Difference Between Agriculture and Horticulture (With Table)

Agriculture and horticulture both are related to plantations and cultivation. Generally, horticulture is regarded as a division of agriculture. However, it is different from agriculture in nature. Horticulture is a new invention, and it is rather a scientific discovery. Agriculture and horticulture have different goals and different methods too. 

Agriculture vs Horticulture

The main difference between agriculture and horticulture is that agriculture is a large thing that requires a big plot of field. On the other hand, horticulture is a small-scale plantation, more of gardening. Agriculture is done to grow crops, but horticulture does not focus on food production. Agriculture is for humans, but horticulture is not merely to feed humans.

Agriculture is an old practice to grow crops that will reap food for humans. Agriculture is supposed to be done on a large plot of land. Animal farming is also a part of it. This is taken as the sign of civilization. Now both traditional and scientific ideas are utilised in this farming.

Horticulture is a type of gardening. The methods of it are scientific. It is used to cultivate food. The growth of crops here is controlled so that they can be pure. Medicinal ingredients get created this way. Only the harvesting of edible crops is not done here.

Comparison Table Between Agriculture and Horticulture

Parameters of Comparison



Range of land 

It is an operation that requires a large scale of land.

It is a small-scale gardening thing.


Agriculture aims to increase food production. 

It aims at comprehending the growing necessities of various plants. 

Type of plot

Its concern is to cultivate a field. 

Its concern is to cultivate a garden.

Type of cultivation

It deals with crops as well as animal farming. 

It deals with plants only.


Agriculture concentrates on crops for human consumption only.

Most plants that are grown under horticulture are not for human consumption.

What is Agriculture?

Agriculture can be regarded as the backbone of civilization. Humans have been doing this for a long time. In the initial days, it was the only source of food. Here food harvests rearing animals. The natural flow used to get followed in it, and redirection of harvesting was the rule for allowing the land to be enriched again. 

In agriculture, crops take natural resources to grow themselves. They collect water from soil with their roots. After that, they perform photosynthesis in the presence of the sun and then make food. Once it is ready in the form of sucrose, it spreads throughout the whole plant.

We can separate agriculture into two groups. One is sustainable, and the other is conventional agriculture. In sustainable farming, a variety of plants get planted together. Therefore the ground does not become barren. In conventional farming, only one crop gets planted. It takes care of the environmental factors. 

What is Horticulture?

Horticulture is a discipline of science. The methods and techniques of it are developed based on science. It is a special, scientifically tested technique of cultivation. Here the soil of planting, the seed to plant, everything is conditioned so no sort of failure during the growth can take place. 

In agriculture, not only cultivation but plant propagation, plant breeding, production of crops, physiology plant everything falls under it. Biochemistry and genetic engineering are also needed to enrich the domain of horticulture. Plants that come under horticulture do not need to be edible only. It includes turf and shrubs along with fruits and vegetables.  

Scientists conduct extensive research to get quality crops. The edible crops in this are highly nutritious. Pesticides are avoided here, so the health hazards are not an issue here. An enclosed garden is needed here. The environment needed for the crops is controlled according to their needs.

Main Differences Between Agriculture and Horticulture

  1. Agriculture is a large operation but compared to that, horticulture is a small scale operation. It is more like gardening.
  2. The main focus of agriculture is to increase food production, but horticulture will focus on knowing what the necessary conditions for some plants to grow are.  
  3. Agriculture needs a field to cultivate, but horticulture is a small gardening sort of phenomenon that is why no big plot of land is required. 
  4. Agriculture is about growing crops as well as animal farming, but Agriculture, on the other hand, is about growing plants.
  5. Agriculture will only cultivate crops that can be eaten by humans. On the contrary, horticulture may opt for plants that might not be eligible for human food.
  6. Horticulture is a new thing. It is based on scientific research and mostly created in the boundary of a lab. But agriculture is a practical thing that takes place in the fields. It has been happening since the beginning of civilization. However, agriculture also has been enriched with scientific inventions. 


We are dependent on agriculture for our food. Without agriculture, humans could not build a civilization and develop it. Along with harvesting, the livestock was done as well. Agriculture keeps the food chain and web going on and intact. The plants are eaten by herbivores. Carnivores eat herbivores. Humans, too, eat few crops and herbivore animals. 

Horticulture came after a long time. Horticulture does not have the intention to replace agriculture. Agriculture can not have an alternative. Horticulture is a scientific process. It works with scientific methods, and thus, it is not polluted. But it is not as large-scale as agriculture. 

We can compare it with gardening. Also, it is not only meant for food production. The medicine industry undertakes this process. One can not say which one is better than the other. Both have different purposes. Moreover, agriculture has kept us sustained, and we are dependent on the system for our food. 

The two terms can not be used interchangeably. They differ on fundamental principles. Most of the horticulture is done in a lab, under scientific supervision. But agriculture is the traditional way of farming.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01049492
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=UwPc7kbwQ4AC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=Agriculture+and+Horticulture&ots=rVVxgJtWNg&sig=_MTrZ-xoGzOtX-RyvIfeMpFSUCI