10 Careers in Horticulture: Average Salaries and Primary Duties

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 October 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.

if you love being outdoors, a career in the horticulture industry may be an option for you as it can involve many professionals such as growers, landscapers and harvesters. Horticulture careers typically focus on the maintenance of gardens and the growing of plants. Discovering some of the roles in gardening and growing can help you set career goals in the horticulture industry. In this article, we discuss 10 different careers in horticulture and explore their primary duties and average salaries.

What are careers in horticulture?

There is a wide range of careers in horticulture with varying responsibilities. Horticulture is essentially the science and practice of growing plants and creating aesthetic gardens. Roles in horticulture may include using heavy machinery when harvesting or undertaking earthworks. Local shires and councils may employ horticulture professionals to maintain public parks and trim branches along busy roads.

The typical responsibilities of a career in horticulture may include:

  • growing specific plants

  • cultivating crops

  • maintaining gardens

  • creating gardens

  • laying and farming grass

  • trimming hedges and trees

  • relocating trees and plants

  • studying plant behaviour

  • studying plant genetics

  • operating earthwork machinery

  • using gardening tools

  • making floral arrangements

  • providing garden care

Related: How to Set Career Goals

10 jobs in horticulture

The horticulture industry involves a wide range of professionals who are responsible for different tasks, such as creating gardens or growing flowers. Many careers in horticulture take place outdoors and require physical work, such as digging with a shovel, operating a hedge trimmer and lifting heavy potted plants. Several duties may take place indoors, such as researching plant genetics or growing specific plants in a controlled setting. Below you can find 10 horticulture careers along with their national average salaries and primary duties:

1. Landscape labourer

National average salary: $53,714 per year

Primary duties: A landscape labourer usually works with a landscaping team to create gardens and garden features. Depending on the client's requests, landscape labourers can expect to cover a wide range of duties. Using hand tools and power tools, they lay lawn, create outdoor features, plant trees and provide garden maintenance services. Landscape labourers usually work for a landscaping company or business that provides gardening services.

2. Garden associate

National average salary: $53,809 per year

Primary duties: Garden associates typically focus on the maintenance of gardens to preserve their appearance. They have knowledge in cultivation and skills in operating gardening tools. Some of the tools they can expect to use are hedge trimmers, lawn trimmers, leaf blowers and whipper-snippers. Garden associates generally work for businesses with involvement in horticulture.

3. Horticulturist

National average salary: $55,987 per year

Primary duties: Horticulturists generally focus on cultivating and propagating plants. They typically have technical knowledge in growing fruit, flowers, vegetables and crops. Horticulturists may advise and provide information to clients, farmers and growing businesses. They usually work for horticultural and gardening companies.

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4. Groundskeeper

National average salary: $57,472 per year

Primary duties: Groundskeepers are essentially garden associates who maintain large parks, golf courses, garden centres and sporting fields. Some organisations that have gardens and sporting fields, such as schools, may employ a team of groundskeepers in a full-time position. Operating large mowing machines and using gardening tools to maintain hedges are a few of the responsibilities of a groundskeeper. They usually work for organisations with large gardens and fields that require maintenance.

5. Harvester

National average salary: $59,669 per year

Primary duties: A harvester uses advanced harvesting principles and machinery to gather fruit, vegetables and crops. Harvesters typically manage a team of pickers on market gardens and orchards or operate large machines to harvest crops. Harvesters typically work on agricultural farms.

6. Trimmer

National average salary: $60,558 per year

Primary duties: A trimmer is a specialist at shaping hedges, trees and plants. Using gardening tools such as a hedge trimmer, they create elaborate and aesthetic gardens. Trimmers may also work with local councils to cut back hazardous trees and branches that hang over roads. Trimmers may work for private clients, local councils or gardening businesses.

7. Nursery worker

National average salary: $60,771 per year

Primary duties: Nursery workers provide care and maintenance to growing plants. They also provide information to customers on how to care for their plants and may offer advice on which plants are best for their homes. Nursery workers generally work in plant and garden nurseries.

