All You Need To Know About A Gardener Career

You think about becoming a gardener but are still not entirely sure whether this is the right career for you or not?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you all you need to know about being a gardener in the following chapters.

Not only will we talk about how much you can make as a gardener, but you will also learn a lot about job satisfaction, future outlook, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements of gardeners and much more.

At the end of this article, you will also find an FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about a gardening career.

After having a detailed look at this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a gardener or rather want to go for a different career instead.

Table of Contents

What does a Gardener do?

Gardeners grow plants, trees and palms and make sure that our flora is preserved as best as possible.

They are also responsible for maintaining outdoor grounds like parks or other green spaces to assure a high quality of life in our cities.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Gardener

  • Growing plants, palms, trees and other plant-related organisms
  • Making sure that plants get enough water
  • Making sure that plants are fertilized in an optimal manner
  • Providing optimal growth conditions
  • Raising seedlings
  • Preparation of soil mixes
  • Transplanting seedlings
  • Detection of plant diseases
  • Prevention of pests and plant diseases
  • Trimming trees
  • Making sure that yards look tidy
  • Advising people on what plants they should grow in their garden
  • Removing foliage so that plants stay healthy in the long run
  • Preserving local flora
  • Raising awareness of how important it is to preserve our green spaces

What a Typical Day of a Gardener looks like?

Gardeners usually start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m.

After getting basic instructions from their boss regarding what they have to do that day, they get straight to work and care about plants, palms and trees all day long.

Apart from caring for plant organisms, they are also responsible for consulting clients.

For instance, if you work at a garden center, clients will often come to you and ask you for advice regarding what plants they should buy for different purposes and also how to control plant diseases and so on.

Consequently, you should be good at dealing with lots of information at the same time to care well for plants while still having a sympathetic ear for your customers.

After working in this manner for many hours, you will usually finish your workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Gardener Salary 2021

Gardener salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $56,000> $27.92
Top 25 %$47,000 – $51,000$23.44 – $25.38
Bottom 25 %$28,000 – $33,000$13.93 – $16.48
Bottom 10 %$21,000 – $24,000$10.41 – $11.89
Range$21,000 – $59,000$10.41 – $29.46
Average (Mean)$39,000$19.39
Median$37,000$18.45

Gardener salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$21,000 – $25,000$10.41 – $12.43
Junior$24,000 – $32,000$11.92 – $15.88
Professional$30,000 – $39,000$14.94 – $19.39
Senior Professional$37,000 – $49,000$18.47 – $24.46
Expert$46,000 – $53,000$22.91 – $26.45
Top Expert$52,000 – $59,000$25.89 – $29.46

Gardener salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$36,800$18.38
Alaska$37,200$18.59
Arizona$39,600$19.77
Arkansas$35,400$17.68
California$46,100$23.03
Colorado$37,900$18.93
Connecticut$36,300$18.12
Delaware$35,900$17.89
District of Columbia$38,200$19.09
Florida$39,300$19.64
Georgia$36,700$18.33
Guam$37,200$18.57
Hawaii$41,100$20.52
Idaho$38,600$19.28
Illinois$37,800$18.83
Indiana$38,200$19.08
Iowa$36,900$18.44
Kansas$37,200$18.57
Kentucky$35,800$17.89
Louisiana$36,100$18.03
Maine$37,700$18.82
Maryland$39,200$19.57
Massachusetts$40,400$20.18
Michigan$37,800$18.86
Minnesota$35,600$17.79
Mississippi$34,100$17.03
Missouri$34,900$17.42
Montana$36,200$18.07
Nebraska$37,800$18.88
Nevada$35,700$17.84
New Hampshire$37,300$18.63
New Jersey$39,600$19.79
New Mexico$34,800$17.37
New York$44,900$22.43
North Carolina$38,100$19.04
North Dakota$36,400$18.17
Ohio$37,200$18.54
Oklahoma$39,400$19.67
Oregon$38,600$19.27
Pennsylvania$39,100$19.52
Rhode Island$37,200$18.53
South Carolina$35,800$17.89
South Dakota$34,700$17.33
Tennessee$36,200$18.04
Texas$37,100$18.54
Utah$39,400$19.68
Vermont$36,800$18.37
Virginia$35,900$17.93
Washington$39,100$19.51
West Virginia$37,200$18.57
Wisconsin$36,500$18.22
Wyoming$34,300$17.13

Job Security of Gardeners

Gardeners have decent job security.

Even though becoming a gardener is not that demanding, not that many people want to work in this field anymore and this means that you will have great job prospects in many regions of our planet.

