Some common career paths available to horticulturists include greenhouse manager, landscape designer, botanical gardens manager and golf course superintendent. Additional career options are plant breeder, research scientist, arboretum director and geneticist. Horticulturists may also work as entrepreneurs, business owners and professors.
Horticulturists oversee all aspects of plant life. They focus primarily on plant health, disease complications, insect interference and environmental influences. They work both in the food (edibles) and non-food (ornamentals) sectors to apply their expertise; non-food crops refer to areas such as grass and ornamental trees. Horticulture also deals with herbs, seaweed, algae, mushrooms and sprouts.
There are nine further specialized subsets in horticulture, including viticulture, or the production of grapes; floriculture, or the production of flowers; olericulture, or the production of vegetables and arboriculture, or the study of trees, vines and shrubs. Additonal subsets include turf management; oenology, or the study of wine and pomology, which focuses on apples and similar fruits. Other subfields of horticulture are landscape horticulture and post-harvest physiology.
Horticulture is an ancient practice that goes back more than 6,000 years. Horticulture and agriculture are often confused with one another. The main difference between agriculture and horticulture is that agriculture tends to focus only on large crops, while horticulture is often organized around smaller, more diversified plots of mixed crops.