WORKING AS AN INTERIOR PLANTSCAPER

Interior plantscapers are indoor plant specialists. They supply and install plants into a building, maintain the health of those plants and replace them when necessary.

The work may involve growing and caring for container plants in a nursery situation (perhaps an at-home base), selecting plants, loading them onto a truck, transporting them to a client’s building, moving them inside, maintaining plants inside the building (e.g. watering, fertilising, feeding, controlling pest and disease, removing unsightly foliage or flower, pruning, etc.), maintaining irrigation systems, keeping written records, and removing plants that need rehabilitation or disposal.

Interior plants are commonly grown in containers, from small to large, in a potting soil or media. Some are grown in soil beds (e.g. in an atrium created within a building), others are grown as a “green wall” and sometimes plants are grown in a hydroponic system.

Where Do They Work?
Interior plantscaping firms operate in larger population centres. Some plant nurseries may operate an indoor plant supply department (hiring or selling) as part of a larger business.  Some government departments or other larger enterprises which regularly need interior plantscaping may employ permanent or part time staff to provide their needs.
Interior plantscaping is used for events (e.g. on the stage at a concert, a wedding reception, a conference, a trade show), and as permanent installations in public buildings, offices, retail shopping malls, airports, and other such locations.

Opportunities
Interior plantscaping can be a relatively obscure industry, but in reality it is a bigger business than most people (even other horticulturists) appreciate. Some interior plantscaping firms employ dozens of staff and operate a fleet of trucks, visiting and attending to clients plants once or twice every week.  There are businesses that do nothing but supply large decorative containers for plants, and others that supply the infrastructure (excluding plants) for green walls.
Some businesses may only employ one or two people; but even as an owner operator, a plantscaping business can be quite lucrative if you offer a good service and organise your business well.

What is Needed?
Interior plantscapers must above all have very good knowledge of plant species and how different plants are affected by different interior environments. Air conditioners lower humidity. Interiors may often have artificial light but poor natural light. Buildings are often heated artificially to a constant temperature all year. Plants that are exposed to drafts when doors open and closed, or are exposed to heating or cooling vents, may be affected by rapid and frequent changes in temperature conditions. Plants in buildings are never exposed to wind and rain, as they would be out of doors, and they usually have roots confined within a container. None of these things are natural, and it takes a knowledgeable horticulturist to appreciate how to keep plants looking good in an interior environment.

Some people enter this industry by learning on the job; starting out as an unskilled nursery hand, moving up to being an assistant on a truck and progressing from there. Others take a course of study then build on that knowledge with experience. You will always progress faster if you study first.

If you want to become a manager or business owner, you also need business and management skills.

 

CHOOSING A COLLEGE
 
Every college offers something different.
•They all have different tutors, with varying qualifications and experiences.
•Some have higher course fees; but that could be because they offer more extensive support; while others may charge less but provide less services. Some may offer different payment plans to others.
•The style of teaching and learning; as well as the emphasis upon assessment and the way work is assessed can vary from one college to the next.

The best school for one person might not necessarily be the best for the next.  You need to look closely not only at what you want to study; but the people and services you will be working with; and then choose something you think will work for you.

 

More from ACS