University of Florida

About Us

What is Environmental Horticulture?

Environmental Horticulture, unlike Botany, is a field of study that deals with the art and science of breeding, propagating, installing and maintaining plants that are used to enhance and improve the human environment. Horticulture is an applied science, as opposed to Botany, a basic science. Proper selection and placement of plants in the exterior and interior landscapes is a major factor in creating and maintaining an environment that promotes a feeling of psychological well-being and physical comfort. Environmental Horticulture includes all aspects of enhancing people's lives through the proper selection, propagation, growth, placement, and use of plants in interior and exterior surroundings. Many different issues are addressed by environmental horticulturists including the restoration of natural plant resources and environments; creating a balanced living environment within inanimate structures and urban settings; moderating climatic and local weather conditions; providing beauty, symmetry, creativity, and individual expression to living areas; and finding new ways to satisfy human needs through the use of plants.

What Exactly Do Environmental Horticulturists Do?

Positions are available for environmental horticulture graduates in the following areas:

  • Botanical/Theme Park Gardens: The many theme parks and botanical gardens in Florida offer numerous employment opportunities involving landscape management, plant production, plant collection, and educational displays of scientific technology used to grow plants.
  • Communications: Writing for farm and garden magazines, newspapers, television, and radio can be a rewarding field for men and women trained in environmental horticulture.
  • Government Service: You can become a county extension specialist in environmental horticulture; a State of Florida, Division of Plant Industry or USDA inspector; or a city, county or state park superintendent.
  • Grower Services: Seed firms, manufacturers of fertilizers, spray materials and equipment need personnel with horticultural training to perform a wide variety of tasks in research, development, technical service, and sales work.
  • Marketing: You can operate or become employed by companies wholesaling or retailing seeds, cuttings, or supplies. Companies marketing cut flowers and flowering plants, foliage plants or woody and tropical nursery plants employ graduates of our department. You might prefer being a buyer of these items for a chain store, a government institution, or wholesale distribution.
  • Production: You can operate your own business or be a manager of a golf course, nursery, landscaping service, greenhouse, flower - plant shop or garden center.
  • Research: You can become a scientist or research assistant. Scientists are constantly seeking to improve the quality of environmental plants and their handling, storage and marketing. Scientists may specialize in plant breeding, plant nutrition, plant growth regulation by chemicals, or other fascinating areas of plant research. Many employment opportunities are available in agri-business firms and government research divisions.
  • Teaching: You can be a teacher. Environmental horticulturists with proper qualifications can teach in high schools, technical schools, community colleges, and universities. County extension agents and extension specialists develop instructional programs to effect technology transfer.