Certificate in Horticulture. Learn horticultural principles, practical skills, plant propagation and plant identification and classification.

Course Code: VHT003
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 150 hours
Qualification Certificate
Get started!

Prepare for a Career in Horticulture

Understanding horticulture involves many different topics. These are the focus of this course. From learning about how plants are named and classified into different families, genera, and species, through to plant propagation and culture, all the key topics are examined in-depth. The course has been specifically designed by professional horticulturists to introduce students to all aspects of horticulture in a way which aids learning.    

This is an exceptional foundation course in horticulture. It covers everything any budding horticulturist needs to know, and then some.   

Students use this prestigious qualification to step up the horticultural ladder.

An extremely informative course in horticultural practice and principles, underpinned by sound scientific knowledge. All qualities sought by employers - world-wide.

Student Comment: "I have found the course material to be comprehensive and informative and have learnt a lot and really enjoyed my year of study. The office staff at ACS have always been helpful and efficient and quick to respond to requests or queries. My tutor, Adriana, was encouraging and supportive, as well as being really thorough in the way she marked my assignments. I had not studied for 20 years before I started my ...Certificate in Horticulture and the feedback and reassurance I received from my tutor made all the difference." Katherine Parry, Australia - Certificate in Horticulture course (now referred to as Foundation Certificate in Horticulture).

This vocationally-oriented course comprises core studies in general horticulture plus specialised elective studies. The course is designed to lay a foundation for a long-term career in horticulture by developing the ability to identify a large range of plants, knowledge of essential horticultural principles and practices and practical skills in plant propagation, growth and care. 

Student Comments (K.Eastwell):"I am very impressed by the standard of the core materials, by the professional and ever helpful and supportive admin ......" ..."I also like the green, environmentally sensitive approach to the course"

There are ten lessons in this course:

  1. The Plant Kingdom (part a)
  2. The Plant Kingdom (part b)
  3. The Plant Kingdom (part c)
  4. Plant Propagation
  5. Outdoor Food Production
  6. Garden Planning
  7. The Root Environment and Plant Nutrition
  8. Protected Cultivation
  9. Horticultural Plant Selection, Establishment and Maintenance
  10. Horticultural Plant Health Problems


150 hours


  • Demonstrate a broad range of horticultural knowledge; communicate clearly and coherently in writing on horticultural matters; and relate horticultural science to its practical application.
  • Understand the classification of higher plants and appreciate the internal structure of higher plants.
  • Understand the external structure of higher plants
  • Develop an understanding of the principles and main practices of plant propagation in horticulture.
  • Understand the fundamental physiological processes within the plant including photosynthesis, respiration, water movement, pollination, fertilisation, seed formation and germination.
  • Develop an understanding of the principles and main practices of plant propagation in horticulture.
  • Understand basic cultural operations and production methods necessary to obtain outdoor food crops.
  • Understand basic surveying and design principles and apply them to basic garden design and planning requirements.
  • Develop an understanding of the constituents, properties and management of soils and growing media.
  • Develop an understanding of environmental control and plant cultivation in greenhouses and other protected environments.
  • Develop an understanding of plant selection, establishment and maintenance of a range of ornamental plants.
  • Develop an understanding of pest, diseases and weeds that affect horticultural plants, and the cultural, biological, chemical and integrated systems used to control those problems.


One Exam
Learning is Essential,
but will you learn what you need from your course? 
  • This is a very demanding course but it offers an opportunity to learn the most critical fundamentals as fast, if not faster than in any other course.
  • It has double the course notes you find in most of our other courses; and lots of set tasks as well; so be prepared to apply yourself.
  • If you want to learn and achieve a qualification of value; you can't take too many short cuts; but this course is probably as good as it gets. 
Many of today’s courses tend to be out of sync with what you need for a job. This is often because the concepts of teaching followed by many colleges hand universities have not changed much for hundreds of years. The world has changed though!
This course has been designed to teach you things that make a long term difference to career or business success. 
University and school room lectures are a concept that originated in 13th century Europe, when we didn’t have digital technology, or a proper understanding of how people learn. Courses in the past were conceived, planned and budgeted for, then delivered over a long period of time. Typically it could take 5 years or more from when a need was identified until when a course was developed and started to deliver on that need. Apprenticeships originated in medieval times when the pace of life was slow, and children acquired skills slowly over many years by working alongside their elders. The world today is very different and every year it changes even more, yet we still largely use the same methods of education as we used hundreds of years ago. It is no wonder that so many students fail courses, or never go on to use the qualifications they acquire.


ACS was founded by John Mason in 1979 as Australian Horticultural Correspondence School.

Right from these very early times, we've always believed that the best education only comes when the student is learning from the experience of a whole range of industry experts (rather than just a single teacher).

Every ACS course is a work in progress, continually evolving, with new information being added and old information being updated by our team of internationally renowned professional horticulturists.

Over the decades more than 100 horticulture experts from across the world have contributed to these courses, bringing their individual knowledge and experiences from as wide afield as England and Spain to Australia and America. While may colleges and universities focus on providing courses that relate only to the country where they are based, ACS has always strived to make it's courses relevant to all parts of the world; any climate, economic or cultural situation. This has been achieved by involving a large number of professionals in the course development.

When it comes to tutoring, marking papers and mentoring students, the team approach is just as strong as with our writing. ACS students have the ability to obtain advice and support from staff across the world, with horticulture tutors located in the UK, Australia (both the north and south) and New Zealand.  The ACS team approach and global focus to both course content and student support, ensures our graduates have a unique and "real world" skills set. This unique approach is highly regarded by our colleagues in horticulture.

Contributors to ACS Courses over the years have included:

  • John Mason -former parks director (Melton, Essendon and Heidelberg), Landscape Designer (Playgrounds and recreation Association of Victoria), Nurseryman, President Australian Institute of Horticulture (Victoria), Committee International Year of the Child (Australia), Author ove over 40 books, Editor Garden Guide Magazine, Editor Your Backyard Magazine.
  • Maggi Brown - Education officer, Henry Doubleday Research Association (UK), gold medal winner Chelsea Flower Show, Garden consultant.
  • Iain Harrison -Garden Manager Fibremakers, Garden Consultant, Lecturer Swinburn TAFE
  • Adriana Fraser - Horticultural Consultant, TAFE Lecturer, Project Manager - Parks and Gardens, Horticultural writer.
  • Katie Freeth - Manager Commonwealth War Graves (France), Horticultural Consultant (France & UK), Board member Institute of Horticulture, and International Federation Parks & Recreation Administration
  • Tony Bundock -Horticulture Businessman, Consultant, Head of Horticulture Dept. TAFE
  • Jim Davis -Horticulture Businessman, Lecturer TAFE (NSW), Principal VCAH Burnley College
  • Dr Lyn Morgan -author and internationally renowned hydroponics consultant (New Zealand)
  • Dr Valeria Astorga -horticultural consultant, lecturer (Spain, Peru, Australia)
  • Alison Bundock -Editor (Kangaroo Press; Southern Cross University), Technical Writer (APM), Consultant
  • Rosemary Davies -Horticultural consultant, journalist, media personality (Victoria)

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

Diana Cole

Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Permaculture Design Certificate, B.A. (Hons)-Geography, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development
Diana has been an enthusiastic volunteer with community garden and land conservation projects sinc

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.