Horticulture A (Introduction) Online Course

Horticulture A (Introduction) Online Course Sale!
Full Fee $595.00 incl GST - Best Value!
Payment Plan $800.00 incl GST
Duration 100 hrs (12 months)
Exam Optional
Tutor Support Yes unlimited by email
Qualification Certificate

Gain a broad technical grounding in horticultural principles and practice. The ideal course for the beginner, this is a basic, yet thoroughly practical course.A section of each lesson involves plant identification.

This subject has been written to teach horticulture in a way that is relevant to all parts of the world. It puts aside regional techniques, and tries to teach you principles and concepts which can be applied to anywhere.

Course Aims:

  • Distinguish between different plants, to enable identification of the plant species.
  • Explain appropriate procedures for establishing a range of plants in different conditions.
  • Describe the characteristics of plant growing media necessary for healthy plant growth.
  • Explain the characteristics of plant nutrition necessary for healthy plant growth.
  • Determine appropriate water management procedures for healthy plant growth.
  • Understand appropriate procedures for pruning plants on a horticultural site.
  • Determine solutions for the management of a range of common weeds.
  • Determine solutions for the management of a range of common pests and diseases.
  • Prepare a concept plan for the development of a garden.
  • Understand commonly used plant propagation techniques.
  • Develop guidelines for general lawn care.
  • Develop guidelines for general tree care in a horticultural situation.


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Detailed Course Outline

This course is made up of a number of lessons or units.  Each of these has self assessment questions, a set task (practical homework) and an assignment which you can upload online.  Click below to read about each of the lessons and what you will learn.

There are 13 Lessons in this course:

Plant identification

  • Naming plants
  • Distinguishing the taxonomic divisions of plants including family, genus, species and variety or hybrid
  • Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons
  • Characteristics of botanical families
  • Structure and arrangement of leaves and leaflets
  • Leaf terminology
  • Leaf arrangements
  • Flower structure and identifying the different parts of a flower
  • How seeds form
  • Plant reviews
  • Collecting and pressing plants for herbaria


  • Garden terminology
  • Common garden problems
  • Basic planting procedure
  • Fertilising and staking when planting
  • Dealing with bare rooted plants
  • Time of planting
  • Deciding where to plant
  • Mulching
  • Making garden beds
  • Raised beds
  • Sunken beds
  • Planting terminology

Recognising plant families and identifying plants

  • Becoming familiar with plant families
  • Botanical Latin
  • Systematic examination of plants – dicot or monocot, type of wood, etc
  • Characteristics of important families including: Amaryllidaceae, Araceae, Asteraceae, Ericaceae, Lamiaceae, Fabaceae.
  • Getting to know more common families
  • Other ways to identify plants
  • Plants for shade
  • Plants for exposed conditions
  • Plants for inner city gardens


  • Purpose of soil
  • Soil structure: classifying soils
  • Soil water and air
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil pH
  • Nutrient availability
  • Naming a soil
  • Improving soils
  • Composting
  • Natural plant foods
  • Sampling and testing soils
  • Potting soil mixes
  • Soil terminology

Plant nutrition

  • The nutrient elements
  • Major elements
  • Minor elements
  • Diagnosis of nutrient problems
  • Fertilizers: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium
  • How much fertilizer to apply
  • Terminology

Water management

  • Introduction to irrigation
  • Feasibility of irrigation
  • Soil and water
  • When to irrigate
  • Water deficiency symptoms
  • Types of soil moisture; gravitational, capillary, hygroscopic
  • Measuring water available to plants
  • Rooting depths of plants
  • Estimating water requirements
  • Pumps, sprinklers and other equipment
  • Understanding hydraulics
  • Conventional sprinkler systems; portable, permanent, semi permanent
  • Cyclic watering
  • Pulse watering
  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Sprinkler spacing
  • Improving soils for water management
  • Drainage
  • Erosion management
  • Soil compaction
  • Acidification

Garden maintenance and weeds

  • Cost of garden maintenance
  • Machinery
  • Comparing more and less costly areas of the garden.
  • Common weeds and their identification
  • Weed control methods – chemical and non chemical
  • Plants that become invasive
  • Environmental weeds

Pests and diseases

  • Pest and disease overview
  • Preventative measures for managing pest and disease
  • Review of major pest problems and control options: Aphis, Borers, Caterpillar, Leaf Miner, Mealy Bug, Red Spider, Scale, etc
  • Review of major diseases and their control: Anthracnose, Black Leg, Rots, Botrytis, Damping off, Die back, Mildew, Rust etc.
  • Diagnosis of problems
  • Introduction to plant pathology and entomology
  • Chemical pesticides and basic toxicology
  • Integrated pest management


  • Reasons for pruning
  • Identifying bud types
  • Basic rules of pruning
  • Pruning in a home orchard
  • Terminology
  • Winter pruning tools
  • Examples of winter pruning; Crepe Myrtle, Hydrangea, Raspberry, Fuchsia, Kiwi Fruit, Grevillea, etc
  • Rose pruning


  • Introduction and pre planning information
  • Plant selection criteria
  • Covering the ground
  • Living plant cover
  • Mulches
  • Container growing outside
  • General considerations
  • Terminology


  • Methods of propagation: seed propagation and vegetative propagation
  • Propagation structures: cold frames
  • Cutting propagation
  • Factors affecting rooting of cuttings


  • Turf grass varieties
  • Review of common turf species
  • Laying a new lawn
  • Common turf problems
  • Cultural techniques including watering, fertilizing, topdressing, aerating, pest and disease control.


  • What is arboriculture
  • How to keep trees healthy
  • Where and how to cut trees to remove branches or prune
  • Why remove a tree
  • Ways to fell a tree
  • Removing a stump
  • Tree surgery; terms and techniques

When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It's okay if you don't want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.

Course Tutor(s)

Barbara Tremain BSc. (Hons) Horticulture, RHS Adv. Cert,. RHS General, City & Guilds Garden Design, Permaculture Level 3 (UK)

Barbara brings to Careerline a wide range of horticultural experience and knowledge Barbara has a keen interest in herbalism, edible wild plants and has lead into studies of many plant based complementary medicinal systems, qualification as a Bach Flower remedy practitioner and studying Ethnobotany. Barbara has practiced and studied horticulture as well as combining it with her love of travel in many countries including the UK, US and Australia and has also studied Permaculture and runs her own horticulture business. Within the past two years she have also worked for Groundwork SW with 18-24 year old unemployed people, this work and the mentoring scheme has allowed me to teach informally. It has been a delight to nurture the interests of keen learners in horticulture and garden design. Meanwhile the business has covered a variety of Garden Design projects, from wildflower gardens to seaside situations, and has included some work with Chelsea Gold multi-winner John Moreland.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pay in installments?

Yes! We offer great payment plans, however full payment up front is the cheapest. You can choose the best payment plan for you from the course page, or call us on 07 55368782 to talk to one of our course consultants for a custom plan.

Can I study from anywhere in the world?

We have many international students. Careerline's range of courses are suitable for any one, anywhere in the world.

Do I get a discount if I enroll in a second course?

Yes. You may claim a 5% fee discount when you enroll in a second course, and a further 10% off a three-course package.


Do I have to sit an Exam?

No. If you are enrolled in a Certificate course (100hrs), the exam is optional. You will be issued with a certificate which proves that you are competent in all units, if you choose not to sit the exam.

Do you have set start dates?

There are no set start dates, you may start at any time. Our courses are all self-paced. As our home page says, ‘Courses for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime’. ‘Anytime’ includes the start time of your choice. However, we do encourage our students to submit assignments on a regular basis. Wherever possible, we suggest developing a study routine.