Heseltine said he was a "manic gardener" and that as a nation of gardeners "I don't think people realise the scale of horticulture that makes up everybody's lives".
The Haymarket chairman spoke at this week's All Party Parliamentary Group for Horticulture and Gardening reception of Disraeli's vision to create parks and his implementation of garden festivals in the 1980s as examples of how horticulture changed the nation.
He said former Prime Minister David Cameron had asked the former environment secretary to regenerate 100 of the most deprived estates. He said horticulture was a "fascinating vehicle" for doing this because it gives estate dwellers "a sense of ownership".
Heseltine said skills learnt could be a stepping stone to bring back people from deprived communities into the workplace.
He added that as the population ages, "people will not be able to sustain their own gardens" and that will create opportunities for horticultural work.
Heseltine said horticulture could "give people the opportunity to fulfil themselves and feel that sense of pride and community".