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Maybe the scale of farming and forestry isn’t what appeals to you. The art and science of growing plants is horticulture. As a horticulturist you may work with the growing of food such as fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables, decorative features such as flowers and shrubs or practical features such as sporting grounds.

Horticulturists work and conduct research in the fields of plant propagation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic engineering, plant biochemistry, and plant physiology. The work particularly involves fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, and turf. Horticulturalists work to improve crop yield, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. 

Most work in the sector occurs in two fields, with different priorities and focuses. Amenity horticulture is the creation of nice looking plant life, in parks, green spaces and gardens.  It starts with the design and construction of recreational areas such as parks, nature reserves, wildlife gardens, and roadside plantings, amongst other designed landscapes.

If you work in commercial horticulture you will be growing fruit and vegetables that will then be used for food. Growing potatoes and mushrooms are currently the two biggest areas of employment in this sector. Commercial horticulture includes floristry and retail horticulture too. Technology and advances in plant genetic research offer the potential for new products, new production methods and new approaches to the market for horticultural products which will drive growth and opportunities for the sector. 

Job prospects are very good in this area as Irish people become more environmentally aware and show a greater interest in their gardens, in growing their own food crops, and in the outdoor world in general.


Occupations in Horticulture
(sorted by Job Zone)

Horticulturalist / Gardener

Works at growing and caring for plants, flowers, trees and fruit in a range of domestic, cultural or commercial settings.

Commercial Horticultural Worker

Commercial horticultural workers grow, look after and harvest plant stock. The work may involve spraying, mulching, pruning, picking and grading.

Greenkeeper / Amenity Horticulturalist

Operates a variety of commercial grass cutting machinery and other equipment in amenity horticulture environment e.g. sports ground maintenance.

Garden Centre Worker
Provide basic horticultural and gardening advice to retail customers.
Horticultural Manager
Supervises and manages the running of a garden centre or orchard.
Soil Scientist

Soil scientists study soil and advise clients on its management and conservation. They survey and map soils, and produce information on their various properties and possible uses.

Horticultural Scientist

Horticultural scientists study the science and technology of plant cultivation.