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Ornamental Horticulture


Programs in ornamental horticulture teach people how to breed and grow decorative plants.

Ornamental horticulture programs include topics such as:


Several community colleges and other two-year schools offer certificate or associate degree programs in ornamental horticulture. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years to complete.

At some colleges and universities, ornamental horticulture and floriculture are offered as concentrations in horticulture, horticultural science, plant science, or environmental design programs. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

A few universities offer graduate degrees in ornamental horticulture. In many cases, ornamental horticulture is a concentration within a horticulture program. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary depending on the program. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Several programs incorporate practicums or cooperative education opportunities into their curriculums. This means that you can work part time in an ornamental horticultural setting while earning credits. You gain hands-on experience and exposure to the real-world applications of ornamental horticulture that most interest you.

You might assist the curator at a botanical garden or help plant seedlings in a greenhouse. You could even work together with a landscape designer, helping to choose appropriate plants for the needs of different clients.

Whatever setting you choose, you also benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced ornamental horticulture professional.

Things to Know

A background in ornamental horticulture may lead you to a career in greenhouse management, floral consulting, or botanical garden care. You could research new plant hybrids or help breed rare and exotic flowers.

If you're interested in research or teaching at the college level, you should pursue graduate work in a larger related field. For instance, if you wanted to study diseases that plague herbaceous plants, you could study plant pathology at the graduate level and concentrate in ornamental horticulture. Similarly, if you wanted to study ways to change the genes of a certain type of ornamental shrub, you could study plant science at the graduate level.


King-Snohomish Area

Edmonds Community College

South Seattle College