The association was first organized in 1915 as the New Jersey Association of Nurserymen. In 1935, the group incorporated under the same name. Around a similar time a group of North Jersey plantsmen founded the Metropolitan Nurserymans Association. In the 1950's the two groups merged into one organization under NJAN, but maintaining the Metro Chapter, thus beginning the current chapter structure of the organization. Later on the NJAN added a third chapter, a central chapter, to go with the south and north, or metro, chapters. In 1988 the association saw a continued increase in membership from the landscape industry, and the board voted to rename the organization. The name became New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and it remains that today. In 2008 the NJNLA merged with the Professional Landscape Alliance of New Jersey and added a fourth chapter.
Today the organization exists with four chapter, each of which includes members from a variety of green industry segments.