Difference Between Agriculture and Horticulture


Main Difference

The major difference between agriculture and horticulture is that large scale extensive crop cultivation is known as agriculture and small scale gardening is known as horticulture.

Agriculture vs. Horticulture

Agriculture is concerned with the farming of crops and animal farming. Horticulture deals mainly with plant cultivation. Agriculture focuses on plants basically for human consumption. Horticulture focuses on plants not only for human consumption. Agriculture is done on extensive pieces of land. Horticulture is done on smaller pieces of land or enclosed plots. The term agriculture is a broad term that covers forestry, agronomy, animal husbandry, and aquaculture. But horticulture is a branch or sub-category of agriculture. Agriculture is used for raising plants and animal for human food and necessities. Horticulture is used for improving the marketing and technology of plants. Agriculture in bulk only requires general condition, and know-how and does not need sophistication. Horticulture needs controlled conditions, special techniques, and equipment. Linguistically, the term agriculture comes from a combination of Latin words ‘agri’ means field, and ‘cultura’ means cultivation. The term horticulture derives from two Latin words, ‘hortus’ means garden, and ‘cultura’ means cultivation. The implication of agriculture is monocropping primary succession plant obsession in its origin. The implication of horticulture is the diversity of plants and smaller scale style through its origin. Agriculture uses strategies of cultivation such as transplanting, seeding, tilling, burning, fertilizing, selective harvesting and crop-rotation, etc. by using tools to create one habitat meadow or field. Horticulture uses the same strategies of cultivation to promote ecological succession and diversity of landscapes. Agriculturist work as farmer and horticulturists work as a gardener. Agriculture does not involve any scientific experimentation and research, but horticulture thrives in these techniques and performing more and more research.


Comparison Chart

Cultivating a fieldCultivating a garden
Also Known As
Deals with
Field crops, oilseed, grains, wheat crops, and animal husbandryFruits, vegetables, and flowers
Both plants and animalsPurely with plants
Done on
Large scaleSmall scale

What is Agriculture?

Agriculture is a multi-faceted term that usually covers the practice of propagating plants and increasing livestock and poultry. Its main reason is to give food for human utilization and provide other human fundamental necessities like clothing and medicines. It is also used to produce a good yield. Agriculture is the field of growing food crops and nurture animals for farming. It includes the entire procedure to appoint the deflection of the natural flow of the food chain and the redirecting of energy. The natural food network starts with the sun. Sun provides sunlight which is used by the plants and then it is converted into sugars which are acting into plant food by a process called photosynthesis. Herbivores animals eat plants as their food, and the carnivores eat the herbivores for their food. Dead animals and plants are decomposed by bacteria and return to the soil as nutrients, and this process in the form of chain repeats itself. Agriculture restarts this web of food so that plants are used for human usage. However, plants can be grown specifically for herbivores as food like cattle, which is, in turn, bring up for human use. Agriculture can be divided into two classes, which are ordinary and renewable agriculture. Ordinary agriculture deals out with reconstructing some environmental factors like trees, soil plow, and soaking and all activities that favor single crop growing chiefly for crops like wheat, rice, and corn. Renewable agriculture is where the ecological concept is to engage in farming. It is also called as agro-ecology. Its goal is supportable farming applications. It includes the planting of a diversity of crops at a time so that the plowing garden will never be vacant at any time.


What is Horticulture?

Horticulture is the art or practice of garden cultivation and management. It also deals with science, technology, and business of growing plants. Horticulture is a subcategory of agriculture that concern with the cultivation, marketing, and technology of all kinds of plants. Its scope deals with root crops, fruits, vegetables, trees, herbs, decorative plants, medicinal plants, grass, and seaweeds and algae. Horticulture students often study field like nursery management, ornamental horticulture, landscape horticulture, and urban forestry during their degree. Its approach provides food, products for human consumption, economic gain, and improvement of the environment. Sometimes it is simply also known as “gardening.” However, horticulture is usually classified as a subcategory of agriculture which concerns with plant gardening. It is different from agriculture, but it is easy to correlate them because engaged techniques are used replaceable in both procedures, for example, the cultivation of crops that is an agricultural method, many horticulture procedures are engaged. Horticulture is a complete technique of agriculture. Horticulture is also defined as the science that enlists special techniques and procedures to cultivate plants as well as procedures used soil appropriately for seed planting and planting tubers. The term horticulture involves cultivation, plant propagation, breeding of plants, production of crops, plant physiology as well as biochemistry and genetic engineering. The plants are mainly vegetable trees, flowers, shrubs, fruits, and nuts. Horticulturalists performs large scale research in their field to get better quality crop yields, upgrade their nourishing to humans, make crops resistant to pest and disease, and regulate environmental stresses.

Key Differences

  1. Agriculture is less intensive conversely horticulture is more intensive.
  2. In agriculture, you are growing plants in natural soil, whereas in horticulture you are growing plants in artificial media.
  3. Agriculture is done on large scales plots; on the other hand, horticulture is performed on small plots.
  4. Agriculture is the science of cultivation of crops and animal husbandry on the flip side horticulture is the science of cultivation of fruits and vegetables mainly.
  5. Agriculture is a vast branch of science, while horticulture is a sub-branch of agriculture.


Agriculture is the science of rearing animals for farming and growing food crops, and horticulture is science if growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson