How do I become a professional propagator?

What skills do I need to work in a propagation nursery?

Skilled and knowledgeable propagators are, and will most likely, always be in high demand.

A 600 hour course designed principally for plant propagators. This course is similar to other VHT002 horticulture certificates in its introductory (core) units, but devotes 50% of the course to topics specifically related to plant propagation, dealing with hundreds of different types of plants, and methods used to propagate them.


Accredited through the International Accreditation & Recognition Council.

Use the link below ('read more') to view more comprehensive details on this course.


The Certificate in Horticulture (Plant Propagation) is a vocationally oriented course comprising a core of studies common to all horticulture certificates, plus specialised studies in plant propagation.

The objective of the course is to:

  • develop skills and knowledge about propagating different types of plants by seed, cuttings, budding and grafting, separation, division and layering in a commercially viable way.
  • develop skills and knowledge about tools, equipment & growing structures used in a nursery for plant production.
  • develop general skills in horticultural practices and plant identification.

This Certificate involves the following areas of work:

*CORE STUDIES - fifteen lessons involving at least 350 hours.

*STREAM STUDIES - stream studies on plant propagation involving at least 350 hours of study.


Through these specialised stream studies, the student will attempt to achieve the following objectives:

*Collect seed from and propagate different varieties of plants with that seed.

*Describe the method and time of year used to propagate at least 200 different plant varieties.

*Draw and label the parts of a seed.

*Explain how a seed germinates, and grows in the early stages of its development.

*Explain a variety of different harvest and post harvest treatments for seed.

*Explain a variety of pre-germination treatments for seed.

*Collect, identify and prepare cuttings for at least 50 different varieties of plants.

*Propagate from cuttings and successfully grow on ten different plant varieties to the stage of a saleable tube.

*Mix and use a propagation media suited to propagating cuttings and seed.

*Explain the reasons why particular propagation methods are preferred to other methods.

*Explain the propagation of at least 40 different varieties of plants by grafting or budding.

*Prepare examples of at least ten different types of grafts.

*Successfully execute at least ten grafts using at least ten different plant variety combinations.

*Propagate fifteen different plants by methods including separation, division and layering.

*Explain tissue culture techniques and their commercial relevance in plant production.

*Consider site features which are important to the operation of a nursery.

*Explain different nursery production systems.

*Construct a simple inexpensive cold frame.

*Prepare a routine maintenance program for plants in a production nursery.

*Analyse and report on the operation of two different production nurseries.

*Prepare a floor plan for the interior layout of a propagation/potting area.

*Describe how to pot up and plant out at least 20 different types of plants.

*Describe soils and potting media in terms of texture, structure and water holding and nutrient holding capacity.

*Prescribe methods of improving soil structure, infiltration rate, water holding capacity, drainage and aeration.

*Describe how to grow plants successfully in containers.

*Describe suitable potting mixes for container growing of five different types of plants.

*List safety procedures to be followed in a nursery.

*Show an awareness of irrigation equipment and its operation in a nursery.

*Explain growing structures and equipment used to enhance the propagation of plants including, hot beds, misting, fogging, cold frames and greenhouses.



This involves 15 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction to Plants

Nomenclature and taxonomy, the plant kingdom, genus, species, hybrids.

2. Parts of the Plant

How plants grow, plant structure, parts of the flower and leaf, stem & root modification.

3. Plant Culture - Planting

How to plant and protect newly planted specimens, terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants.

4. Plant Culture - Pruning

Purpose for pruning, rules for pruning, how to prune.

5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery

Different irrigation systems, components of an irrigation system, designing an irrigation system, selection, use and maintenance of machinery and tools.

6. Soils & Media

Soil classifications, testing soil, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.

7. Soils & Nutrition

Fertilisers - deficiencies and toxicities, NPK ratios, salting, fertiliser programming, compost.

8. Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings

How to propagate plants by seed and cuttings, propagating mixes, cold

frame construction, after care for young plants.

9. Propagation - Other Techniques

Other methods - budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.

10. Identification and Use of Plants

How are plants used in the landscape, how to choose and purchase plants, selecting plants suitable for the climate and site.

11. Identification and Use of Plants

Problems with plants and choosing plants for problem sites.

12. Identification and Use of Plants

Indoor and tropical plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns.

13. Pests

Identifying and controlling pests, chemical and natural methods for control, chemical safety precautions.

14. Diseases

Identifying and controlling diseases, plant pathology, fungi, viruses, non-pathogenic problems, interactions with the host and the environment.

15. Weeds

Identifying and controlling weeds, chemical terminology.

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