Future Job Prospects of Gardeners

Gardeners also enjoy a decent future outlook since they cannot be easily replaced by machines in the near future and will therefore not have to fear losing their jobs that much.

Moreover, since an increasing number of people want to work in office jobs, there will be a lack of qualified gardeners out there and this will be great for you since you will have high levels of job security in the future.

Working Hours of Gardeners

Most gardeners start working between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Hence, working as a gardener is a 9 to 5 job and you will have more than enough time to spend with your family or to meet up with your favorite people after work.

Job Satisfaction of Gardeners

Many gardeners are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living since they enjoy decent job security and also don’t have to work long hours.

However, some gardeners complain about their low salary and if money is really important to you, you should not become a gardener but rather become a doctor, lawyer or investment banker instead.

Promotion Opportunities of Gardeners

Once you work as a gardener, you will do the same things over and over again for many years or even decades and promotion opportunities will be pretty limited.

Career Levels of Gardeners

  • Gardener intern
  • Gardener apprentice
  • Junior gardener
  • Senior gardener
  • Gardener with personnel and budget responsibilities
  • Manager of a garden center
  • Owner of a garden center

Fields and Types of Gardeners

  • Gardener focused on caring for plants
  • Gardener specialized in caring for trees
  • Gardener with emphasis on caring for palms
  • Gardener specialized in controlling pests and diseases
  • Gardener specialized in raising seedlings
  • Gardener focused on landscape architecture
  • Gardener working at a garden center
  • Gardener working self-employed
  • Gardener focused on outdoor plants
  • Gardener focused on indoor plants

Educational Requirements for Gardeners

You don’t need a fancy degree for working as a gardener.

What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have a real passion for caring for plants.

If this is the case, finishing high school with decent grades will be enough to start an apprenticeship in this field.

How to become a Gardener

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a gardener
  2. Apply for an internship at a local garden center
  3. Make a good impression during your internship
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Apply for gardener apprenticeships
  7. Master the job interview
  8. Choose the best offer
  9. Sign your labor contract
  10. Work hard and hone your skills

Character Traits you need as a Gardener

  • Passion for working with plants
  • Passion for preserving nature in general
  • Patience for difficult clients
  • Empathy for people who don’t understand your career choice
  • You should be open to learning new things every day
  • You should be an open person to consult customers in the best possible manner
  • You should enjoy working with your hands
  • Willingness to get dirty at work
  • Willingness to do heavy physical work

Hard Skills for Gardeners

  • Expertise in growing plants
  • Knowledge of optimal growth conditions
  • Knowledge of how to get rid of pests and plant diseases
  • You should know how to water your plants in the best possible manner
  • Knowledge of how to raise seedlings
  • Knowledge of how to prepare optimal soil mixes
  • Knowledge of how to produce cuttings
  • Expertise in pruning plants
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • You should know how to use gardening equipment properly
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations related to gardening
  • Marketing skills help you grow your business
  • Digital skills can help as well

Soft Skills for Gardeners

  • Empathy for people who don’t have a passion for gardening
  • Empathy for people who are not happy with your services
  • Passion for preserving nature
  • Passion for creating something with your hands
  • Good time management skills help you get things done
  • Good communication skills help you make your clients happy
  • Willingness to work in a physical manner
  • You should know how to bond your clients
  • Willingness to stay up-to-date with latest technological developments

Exit Options for Gardeners

Gardeners don’t have many exit options.

While some gardeners may be able to work as foresters, loggers or landscape architects, others may get stuck in the gardening industry for many years or even decades if they don’t get additional qualifications.

Gardener – Similar Careers

  • Logger
  • Forester
  • Landscape architect
  • Pest control worker
  • Animal trainer
  • Hunter
  • Fisher
  • Farmer
  • Salesperson at a garden center

Gardener Career FAQs

Is working as a gardener physically demanding?

Being a gardener can be physically demanding since you will often have to work with your hands and transplant plants, trees or palms.

Moreover, you also have to prepare soil mixes and have to lift heavy things on a regular basis.

Is working as a gardener mentally demanding?

Working as a gardener is not heavily mentally demanding.

Even though you have to use your brain from time to time to consult clients and to care for plants as best as possible, you will still not have to stress your brain as much as people who work in demanding office jobs with complex models every day.

Is it dangerous to work as a gardener?

Working as a gardener is not dangerous most of the time.

Quite often, you will just work inside a garden center and will also not have to operate heavy machines on a regular basis.

Consequently, your risk of suffering from serious accidents at work will be rather low.

How long do gardeners stay in their jobs?

Gardeners stay in their jobs for many years or even decades due to the fact that most of them really love what they are doing and can’t imagine working a different job.

