Horticulturist Vs Gardener: What’s the Difference?

If you’re considering a career working with plants in Australia, you might be wondering what’s the difference between a horticulturist and a professional gardener. Both professions revolve around the cultivation and care of plants, but they’re not exactly the same thing

In this article, we’ll examine what horticulturists and gardeners do in Australia, and outline the key differences between these two professions.

What is a Horticulturist in Australia?

In Australia, a horticulturist is a professional who has a deep understanding of the science and art of growing and cultivating plants. They hold a formal qualification, such as a Certificate III in Horticulture or a related field, such as parks and gardens, arboriculture or agriculture.


Professional qualified amenity horticultural landscape gardener

Gardeners and horticulturists: do you know the difference? Image source

In Australia, horticulturists work in a variety of settings, including commercial nurseries, amenity landscapes, botanic gardens, research institutions, and agricultural production. They may specialise in breeding and developing new plant varieties, the cultural practices necessary for optimum growth, or the management of pests and diseases that affect plants.

What is a Professional Gardener in Australia?

Professional gardeners in Australia are not qualified, they’re essentially horticultural labourers. They’ll often work in domestic or commercial gardens, performing similar tasks to horticulturists such as lawn mowing, hedge pruning and weed spraying.

Key Differences between Horticulturists and Gardeners in Australia

A horticulturist is a gardener, but a gardener is not necessarily a horticulturist.

The main difference is the level of knowledge and skills they have related to plant growth and cultivation, as well as their qualification. Because horticulturists have a more advanced and specialised understanding of plant biology, ecology, and other related subjects, they’re better equipped to understand the root cause of a plant problem, and to amend accordingly.

Why Does This Matter?

Horticulturists and gardeners are both incredibly valuable, but it’s important to understand the difference, because horticulturists should be able to charge a higher rate due to their investment in the field.

It’s not fair for gardeners and horticulturists to be considered the same thing, any more than it is for a handyman and a carpenter to be lumped in together.

Choosing the Right Path for You in Australia

It’s up to you whether you’d like to gain a qualification and separate yourself from unqualified labouring gardeners. There’s no right way.

If you’re looking for a job to get you through until you figure out what you really want to do, or you’re just testing the field to see how you feel about it, a gardening job will fit the bill.

But if you’re fully committed to horticulture and want to be in this industry for the rest of your life, consider gaining a qualification in horticulture.

A Cert 3 will allow you to call yourself a horticulturist, but don’t limit yourself! Gaining higher qualifications can earn a higher wage and allow you to specialise in a niche that really excites you.

Hort People Job Board

Hort People is the Australian horticulture industry job board, where all jobs have an advertised salary to help you make an educated choice about the next step in your career.

There are over 60 categories for you to browse, which will help you find a good niche to specialise in. Click here

You can also upload your resume so that employers can chase you. Click here

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