crops.
- You can share your knowledge with others.
- You can grow your own garden; be self-sustained.
Am I cut out to be a Horticulturist?
Of course you are! Honestly, if you love the outdoors and have a love for plants (of any type), you’re a shoo-in! Are there other qualities that will assist in your desire to pursue a career in horticulture? Aside from your knowledge and skills, yes, here are a few questions to consider:
- Are you creative?
- Are you detail oriented?
- Are you a good problem-solver?
- Are you prepared to work in extreme weather conditions?
- Are you in good physical condition?
- Are you a good communicator?
- Are you a self-starter?
- Are you okay with getting your hands (and knees) dirty?
If you answered a resounding “yes” to these questions, you are well on your way!
Why is Horticulture a big deal?
Just take a look around you. Don’t you just love what nature has to offer… (minus the little critters that bite, of course)? Sure, the summertime brings on the rapid growth of the grass and demands to be mowed, but isn’t it prettier than the pavement? Without the jewels of the garden, the flowers, it would really be boring. What about the beautiful trees or fields of corn? It’s all here so we may enjoy it; however, to a Horticulturist, it is exceptionally beautiful and they understand the importance of preserving it for future generations.
Oh, and perhaps the most important part of preserving our earth’s plant life is that we need it to breathe. We learned in elementary school that plants produce the oxygen in which we rely on for survival. Plants also produce food, fuel, and medicines. They provide building materials for shelter and fiber for our clothes. There are many other advantages… but you get the point, right? We should all do our best to sustain an environment that will be there for our children for years to come. It’s our responsibility as inhabitants on this planet!
If you have decided to become a Horticulturist, many thanks to you for “watching over” what many have tried to destroy. As you embark on this exciting career, rest assured, you will be rewarded in the personal satisfaction of a job well done!
How can I share my love of Horticulture or Gardening with others?
Show of hands, please… How many started loving gardening at an early age? In most cases, a career in this field has been carefully fostered by our parents or perhaps our grandparents. Maybe farming runs in your family… it’s in your blood! That’s great and a real love for something needs to be shared.
If you are just beginning your career, you will rely on others to share their knowledge with you. If you have children or grandchildren yourself, perhaps you would like to share with them the joy that gardening brings into your life. Lessons learned in a horticulture certificate program will supply you with the skills needed to teach your own young students about the advantages and happiness a garden provides.
There are many ways to get others involved, such as:
- Sharing your plants with others. Dividing Daylilies or Hostas is a great way to make friends with new neighbors.
- Planning a garden with the kiddos is a lot of fun,
- Planting it and watching it grow… even better!
- Plan a day trip to the nearest garden or park in your community. Talk about the various plants, trees, and flower species.
- If you have a small plot of land not being used, ask your neighborhood children to help you plant and they can gather the crops to take home to their families,
- Ask your friends to help you in the garden, plan a meal, and help you cook. Eating together brings families and friends together.
- Growing a vegetable garden and sharing the produce with a food pantry or a family in need is the absolute best!
The best way to share your love for gardening is by sharing your knowledge.
A few famous quotes to ponder on:
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” -Luther Burbank
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln
“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” –Helen Keller
Find a School that is right for YOU!
If you would like to learn more about this field, please see our choices for the Best Online Schools for Horticulture.