Moreover, some gardeners are also pretty specialized and also don’t learn many skills valuable in the job market.

Thus, those types of gardeners may also get trapped in this industry and may just not be able to work in a different industry.

Is it easy for gardeners to find a new job?

It is pretty easy for gardeners to find a new job since there is a lack of qualified gardeners in many regions since not that many people want to do this job anymore.

Consequently, you don’t have to worry about getting fired that much since even if you do get fired, chances are that you will find another job soon.

Is it hard to switch from being a gardener to another field of work?

While it is relatively easy for gardeners to find a job in their field, it is also pretty tough for them to find a job in a different industry since they are often pretty specialized and just don’t have the skillset to work in a different field.

Consequently, before becoming a gardener, make sure that this is what you really want to do for quite a while to avoid any issues in this regard.

Do gardeners have a high social status?

Gardeners don’t have a high social status.

While customers will be grateful for your support, many people out there will belittle you and may not understand your career choice.

Hence, make sure that you are able to deal with snarky comments in this regard in an emotionally healthy manner if you really want to become a gardener.

Can you help out your family and friends as a gardener?

You can help out your family and friends quite a lot thanks to your gardening career since you can show them what plants they should grow around their homes and also how to get rid of pests and plant diseases in a proper manner.

Can gardeners work remotely?

Gardeners are not able to work remotely since they have to work with their hands and have to be present at their workplace in person.

Consequently, you will have a lower level of flexibility compared to someone who can work from home and can manage private and professional life at the same time.

Is it easy to find a partner as a gardener?

It is relatively hard to find a partner for a long-term relationship as a gardener since you will just have a rather low social standing and will also not be able to make good money.

Therefore, you will not be considered a good provider and doctors, lawyers and many other people who make good money will have a much easier time in this regard.

Do gardeners have to work on weekends?

Gardeners don’t have to work on weekends most of the time.

Thus, you will have enough time to spend with your family or you can also make nice weekend trips while train drivers, waiters and many other people often have to work on Saturdays or Sundays.

Do gardeners have to work on holidays?

Gardeners also don’t have to work on national holidays. Instead, you will be able to enjoy those days with your loved ones or with your favorite hobbies.

Do gardeners have to work at nighttime?

Gardeners don’t have to work at nighttime.

In fact, working as a gardener is a classical 9 to 5 job most of the time and this means that you will often come home relatively early and will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work.

Do you have to travel as a gardener?

You don’t have to travel as a gardener.

While many other people who work in demanding office jobs have to do business trips on a regular basis and will be away from home quite often, you will be able to stay at home and spend your leisure with your family.

Are gardener pensions good?

Due to their rather low salaries, gardeners also don’t receive good pensions.

Moreover, most gardeners are also not able to save and invest enough money for retirement and once they get older and quit their active careers, many gardeners are no longer able to pay their bills.

Are gardener salaries going up?

Gardener salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years.

Educational barriers to entry are just pretty low and this means that almost everyone will be able to work in this field.

Consequently, also wages are pretty low and may stay low even in the future.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a gardener?

While you can do good for your customers by consulting them regarding what plants they should grow for various purposes, you will still not have the same high social impact as teachers or doctors who can really make a significant difference in the lives of many people and for society in general.

How long does it take to become a gardener?

Since you will not have to get fancy college education for becoming a gardener, you can start your gardening career right after finishing high school.

Hence, while many of your friends may have to spend lots of time and money on college, you can even make money at a rather young age.

Is it difficult to become a gardener?

Becoming a gardener is not difficult since you don’t need good grades.

What’s much more important is that you are really passionate about this job and that you also grow plants as a hobby so that you already have some knowledge of how to care for plants in a proper manner.

Do you need to be smart to work as a gardener?

You don’t need to be a genius for working as a gardener.

Instead, you should be willing to work with your hands and should also be interested in growing plants and seeing progress in what you are doing every day.

Do gardeners have a good work-life balance?

Gardeners enjoy pretty decent work-life balance since they often don’t have to work on weekends, holidays and will also come home from work relatively early.

Consequently, gardeners have more than enough time to spend with their families or on their hobbies.

Do gardeners have to work many extra hours?

Gardeners also don’t have to work many extra hours. Instead, you will work in fixed shifts and once your shift is over, you will just finish your workday and will continue to work on your projects the next morning.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a gardener?

The more experience you already have in growing plants, the more likely it will be to find someone who will be willing to employ you.

Hence, make sure that you grow some plants at home to gather experience early on and that you also work as an intern at a local garden center to maximize your chances of finding work as a gardener.

Can gardeners work part-time?

