Horticulture Production Workers are employed in food production or ornamental plant production, such as ornamental plant nurseries, fruit and vegetable production farms, cut flower grower farms, or on any farm or site that produces plants.
Ornamental plants can be produced to end up in your local park or the shelves of garden centres. The trees, shrubs and flowers we all enjoy looking at are grown at ornamental plant nurseries but can’t be eaten.
Fruit and vegetable production for apples, pears, plums, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, watercress takes place in fruit and vegetable nurseries and farms.
Both areas of production may include either field production or protected production in glasshouses or plastic tunnels.
The technology involved in growing ornamental and edible plants, plus the job opportunities from management to marketing make working on an ornamental or fruit or veg nursery a rewarding career.
Horticultural Production Workers are involved in:
Growing plants, including sowing seeds, planting bulbs, cultivating cuttings
Continuing to nurture plants by watering, weeding, pruning, and nutrients
Identifying and dealing with pests and diseases
- Working in teams to produce, pick and pack the final product
- Customer service
- Picking and packing of produce
- Retailing of produce.
Some plant production centres can be quite large and require many different skills, such as production areas, garden centres and packhouse and dispatch areas.
The work can be challenging and affected by the weather and the changing seasons.
There are opportunities to progress to supervising a team of Horticultural Production Workers or specialise within a specific technical area such as irrigation specialist or soil specialist.
The hours vary depending on the type of farm or production nursery and on the season. In large farms or nurseries staff may work a standard full-time week. In many businesses early starts are needed in the summer months.
In both types of production businesses, weekend work, late evenings and overtime are common. Part-time and casual jobs are available.
The work is rewarding and can be physically demanding.
Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.
Customer service experience and skills are also important and some employers may also look for this in retail or sales.
It may also be possible to enter this career as an assistant Horticultural Production Worker or through a Modern Apprenticeship programme.
What experienced workers can do
- Prepare sites for planting
- Collect and store propagation material
- Propagate plants from seed
- Establish crops or plants
- Ccontrol the environmental conditions for protected crops
- Maintain the growth of crops or plants
- Harvest crops
- Have good customer service skills.
Personal qualities you should have
- Work in a team and with others
- Work on your own
- Time management
- Flexible working
Horticultural Production Workers could progress to supervisory positions within teams. If they gain technical experience and qualifications within a specific area they can become a Horticultural Production Technician or Specialist with specific areas of responsibility.
Different areas in the UK specialise in particular types of production depending on the climate and soil.
There are also many jobs outside growing. Supermarkets require field officers to manage the need for a daily supply of fresh produce, and suppliers need specialist advisers and research workers to develop new products.