What types of Horticulture can I pursue?

As you eat your dinner tonight, think about the steps taken to get that buttery corn-on-the-cob from the field to your plate. (By the way, you can thank an olericulturist for that!) Most of us take it for granted, as we are accustomed to easily opening the freezer section door at the Piggly Wiggly, grabbing a bag and before we know it, we are sawing our way across the deliciousness!

From a seed in the ground to your plate, the science of horticulture plays an important role in the process. Although most online horticulture programs will touch base on a brief overview of each category, perhaps you would like to know about the different types of branches that exist, so you can decide which study is best for you. If you are interested in a particular field, you may want to locate a program that concentrates on your chosen interest.

Horticulture can be divided into two different areas of study. Typically, all plants are categorized as ornamentals or edibles. We will begin with the subject of ornamentals. This realm of horticulture includes plants that are grown for gardens or landscaping, particularly plants that are beautiful and decorative. Also included are foliage, stems and bark that are used in floral arrangements in an aesthetic form. This also includes grasses, trees and houseplants.

Arboriculture involves the care of trees. Arborists are trained to study, plant and nurture shrubs, vines and trees of all types, for residential and commercial customers. They also work with state or community parks, as well as, for those that need trees removed or pruned.

Floriculture describes the study of flowers, including planting from seeds into pots or mass crop plantings. A floral designer is included in this category as they combine flowers and greenery to produce beautiful arrangements.

Turf Management focuses on all aspects of growing and maintaining grass for residential or commercial lawns, as well as, for sporting events and golf courses. This science studies the affects of soil quality, sufficient watering and the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Landscape Horticulture can cover a variety of topics; however, they are all related. A landscaper is usually tasked with designing lawns in a residential or commercial setting. They are also hired to design and maintain city parks or other public areas. They are experts on the types of plants needed, how well they will thrive in certain applications and they must also please their clients. Excellent customer service and marketing skills are needed in this career choice.

Nursery/Plant Propagation specialist develop plants from seed. Such plants include ornamental plants, shrubs, trees and ground covers. They work to design landscaping plants that thrive in dry areas of the country or that are hardy in harsh weather conditions, such as excessive snow and low temperatures.

The category of edibles is self-explanatory. Anything we can consume as a form of food or that can be cultivated into drink, such as grapes that make wine, is considered to be an edible.  Below you will find fields of study that fall into the edible category.

Pomology is focused on the study of fruit-bearing crops. Pomologist study the development and care of all types of fruit trees, whether it is a single tree in a homeowner’s yard or an entire orchard. Pomology includes a tree’s growth from planting through to its fruit-bearing stages. They work to enhance the quality of fruit that we enjoy every day.

An olericulturist loves their veggies, no doubt! The study of Olericulture focuses closely with the planting, cultivating, storage and marketing of vegetables, from seedling to harvest.

Viticulture and Oenology are both fields that focus on the production and distribution of grapes. Viticulture includes the science, care and harvesting of grapes in the vineyard. Oenology includes the study of wine and winemaking. They are trained in the outdoor and indoor aspects of making wine.

Spices and Plantation Crops do not fall into any of the above referenced categories, however, they are a unique part of horticulture that deserves a shout out. Spices, such as cinnamon, cilantro and sage, are a very important part of our culture and without them, life would be dull. Plantation crops include vanilla and coffee.

The Medicinal and Aromatic Plants category include plants that are used to produce medicines, such as garlic, thyme and ginger, as well as, the bark from a willow tree which is used to make aspirin. Aromatic plants such as mint, lavender and the eucalyptus plant are used for aromatherapy.

Postharvest physiology deals with crops after they have been harvested from the field. Great pains are taken to assure that a quality food item is delivered to our grocery stores for our human consumption. Every piece of produce and every ingredient must me guaranteed fresh without spoilage to prevent food poisoning. In this important step, crop preservation involves canning, pickling and freezing our food properly. In addition, marketing and sales are an integral part of this process as well.

Interestingly, there are a few foods that don’t fall into a specific category. They include nuts, honey and mushrooms; however, they are an equally important part of horticulture and are consumed on a daily basis.

If you would like to learn more about these important aspects of agriculture, perhaps you will want to check out our choices for the Best Online Schools for Horticulture.