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What is it like to work in a nursery?

Nurseries serve as specialised facilities dedicated to the propagation, cultivation, and early growth stages of various plant species. They produce a wide range of plants, including ornamental flowers, trees, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, crops, and even rare or endangered species.

Nurseries are valuable to many different people and industries, including home gardeners, landscapers, farmers, foresters, conservationists, scientists, and commercial growers.

No two nurseries are the same, but they do tend to have some things in common:

  1. Patience is key – growing plants is a long process, but also highly rewarding.
  2. You’ll be doing some work outdoors – many roles in nurseries require you to work outside or in greenhouses.
  3. They’re more common in rural areas – but demand for greener city spaces means you’ll find nurseries in metro areas too.

Cultivate and supply healthy plants for various needs

The primary purpose of a nursery is to provide an optimal environment for young plants to develop strong root systems, healthy stems, and robust foliage before they are transplanted into their permanent outdoor locations or larger containers.

Key tasks

  • Propagate seeds and cuttings
  • Water, fertilise, and monitor growth
  • Manage pests and diseases
  • Maintain appropriate growing conditions
  • Assist customers with plant selection
  • Organise inventory and label plants
  • Prepare plants for sale or transport
  • Research new cultivation techniques

You can find nurseries in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry

Nurseries are generally found in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry. Different types of nurseries can include plant propagators, ornamental growers, and conservation facilities.

You can expect regular hours and on-site work

Regular hours  |  Work on-site  |  Jobs in all areas  |  Moderate job growth

The operating hours of a nursery can vary based on location and season. They are typically open to the public during normal business hours, but some work may be required outside these times.

On-site work is more common in nurseries due to the hands-on nature of many of the tasks involved. However, some administrative or planning tasks can be handled remotely.

Nurseries can be found in both rural and metropolitan areas, but they are often more common in rural or regional locations. This is because these areas typically have more available land for outdoor growing and lower land costs, making them suitable for larger-scale nursery operations.

The Career Clusters you’ll find in a nursery

People from all Clusters are needed for a nursery to run successfully, but Makers are typically the most common Cluster. In many roles, you might find yourself performing tasks across multiple Clusters.

What do Makers do in a nursery?

Makers in nurseries are responsible for the hands-on care and cultivation of plants – they perform tasks like potting, watering, trimming, fertilising, and controlling pests. They also help to maintain the facilities and systems that encourage healthy plant growth.

The role of a Linker in a nursery

Linkers help to answer customer queries, listening to their needs and helping them identify the right plants for their garden or business. They also create strategies to attract customers, promote seasonal offerings, and communicate the value of the nursery’s products to the public.

Where you’ll find Coordinators in a nursery

Coordinators oversee various nursery operations, from budgeting and inventory management to scheduling and logistics. They are also responsible for managing other nursery workers, including their rosters and pay.

What do Informers do in a nursery?

Informers conduct in-depth research into different plant species to provide specialised advice and care, as well as look into ideal growing conditions and techniques to maximise the nursery’s output. Some nurseries may also run workshops, where Informers share their expertise on plant propagation and care.

The role of Innovators in a nursery

Innovators in a nursery introduce new technologies and ideas to increase efficiency and plant health. They might reimagine irrigation and plant housing systems, develop eco-friendly planting methods, or design new ways to incorporate plants into urban spaces.

  • Landscape Designers
  • Sustainability Developers
  • Green Engineers

How do Guardians work in a nursery?

Guardians aren’t super common in nurseries, but are still needed to ensure that they are safe places for both workers and visitors. Other Guardians might be tasked with keeping nursery facilities, equipment, and plants secure.

  • Security Officers
  • Workplace Health and Safety Officers

How do we expect working in a nursery to change in the future?

Nurseries are set to see changes in the future shaped by technology, environmental concerns, and evolving customer preferences.

Many nurseries are adopting smart tools and data analysis to make things easier and more efficient. They might use sensors to water plants and keep a close watch on plant health with digital tools. This not only makes operations smoother but also saves resources and improves the quality of plants.

Online platforms for plant sales and virtual consultations are gaining traction, offering convenience and accessibility to a wider audience. Nurseries are also becoming hubs of knowledge, providing digital resources and advice on plant care and gardening. The transition to online spaces ensures that nurseries remain relevant and accessible in an increasingly interconnected world.

Sustainability is another big focus for the future. Nurseries are going greener by using organic methods, using fewer chemicals, and saving water with smarter watering systems. Due to climate change, nurseries are also tasked with growing species that can handle different weather conditions. Some nurseries are even using genetic engineering to improve plants, including making them disease-resistant or high-yield. This brings new possibilities for nurseries to lead in sustainability and conservation.

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