While gardeners might be able to work part-time in theory, their hourly wage is rather low and most gardeners therefore have to work full-time to make a living from what they are doing.

Do gardeners work indoors or outdoors?

Gardeners work both indoors and outdoors.

Consequently, you should not be afraid of working outdoors during times of bad weather and if you are not willing to do that, you should rather go for a classical office job instead.

What does the workplace of a gardener look like?

If you work in a garden center, you will be surrounded by beautiful plants and palms.

Hence, your workplace will have a pretty nice atmosphere where you can recharge your batteries in a natural manner and will not get stressed at work that much.

Do you have to look good for working as a gardener?

Your looks don’t really matter for your success in the gardening industry.

However, you should still look groomed so that customers will not be disgusted by your appearance.

Is a gardener career beneficial for your private life?

Being a gardener can be beneficial for your private life since you will be able to grow various plants at home and don’t have to pay an external gardener.

In turn, you can save money and can also spend lots of time in your nice garden at home.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a gardener?

You don’t need a college degree for working as a gardener.

Instead, you just need to finish high school with decent grades and you will be good to apply for gardener apprenticeships in your region.

Do you need to be certified to work as a gardener?

You also don’t need to be certified for working as a gardener.

In fact, what’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you are really passionate about growing plants and about preserving nature in general.

How much does it cost to become a gardener?

Since you don’t need to go to college to be able to work as a gardener, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college.

Instead, you can become a gardener at almost no cost and may even be able to make money at a rather young age.

Is being a gardener a good career?

While many gardeners are happy with their tasks and their work-life balance, many of them also complain about the rather poor salary.

Hence, while being a gardener can be considered a decent career, you will still not become happy with it if money and luxury are really important to you.

Is it easy to start your own business as a gardener?

It is relatively hard to start your own business as a gardener since you would have to spend lots of money on equipment to carry out your work efficiently.

In turn, if you want to start your own business sooner or later, you might not want to become a gardener but rather go for a different career where you can start your business at virtually no cost as is often the case in the digital world.

Can gardeners teach themselves?

Gardeners can teach themselves many things on the job.

However, it can still help to have experienced colleagues on your side who can teach you advanced skills on how to get your work done in a more efficient manner.

Do gardeners make good money?

Gardeners don’t make good money.

Instead, many of them are barely able to pay their bills and will not be able to afford any luxury at all while they constantly have to worry about their financial situation.

Is it ever too late to become a gardener?

It is never too late to become a gardener.

However, since you will have to do lots of physical work, you might not want to become a gardener in your 50s or 60s since your body may just no longer be suitable to do this kind of work and you might also have a hard time finding someone who would be willing to employ you at this age.

Do gardeners have to quit their careers early?

While most gardeners are able to stay in their jobs until retirement age, some gardeners also have to quit their careers due to physical health issues.

In fact, spinal problems are pretty common for gardeners and if those issues become too severe, gardeners may have to retire early and may get into serious financial trouble.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a gardener?

The most challenging thing about being a gardener is that you will often have to deal with difficult clients who are just in a bad mood and it will be impossible to make them happy.

Instead, you will often get critical feedback about your work and this can really discourage you if you don’t have a stable emotional mindset.

Can you provide for your family by working as a gardener?

Providing for your family is pretty hard as a gardener since you will just not make good money and especially if you live in expensive regions where rents are high, you will often not be able to provide for your family and your spouse may have to work full-time as well.

Will gardeners suffer from old-age poverty?

Due to their rather low pensions and since gardeners are not able to save and invest lots of money during their active careers, many gardeners also suffer from old-age poverty and may no longer be able to pay their bills at retirement age.

Can gardeners retire early?

Most gardeners are not able to retire early. Instead, due to their rather low pensions, many gardeners even have to work at retirement age to pay their bills since their pension alone would not be enough.

Do gardeners get a fixed or variable salary?

Most gardeners receive a fixed salary and don’t have a variable component in their labor contract.

In turn, it doesn’t really matter for your compensation if you work hard or if you rather do your work in a relaxed manner.

Can you get rich as a gardener?

It is almost impossible to get wealthy or even rich as a gardener.

If you really want to get rich in this field, you would have to start your own gardening business and scale it as much as possible.

Do gardeners need a second job?

Due to their relatively low salaries, many gardeners need a second job to pay their bills.

This is especially true in regions where rents and other living expenses are pretty high and a gardener’s salary would not be enough to even only cover basic expenses.

Do you get continuous training as a gardener?

You don’t get continuous training as a gardener.

Once you finish your apprenticeship, you will be considered a gardening expert and from that point on, it will be on you to hone your craft and to get better at your job.

