About the CIH
We are the professional voice for horticulture, uniting a growing profession. The Chartered Institute of Horticulture is open to any professional within the horticultural industry, from those at the beginning of their education or career, to those already well established within the field.
The Institute of Horticulture was established in 1984 with the aim of fostering a close relationship between all sectors of professional horticulture throughout the UK and Ireland. On 21st July 2014 the Institute became Chartered and is now known as the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH). Not only is the granting of the Royal Charter excellent news for our members, but also for horticulture as a whole. This recognition has enhanced the status of horticulture as a profession which demands high level skills and continuing professional development. Chartered status has also strengthened the influence and therefore the voice of the CIH with government and policy makers. Find out more about the history of CIH here
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH) is the only organisation that can truly claim to bring together all professionals involved with every aspect and facet of the diverse industry that is horticulture. There are organisations concerned with such specialist areas but most horticulturists, whatever the career path they have chosen within horticulture, see themselves as part of the broader industry.
The Institute provides the opportunity to associate with those colleagues through technical and social gatherings, through its publications, on its website and through schemes such as the mentoring and CPD initiatives currently being developed by the Institute. Membership of the Institute provides a unifying force that draws together horticulturists who may be pursuing very different career paths and ‘uniting a growing profession’.
As a registered charity, with charity number 1159140, we are required by the Charity Commission to have a council of trustees. Our trustees are therefore responsible for making the strategic decisions that define who we are and what we do.
The CIH Management board members over see the making of day to day decisions. These may in turn be forwarded to our council of trustees for discussion.
The organisational structure can be found here
Aims and objectives
To promote the profession of horticulture and the professionalism of those working in the industry
To act as an authoritative body; consulting with Government and other policy making bodies on matters of interest or concern to professional horticulturists
To confer recognised status upon professionally qualified and experienced horticulturists
To promote educational and training opportunities and encourage the development of all disciplines within horticulture
To co-operate with other bodies on matters of common concern
To disseminate information on matters affecting the profession and provide opportunities for discussion amongst horticulturists through the website, publications, conferences, seminars, lectures etc.
To promote the importance of horticulture in:
- food and ornamental plant production
- providing employment, often in rural areas
- improving the environment
- creating and managing valuable sports and recreation facilities
- as one of the main leisure pursuits – gardening
The Institute is a constituent member of the International Society for Horticulture Science (ISHS). Their advocacy group has worked on definitions of horticulture, the professional horticulturist and horticultural scientist and these have been adopted by the Institute (March 2012). These are:
Horticulture is the Art, Science, Technology and Business of intensive plant cultivation for human use. It is practised from the individual level in a garden up to the activities of a multinational corporation. It is very diverse in its activities, incorporating plants for food (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, culinary herbs) and non-food crops (flowers, trees & shrubs, turf-grass, hops, grapes, medicinal herbs). It also includes related services in plant conservation, landscape restoration, landscape & garden design/construction/maintenance, horticultural therapy, and much more. This wide range of food, medicinal, environmental, and social products & services are all fundamental to developing and maintaining human health and well-being. A gardener is a person who tends to a garden and is therefore a horticulturist, but not all horticulturists are gardeners.
Horticulturists apply the knowledge, skills, and technologies used to grow intensively produced plants for human food & non-food uses and for personal or social needs. Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. They are also involved in the application of post-harvest technologies, supply chain management and the economics, management and marketing of quality horticultural products and services to customers and consumers. They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, operatives, technical advisors, educators, managers and business owners in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture.
These scientists focus on the research that underpins horticultural knowledge, skills, technologies, education and commerce. Horticultural science encompasses all of the pure sciences – mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology and biology – as well as related sciences and technologies that underpin horticulture, such as plant pathology, soil science, entomology, weed science, and many other scientific disciplines. It also includes the social sciences, such as education, commerce, marketing, healthcare and therapies that enhance horticulture’s contribution to individuals and society.
In order to support and encourage young horticulturists into the industry the Institute also runs an annual Young Horticulturist of the Year competition. The competition attracts applications from over 2000 horticulturists under 30 every year as they compete for the chance to win a £2,500 bursary to travel anywhere in the world. Find out more
The Institute further supports horticulturists through their involvement with Grow Careers, a non profit initiative set up with a group of influential organisations to inform people about horticultural careers and the range of fantastic opportunities on offer. The Institute understands the importance of supporting efforts to bring young people into this fantastic industry. Find out more