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What is horticulture

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The Institute is a constituent member of the International Society for Horticulture Science (ISHS). Their advocacy group has worked on definitions of horticulture, the professional horticulturist and horticultural scientist and these have been adopted by the Institute (March 2012). These are:


Horticulture is the Art, Science, Technology and Business of intensive plant cultivation for human use. It is practised from the individual level in a garden up to the activities of a multinational corporation. It is very diverse in its activities, incorporating plants for food (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, culinary herbs) and non-food crops (flowers, trees & shrubs, turf-grass, hops, grapes, medicinal herbs). It also includes related services in plant conservation, landscape restoration, landscape & garden design/construction/maintenance, horticultural therapy, and much more. This wide range of food, medicinal, environmental, and social products & services are all fundamental to developing and maintaining human health and well-being. A gardener is a person who tends to a garden and is therefore a horticulturist, but not all horticulturists are gardeners.

Professional Horticulturist

Horticulturists apply the knowledge, skills, and technologies used to grow intensively produced plants for human food & non-food uses and for personal or social needs. Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. They are also involved in the application of post-harvest technologies, supply chain management and the economics, management and marketing of quality horticultural products and services to customers and consumers. They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, operatives, technical advisors, educators, managers and business owners in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture.

Horticultural Scientist

These scientists focus on the research that underpins horticultural knowledge, skills, technologies, education and commerce. Horticultural science encompasses all of the pure sciences - mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology and biology - as well as related sciences and technologies that underpin horticulture, such as plant pathology, soil science, entomology, weed science, and many other scientific disciplines. It also includes the social sciences, such as education, commerce, marketing, healthcare and therapies that enhance horticulture's contribution to individuals and society. 

Horticulture industry and profession

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Last updated: 23/07/2014 13:24