With an opportunity to update the factors that influence a student’s decision to pursue a career in horticulture, this study provides insight into possibilities of creating a more effective recruiting strategy. Data collected through a survey of 230 post-secondary horticulture students, plus interviews with horticulture students and institutional staff, helped characterize the who, why and how of horticulture students. Demographic data such as that which identified that 40% of students are female and 48% of students attending two-year institutions are non-traditional (over 25 years old) offers better understanding about who are horticulture students. Likewise, knowing that prior gardening experience influenced 78% of horticulture students or that parents have an impact on students’ academic major decision offers some explanation of how they came into horticulture. Recognizing that many students simply have a passion to work outdoors or make a difference in the world unveils why these students chose horticulture. These findings help provide a basis for effective recruitment strategies of new horticulture students. For example, the target audience of these recruiting efforts should not just be students, but also include their parents. Emphasizing the likelihood that job opportunities in horticulture allow the ability to work outdoors and/or help others will help meet current students’ career aspirations.