How to become an Horticultural Manager. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does an Horticultural Manager do?
As a horticultural manager, you would oversee the development and growth of plants for one of the following purposes:
- production horticulture – producing food crops and ornamental plants for sale to wholesalers, retailers, nurseries, garden centres and the public
- garden centres – producing plants for sale to the public along with products such as tools and garden furniture
- amenity horticulture – designing, constructing, managing and maintaining areas such as parks and public and botanic gardens.
Your day-to-day tasks would vary depending on your particular job, but could include:
- supervising, and possibly helping with, all aspects of cultivation
- preparing and modifying operational and business plans
- keeping records and handling budgets and accounts
- analysing costs
- developing new products and markets and negotiating with suppliers
- designing layouts and developing planting programmes
- scheduling the planting and harvesting of crops
- making sure that health and safety regulations and procedures are followed
- recruiting and managing staff.
Your working hours may vary according to the season, and could include weekends and public holidays. Early starts and late finishes are common.
Depending on the job, you could be office-based or work outdoors. You may need to travel to visit sites, suppliers and customers.
How much does an Horticultural manager earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Horticultural managers can earn from around £18,000 to over £32,000 a year.
- Senior managers can earn around £42,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You may be able to work your way up to management by starting in a more basic position and gaining experience and qualifications. See the Horticultural Worker profile for details.
To start directly as a manager, you would usually need a higher education qualification and practical experience. Relevant qualifications include:
- degrees in subjects such as horticulture and commercial horticulture
- BTEC HNCs/HNDs and foundation degrees in subjects like horticulture, horticultural management and professional horticulture.
You should check with colleges and universities for their exact entry requirements as these can vary.
See the Institute of Horticulture website for careers information and details of qualifications and course providers.
You can also complete Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) qualifications:
See the RHS website for details of qualifications and a list of course providers.
- Royal Horticultural Society – education page
Examples of the ways you can gain practical experience include:
- work placements
- RHS voluntary internships
- Management Development Services graduate training – a paid programme of job placements and formal training for the food and produce industry.
See the Management Development Service website for details of their graduate training.
- Management Development Service
If you have not gained experience before, during or after a course you may need to begin at a more basic level before being considered for a management position.
You could move into horticultural management if you have appropriate experience in a related area, such as farming, forestry, retailing or marketing.
Training and Development
Once you are in employment, the kind of training you receive will vary depending on your employer. In some large organisations you may be offered a graduate training scheme if you have a degree.
You can work towards the following qualifications:
- Level 3 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Work-based Horticulture
- NVQ Level 4 in Amenity Horticulture.
If you have the RHS Level 3 Diploma or an equivalent qualification and at least three years’ horticultural experience you could complete the RHS Master of Horticulture Qualification. See the RHS website for details.
- Royal Horticultural Society
Skills and Knowledge
- a thorough knowledge of horticulture
- organisational and planning skills
- business skills and commercial awareness
- communication and management skills
- IT skills.
You could find work in commercial horticulture in nurseries and garden centres all over the UK. You will find most jobs in amenity horticulture in larger towns and cities, working for local authorities maintaining public parks, gardens and sports grounds, or with private contractors employed to do this.
With experience you could progress to a more senior management position or set up your own nursery or garden centre, perhaps after gaining further qualifications.