Careers with plants and why they matter to YOU

This guest blog is written by Dr Suzanne Moss, RHS Head of Education and Learning

  • Do you feel that office work isn’t for you?
  • Do you like to move, keep fit and healthy through your job and be in the fresh air?
  • Would you like a career that contributes positively to the environment AND supports people’s physical and mental wellbeing?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then a career with plants may be for you. Before you stop reading, I know exactly what you’re thinking:

“Working with plants is not something I can make a career out of.”


“Nope, I hate mowing grass.”

But here’s the thing: a) Across the UK, 27 million people enjoy gardening but many have turned their passion for plants into successful careers, and b) without professional gardeners we would all be:

  • Hungry
  • Mostly naked
  • WAY more sad (our research proves it)
  • Less able to breathe, especially in cities
  • Hotter

Careers with plants, which are usually gathered under the umbrella of “horticulture”, are vital to our survival as individuals and as a human race. People who work in this business create beautiful spaces, grow food, manage our environment and contribute £24.2bn to the UK economy each year – that’s bigger than the aerospace industry.

So, there is room in horticulture for you. Whether you fancy working outside with your hands, managing teams and projects to achieve great things, working in a lab as a scientist, sitting at a drawing board as a designer, teaching in a classroom as an educator or working in a high-technology facility growing the very best produce for market, horticulture has something for you.

“But is the pay any good?”

If you train in horticulture at Level 2, which is roughly GCSE level, you can expect to earn broadly the same as others working in entry-level roles for other trades, such as construction, retail or catering. With experience, further training and, if you wish to move into management, technical specialisms or consultancy, there are opportunities at over £40k, £50k, £60k and upwards.

And then there’s the added value. I started work in horticulture 11 years ago and I can honestly say that almost every day since then I have woken up looking forward to going to work. How do you put a price on that?

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the links below. We’d love to speak to you.

“A career in horticulture is a complete lifestyle change. Working outdoors with nature has changed my life. I’m happier and healthier”. – Debbi Holland – RHS learner

Read more about this:

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): Education and Learning

Chartered Institute of Horticulture: Grow Careers

Twitter: @The_RHS

Instagram: the_rhs 

Futurum: Saving plants from disease