Floriculture or flower farming as it is popularly called is a discipline of Horticulture, and is the study of growing and marketing flowers and foliage plants. Floriculture includes cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for sales or for use as raw materials in cosmetic and perfume industry and the pharmaceutical sector. The persons associated with this field are called floriculturists. Officially Floriculture began in the late 1800's in England where flowers were grown in large estates, and now has spread to most other countries as well. The floral industry today has grown to much larger proportions and offers a wide scope for growth and profits. The countries involved in the import of flowers are Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Japan while those involved in export are Columbia, Israel, Spain and Kenya. In India, Floriculture industry comprises flower trade, production of nursery plants and potted plants, seed and bulb production, micro propagation and extraction of essential oils. Though the annual domestic demand for the flowers is growing at a rate of over 25% and international demand at around Rs 90,000 crore India's share in international market of flowers is negligible. India has a blooming future as far as floriculture is concerned. Enormous genetic diversity, varied agro climatic conditions, versatile human resources etc offer India a unique scope for judicious employment of existing resources and exploration of avenues yet untouched. Karnataka is the leader in floriculture, accounting for 75% of India's total flower production. The state has the highest area under modern cut flowers, and 40 flower growing and exporting units. The expert committee set up by Govt. of India for promotion of export oriented floriculture units has identified Bangalore, Pune, New Delhi and Hyderabad as the major areas suitable for such activity especially for cut flowers. APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) is the registering authority for such units. The employment opportunities in this field are as varied as the nature of work itself. One can join the field of floriculture as farm/estate managers, plantation experts and supervisors, project coordinators etc. Research and teaching are some other avenues of employment in the field. Marketing of Floriculture products for different ventures is emerging as a potential segment of this field. Besides one can work as consultant, landscape architect etc with proper training. One can also work as entrepreneur and offer employment to others. In addition to these careers which involve research and actual growing of crops, floriculture also provides service career opportunities which include such jobs as floral designers, groundskeepers, landscape designers, architects and horticultural therapists. Such jobs require practitioners to deal directly with clients. Professional qualification combined with an inclination towards gardening and such other activities produces efficient floriculturists and landscaping professionals. The skills and knowledge required are imparted under the professional courses of floriculture and landscaping. Eligibility Floriculture is not available as a subject at the undergraduate/degree level. Those who wish to join the floriculture stream should enroll for an undergraduate course in Agriculture (i.e a BSc Agriculture degree) after which they can opt for an MSc in Horticulture at the post graduate level. An MSc in Horticulture offers specialisations in floriculture, pomology (cultivation of fruits), and olericulture ( cultivation of vegetables). Students graduating in these subjects find jobs with companies as supervisors, farm or estate managers, handling large-scale production of certain varieties of flowers. A combined knowledge of floriculture with management enables one to get managerial or marketing positions with organisations involved in the processing and marketing of flowers and flowering plants. Those with PhD in floriculture, horticulture and related fields can get placed with reputed Research & Development cells of companies and corporate houses. Course Areas : Courses in floriculture are available as specialisations at the postgraduate and doctoral levels. Besides there are Certificate courses and diploma courses offered by some universities. Most colleges do not conduct a separate course for floriculture or horticulture at the under-graduate level, but treat it as part of the academic curriculum of agriculture. The basic eligibility criteria for a B.Sc. in Agriculture is 10+2 with sciences including Physics and Biology. For an M.Sc. in Horticulture, one must have a B.Sc. degree in Agriculture or a related subject. For Ph.D the basic eligibility criteria is a Master's degree in Horticulture/Agriculture or allied sciences and the other qualifications required may vary from one university to another for eg, some universities require that the candidate must be qualified in Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) conducted by UGC. Duration : An undergraduate course in agriculture may take anything from 3-4 years for completion. An MSc course is usually a two year course. The duration of Diploma and Certificate courses varies according to the schedule of the Universities and Institutes offering such courses. Selection : In most of the States, selection to the graduate course in Agriculture colleges is on the basis of an All India Entrance Examination in Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Maths of plus 2 level OR on the basis of the entrance examination conducted by the concerned universities. For admission to masters degree programme, an All India Entrance Examination is conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR). Besides ICAR other universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi also conduct entrance examinations for the vacancies in their respective institutes. Personal Skills People interested in floriculture as a career should be patient, analytical and observant. They must be detail oriented and accurate in their work. As in any horticultural career field, a love of nature is essential. Creativity and artistic flair along with physical stamina and manual dexterity will make candidates apt to work in this field. Good verbal communication skills are essential for interacting with both suppliers and customers. Computer skills are helpful for placing supply orders, maintaining inventory records, and doing book keeping for those intending to turn entrepreneurs and manage their own businesses.