8. Grower

National average salary: $63,896 per year

Primary duties: A grower is someone who specialises in plant breeding and horticultural science. Growers monitor soil health, plant health and growing conditions. Through breeding and propagation, they grow plants for businesses and clients. A grower usually has their own company or works on an agricultural farm that grows fruits, crops and vegetables.

9. Nursery manager

National average salary: $71,007 per year

Primary duties: Nursery managers usually supervise and coordinate a nursery to ensure their plants are healthy and well-cared for. They implement management processes to help keep plant stock organised and to maintain plant care. Nursery managers may also focus on the business operation of a nursery. This may include allocating shifts, paying invoices, ordering plants and assessing inventory.

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

10. Landscape foreman

National average salary: $85,964 per year

Primary duties: A landscape foreman is a professional who uses their knowledge of horticulture to design outdoor features, paths, gardens and walkways. A landscape foreman may use their creativity and knowledge in gardening and construction to create golf courses, hotel resort gardens and public gardens. They generally work for businesses in horticulture or for businesses that provide civic construction services.

Relevant skills in horticulture

As a professional in the horticulture industry, you can usually benefit from having a wide range of skills. Careers in horticulture have the potential to require a certain level of imagination and creativity. Typically, people want aesthetically pleasing gardens, so having skills such as attention to detail can help you create them. Below you can find some of the skills that may be relevant to careers in the horticultural industry:

Attention to detail

Some clients and businesses may be particular about their gardens or grounds. Having attention to detail can help you create or maintain beautiful gardens that fit the aesthetic of the clients' requests. Focusing on organisation and training your brain with puzzles may improve your attention to detail.

Physical fitness

If you're considering the role of a landscaper then you may choose to evaluate your fitness. As a landscaper, you can expect to undertake a lot of heavy lifting and physical activities. Shifting dirt and soil via a wheelbarrow is one of the most common duties you may have as a landscape labourer. You can improve your physical fitness by eating healthily, getting appropriate rest and performing physical exercises.

Communication

When creating a garden or explaining to a client which plants are best for their garden, having effective communication skills may help you. If you're a landscaping foreman and your potential client asks for a quote, having effective communication skills can ensure your quote is accurate and informative. Practising good communication habits, such as active listening and attending skill workshops can help improve your communication skills.

Creativity

When designing gardens, a sense of creativity can help you create outdoor features and garden arrangements. If you're creating a garden for a client, they could potentially ask you to design it. Having creativity can help you choose popular plant arrangements that are aesthetically pleasing for the client. Attending skill workshops, participating in art courses and reading can often help improve your creativity.

Related: Six Character Traits that Attract Employers

Frequently asked questions

Below you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about a career in horticulture:

Is it hard to find a career in horticulture?

Some career paths in horticulture may be more challenging than others. They aren't necessarily hard, but they may require dedication and commitment. The career of a landscape labourer does not typically require any form of qualification or experience. The role of a landscape labourer is an excellent way to start your career in the horticultural industry.

Finding a management career in horticulture, such as a landscape foreman, generally requires you to complete a qualification and have extensive work experience. Gaining knowledge and skills in management or horticulture might increase your job opportunities. You can apply for a career in horticulture using the Indeed Job Board.

Related: How to Develop Your Skillset to Advance Your Career

What is the best career in horticulture?

The horticulture career that is best for you can depend on your skills, motives and passions. Horticulture covers many professions that have unique responsibilities. Some careers may be more physical than others, so if you enjoy physical work, the role of a landscaper may be the best option for you.

Horticulture also involves the scientific study of plant genetics and the breeding of plant specimens. If you have a passion for science and enjoy researching, then the career of a grower may be best for you. If you're still unsure of which role you might enjoy the most, then you may consider studying for a certificate or bachelor's degree in horticulture. These courses can provide you with an opportunity to experience different fields within the horticulture industry.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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