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What Is The Difference Between Horticulture & Agriculture?


Farming has always been an important part of our lives since time immemorial. However, as societies have progressed, so have the ways of farming. And in modern times, it has been divided into many branches, and every single branch is a vast study in itself. 

Agriculture is a common term related to farming that almost everyone might have heard of. However, horticulture is another term that has been coming up a lot in recent years. And many people use them interchangeably without understanding the differences. 

That is what we aim to distinguish with the help of this blog. We will also not just discuss the differences but will also shed some light on the similarities. 

Differences Between Agriculture & Horticulture


Agriculture is a science involving farming practices such as the cultivation of crops, animal rearing, etc. It is also what has led to the development of human society as a whole. On the other hand, horticulture is a similar science that focuses on cultivating food crops and plants using specialized techniques. 

There are many factors that distinguish agriculture & horticulture, and we are going to cover each one in detail. 


The one major difference between agriculture and horticulture is the scale. Agriculture is done at a much more extensive scale. It involves the use of large land masses and fulfills the need for a complete economy with large-scale production.   

Agriculture is also a source of jobs and resources such as medicines, raw materials, etc. On the other hand, horticulture is done on a smaller scale and can be commercial. Many people also refer to it as a subdivision of agriculture. 


Another difference between the two is their produce, which is quite evident. The larger the scale of production, the more the output. That is what it is like in agriculture. In comparison, horticulture focuses more on improving the quality of produce and sustainability. That is why the produce in horticulture is much lower, even on a commercial scale. 

Budget & Resources

The requirement of resources and budget in agriculture is very high as compared to horticulture. However, horticulture would beat agriculture if we look at the per unit expenditure on resources. That is because it makes use of the latest possible technology and resources. And thus, the per unit requirement is higher. However, it is a rare case scenario. 

Occupation Vs. Hobby

Since agriculture is a source of employment and is important from an economy’s perspective, it becomes a choice for occupation. And that is not the same with horticulture. Many people opt for horticulture only as an activity for leisure and not as a main occupation. It does not imply that horticulture can not be an occupation but is not a choice for the majority.

Also Read: What Is The Importance Of Horticulture In Human Life?

Activities Involved 

The activities involved in agriculture are as follows: 

  • Irrigation
  • Cultivation of crops
  • Rearing
  • Cattle farming
  • Fisheries

The activities involved in horticulture include: 

  • Garden cultivation
  • Cultivation of fruits and vegetable
  • Garden maintenance

Crop Categories

There are also some differences in the categories of crops they produce. Let’s have a look at those differences. 


  • Food crops such as rice, corn, potatoes, and every form of processed food crop. 
  • Plantations such as coffee, tea, cocoa, coconut, and other forms of processed plantations. 
  • Products from forestry such as wood, honey, and other processed forest products. 
  • Fishery and livestock products are also a part of agriculture. 


  • Floriculture makes use of ornamental plants, falls in the category of horticultural plants. 
  • Biopharmaceutical plants are also prevalent in the horticulture community. 
  • High-value fruits and vegetables from the respective plants also fall under the crop category in horticulture. 

Are There Any Similarities Between Horticulture And Agriculture?

Since horticulture is one of the many branches of agriculture, it is very easy to confuse the two. However, we just saw that there are plenty of differences between the two. But are there any similarities? Well, there are plenty of similarities as well. 

  • Both of them require an understanding of the science of plants, soil, and techniques for pest management. 
  • There is an involvement of the cultivation of crops in both of them. 
  • Also, both require the use of aiding tools and machinery, which helps in planting, processing, and harvesting of crops.

Which Is More Important: Agriculture Or Horticulture? 

There is no specific answer to this, as they both have their own relevance. The importance will also depend on the angle you are looking from. Both are important to human society. Also, improvements in horticulture will pave the way for the progress of agriculture as well. In that sense, horticulture becomes very crucial. 

How Is Horticulture Important?

Horticulture also has a lot of benefits to the sustainability of the environment, which ultimately benefits human society. It helps in improving the overall quality of life and contributes to the rehabilitation of the environment. And as the landscapes will grow, so will the need for sustainable horticulture. 

If you also have a keen interest in horticulture and are looking to join a community, Fall and Fallow is a community you can depend on. We aim to create more awareness about horticulture and engage people in their respective activities. You can contact our experts to know more.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no absolute best between horticulture and agriculture. Both are relevant in their own respective way and serve different purposes.

The adoption of sustainable practices is really important from an agricultural perspective. Horticulture can play a big role in it by using newer technologies and researching more sustainable practices. The most effective components can be incorporated into some parts of agriculture.

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