What is ornamental horticulture?


Broadly speaking it is the cultivation and arrangement of  plants for their aesthetic value within a garden or park. In the horticulture industry this also includes producing plants for this purpose. If you work in ornamental horticulture you could be working in parks, gardens or a production nursery.

I want a broad horticultural qualification - what course can I do? This 700 hour course provides initial training for anyone working, or intending to work in ornamental horticulture - it covers a broad range of subject matter so that you can extend your career into one or move to a different industry sector if an opportunity arises.People with broad knowledge and skills are much sought after.
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 ornamental horticulture. The course is designed to teach the basics of how to identify, grow, and maintain ornamental plants and gardens in any climate. Emphasis is placed on the plant varieties which are most horticultural value. Topics covered include garden maintenance, turf care, arboriculture, landscaping, and nursery work.

Broad knowledge of the fundamentals of horticulture are key to employment and advancement in horticulture - irrelevant of the industry sector. This course sets itself apart from others on offer. It is comprehensive, provides students with a challenge and builds the knowledge required for success in this field. Employers are looking for this in graduates - and are so disappointed by the poor output of many horticulture graduates. Undertake this course to place yourself ahead of the field!

The Certificate in Horticulture (Ornamental Horticulture) is a vocationally oriented course comprising core studies (general horticulture) and stream studies specific to ornamental horticulture.


The objectives of the course are to:

  • develop general and broad based skills in horticultural practices and plant identification.
  • provide more specific knowledge in areas of ornamental horticulture including garden maintenance, turf care, arboriculture, landscaping and nursery work.



Certificate in Horticulture involves the areas of work:


  • CORE STUDIES - this involves at least 300 hours, divided into 15 lessons, approx. half of the course.
  • ELECTIVE STUDIES - this involves a further 300 hrs of study going into greater depth in the areas of garden maintenance, nursery practices and landscaping.



1. Introduction to Plants -  Study nomenclature and taxonomy, the plant kingdom, genus, species, hybrids.

2. Parts of the Plant - Learn how plants grow, plant structure, parts of the flower and leaf, modification of stems and roots.

3. Plant Culture - Planting - Learn how to plant and protect newly planted specimens, terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants.

4. Plant Culture - Pruning  -Explore the 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 and Potting Media - Study soil classifications, testing soil, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.

7. Soils and  Nutrition -  Learn about fertilisers, deficiencies and toxicities, N:P:K ratios, salting, fertiliser programming, compost.

8. Propagation - Seeds and Cuttings  -Learn how to propagate plants by seed and cuttings, propagating mixes, cold frame construction, after care for young plants.

9. Propagation - Other Techniques  -Discover other methods to increase plant numbers - 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 suitablefor the climate and site.

11. Identification and Use of Plants  -Learn about the problems associated 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.



This part of the course involves four main areas of study, as follows:

  • Landscaping 
  • Plant knowledge 
  • Plant Care 
  • Nursery Practices


Scope of stream studies

  • Landscape design (including pre-planning and drawing plans).
  • Principles and styles of landscape designs.
  • Analysis of garden designs.
  • Graphic skills, materials and techniques.
  • Estimating costs for landscape jobs.
  • Surfacing materials and their effects.
  • Quality and cost of different landscape materials.
  • Plant knowledge, both native and exotic, suitable for local conditions.
  • Plant selection for difficult sites and conditions (including treating degraded sites and interior plantscaping).
  • Tropical and indoor plants.
  • Environmental factors important for indoor plant culture.
  • Bulbs, perennials and annuals.
  • Planting design for flower beds (annuals and bulbs) suitable for your locality.
  • Herb culture and garden design.
  • Miscellaneous growing techniques including; bonsai, terrariums, pot culture, baskets and hydroponics.
  • Describe the importance of trees to humans.
  • Procedures for the proper and safe removal of a limb from a tree.
  • Tree problems and their treatment.
  • Compartmentalisation, and its effect on the spread of disease in trees.
  • Preparing a detailed maintenance program for a garden.
  • Seed selection, storage, preparation and spreading (sowing).
  • Preparation, planting and establishment of a lawn.
  • Establishing turf on a steep slope.
  • Turf maintenance techniques.
  • Analysis of nursery production systems.
  • Preparing a flow chart for the production of a particular plant, from propagation to marketing.
  • Preparing a maintenance program for green life in a garden centre.
  • Preparing guidelines for the disposal of surplus or below standard stock in a nursery.
  • Write an advertisement for a nursery or garden maintenance business.
  • Basic management procedures for a single person nursery or garden maintenance business.
  • Basic communication skills.
  • Health and safety requirements for a nursery or garden maintenance workplace




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]