An in-depth study of herbs - their culture, propagation and use.

If you are passionate about herbs and would like to make it your career - then this course of study will help you on your way.

This course has been operating for years and is designed for people who are involved, or wanting to become involved in the business of herbs. It covers less horticulture and focused more strongly on herbs than the Certificate in Horticulture -Herbs. This course is more appropriate for the small business operator who not only grows herbs but also harvests and value adds (eg. perhaps producing herb products).

Ideal for anyone wanting to make a serious business or career from herbs as:

  • A herb grower (producing dried herbs, herbal oils, fresh cut herbs, etc)
  • A herb manufacturer (growing and/or producing herb products -edible, culinary or aromatic)
  • A herb marketer (eg. herb shop owner, herb product distributor)
  • A herb nursery proprietor
  • A landscape designer or contractor, specialising in herb gardens

Learn from a team of international experts.

Principal: John Mason Experienced herb grower & nurseryman, author of 3 herb books,designer of dozens of herb gardens.

Tutor: Maggi Brown Renowned UK expert on organics and herbs, former education officer with Garden Organic


Tutor: Adriana Fraser - author, teaches students herb identification, culture and propagation using her extensive herb gardens.


Learn about Herb Production and Use

Most people who grow herbs, are likely to be self employed. Whether you plan to begin on a modest scale in your back yard or to make a substantial investment, careful forethought is needed.  The herb industry is larger than just the growing of herbs though. Marketing, processing and manufacturing are all involved in aspects of this industry as well. Consider the perfume industry alone.

This course deals with all the points that need to be considered before you start stressing at every stage the various decisions which should be taken to avoid problems later on. 

This course not only multiplies your chances of success, but aims to give you a foundation from which to build proper and appropriate knowledge, skills and business contacts; that will serve you for many years to come.


Course Structure and Content:

  • 30 lessons
  • 30 assignments
  • 600 nominal hours

1. Introduction

2. Overview of Herb Varieties

3. Soils & Nutrition

4. Herb Culture

5. Propagation Techniques

6. Pests & Disease Control

7. Harvesting Herbs

8. Processing Herbs

9. Using Herbs: Herb Crafts

10. Using Herbs: Herbs for Cooking

11. Using Herbs: Medicinal Herbs

12. Herb Farming

12. Herb Garden Design

14. Constructing a Herb Garden

15. Managing a Herb Nursery

16. Lavenders

17. Mints

18. Lamiaceae Herbs

19. Garlic

20. The Asteraceae (Compositae) Herbs

21. The Apiaceae Family

22. Other Herbs

23. Topiary & Hedges

24. Producing Herb Products A

35. Producing Herb Products B

26. Producing Herb Products C

27. Marketing in the Herb Industry

28. Budgeting & Business Planning

29. Workforce Design & Management

30. Major Research Project

Course Duration   600 hours

What is the Commercial Potential of Herbs?

The herb industry is larger and more diverse than what people might imagine. The perfume industry uses oils that are obtained from herbs to make perfumes. The pharmaceutical industry derives significant raw product from herbs, and the food industry obtains flavourings of all types from herbs. Even the mint that flavours our tooth paste comes from herbs. Lavender can be grown as a shrub, a tub plant or a hedge; you can keep it cut low or let it grow to over a metre tall; and when you're finished with it in the garden the flowers and leaves can be used for medicinal, craft, cosmetic and even culinary purposes. Lavenders are generally hardy shrubs, most have grey foliage. Flower spikes can be shades of lavender, purple, mauve, white or green. While they tolerate a wide range of soil types and climatic conditions, being native to the Mediterranean area, they prefer warm summers and cool winters.   Soil should ideally be slightly alkaline (apply a little lime if the soil is acid).  Good drainage and mulching is important.  For best results feed in early spring with a general slow release plant food such as Dynamic Lifter, Osmocote or blood and bone.  Keep the soil moist in the warmer months, but not saturated.  Most lavender will tolerate periods of dryness, but an extended drought can kill them. Lavenders really need an annual pruning.  If you're harvesting the flowers, this will happen automatically.  If you don't harvest you should still remove up to one third of the plant's growth the timing depends on the species i.e. in early spring for L. dentata, or late spring through to early autumn for L. angustifolia  and its cultivars. Pest and disease problems are not common but good air circulation will prevent ‘shab disease’ a fungal disease particularly prevalent in closely planted crops particularly in warm, humid climates. All lavenders can be propagated easily from seed or cuttings.  Take cuttings any time from late spring to mid autumn. Cuttings taken in autumn tend to sit around most of the winter as the cuttings callous and roots slowly develop, cuttings taken in spring will strike quickly and usually outperform those taken earlier in autumn.

A cutting should be a piece of healthy young stem, about 5 cm long, with the bottom 70% of leaves removed and the top 30% remaining.  Plant the cutting in a pot containing a mixture of 75% coarse propagating sand (NB: Aquarium sand is a good substitute), and 25% peat moss.  About 50% of the cutting should be below the surface of this mix. Lavender cuttings do tend to resent the acidic conditions that can be produced through the use of peat and they will do very well when placed in perlite alone. Care needs to be taken however as the perlite will dry out much faster without the water retention qualities of peat. Place in a warm, light position where the temperature will remain no less than 18 degrees centigrade and no more than 30 degrees centigrade.  Keep moist but not saturated, and roots should form within two months.  Seed shown be sown in a similar mix of sand and peat during spring, and placed under similar conditions to germinate.


Though there are around 28 different species of Lavenders, the two most commonly grown are the English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and its many cultivars and the French lavender (Lavandula dentata).

Lavandula angustifolia, the English Lavender, is hardy growing to 1 metre tall and 1.5 metres diameter.  Its leaves can grow up to 5 cm long (on a healthy plant).  Clusters of small lavender blue flowers occur at the ends of spikes only in spring (though they can appear almost all year round).  English lavender produces the purest and most fragrant oil, hence is the preferred one if you plan on harvesting your plants.

Lavandula dentata, the French Lavender, generally grow a little smaller (to 0.8 m tall) than the English.  Its leaves are easy to distinguish from L. angustifolia by the toothed margins and smaller size (2‑4 cm long).  French lavender has lavender-purple coloured flowers compared to the English lavender blue and frequently flowers all year round.

The range of Lavender plants available today is extensive, although some of the newer cultivars are most suited to garden application, breeding to select cultivars most suited to oil and flower production has been extensive in the last few years. Due to the fact that a lot of experimentation is regional i.e. to select districts (within countries) world-wide, it is now possible to select varieties that have optimum performance and production for the district in which they are grown.

Making a Career out of Herbs
Herbs have been cultivated by man for thousands of years; both farmed for the products they can provide (eg. cut flowers, perfumes, medicines, culinary products), and used as a landscaping plant in our gardens.
This course provides a foundation for a great diversity of career options; from nurseryman to farmer and landscaper to product manufacturer.