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Hey plant friends!
I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
Have you ever wondered, “Could working with plants really be my full-time job?” Well, dear plant friend, the answer is a resounding yes! There is a whole world of opportunities waiting for you in the horticulture industry should you decide to turn your plant passion into a career. In this episode, we’ll dig into 9 jobs in horticulture with my dear friend, Daniel Fuller. Daniel is a national council member for the Australian Institute of Horticulture, host of the “Plants Grow Here” podcast, and a writer for publications like the Hort Journal Australia.
With over a decade of experience as a maintenance gardener, he offers a valuable perspective on helping people find meaningful careers in horticulture.
Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung
If playing in the dirt all day sounds like your dream scenario, maintenance gardening could be the ultimate entry point role. As Daniel shared from experience, it’s one of the easiest horticulture jobs to get into since no background qualifications are required.
You’ll learn on the job as you use a whipper snapper (similar to a weed whacker), mow lawns, and complete other garden upkeep at private homes, business parks, botanical gardens, and more. Hard work for sure, but rewarding and therapeutic nonetheless. Over time, you can get qualifications to move into team leader or management roles for better pay.
If you love chatting about plants with other enthusiasts, working at a local retail nursery could help you turn that people passion into a paycheck. Daniel notes it's another glamorous entry point that keeps your hands clean(er). While retail does come with its own “baptism by fire” as you quickly have to learn correct plant ID and care to keep customers happy, you'll be sharing helpful recommendations and your favorites in no time.
Ever wonder where big box stores and local nurseries get their young plants before sale? These propagation nurseries focus on cloning and tissue culturing new plants from breeder specimens on a commercial scale before distribution. The work can be repetitive manual labor, but it’s absolutely necessary for supply chain distribution.
On the flip side, if you want to create something entirely new (and patented), a career in plant breeding might be calling your name eventually. This advanced niche focuses on selecting plants for ideal growing traits, cross-pollination to express the features you want, and ultimately introducing improved and adaptable new varieties.
The long game timeline means paid placements are limited without higher education like PhDs, but could be an end goal for the patient botanist.
Landscape designers plan outdoor spaces, choose beautiful plants for the space, include trendy hardscaping, and make sure local regulations are followed. Again, qualifications differ, with landscape architects requiring more complex certifications like bachelor’s degrees. Either way, you'll be the creative designer who sets the outdoor stage that maintenance staff and construction staff later bring to life.
For landscape construction, a hands-on career combining tangible creation with plants could be for you if you're into irrigation, walls, pathways, or decorative touches. Trade qualifications in landscape construction are useful for honing best practices in this area.
Managing teams in gardens, upkeep teams, landscaping companies, or other plant-related businesses helps the industry run well and keeps your plants looking great. You can pick up management skills from reading, but as Daniel notes, real servant leadership is about caring deeply for both plants and people. You'll likely earn more than those in non-leadership roles, but you'll have less time with the plants as you guide the success of your team.
If you love gardening and don't want to do physically demanding work as you get older, you can use your connections in the gardening world to help you. You can become a salesperson or business developer and use your knowledge, product insights, and relationships to sell things like gardening products, services, or plants to other gardening experts. They'll value your expertise, and you can earn money through commissions.
After getting the right certification, teaching the trade skills you've learned can be a fulfilling career choice that doesn't require strenuous physical work. To become an instructor at a vocational school, you should demonstrate your current industry experience in addition to your formal education. Even if you don't have advanced degrees, serving as a knowledgeable mentor for the next generation can ensure your expertise is passed down for many years.
Finally, as Daniel and I can attest, you might choose to grow your own personal brand as a plant influencer, podcaster, writer, or content creator. While social media makes this seem easy, truly thriving as a plantfluencer over the long term requires consistent dedication to ongoing education and delivering value, not just viral entertainment.
If you’d rather use your expertise to create content for established gardening companies instead of building your own platform, opportunities abound there too. Know your plants, love researching proper care, and any smart brand will add you to their content arsenal in a heartbeat!
I hope it sparks some inspiration or validation to start your career in horticulture. As Daniel emphasized, every one of these paths can provide not just living wages but also deep life meaning, community, and mentorship as you broaden your skills. Additional formal education never hurts for more advanced slots, but on the job training paired with the right attitude and passion shines brightest when it comes to growing talent.
So which ways to turn your plant passion into profit? No matter where you currently find yourself career-wise, take heart that opportunities are available somewhere. The plants are waiting to fuel your purpose and prosperity!
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Make sure your plants are all set for the new season! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar-powered plant, zero waste manufacturing and eco-friendly packaging.
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