Do you get sick pay as a gardener?

Most gardeners don’t get sick pay.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you could do some research online or call local garden centers to get profound information in this regard.

Do gardeners have a high level of responsibility?

Gardeners don’t have a high level of responsibility since most of their mistakes will not translate into serious financial losses and will also not impact people in a serious adverse manner compared to doctors whose mistakes could really take away the lives of people.

Can gardeners work abroad?

Gardeners are needed all over the world.

However, before you think about moving to a different country, you should also inform yourself about working conditions in this country and about the salary that will often be quite different from what you are used to at home.

Is it stressful to work as a gardener?

Working as a gardener is not that stressful since you will just not have that much time pressure and can rather do your work in a pretty relaxed manner while you will also not have a high level of responsibility.

Is it boring to work as a gardener?

Working as a gardener only becomes boring if you are not really interested in growing and caring for plants.

In such a case, you should rather go for a different career since you would not get happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Is being a gardener hard?

Being a gardener is not that hard.

Even though you have to work in a physical manner, your level of stress at work will be rather limited compared to people who work in demanding office jobs and will have to deal with high levels of stress on a regular basis.

Are gardeners at risk of burnout?

Since gardeners don’t have much stress at work and are also able to work in a rather peaceful environment, gardeners are not at great risk of burnout since they are able to spend their workday in a rather relaxed manner.

Is there a dress code for gardeners?

There is no official dress code for gardeners.

However, most of the time, you will get work gear from the garden center you work for so that you can represent your employer in the best possible manner.

What kind of gardeners are paid the most?

The more specialized you are and the higher the demand for your services is, the more money you can make as a gardener.

Hence, if you want to make decent money from what you are doing, you should hone your craft as much as possible so that you can provide maximum value to customers.

What percentage of gardeners are women?

While around 42% of all gardeners are women, 58% are men.

Hence, there is a pretty healthy balance between men and women working in this industry and you will have good chances of working in this field, no matter what gender you might have.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a gardener?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a gardener.

However, it can still help having experienced colleagues on your side who can support you during difficult times.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a gardener?

You will not be personally liable for mistakes as an employed gardener most of the time.

However, if you want to be sure in this regard, you should consult a lawyer or get proper insurance in this regard.

Do gardeners have a high life expectancy?

Gardeners have pretty decent life expectancy since they don’t have to work in a stressful environment and can rather spend their workday in a relaxed manner.

Consequently, their risk of suffering from serious health issues will be rather low.

Do gardeners suffer from sleeping problems?

Since gardeners don’t have to work at nighttime, they also don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs since they can maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.

What states are best for working as a gardener?

Since your salary will be pretty low in every state, you should work in a state where living costs are pretty low so that you are able to make a living from your gardening job and don’t need a second job to pay your bills.

Who do gardeners work with?

Gardeners work with many different customers.

Hence, you should be an open and outgoing person to stay happy with what you are doing for a living in the long run.

Is working as a gardener cool?

Working as a gardener is not considered cool by most people out there.

However, you should not care about the opinions of others when it comes to your career choice and if you really want to work in this field, go for it no matter whether your friends understand your decision or not.

Can you start a side hustle as a gardener?

It is pretty easy for gardeners to start a side hustle.

In fact, many gardeners can make money on the side doing jobs on weekends or starting a blog or YouTube channel.

Do you have to be creative as a gardener?

You don’t have to be creative for succeeding as a gardener.

Instead, you will do the same things over and over again and decent knowledge of how to care for plants is much more important than creativity.

Do gardeners suffer from being overweight?

Gardeners don’t suffer from being overweight most of the time since they have to work with their hands in a physical manner and burn lots of calories during work.

How employable are gardeners?

Gardeners are pretty employable since not that many people want to work in this field anymore and this means that you will have decent job prospects for many years to come.

Are gardeners happy with their jobs?

While most gardeners are happy with their duties, many of them are still not happy with their salaries since they are barely able to pay their bills.

Is working as a gardener exciting?

Working as a gardener can be exciting if you are really fascinated by growing plants.

However, if you are not, your initial excitement may fade pretty soon and you may rather become bored with what you are doing in the long run.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a gardener?

Gardeners can have a positive impact on our environment since growing plants is crucial to store carbon dioxide and to slow down global warming.

Moreover, you can also raise awareness of people on our environmental problems and can therefore contribute to a livable future for the next generations.

What are the pros and cons of working as a gardener?

If you are still interested in becoming a gardener, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a gardener career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/227419/number-of-gardeners-usa/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/716532/us-flower-gardening-participation/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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