Thinking of making the transition to indoor plant technician? Indoor operations manager, Natalie (no-nonsense Nat) Horsford shares her experience.
Are you passionate about plants? Do you daydream about going home to care for your plant babies and leave every nursery with a lighter wallet?
Internet plant culture, funny memes, Instagram and Tiktok accounts may connect plant lovers together but they do little for accurately representing a career in horticulture.
Plants are dirty work. They’re also hard work and there can be very little recognition for those that choose them as a vocation. And yet, many do—favouring the flexibility, joy and reward and getting it “just right” over repetitive desk work.
Advance Plants indoor plant technicians service over 180 clients predominantly in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast to little fanfare, and let our business and glorious client installations wouldn’t exist without them. Our technicians are tenacious, hard-working problem solvers that battle less than ideal environments for their plants in some of the best offices and hotels in South East Queensland.
From Emporium South Bank’s green wall, to Deloitte Brisbane’s pothos laden staff room to TAFE Robina’s entrance hall; our indoor plant technicians are whizzing across up to 40 businesses across South East Queensland on any given day.
So what kind of person is best suited for the job?
Q. How do you describe what you do to family and friends?
Nat: Watering plants in offices, serving green walls in hotels … I generally don’t over explain or mind if people just refer to me as “the plant girl”.
Q: Do you need any formal qualifications to be an indoor plant technician?
N: No, but there’s definitely an attitude. What I’ve found is that anyone that comes from a nursery does a worse job, as they’re used to plants existing within certain parameters and have a preconceived notion of what plants should do.
For example, in a wholesale nursery they’re in an ideal environment and watered everyday, versus being in a bad environment they don’t typically live in. And then you have to deal with staff or patrons pouring coffee in plants, sitting on them, vomiting on them, stealing them. It’s not ideal.
Q. What attributes are most important for the job? (What kind of person would excel in this role)
N: People that are open-minded as opposed to people who are adamant about how it should be. Also, people that think outside of the box, are observant, have great organisational skills and a good memory, and do not take things personally.
Q. What does a day in the life of an indoor plant technician look like?
N: Typically an early wake up because we service a lot of sites where you have to be out of there before customers or workers arrive. My schedule varies daily, I generally drive to 10 sites a day from all different clients. I’m always in a rush. Your day often changes due to traffic or what plants you have available (to swap out), the quality of the plants when you get there and going to the nursery to get what you need. Then usually an early finish, like 2 pm. It’s a good lifestyle.
Q. What surprised you about the reality of indoor plant technician vs what you imagined?
N: How much organisational skills are actually required. How much the environment plays a role in your job (i.e., where a plant is versus what it is). And how different every single plant is, like in one area one plant can thrive and another, less than two metres away, can die. It can also be mentally draining and you have to pre plan what you’re going to do the next week and pick up.
Q. What is the worst part of your job?
N: Getting complaints that aren’t your fault. Clients not telling you when they’re closed and having to fit in when to fix that. Clients moving plants outside and killing them.
Q. What is the best part of your job?
N: The flexibility, 100 per cent.
Q. What advice would you give to people who are looking to get into indoor plant hire?
N: Listen to people who love plants online, but don’t get so caught up on the details.
Still interested? Advance Plants is always on the lookout for talented horticulturists to join our team, submit your interest to us today.