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Branches of Horticulture

There are five main branches of horticulture that are divided according to the type of crops produced and how the plants are used.

Floriculture – This area of horticulture focuses on the cultivation of flowers (cut and potted) and foliage. Flower arrangement also fall under this header.

Pomology – If you love to eat delicious fruit, then pomology may interest you. This branch of horticulture revolves around production and cultivation of fruit crops.

Nursery/Plant Propagation – The development and dissemination of plant seeds, shrubs, trees, ornamental plants, and ground covering is the focus of this area of horticulture. Typically these plants are used in landscaping or interior plantscaping projects.

Olericulture – Vegetable lovers will enjoy a career in this field. Olericulturists handle the farming, processing, storage, and marketing of all edible parts of vegetables including the roots, leaves, flowers, stems, seeds, and young tops. Typically vegetables are eaten raw, cooked, or preserved.

Landscape Horticulture – Ever wonder who develops those beautiful parks and indoor garden environments? Landscape horticulturists design, construct, and take care of landscapes in homes, businesses, and public areas. They choose plants for their aesthetic appeal and practicality and arrange them in ways that are pleasing and conform to the needs of their clients.

Any one of these branches may also deal with the following types of crops: seeds and roots, perennial bush, tree nuts, and aromatic and medicinal foliage.

A Description of Horticulture

Janick and the International Society for Horticulture Science offer additional descriptions of horticulture to differentiate it from other plant-based industries like agronomy.

  • Horticulture is capital and labor intensive. It requires high-value crops to be cultivated, which typically involves the use of labor, technology, and production inputs.
  • Horticulture commonly features protected environments for cultivation such as glasshouses and plastic tunnels or redesigns the environment to support the crop, e.g. develop an irrigation system.
  • How the crop is used mainly determines which category if falls in. For example, the growing of sweet corn is horticultural while growing grain corn is agronomic. In some parts of the world, the distinction is less clear or the labels are used interchangeably.
  • Horticulture uses the following terms to refer to its production units: plantations, nurseries, vineyards, greenhouses, orchards, gardens, and groves.
  • A special division of horticulture supports the enhancement of the environment and includes home gardening, urban horticulture, arboriculture, and landscaping. Many of these activities are also used as therapeutic tools in horticultural therapy to help patients.