What is the difference between botanist and horticulturist?

As botanists study plants, horticulturists seek to use scientific knowledge to improve plant and flower growth. They educate farmers on best practices for agricultural crops, such as irrigation and fertilization. However, there are also differences in both scientific fields. Horticulture involves the management and cultivation of gardens.

Botanical science is a broader field. It involves focusing on plants as a whole and traditionally includes the classification of plant species. You may wonder how a botanist differs from a horticulturist. Botany is a pure science in which botanists study plant life.

They research and can conduct tests, derive theories and make predictions. They are often employed by universities, arboretums, or work for industrial manufacturers such as biological supply houses, pharmaceutical companies, or petrochemical plants. Most vegetable growers are involved in growing plants and maintaining plantations. On the other hand, botanists are mainly inclined towards research and teaching.

Both botany and horticulture are important pieces for understanding and improving plant life. The difference between the two is that while botany is exclusively the study of plants, horticulture is the act of cultivating them. The two work together to improve plant life and growth, thus improving the environment as a whole and the people who depend on it. Botanists also study a more complete range of plants, including many groups that horticulturists don't deal with at all.

Botanists are often at the forefront of helping endangered plants; they are crucial to finding and identifying plants at risk. You'll learn a lot about plants, and almost every botanist has a private garden, but planting may not be part of their job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not divide horticulturists and botanists as separate fields when looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While botanists use what they have learned in the study of plants to create new and improved breeds, they don't grow them for enjoyment or food, as horticulturists do.

As a general rule, horticulturists focus on the practical side of plants, while botanists work with plant theory and classification. But what is the difference between them? And how much practical gardening time does it really involve? Horticulturists tend to be a little more practical than botanists, who can spend more time researching. Botanists can also get jobs in government organizations, including the Forest Service and the USDA. In any case, plant breeding has been something that botanists and farmers have been doing for thousands of years.

Both make plants and gardening their life's work, but they approach it in different ways, which means you need to decide which one suits you best. A horticulturist, although similar to a landscape gardener, has a deeper understanding of the science behind different plants. Horticulturists do not research, but rather use or “apply” scientific research carried out by botanists.

Diana Raybuck
Diana Raybuck

Freelance travel junkie. Award-winning travel trailblazer. Music trailblazer. Friendly bacon expert. Troublemaker. Certified zombie junkie.