Working in a greenhouse gives plant lovers the opportunity to grow vibrant flowers and juicy tomatoes in a nearly ideal, climate-controlled and pest-free environment. You’ll work long hours on your feet and need to learn the proper care for each unique species. But for nature lovers who can’t stomach working behind a desk, the greenhouse can provide a hallowed haven for work.
Working in a greenhouse requires stamina because you’ll be on your feet most of the day using your hands to care for plants, according to the website O*Net OnLine. You need to be able to lift heavy loads of supplies such as fertilizer. While you need to know how to use basic hand tools, a rising number of greenhouse jobs also require technical skills, according to Landlovers, a website put together by horticulture trade organizations. For example, the Certified Greenhouse website says certified greenhouses have computerized irrigation and climate control systems. To thrive in this job, you can’t be intimidated by sophisticated electronics.
Growing Your Career
As a greenhouse worker, you’ll plant row upon row of flowers, vegetables and other plants in greenhouses and be responsible for their upkeep. That means knowing when to water them and how much fertilize they need. You won’t need to worry so much about pesticides and weeds working indoors, but you will need to know about plant diseases and how to treat them. You’re also responsible for harvesting plants. Most greenhouses are huge wholesale operations, although some operate at the retail level. Some greenhouse workers supervise crews and order supplies.
The job is not without hazards. You need to take care to keep hydrated, use dollies to move items too heavy to lift on your own, and take care to avoid a shock from a wet power cord, according to a safety publication by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Certified greenhouses grow plants hydroponically. You will not only need knowledge of the computers that control nourishment and climate for the plants, but also the process for recycling the water and extending the life of plants. In addition, you'll need to clean and sanitize the greenhouse every two or three years.
Laying Down Roots
O*Net Online groups greenhouse workers in the larger job category of nursery workers. Most of these workers have a high school diploma or equivalent. For those in more advanced positions, a doctorate might be necessary. The average salary in 2013 was $18,710 a year. On-the-job training is usually provided, and a two-year degree can be helpful, according Landlovers. Some greenhouse and nursery jobs are also available for college graduates. Jobs for greenhouse managers or entrepreneurs can require advanced math, chemistry, biology and business skills and can pay upward of $100,000 a year.