Manage a Successful Garden Centre

Designed in conjunction with the state garden department manager of a major retail chain store; this course has been very successful in training both staff and managers of retail nurseries and garden centres across Australia and beyond. It was thoroughly updated recently by horticultural professionals in both Australia and the U.K. to be relevant to countries around the world.

Want to start or buy a retail nursery or garden centre?

... or perhaps you are looking for a job as a nursery manager?

Retail nurseries buy plants from production/propagation nurseries and resell them at a profit. 'Greenlife' (the term used by the industry distinguish plants from other nursery products) sold by the retail sector include seedlings, bulbs, containerised and bare-rooted plants and trees. In addition garden centres sell associated products such as dry goods (pots, packaged potting mixes, fertilisers, sprays) and bulk landscaping materials.

There is an increasing emphasis on the supply of 'lifestyle products and services' in retail outlets, such as outdoor furniture, gift lines, display gardens, cafes and landscaping services.



The course is divided into 12 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction: Plant classification, plant cultural requirements, soil and nutrition, watering requirements, drainage, temperature, light, humidity.

2. Plant Health: How to diagnose a problem, pests, diseases, nutrient deficiencies, frost, sunburn, chemical damage, insufficient light, over-watering.

3. Stock Maintenance: Quality standards, buying new stock, inspecting stock, extending stock life, disposing of below-standard stock, watering techniques, fertilising, pest and disease control.

4. Display and Display Techniques: Display units, product location, sales area layout.

5. Garden Product Knowledge I: Plant containers, tags, soil mixes, equipment, tools.

6. Garden Product Knowledge II: Chemicals, fertilisers, baskets, terrariums, cut flowers.

7. Indoor Plants: Major groups, common problems, plants for specific situations, customer attitudes.

8. Container Stock: Trees and Shrubs.

9. Seedlings, Bulbs, Herbs and Perennials.

10. A. Deciduous Trees, Fruit, Nuts, Berries. B. Seed.

11. Marketing: Pricing strategy, advertising, promotions.

12. Management: Staff control, staff productivity, work scheduling.


Duration: 100 hours



At the completion of this course you should be able to:

  • Classify and identify a range of different plants, according to their botanical characteristics.
  • Describe a range of plant health problems and their treatments.
  • Understand the importance of maintaining healthy stock and its relationship to maintaining a profitable business.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of garden products sold through garden centres.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of plants, including indoor plants, container-grown plants, deciduous plants, bulbs, herbs and perennials.
  • Describe effective marketing techniques.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of management procedures.


  • Read the supplied course material.
  • Visit and observe garden centres (either in real life or virtual online visits)
  • Undertake simple and relevant practical tasks.
  • Submit written assignments at the completion of each lesson.
  • Prepare 72 plant review worksheets.
  • Research and analyse the operation of garden centres and nurseries.





Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]