Career as a Horticultural Scientist

A Horticultural is someone who uses scientific knowledge to cultivate and propagate plants, and then uses this knowledge to provide technical information to fruit, vegetable and flower growers as well as farmers. A horticulturist will conduct pest and disease investigations and experiment with improved varieties of plants with greater resistance to disease. Their work may involve a mixture of field trials, laboratory work and data analysis in one of a wide range of different research areas, such as:

  • Using genetic analysis to select better breeds of sheep, cattle and other farm animals
  • Developing more pest-resistant varieties of crop plants.
  • Studying how to minimize the environmental impact of farming.
  • Looking at ways to minimize the release of greenhouse gases such as methane.
  • Developing vaccines and medicines to improve animal health and productivity.

A Horticulturist can have many different roles, but as a general rule, they are the people that are experts in the growth of food and other types of plants. Horticultural scientists can work in industry, education, government, or private institutions. A horticulturist may engage in plant research, usually within a particular discipline. Some professionals learn about plant evolution and development under natural conditions while some may conduct research in very controlled settings. They may join construction or landscaping companies to design and develop the landscape for a specific site. A horticulturist may also serve as a consultant to a range of customers such as farmers or landscapers. Not all the work of a horticulturist is spent out in the field. They make sure their client or place of work is in accordance with proper horticultural policies and standards. An experienced horticulturist may work in the education sector, becoming a professor and teaching students who are interested in horticulture. They may even write for publications, lead environmental cleanup efforts, or give public speeches regarding environmental sustainability and protection.

  • Most Horticultural Scientists work outside, in greenhouses, or in labs, depending on their specialized work. In general, working in horticulture involves a lot of hands-on work. Whether planting, pruning, or harvesting, there is a lot of physical work involved. While Horticultural scientists tend to keep regular hours, their workload gets busier during the planting and harvesting seasons.

  • A Bachelor's/ Master’s Degree in Horticulture • Senior-level researchers usually need a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

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