Career as a Horticulturist
Many of us may think that horticulturalists are the people working only in garden centers, however, the field of horticulture is actually quite vast, with a wide range of potential career paths. Horticulture is the mainstream of agriculture that deals with the cultivation of plants, vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, ornamental trees, maintaining nurseries, gardens, orchards and plantations. It is an extremely diversified field with nearly unlimited career opportunities in a variety of job settings. Horticulturalists work with plants and apply their knowledge to fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and non-food crops to maximize their health or growth.
Horticulturalists can find jobs as farming specialists in vineyards, agriculture estates and fruit orchards. The major job of a horticulturist is to assess forests and bush for rehabilitation and data gathering, harvest seeds and cultivate young trees and plants, collect field and control samples of roots, green matter and yields for analysis, measure forest and agricultural metrics on an ongoing basis, create and maintain onsite and offsite resources like nurseries, young forest sites, seeding, planting, greenhouse, process horticultural specimens and also work in remote locations in all weather conditions.
Eligibility to become Horticulturist
Many horticulturists major in horticulture, botany or biology. The career path of a horticulturist generally includes botany, plant biology, soil science, pest management, and genetics. To become a horticulturist, one must attain the minimum academic benchmark as well as related experience.
The academic qualifications required to become a horticulturist is stated below:
Subject Combination – Science Stream (Physics, Chemistry and Maths/Biology/Agriculture) in Class XII.
Exam – Horticulture Common Entrance Test (HORTICET), Vellanikara College of Horticulture Entrance Exam, Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry Entrance Exam, MCAER PGCET.
For Undergraduate Courses - To pursue a Bachelor’s course in horticulture sciences, candidates must clear class XII with the combination of physics, chemistry and mathematics/ biology/ agriculture.
For Postgraduate Courses - For Master’s degree, candidates must have completed their undergraduation with minimum 60% marks.
For Doctoral Courses - For Ph.D. programmes, candidates must have PG/ masters degree in the relevant field. For admissions in Ph.D. programmes, various universities conduct their own entrance examination.
Types of Job Roles Horticulturist
The field of horticulture holds ample scope. Horticulturists can find jobs in institutes of horticulture, in plantations, vegetable farms as well as fruit groves. Advancement in horticultural technology, increasing product demands, and a growing export industry make this an extremely lucrative career option. Following are some of the job profiles if one wishes to pursue a career as a horticulturist:
Floriculturist: A floriculturist focuses on the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens, floral industry and for export. He/she propagates, grows and markets of all cut flowers, flower seeds and seedlings.
Olericulturist: An Olericulturist deals with the production, storage, processing, and marketing of vegetables. Olericulturist can start their career in industry, research institutes, universities and other organizations at various levels.
Pomologists: They study the cultivation of edible nuts and fruits, including pears, oranges, strawberries, walnuts and almonds. They are responsible for cultivating new fruits and nuts, as well as maximizing the production of existing varieties.
Horticultural Technician: Horticultural technician grows and sustains plants which can be used for food, medicine, education or decoration. The job includes fertilizing, planting, watering, pruning and transplanting plants as well as diagnosing and treating plant diseases.
Horticultural Supervisor: He/she is responsible for overseeing the cultivation and planting of different types of crops, plants, shrubs, and turf. They also inspect plants for damage and diseases, which can help to determine potential landscaping problems.
Horticulture Manager: Horticulture Manager is a hands-on leader, who actively works in the daily horticultural tasks in the exterior gardens and greenhouses. He/she establishes and maintains high horticultural standards and practices and provides direction, training and motivation for the horticultural staff.
Horticulture Consultant: Horticulture consultant gives advice to farmers about crop choices, soil usage and fertilizer options. The job is to successfully cultivate and to achieve higher yields while meeting a business’s financial objectives.
Ornamental Horticulturist: He/she works with plants used in decoration or recreation, which is mostly done at a nursery, floral shop or landscaping company.
Employment Opportunities for a Horticulturist
There are a lot of students who choose to pursue horticulture studies in India. In terms of employment opportunities, horticulturist has a lot of scope since it deals with agriculture and plant breeding. Therefore, the job opportunities for horticulturists in both public and private enterprises is immense. Some of the top sectors where a horticulturist can work are listed below:
- Sales & Marketing
- Irrigation Department
- Health farms
- Export industry
- Field Work and Research
- Food Corporation
- Services Sector
Top Recruiting Companies for a Horticulturist
Some of the top recruiting companies where a horticulturist can work are mentioned below:
- Casa Verde Growers
- Sun Valley Landscaping
- Green Decor
- Interior Plantscapes
- Shorb Landscaping
- ER&M ecological restoration and management
- Greater Texas Landscape Services
- Iffco Kisan Sanchar Limited
Pay Scale/Salary of Horticulturist
A horticulturist can be paid lucratively as the industry is growing rapidly and there is a great need of good quality plants, flowers, fruits. Although both the private and public sectors offer a good remuneration to its employees, the salary of a horticulturist in the private sector is more as compared to the public sector. A horticulturist get handsome salary apart from other benefits as fixed by the respective firm/company. As a fresher in this field, one can earn Rs. 1.8 to Rs. 2.5 lacs per annum. However, after gaining experience, one can expect a subsequent hike in the pay package.
Books & Study Material to Become Horticulturist
For those wishing to enter into the horticulture industry will have to qualify the entrance exams related to horticulture. For that, one will have to study from the best books and study material available for exam preparation to achieve good results in exams. Here is a list of some best books that can be useful to study horticulture:
- Basic Horticulture by Jitendra Singh
- Handbook of Horticulture by K.L Chadha
- Horticulture at a glance by Dr. A.S Selaria
- The Fundamentals of Horticulture by Chris Bird
- Introductory ornamental horticulture by J.S Arora
- Instant Horticulture by S.N.Gupta
- Glaustas Horticulture by P.Muthukumar & R.Selvakumar
Pros of becoming a Horticulturist
- Horticulturists have working knowledge of plant species and their characteristics, as well as their ecological impact on their environment.
- This field offers a variety of career opportunities in the areas of retail management, crop inspection, research, teaching.
- Even during economic recessions, employment is relatively stable in the food industry.
Cons of becoming a Horticulturist
- Horticulturists are exposed to hazardous or toxic chemicals during work.
- In this field, there are some positions, such as researchers that require extensive training.
- There are a limited number of jobs in research and teaching.