Nursery Person - Production Nurseries

A production nursery-person (sometimes called a wholesale nursery-person) produces plants by either propagating them and growing them to a saleable size or buying in small plants and growing them into bigger plants, finally selling them for a profit.

Where They Work

There are many different types of production nurseries. They vary in size, from properties less than 1 acre to properties covering hundreds of acres. Some concentrate on producing plants of a particular size (e.g. propagules i.e. seeds and cuttings nursery or advanced tree nursery), while others are focused on producing a certain type of plant (e.g. herb nursery, perennial nursery, fruit tree nursery or native plant nursery).

What They Do

Highly specialised nurseries may focus on just one plant family or genus (e.g. African violet nursery, Protea nursery or rose nursery). Production nurseries may be in ground, use glasshouses, or use plastic hoop houses or a combination.
Some production nurseries may focus on ‘growing-on’ so propagation skills may not be as important, but the ability to grow plants quickly up to a saleable size is important.

What is Needed?

Different skills are required to work in different nurseries. A propagation nursery is focussed strongly on propagation, so it is critical to understand how to germinate different seeds or how to get cuttings (of a variety of species) to form roots. A propagator needs comprehensive knowledge and hands on skills for propagating lots of different species of plants.

All nurseries need strong, healthy plants that are relatively uniform in shape and size, without damaged leaves or any sign of infection. It requires knowledge to achieve this.

The owners or managers of a production nursery do need to have sound, broad based foundation knowledge of horticulture, but they do not always need to be an expert propagator or technician. If their job is to manage staff and market the plants, they can employ horticultural experts to attend to the fine detail of day to day plant propagation and care.


Many nurserypersons are small scale operators employing only family members - or only one or two people outside of the family. Medium and larger production nurseries will employ more people, and are more likely to have a career structure that offers the possibility for advancement (and better remuneration), over time.
Certain skills are critical to different types of nurseries, and people who have proficient skills and can work fast are always going to be in high demand.  Nurserypersons will highly value staff who can propagate quickly and still get a very low rate of loss, or employees who can pot-up a lot more plants per hour, without losing any more than someone who pots more slowly.




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