How Horticulture is related to Agriculture?

In my Horticulture vs Agriculture article, we saw what makes them both different. But how is Horticulture related to Agriculture?

Whether you’re confused between the career options or looking for business and job opportunities. This article will be useful for you.

Horticulture is considered as a branch under Agriculture. That being said, they both use similar methods for growing crops. What’s different is that Agriculture focuses on a few crops on a large scale. Rather than a variety of crops in a much smaller area. Which is usually the case in Horticulture.

How Horticulture is related to Agriculture?

Moreover, Agriculture often involves animal farming. Whereas, Horticulture involves research and practice of plant cultivation, breeding, propagation and plant physiology. With the major focus being on fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers, shrubs and ornamental plants.

Although horticulture is related as a branch of agriculture, some horticulture graduates also work in the agricultural sector. In a way, it gears you up to contribute to the green industry.

Sustainability of Horticulture and Agriculture

Agriculture does not solely focus on grain crops and vegetables. Similarly, Horticulture does not only focus on flowers and ornamental plants. Even though they are different fields, they relate to each other. Because most of the concepts are the same for both.

The major difference is the scale in which plants are grown. Horticulture does it on a much smaller scale than Agriculture. Hence, the latter has a bigger water impact besides the plant growth itself. Speaking of water impact, the irrigation systems decides the efficiency.

reduce water impact with horticulture unlike agriculture

The most important factors are climate, soil, nutrients and water resources. Among these, water and soil conservation are the most easily controlled. 

When farmers grow and harvest crops, it affects soil nutrients. And decreased nutrients lead to lower, poor-quality yields. Which is why its very important to replenish soil. More importantly, doing it in a sustainable way that’s water efficient. That being said, its best to avoid non-renewable resources like fossil fuels.


As Horticulture involves the same plant types on a smaller scale. Naturally, the water usage is lower. In a nutshell, this makes Horticulture much more practically related than Agriculture. In addition, you could grow a lot more plant varieties without affecting crop yield.

Special Techniques in Horticulture

From plant propagation, we can learn how growing a single crop is good for grafting. But this could be less rewarding. Because the varieties in greenhouses are often overlooked. In a way, this variation can be good for plants. By this I mean, the by-product of one plant can be useful for another.

Notably, the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is true in Horticulture. The leaves, branches, chaff and other unedible plant parts help in composting. This can then be added to soil to boost its nutrients.

Propagation can be done by seed or vegetative structures of the plant like tubers and corms. Besides, techniques such as cutting, layering, grafting, and tissue culture are also used.

seeds are the cheapest way to grow

Generally, seeds are the cheapest way for propagation. It also ensures that plants are disease free. Since diseases are not transferred by seeds. However, some plants take longer to grow from seeds. Make sure you select your seeds wisely.

On the other hand, vegetative propagation regenerates plants from tissues and other parts. This can be done either naturally or artificially. As a result, we get great quality plants without variations. Moreover, its much faster and easier than seeds.

Specialized vegetative parts like bulbs, runners, tubers, stems and roots are used. Likewise, cuttings, layers, grafting, budding and tissue culture are popular methods.

crop rotation bulbs

Another popular method is crop rotation. Usually, rotation is done with the season. And this ensures that yield of greenhouses is improved. Moreover, it boosts the nutritional value of crops.

Horticulture is an eco-friendly option for small and marginal farmers. You could save a lot of water and conserve soil nutrients. All while reducing pollution. Indeed, it’s the more sustainable and practical growing method.

More advanced techniques include hydroponics, breeding and environmental control.

Horticulture and Agriculture Branches

Horticulture involves fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants. Landscaping, medicinal and aromatic plants also fall under Horticulture.

If you love to eat delicious fruits and nuts, then Pomology may allure you. Pomology includes everything from fruits, berries and a wide variety of nuts.

Horticulture and Agriculture Branches

On the other hand, Olericulture includes all kinds of vegetables. Such as, tomatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, cabbage and much more.

Another popular branch is Floriculture. Yes, you guessed it right! It deals with growing flowers and ornamental plants. After all, the aroma of colourful flowers is what brings us to gardens.

Read my Branches of Horticulture article for more clarity.

Agriculture, on the other hand, is a broader field that includes Horticulture. Besides, it also includes:

  • Agronomy
  • Agriculture Engineering
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Animal science

That’s exactly why most university courses consist of these majors. Let’s understand each of them.

Firstly, Agronomy is all about soil and how crops interact with different kinds of soil. Moreover, it also considers other influences like climate, water availability and soil features.

Secondly, Agriculture Engineering deals with production and processing. And how different kinds of machines work. The goal is to improve efficiency of farming methods. Essentially making the process more sustainable.

agriculture is large scale. Horticulture is small scale

Thirdly, Agricultural Economics is about the money and business from the farm. To elaborate, it’s the study of allocation, dividing and using the resources. In other words, it deals with production and the relation between capital and labour.

Finally, Animal Science deals with taking care of animals and breeding. Ultimately, the goal is to develop better methods to process animal products for consumption. The products range from milk, eggs and meat to skins, fur and much more.

Economic Importance

Now that we have seen both sides of the green industry. Let’s compare their economic importance.

Horticulture needs controlled conditions, special techniques and equipment. Whereas, agriculture is usually done without sophisticated equipment and methods.

Economic Importance of Horticulture related to Agriculture

Besides, we discussed how agriculture only deals with a few food crops on a large scale. Moreover, animal farming also falls under agriculture.

Naturally, it may seem that Agriculture is more profitable than Horticulture as it targets a broader customer base. But this is not always the case. Although agricultural harvest is much larger than Horticulture. If we compare the scales, Horticulture is more profitable.

Let’s understand this better. As horticulture involves a wide variety of plants in a much smaller area. The profits from many high-value crops will easily be more than large farms.

For instance, Saffron is probably the most expensive herb in the world, selling for around $2500 per pound. Notably, it takes around 75,000 flowers to produce one pound of dried saffron. But to grow that many flowers needs just a quarter acre of land. This shows how lucrative this crop could be to grow.


Another popular crop is Mushrooms. They are usually grown indoors in as little as 5 weeks and sell for $10 to $20 per pound. Oyster mushrooms can produce up to 25 pounds per square foot. What’s more, they can be grown vertically to maximize the return per square foot. Get your Mushroom Growing Kit today.

The same applies to high value berries, bonsai trees, tulip bulbs, flowers and ornamental plants. And the best part, they take up very little space.

bonsai tree

However, the investment in special equipment and techniques is significant. It ensures that you will receive good profits for years to come.


We saw how Horticulture uses special techniques and equipment. These may require a significant investment. However, it ensures that you receive profits for years to come. Hence, horticulture can be much more profitable than agriculture.

Horticulture is a sustainable and practical way to grow high value crops.

Moreover, Horticulture is a sustainable and practical way to grow high value crops. Today, it is the most popular hobby among gardening enthusiasts.

I hope you understood how Horticulture is related to Agriculture. So, which field do you think is better? Is it Horticulture or Agriculture? Let me know in the comments section below. Make sure to subscribe to my blog and share this article with your friends and family.

Read my article on Horticulture vs Agriculture for more on this topic.

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