Horticulture vs Botany | Which career is better?

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Do you have a green thumb? If yes, then you could make a career out of your passion. I’m sure that the difference between Horticulture vs Botany must have crossed your mind. Especially, while looking for a career path involving plants.

With so many terms about plants, how to find the perfect career? Can you pursue horticulture and botany at the same time? What’s similar between horticulture vs botany? In this article, we will compare horticulture vs botany. So, you could make a better decision among the two.

Generally, Botany is a pure science about the study of plant life. The science ranges from the study of small bacteria to large trees. Whereas, Horticulture is an applied science under botany. And its all about edible and ornamental plant life.

Horticulture vs Botany

A botanist does research and experiments on plant life. As a result, they derive new theories and innovation. Hence, many universities, labs, gardens, suppliers and related companies employ botanists.

Moreover, some may even find work in the pharma and chemicals industry. Their goal is to develop better foods and medicines from plant products.

On the other hand, a horticulturist focuses only on edible and decorative plants. Instead of doing research, they apply the research already done by botanists. That’s why it’s an applied science. Although they both work with plants, their jobs are completely different.

While botanists work on finding new plant species, horticulturists work in greenhouses, nurseries, gardens and green spaces. Using their skills, they create stunning landscapes and grow nursery plants and flowers.

Both horticulture and botany need knowledge of plants and nature. Let’s understand the relation and differences between Horticulture vs botany further.

Difference between Horticulture vs Botany

Horticulture is an applied science focusing on edible and ornamental plantsBotany is a pure science on the study of plant life. It includes Horticulture.
Horticulture is a mix of science and art of cultivating and managing gardens and plantsBotany includes studying the structure and physiology of plants  
It helps growers improve crop quality and yield in small spacesInnovation in Botany devise best practices in the industry
It’s a way to integrate nature in our livesIt’s a study on plant life
Learn how to grow plants efficientlyLearn about plant science through research
Horticulture is all about garden cultivation and managementBotany is the study of plant classification and composition

In a nutshell, Horticulture is an applied science as a branch of botany. Whereas, Botany is a pure science that includes Horticulture.

In other words, Horticulture only involves edible and ornamental plants. On the other hand, Botany focuses on plant life in general. All the way from the tiny bacteria to huge trees.

Bottom line is that botany is a science and study of plant life. And this includes studying the structure and composition of plants. Whereas, horticulture is a mix of science and art of growing and managing plants and green spaces.

Similarities of Horticulture vs Botany

  • Both involve plants
  • Both are based on the same fundamental principles
  • Even though they are different, both branches may apply to the same industries
  • A botanist and horticulturist may work together
  • A common workplace for both can be a greenhouse or a botanical garden

What is Horticulture?

Put simply, horticulture is a Latin word meaning garden cultivation. As the name says, its all about growing plants for food and aesthetics. Something which can be done in your backyard garden.


In fact, the aesthetics form a sub-branch called floriculture, which is all about ornamental plants and flowers. Besides, horticulture also includes landscaping and maintenance in golf courses, parks and other green spaces.

Horticulturists study ways to grow a wide variety of crops. Some of the crops include fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers, shrubs, trees and ornamental plants. In fact, you could get started with a few plants with this amazing herb kit from Amazon:

What’s more, they use unique innovative ways to improve yield and quality. And this is often done in small spaces like a greenhouse. As a result, they can maximize the use of space and increase profits.

Although some horticulture jobs don’t need a degree, most positions require formal education. After all, a degree ensures you have the skills to master the art. Read my article on ‘What can you do with a Horticulture Degree?’.

What is Botany?

Botany is a pure science focusing on the study of plants. It’s the scientific study of plant structure, classification, genetics, physiology and ecology.

Likewise, a botanist is someone who studies plant life. And plant life includes everything from the tiny bacteria to large trees. Hence, Botany has a wide range of opportunities for everyone.

Botany consists of the following topics:

  1. Firstly, Core topics that focus on the study of nature’s principles and plant life. This also includes studying the classification and composition of plants.
  2. Secondly, Applied topics to study the use of plants for economic profit. As a result, this helps branches like horticulture and agriculture to improve crop yield and quality.
  3. Lastly, Organismic topics on plant groups like flowering plants, algae, bacteria and others.

