Nursery Grower/Worker Kaiwhakatipu/Kaimahi Otaota

Nursery growers/workers grow young plants, flowers, trees and shrubs for sale or for use in parks and gardens.

Nursery growers/workers may do some or all of the following:

  • prepare soil mixes and composts
  • grow plants from seeds and cuttings
  • water, feed, prune, pot and label plants
  • operate and maintain irrigation systems
  • organise stock and dispatch of plants
  • spray plants to control weeds, pests and diseases
  • sell plants in a garden centre
  • drive tractors, forklifts and delivery trucks.

Physical Requirements

Nursery growers/workers need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for nursery growers/workers includes work in:

  • garden centres
  • orchards
  • crop farming 
  • parks and reserves.

Personal Qualities

Nursery growers/workers need to be:

  • reliable
  • practical and adaptable
  • motivated
  • willing to learn and work hard.


Nursery growers/workers need to have knowledge of:

  • how to grow and care for plants
  • pest, weed and disease control
  • plant and soil types and characteristics
  • production planning.

Nursery growers/workers who are in charge of staff also need management skills.


Nursery growers/workers:

  • usually work regular business hours, and sometimes weekends
  • usually work in glasshouses, plant shops and garden centres, and outdoors in fields
  • work in all conditions, which may be hot and humid in glasshouses and cold and wet outdoors.

Nursery Grower/Workers can earn around $23-$25 per hour.

Pay for nursery growers/workers varies depending on skills and experience.

  • New nursery growers/workers can expect to earn the minimum wage.
  • Nursery growers/workers with one to five years' experience usually earn up to $25 an hour.
  • Senior nursery growers/workers and managers can earn up to $31 an hour.

Source: research, 2020. 

Nursery growers/workers may progress to set up their own nursery growing business, or move into management, training or education roles.

Nursery grower/workers can specialise in:

  • garden centre work
  • growing seedlings for commercial purposes.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a nursery grower/worker. However, many employers prefer to hire nursery growers/workers who have or are working towards a qualification.

To become a qualified nursery grower/worker you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Nursery Production) (Level 3 and Level 4).

The Primary Industry Training Organisation oversees nursery production apprenticeships. 

Nursery growers/workers using chemical sprays need to have the correct certificates.

A driver's licence and forklift licence are also useful.

Nursery Grower/Worker