Horticulture is the application of scientific principles in the growing, marketing, processing, and utilizing of fruits, vegetables, flower and foliage plants, trees, shrubs, and turf grasses. The major requires a strong grounding in botany, chemistry, and horticulture. There are five concentrations in the Horticulture major: Floriculture, Horticultural Business Management, Horticultural Food Crops, Horticultural Science, and Horticultural Therapy.
Successful students will demonstrate:
- Technical competence that includes understanding plant growth and development as influenced by the manipulations of horticulture technologies such as greenhouse management, fertility management, integrated pest management, etc.
- Management and leadership skills that will allow them to become an entry-level supervisor in a specific business or research program.
- Problem solving skills such as identifying the significance of a problem, researching realistic solutions using current literature, and organizing the materials to develop appropriate recommendations and actions.
Horticulture is both a production and service industry. Well-educated horticulturists have the best opportunity for obtaining positions and moving up in the industry. The industry will be looking for professionals who can manage greenhouses, nurseries, and floral outlets, buy and sell supplies, plant material, and equipment, or edit journals and newsletters. Meeting the nutritional needs of the world population is an important challenge. Researchers are needed to develop improved fruit and vegetable varieties. Other professionals are needed to improve production and transportation methods and to develop and market better fertilizers. Within this field, students can exercise their talents and interests in computers, construction, engineering, chemistry, physics, social services, or business management. Participation in internships and cooperative education opportunities is highly recommended to enhance practical training and development. Graduates who go on for advanced studies can attain more responsible positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels.
Some examples include: biotechnologist, extension specialist, floriculturist, fruit and vegetable grower, grape producer, greenhouse supplies/seed and plant material sales representative, greenhouse production manager, horticultural therapist, interior plant maintenance technician, marketing representative, plant breeder, produce buyer.