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What is a horticulturist?

A horticulturist is someone who is skilled in the science of cultivating, managing, and propagating plants. They use their knowledge to provide advice to fruit, vegetable, and flower growers and farmers, or to design gardens and landscapes in a way that maintains a healthy environment for plants to thrive. 

Horticulturists might work in various settings, including botanical gardens, agricultural organisations, garden centres, nursery operations, landscape design companies, and government agencies. 

What does a horticulturist do?

Depending on where they work, a horticulturist’s daily duties can include:

  • Cultivating plants like flowers, fruits, vegetables, and spices, and engaging in plant care 
  • Consulting with farmers and growers on harvesting techniques, soil irrigation, and crop maximisation
  • Implementing drainage systems
  • Sports turf management and land management 
  • Designing beautiful landscapes with plants that thrive together
  • Propagating, seeding, fertilising, and maintaining crops 
  • Inspecting for pests & diseases and treating plants 
  • Experimenting with plants to produce new strains or varieties .

What is the best horticulture course?

The best courses for learning horticulture in Australia are the Certificate II and Certificate III in Horticulture. These nationally recognised qualifications prepare you with all the essential information you need to begin your career as a horticulturist. 

Certificate II in Horticulture 

This course prepares you for a career in horticulture by teaching you the fundamentals. You will be able to choose an area of specialisation, including nursery, parks and gardens, and landscaping. The course covers subjects like: 

  • Plant identification
  • Collecting, preparing, and preserving plant specimens 
  • Assisting with soil sampling and testing 
  • Planting trees and shrubs 
  • Treating weeds, plant pests, and diseases 
  • Participating in environmentally sustainable practices 
  • Undertaking propagation activities 
  • Operating basic machinery and equipment 
  • Assisting with landscape construction work.

The course is self-paced and can be completed in around 18 months. Upon completion, you can apply for roles like Crop Worker, Gardener, Horticulturist Assistant, Nursery Assistant, or Landscaping Assistant. 

Certificate III in Horticulture

This more advanced course builds on the fundamentals taught in the Certificate II in Horticulture and also includes a workplace project that provides valuable practical experience in a real-world setting under the guidance of an expert. The course covers topics such as:

  • Implementing a plant nutrition program 
  • Controlling weeds 
  • Coordinating site inspections 
  • Conducting operational inspection of park facilities Implementing a grass area maintenance program 
  • Providing information on plants and their culture 
  • Implementing soil improvements for garden and turf areas. 

The course is self-paced and can be completed in around 24 months. Upon successful completion, you can apply for roles such as Landscape Assistant or Horticulturist.

How much you can earn after horticulture courses

According to current resources, the average annual salary for horticulturists in Australia is $66,295, or $34 per hour.  Entry-level horticulturists can earn $60,450 while more experienced positions can offer up to $77,218 per year. 

How to become a horticulturist

This is an example career path to becoming a horticulturist in Australia:

  1. Start with a Certificate II or a Certificate III in Horticulture. These courses will prepare you with the fundamental knowledge you need to begin your career. 
  2. Consider expanding your knowledge with a certification in various specialisations, such as irrigation or chemical application. 
  3. Gain work experience with an advanced Horticulturist to build upon your knowledge in a practical setting. 

What are the skills you need to be a horticulturist?

Depending on which branch of horticulture you choose to specialise in, and where you want your career path to head, you may require different skills. That said, these are some important horticulture skills:

Love of nature 

As a horticulturist, you will be spending the majority of your time in the garden, talking about plants, tending to plants, and researching plants. A love of nature and ability to get your hands dirty is therefore essential, as is the desire to promote sustainable work practices. 

Plant knowledge 

Horticulturists must have an in-depth knowledge of plants and what they need in order to thrive. This includes nutrition, water requirements, environmental tolerances, and growth habits. They must know how to identify plant species and spot signs of disease or infestation, how to care for plants, and how to propagate plants. 

Research and analysis 

If you choose to follow a more research-based horticulturist career path, then you may need the ability to research and analyse information. This can help you develop new plant varieties, improve cultivation techniques, or simply build on your existing knowledge. 


It’s important for horticulturists to communicate complex plant information to audiences who may not be as well-versed in the science, such as gardeners, landscape designers, or farmers.

Is it hard to be a horticulturist?

Horticulture is an extremely rewarding career and it can be very fulfilling to spend your days working in the garden or tending to plants. That said, there can be some challenges to the role. For example, it can occasionally be physically demanding with lots of bending over, kneeling, and working outdoors in less than optimal weather conditions. 

It’s also important to be able to carry a wide breadth of knowledge so that you can identify different plant species and know how to care for each one individually. If you don’t have the ability to retain large amounts of information, this can be a difficult aspect to the role. 

What are the benefits of horticulture courses

Many people think a love of gardening is all that’s needed, however studying a course is essential to building the foundational knowledge required to forge a career as a horticulturist. 

You’ll not only learn about various plants, growing techniques, treating weeds & diseases, environmental sustainability, soil sampling and testing, but also how you can develop specialisations in various areas and pursue different career paths. The Certificate III in Horticulture, particularly, also includes a valuable work project conducted on-site that provides important practical experience in the field. 

Should you study a horticulture course online?

Absolutely! Online horticulture courses are the best way to study for several reasons:

  • Start when you want: You can enrol as soon as tomorrow – no need to wait for a semester start date!
  • Enrol from anywhere: You’re free to study from anywhere in Australia. 
  • Self-paced: Online courses are self-paced, so you can complete them in your own time as long as it’s within the course timeframe. 
  • Flexibility: Online study means you can fit study into your current work and life commitments, work at a time that suits you, and from anywhere you like!

Is a horticulturist a good career?

Horticulture is a fantastic career for anyone who loves working with plants and is passionate about nature. You’ll spend the majority of your time in the garden, tending to plants, and advising growers and farmers on best practices. At the end of the day, you’ll feel fulfilled knowing you are helping create thriving natural environments that not only look beautiful but are also cultivated sustainably. 

Horticulture courses online

Ready to cultivate your passion for plants and kickstart your thriving horticulture career? Start by exploring our online horticulture courses on this page, and enrol as soon as tomorrow! 


  1. How do I become a horticulturist in Australia?
    Start with a Certificate II or Certificate III in Horticulture. This course will give you all the foundation knowledge you need to kickstart your horticulture career.

  2. How long is a horticulture course?
    The Certificate II in Horticulture takes around 18 months to complete and the Certificate III in Horticulture can be completed in around 24 months.

  3. How much is a horticulture course?
    This depends on the course you enrol in, the institution, and the payment method you use. Many institutions offer payment plans and may even offer a discount for some students. Browse our courses and ask for a free class pack to learn more about pricing.

  4. Is being a horticulturist a hard job?
    This depends on who you ask! Horticulture requires an enormous breadth of skills and knowledge to identify and care for various plant species. It can also be physically demanding as it involves manual labour and working outdoors for extended periods of time. For some people, this can be challenging.

  5. What is the next level after being a horticulturist?
    After working as a horticulturist, you can consider specialising in more advanced areas in the horticulture industry, such as Plant Pathologist, Ornamental Horticulturist, or Landscape Designer.

  6. What is the difference between a horticulturist and a botanist?
    Botanists tend to focus on studying the theory and science of plants, while horticultures apply this science in practical settings. In other words, they’re more hands-on in the field.