Career Profile: Horticultural Technician
Looking after plants can be fun and helpful for the environment. Horticultural technicians work with plants to help them stay healthy and to keep gardens and indoor plants looking nice and free of problems.
If you have plants of your own, you know that they need different levels of care. A cactus needs only a bit of water but lots of sun, while something like an ivy needs much more water. Some plants do well in the sun, but others need shade. Horticultural technicians work in greenhouses and all kinds of gardens and other places where plants grow to find the best spots for each kind of flower or shrub. Sometimes horticulturalists move, or transplant, the plants to places where they can grow better.
Horticultural technicians usually work with other gardeners at universities, in parks, and other places where people want to have plants growing. They put plants in places where they can grow well and transplant them if necessary. Watering and fertilizing the plants is also part of the job, and sometimes horticultural technicians might need to mow lawns and trim the edges to make sure that gardens and yards look as good as possible.
Taking care of pests and diseases is a large part of gardening. Horticultural technicians need to know about the kinds of insects that live in the area where they work, and about how to deal with these problems. Cutworms, slugs, and other small animals can destroy plants, and rabbits or deer can eat the leaves or flowers. Horticultural technicians need to find ways of dealing with animals like these to help keep them safe if possible.
Horticultural technicians can learn much of what they need to know on the job, but getting a certificate is a good idea. The Green Careers Canada website is a good place to check for programs across the country. Apprenticeships are also available and can help students understand how to deal with a variety of issues, such as drought, too much rain, or other issues that affect the health of plants. Learning how to keep good records of the work is also important.
People in this job tend to spend much of their time outside, digging in the ground or kneeling down to take care of the plants. They need to be strong enough to lift heavy bags of soil and be healthy enough to walk around or to kneel down and stand up. Working in bad weather might be necessary, although strong winds or heavy rain might mean that work has to stop for some time. The work tends to be seasonal, but people can still find work, even in winter.
Salaries for horticultural technicians start at about $25,000 and can rise to almost $53,000 for people with experience in the field. Working as a horticultural technician is a good choice for anyone who likes to work with plants and who knows how to deal patiently with problems that come up throughout the growing season. If this describes you, why not consider this trade?
Government of Canada. “Landscape Architectural Technician near Toronto (ON).” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/22560/22437.
Landscape Ontario. “Horticultural technician.” https://horticulturetechnician.ca/program/441c-horticultural-technician/.
Neuvoo.ca. “Horticultural technician salary in Canada.” https://neuvoo.ca/salary/?job=horticultural+technician.
University of Manitoba. “Landscape & Horticulture Technician/Specialist (2225).” https://umanitoba.ca/student/careerservices/careerplan/occupations/landscape-horticulture-tech.html