Hence, botany has a huge role in many related industries. Besides food, clothing, medicine and wood, plants are useful in many ways. For instance, plants are the raw materials for many manufacturing, pharma and green industries.

Moreover, research in botany helps all these industries grow. Besides providing raw materials, it also focuses on the most eco-friendly and efficient practices.

Without botany, the environment would be compromised. Although its benefits may not be seen, botany helps improve air quality and preserve natural resources. That’s why botanists have a vital role in the industry.

Responsibilities in Horticulture vs Botany

Horticulturists are responsible for growing and maintaining plants. Whereas, a botanist focuses on research and education. Although both work with plants, there are many differences between them. Let’s understand them.

Horticulture is all about plant growth. Whether it’s in greenhouses and nurseries or for landscaping of green spaces.

Speaking of landscaping, you could practice it on your lawn or backyard with a landscape edging kit. These kits are easily available online. Check out this landscape kit from Amazon:

Horticulturists also advise on the best practices, supplies and care tips for green spaces. And this is helpful for homeowners and businesses alike.

On the other hand, Botanists spend months doing research to see how plants grow in various conditions. Sometimes, botanists may have to get their hands dirty while studying plants.

Horticulture vs Botany research

Botanists discover new ways to improve plant growth in an efficient and eco-friendly way. This includes studying the effects of climate, soil quality, nutrients, pollution and other aspects.

Horticulture can be done as a hobby or a career. Although it does not always require a formal education, most professionals need a degree to master the art.

Whereas, botany is a pure science that demands a formal degree. That’s why botanists are usually paid more than horticulturists.

Horticulturist Responsibilities

Put simply, a horticulturist is responsible for growing and maintaining plants. Generally, they may find work in a greenhouse, nursery, garden center, landscaping agencies or related businesses.

Responsibilities of a horticulturist include:

  • Planning garden and landscape layouts
  • Landscape design and construction
  • Selecting and planting grass, plants and trees
  • Creating arrangements for flowers, shrubs and trees
  • Monitor plant growth
  • Manage and control greenhouse conditions
  • Lawn care and maintenance
  • Weeding, Pruning, watering and fertilizing
  • Limiting the use of chemicals like pesticide
  • Harvesting and storage of produce
  • Managing supplier orders
  • Advising customers on plant care

Botanist Responsibilities

A botanist studies plants under various conditions. Usually, they focus on a few plant types. Ranging from tiny algae to large trees, botanists have a lot of options to choose from. And their detailed study helps discover new plants and growing techniques.

Horticulture vs botany responsibility

Some of the responsibilities of a botanist include:

  • Working in the field as well as in the lab
  • Take soil and plant samples to study
  • Study microorganisms like bacteria or fungi
  • Locate and track new or endangered plant species
  • Help restore and conserve botanical habitats
  • Work to preserve swamps and marshes
  • Study how climate and soil affect growth
  • Monitor plant growth and activity in lab conditions
  • Perform experiments on plants
  • Study forest ecosystems
  • Conduct research to discover new ways to improve growth
  • Work with government agencies to ensure that businesses follow regulations

Most botanists specialize in certain areas of botany. For instance, some may study algae and bacteria. Whereas, others may study food crops, plants or large trees. With so many areas of study, Botany is very huge.

Horticulture vs Botany Careers

Some of the careers in horticulture include:

  • Landscape Design
  • Horticulture therapist
  • Horticulture technician
  • Ornamental horticulturist
  • Plant care worker
  • Greenhouse manager
  • Nursery worker
  • Pest management
  • Plant Pathologist
  • Arborist
  • Production
  • Marketing
  • Research
  • Consultancy
  • Inspector

Also read my Horticulture Careers Guide for more details on career options.

horticulture vs botany careers

Careers in botany include:

  • Agronomy
  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Scientist
  • Ecology
  • Mycology
  • Soil Conservation
  • Taxonomy

Final thoughts

The bottom line is that Horticulture is a branch of Botany. Put simply, Botany is a pure science and Horticulture is an applied science.

Horticulture is a good career if you like getting your hands dirty while caring for plants. On the other hand, if you love to study the science of nature and plants then Botany is for you.

I hope you enjoyed this article. So, which career are you interested in? Is it Horticulture or Botany? Let me know in the comments section below.

Related: Horticulture Careers

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