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Horticultural worker

Alternative titles for this job include

Horticultural workers grow and sell plants in garden centres, and tend to plants in parks and gardens.

Average salary (a year)

£13,000 Starter


£23,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

43 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

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How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a horticultural worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • training with a professional body


You could take a course at college. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Horticultural Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Gardening
  • Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More Information


You may be able to get into this job by doing a horticulture and landscape operative intermediate apprenticeship.

You can also do a packhouse line leader advanced apprenticeship, if you're working on a horticultural production line, for example picking and packing plants and flowers to order.

You could move onto a horticulture supervisor advanced apprenticeship as you get more experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply directly if you have experience of working with plants. You could get trained up on the job or develop your skills through a part-time course. Employers may ask for GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and science.

Other Routes

You could do a training course through a professional body like The Royal Horticultural Society. Their courses can be done at a training centre, with some available by distance learning.

More Information

Career tips

Getting experience and skills from working in related jobs like gardening, forestry or farming could be useful.

Customer service experience would also be helpful if you want to work in a garden centre.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in horticulture through Grow Careers and The Royal Horticultural Society.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a typical day you could:

  • sow seeds, plant bulbs and ornamental plants
  • grow plants from cuttings and by grafting
  • water, weed, prune, feed and spray plants
  • mow grass, cut dead growth and branches, and generally tidy up
  • lay paths and look after ornamental features
  • research new strains of seed and plants in the lab for crop production
  • pick, sort and package produce to be sent to retailers
  • sell plants and other products
  • advise customers in a garden centre

Working environment

You could work on a country estate, in a park, in a garden or at a garden centre.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to a supervisor or manager role, or set up your own nursery or garden maintenance business.

You could move into a research job for a university, or with a food and agricultural development company.

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

gardening apprentice

  • Wage: £6,708.00 Annually
  • Location:

Landscape operative apprentice

  • Wage: £146.25 Weekly
  • Location:

Courses In England


  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Dunstable

Certificate in Practical Horticulture

  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: YORK

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