The terms Horticulture is derived from the Latin word hortus and colere Which means “garden” and “to cultivate”. As a general term, it covers all forms of garden management, but in ordinary use it refers to intensive commercial production.
According to American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, “Horticulture is the growing of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and of plants for ornament and fancy.” A more precise definition can be given “The cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamental plants as well as many additional services”. It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction and maintenance, and arboriculture. In contrast to agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry.
Horticulturists apply knowledge, skills, and technologies to grow intensively produced plants for human food and non-food uses and for personal or social needs. Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, and technical advisors in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture.
Branches of Horticulture
Horticulture is a wide field and includes a great variety and diversity of crops. The science of horticulture can be divided into several branches depending upon the crops it deals with. The following are the branches.
- Pomology: The study refers to cultivation of fruit crops.
- Olericulture: It is the science of vegetable growing.
- Floriculture: It refers to cultivation of flower crops.
- Plantation Crops: It refers to cultivation of crops like coconut, Arecanut, Rubber, Coffee etc.
- Spices Crops: refers to cultivation of crops like, cardamom, pepper, nutmeg etc.
- Medicinal and Aromatic Crops: It deals with cultivation of medicinal and aromatic crops.
- Post Harvest Technology: The study deals with post harvest handling, grading, packaging, storage, processing, value addition, marketing etc. of horticulture crops.
- Plant Propagation: It is the process which grows new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, and other plant parts.