Learn to grow flowers, for floral displays, potted colour or cut flowers. A correspondence course for professional horticulturists or passionate home gardeners.

Course Code: BHT115
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Annual Flower Growing Course

Learn to grow annual flowers, for a colourful landscape garden, potted colour or cut flowers. A useful course for professional horticulturists or passionate home gardeners.

What are Annual Flowers?

  • Annuals are plants which are able to grow from a seed to a mature plant, flower, and produce seed all within the space of one year.
  • An annual is any plant which completes it's full life cycle in one year.
  • Generally annuals are grown in the garden for a period of less than one year, with the expressed purpose of providing flowers and colour.
  • The major advantages of annuals are: They produce flowers quickly; and They can be changed frequently.
  • Annuals are grown both as commercial cut flower crops and as bedding plants  (Bedding plants are plants grown in a garden bed on a temporary basis).
  • Commonly grown annuals which are able to be used as both bedding plants and cut flowers include; Marigolds, Asters, Stock, Poppy, Statice, Calendula, Gypsophila and Helichrysum

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • The system of plant identification, physiology, information sources
    • Types of Inflorescence
    • Choosing Flowers for an occasion
    • What flowers last longest as cut flowers
    • Care of cut flowers
  2. Culture
    • Planting, staking, mulching, watering, feeding, pruning, etc
    • Review of more commonly cultivated annuals
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating annuals.
    • Seed sources
    • Sowing Seed
    • Greenhouses and other propagation aids
  4. Hydroponic growing of selected varieties of annuals.
    • Annuals in hydroponics
    • Understanding hydroponic systems
    • Culture of selected annuals in hydroponics -Aster, Carnation, Gerbera, Stock etc
  5. Pest & Disease
  6. Irrigation
  7. How to Grow Annuals
    • Growing in Greenhouses (shade houses or other controlled environments)
    • Growing in Flower Beds
    • Types of bedding systems
    • Judging flowers
  8. Harvest, Post Harvest & Quality.
    • Harvesting
    • Deterioration of flowers
    • Shelf life
    • Post harvest treatment


  • Discuss the classification of annual flowering plants through the plant naming system.
  • Discuss culture requirements of annuals.
  • Propagate different annuals.
  • Explain methods of hydroponic culture in relation to annuals
  • Identify pest and diseases of annuals
  • Describe various types of irrigation systems and the water requirements of annuals.
  • Describe various greenhouses and related equipment available.
  • Determine procedures for the handling of annuals during and after harvest.
  • Design annual flower beds.

What You Will Do

  • Learn to identify and grow a wide variety of annuals.
  • Cut an annual flower in half. Draw it, and label the parts of the flower.
  • Prepare a soil bed and plant out different annual plants which you purchased (last lesson). Keep a daily log book of what you do and how each individual plant performs. (ie: Keep a record of the date when they are planted, how the soil is prepared, how they are planted, staked etc. Note how and when they are watered, fed, sprayed, weeded, pruned etc. Note every week or so what varieties are growing best....whether they are branching, forming buds, have weak or strong growth ..
  • Visit a nursery or garden growing annual plants. Observe how and where these plants are growing. Observe which plants are the healthiest. Are they exposed to wind, light, frost.
  • Give examples of different annuals which can be propagated by methods other than seed? Indicate the species or cultivar and the propagation method.
  • Learning is a process and quite a different thing to simply passing an exam or gathering together some information. Consider:
    • You can buy a big book, and have lots of information sitting on a shelf, but still not understand it, remember it or know how to apply it in real life.
    • You can read something, and be tested on it soon after, passing an exam; but a year later, you may have totally forgotten what you studied.
    • If on the other hand, you will remember and understand something that you encounter at a low level early in a course; then repeatedly encounter it in different ways, with different levels of complexity thoughout the course.

Why Grow Annuals?

Annuals are plants which grow from a seed to a mature plant, produce flowers, and then seed - all within the space of one year. They are generally grown with the specific purpose of providing a bright flower display. Some vegetables and herbs are also annuals and can be incorporated into a display, for their flowers or leaves. Although most annuals come into flower during the summer months, there are annuals which provide spring, autumn or winter colour.

Annuals are often grown as cut flower crops, as well as container plants and bedding plants. The term 'bedding plants' was originally used to describe plants grown in a garden bed on a temporary basis, sometimes when they were still in their pots. Nowadays, bedding plants, or 'bedding' for short is often used to refer to any annuals planted in garden beds or containers to provide instant colour.

Reasons to Use Annuals

The major advantages of annuals are:

  • They produce flowers quickly.
  • They can be changed frequently.
  • They are generally inexpensive to buy - both as packets of seeds or punnets of seedlings.
  • They are easy to grow.
  • They can be used as 'fillers' in beds with slow growing plants.
  • They can be purchased as large plants in almost full flower so they add instant  colour to gardens and pots.
  • They allow for seasonal variation in planting themes.
Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

ACS Distance Education is a member of the Australian Garden Council, Our Principal John Mason is a board member of the Australian Garden Council

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

Member of Study Gold Coast

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

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

Gavin Cole (Horticulturist)

Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. I

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and edito

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

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