Greenhouse Worker Job Description
Greenhouse workers help plants grow within commercial, industrial, and retail greenhouses by taking an active role in watering, trimming, and planting flowers, vegetable crops, and trees. They’re primarily responsible for day-to-day plant care, making sure that plants receive correct levels of nutrients and are planted and maintained following best practices.
In many cases, greenhouse workers work within retail settings, where they may also provide advice and guidance to customers on plant care and selection. Although this role does not require specialized education, greenhouse workers should have some interest in and knowledge about plant care.
Greenhouse Worker Duties and Responsibilities
Based on postings that we examined, most greenhouse workers share several core duties:
Plant Flowers and Vegetables
One of the primary responsibilities of a greenhouse worker is to plant flowers and vegetables in commercial, industrial, and retail greenhouses. In this aspect of the role, greenhouse workers follow planting guidelines regarding soil depth and composition, germination time, and moisture levels to ensure that the majority of seeds and cuttings grow fully into plants.
Greenhouse workers also ensure that the greenhouse has adequate levels of soil, fertilizer, and pesticide on hand by conducting regular inventory counts and helping to prepare supply orders. In some cases, this can also include taking inventory of seeds. Retail greenhouse workers also monitor inventory levels of plants for sale as well as supplies.
Water and Trim Plants
Greenhouse workers support plant health and growth through active watering and trimming, ensuring that plants have adequate water but are not at risk for root rot or other diseases caused by excessive moisture. Additionally, many greenhouse workers also trim plants to encourage healthy growth and remove diseased or unwanted shoots and leaves.
Harvest or Transplant Crops
Often, greenhouse workers will need to harvest or assist with transplanting crops. Within a food warehouse, for example, the greenhouse worker may determine whether a plant is ready for outdoor planting and provide assistance with removing it from the greenhouse. In a commercial flower greenhouse, a worker may help with harvesting the plants and packing the flowers.
In some cases, greenhouse workers may also apply pesticides to plants within the greenhouse. Depending on the state, the greenhouse worker may need to be licensed to work with certain types of pesticide. In this aspect of the role, the greenhouse worker takes precautions to avoid contamination and health hazards and ensure that pesticides are safe and correctly dosed.
Answer Customer Questions
Greenhouse workers may also directly interact with customers to answer questions about plant care or the plants themselves. This is generally more common in retail greenhouses, where the worker supports sales efforts by providing customers with advice and guidance. Within a retail greenhouse, the greenhouse worker may also need to complete customer transactions.
Greenhouse Worker Skills and Qualifications
Greenhouse workers plant, care for, and harvest flowers and vegetables in greenhouses and nurseries. Most workers in this role have the following skills:
- Botanical knowledge – greenhouse workers should possess some familiarity with plants and have a basic understanding of plant care, harvesting, and managing air, soil, and water quality
- Physical stamina – many greenhouse workers spend long shifts on their feet and frequently need to bend over to work with plants, so they should have excellent physical stamina
- Customer service – greenhouse workers frequently interact with customers to answer questions and provide advice, so they should have strong customer service skills
- Attention to detail – this role also requires a high level of attention to detail to identify when plants are ready for planting or harvesting or need special care and attention
- Communication skills – greenhouse workers tend to work with teams, so they should be effective verbal communicators and able to coordinate activities during a shift
Greenhouse Worker Education and Training
There are no formal education requirements to become a greenhouse worker. Although many greenhouse workers have at least a high school diploma, this is not required in all commercial greenhouses. There are many opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, especially since greenhouse workers may spend the first few weeks of employment rotating through tasks and responsibilities to fully understand greenhouse operations.
Greenhouse Worker Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has found that agricultural workers, including greenhouse workers, earn a median annual salary of $23,730. The highest-paid 10 percent of agricultural workers earn more than $36,340 per year, while the lowest-paid 10 percent earn less than $20,400. While many agricultural workers are seasonally employed, greenhouse workers can often work before or after traditional growing seasons.
The BLS estimates that employment for agricultural workers will remain steady through 2026, with no significant increase or decrease in employment.
We searched the web and found many resources if you’d like to learn more about starting a career as a greenhouse worker:
“Greenhouse Growing 101” – this blog post explores the benefits of greenhouses and provides advice on the factors that can affect the way plants grow, including ventilation, temperature, light, and water levels
Greenhouse Operation and Management – read this book to learn about how a commercial greenhouse operates from day to day, with information that covers both flower and vegetable greenhouses
Greenhouse Best Management Practices Manual – this resource, developed by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, provides in-depth guidance on successfully managing greenhouse operations and following agricultural best practices
Greenhouse Pest Management – this book focuses on pest management in commercial greenhouses, which is often a key part of a greenhouse worker’s day-to-day responsibilities
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