What does a Greenhouse Manager do?

Cassie L. Damewood

A greenhouse manager is in charge of the daily operating procedures involved in running a greenhouse or nursery. He typically oversees the care of the inventory and manages and supervises the staff. The manager may also ensure greenhouse policies and procedures are followed in accordance with environmental, horticultural and agricultural guidelines.

Daily operations at a greenhouse or nursery are overseen by the greenhouse manager.
Daily operations at a greenhouse or nursery are overseen by the greenhouse manager.

Depending on the physical size of the greenhouse, the manager regularly stocks a wide range of trees, flowers and plants. If space is limited, he may limit his inventory to one of these three greenhouse staples or may only carry varieties indigenous to his geographical area. If space is available, the greenhouse manager commonly stocks related items, such as soil, fertilizer, compost and staking materials.

Greenhouse managers make sure that proper horticultural guidelines are followed.
Greenhouse managers make sure that proper horticultural guidelines are followed.

Being knowledgeable about many types of plant life is necessary for a greenhouse manager to achieve success. He is normally expected to know how to cultivate, propagate and, if applicable, harvest a variety of plants. These normally include flowers, trees, shrubs, mushrooms and other plants. Customers rely on his expertise to plan and implement landscaping schemes and gardens.

A greenhouse manager also is commonly expected to be educated and make recommendations on the best soil ingredients and nutrients for different plant varieties. He is regularly called upon to provide advice on the selection and use of fertilizers, pesticides and disease control chemicals. Occasionally customers will bring a failing or diseased plant or flower to him for diagnosis and recommendations for its restoration to health.

The physical facilities are also normally the responsibility of the greenhouse manager. He often maintains and repairs the premises. The regulation and positioning of the irrigation systems in the greenhouse are regularly checked by the manager. He also may monitor the greenhouse year round to make adjustments to lighting and soil based on plant rotations and seasons.

Aside from site and plant maintenance, the manager is commonly in charge of the administrative side of the business. He normally has charge of the accounting and bookkeeping as well as advertising and promotion. If he has a staff, he is usually in charge of screening, hiring and training them. As new techniques and plant varieties emerge, the greenhouse manager often shares these developments with his staff.

Since consumer tastes change and new horticultural practices are regularly introduced, a greenhouse manager is normally expected to be informed of trends and developments. He is often considered an expert in his field and is regularly depended upon to dispense advice on plant selection, care and maintenance. There are often computer-based horticultural programs on-site that are readily accessible to customers and staff to answer inquiries.

To become a greenhouse manager normally requires an associate’s degree in horticulture or a related field. Smaller operations may promote staff workers to the position based on outstanding performance and knowledge. An in-house promotion often requires a minimum of five years continuous employment with the same company.

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