Do you enjoy working in the garden? Do you find joy in watching plants grow from tiny seedlings into full-fledged flowers? If so, then a job at a plant nursery might be perfect for you!
Whether you’re searching for a new, full-time career or a side job for spending cash, this can be a valuable and profitable role. There are opportunities for growth and plenty to learn as you discover how to tend to and care for the plants under your watch.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at this job role. What does it include and how can you get your foot in the door? We’ll answer it all so you can take your next steps with confidence.
What Is a Plant Nursery?
A plant nursery is a designated place where plants are propagated and cared for until they reach a certain age. Once this milestone occurs, the nursery will sell the plants to interested buyers.
There are a few different types of plant nurseries, including:
- Retail nurseries
- Wholesale nurseries
- Private nurseries
Let’s review each of these in greater detail.
Unless you’re a professional landscaper or commercial gardener, chances are high that you’ve only shopped at a retail nursery. These locations are open to the general public, and anyone interested in buying plants can do so here. The garden center at your local supermarket is one example of a retail nursery.
Wholesale nurseries do not sell plants to the general public. Instead, they reserve their products for other businesses, such as other local nurseries. Most of the time, commercial gardeners can also purchase plants here.
Private nurseries are the most exclusive on this list. Typically, they serve the plant needs of a single institution, such as a college or university. They may also establish one-on-one relationships with private estate owners who have the means to access such resources.
Working in a Plant Nursery: What to Expect
Are you curious about the roles and responsibilities that nursery workers must follow? Next, let’s review the details surrounding this job and what you can expect.
Most nursery workers will work in two locations: outside or in a greenhouse. You should feel comfortable working in your local climate, as you’ll be laboring directly in it most days.
Nursery workers are directly responsible for tending to the plants, shrubs, and trees that they’re assigned to watch. A few of the tasks you might be required to complete include:
- Planting the plants and seedlings
- Preparing plant beds
- Watering the plants
- Transplanting the plants to new locations
- Pruning the plants
- Providing general care for the plants
- Determine how many plants and shrubs to plant
In addition to monitoring the quality of your designated greenery, you may also need to evaluate the environmental conditions in your area. With this data, you can make adjustments to help the plants grow and develop as successfully as possible.
While they’re still growing in the greenhouse, you will perform a few critical steps to keep the plants before they’re ready to move outdoors. They include:
- Staking young sapling plants
- Tying and wrapping plants
- Packing the plants for transportation
- Digging up shrubs and trees for transportation
As you might imagine, pest management is an integral part of working in a nursery. Depending on your skills and level of seniority, yo you might play a central role in developing the nursery’s pest plan. A few of the techniques you’ll need to brainstorm include:
- How to identify and control local insects
- How to keep rodents and birds away from the plants
- How to prevent weeds from growing around the plants
- How to keep the plants weed-free
- How to safely handle, store, and dispose of any pesticides used
What if you work on an organic farm? In this case, you’ll be responsible for learning about the farm’s designated procedures. You’ll also implement their natural pest control strategies as required.
When you first start working in a plant nursery, you might be responsible for taking care of the grunt work. As you rise in the ranks, however, you might find yourself in more of a management position.
If this is the case, you’ll help the team manage employees and hire new ones as needs arise. This includes scheduling, managing, and communicating with any seasonal workers that are hired to help your company push through the busy season. Keep in mind that this might mean interfacing with someone who speaks a different language than you do, so it can help to find more than one way to relay a message.
Depending on the size of your nursery, you may be required to control irrigation systems. These are advanced watering solutions that are usually programmed and timed for optimization.
A basic degree of programming and computer management knowledge can help you excel in this role.
Any time a customer visits your nursery to buy plants, they’ll turn to you if they have any questions. This requires you to be well-versed in every area of plant care and selection, possessing knowledge that covers trees, flowers, and other types of plants.
To work in this position, you should be comfortable serving in a public-facing role. Excellent communication is a must, as is the ability to break down complicated steps into easy-to-follow instructions.
Do You Want to Work in a Plant Nursery?
Now that you know a little more about what to expect, does a job at a plant nursery sound like a good fit for your skill set? Whether you’ve been in this industry for years or you’re just starting out, you can usually find opportunities at your local nursery, garden center, or landscaping service.
In the meantime, be sure to check our site often for the insider tips you need!