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Annuals -for Landscape Display Bedding or Cut Flowers

Course CodeBHT115
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Become an annuals expert.

Annuals are a valuable horticultural crop grown commercially as cut flowers, as seedlings or as advanced pots of colour. With careful choice, versatile annuals can deliver year round colour in the home garden. They work to fill gaps between perennials, they can be used to disguise the messy foliage of bulbs as they seasonally die-off, and they can help to keep gardens or parks in the peak of perfection.

This eight lesson course reveals the secrets of how to identify annual species, what to grow and when to grow each variety. It covers soil improvement, pest control, irrigation, propagation, greenhouse growing, hydroponics and much more. It is equally as useful to the home gardener and to the professional gardener as to those intending to grow annuals commercially.



This course has 8 lessons as follows:

1.  Introduction

  • Scope and Nature
  • Naming Plants
  • Species, hybrids, cultivars.
  • Plant Families
  • Pronouncing plant names
  • Flower structure and basic botany
  • Information sources
  • Caring for Cut Flowers

2.  Culture

  • selection of plants suited to the situation
  • preparing a site (soils, cultivation etc)
  • propagation
  • planting
  • mulching
  • protecting and caring for establishing plants
  • control of problems (eg. pests, diseases, weeds)

3.  Propagation

  • Methods of propagating annuals.
  • Seed sowing
  • Pricking out seedlings
  • Propagation of selected varieties of annuals.

4.  Hydroponics.

  • Annuals in hydroponics
  • How plants grow
  • Different Hydroponic systems explained
  • When and why to choose hydroponics
  • Hydroponic techniques for selected annuals

5.  Pest and Disease

  • Identifying problems (disease, pest, environmental, nutritional)
  • Treating problems

6.  Irrigation

  • Irrigation objectives
  • Soil Moisture
  • Maintaining water levels
  • Watering
  • When to irrigate
  • Identifying over or under watering

7.  Greenhouse Management and Beeding

  • Greenhouse design and construction
  • Growing in a greenhouse
  • Environmental factors that affect growth
  • Controlling flower production
  • Heating and cooling
  • Flower Bed Layouts -pure and impure
  • Types of plantings
  • Bedding schemes
  • Annuals with scent
  • Annuals with colourful foliage
  • Selecting annuals according to height
  • Flower judging

8.  Harvest, Post Harvest & Quality.

  • Harvesting flowers
  • Flower deterioration
  • Post harvest
  • Shelf life
  • Factors affecting post harvest life
  • Post harvest treatments
  • Grading standards
  • Conditioning for market
  • Packaging
  • Harvesting specific annuals (snapdragon, Bellis, Carnation, Calendula, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Larkspur, Delphinium, Cosmos, Gypsophila, Iberis, Marigold, Poppy, Statice, Stock, Sweet Pea, Violet)


  • Discuss the classification of annual flowering plants through the plant naming system.
  • Discuss culture requirements of annuals.
  • Propagate annuals.
  • Explain methods of hydroponic culture in relation to annuals
  • Identify pest and diseases of annuals
  • Describe various types of irrigation systems and the water requirements of annuals.
  • Describe various greenhouses and related equipment available.
  • Determine procedures for the handling of annuals during and after harvest.
  • Design annual flower beds.

How to Get the Most from Annuals

If you understand the plant life cycle and growth needs, this will help you to make the best display from annuals. This is very true for annuals grown for their flower show as the growth of these plants is generally very fast. Therefore, conditions must be right from the start since the growth period is so short. 
Most plants that germinate from a seed need to grow and establish a certain amount of foliage before any flowers will start to form. If the initial growth is slow, it will be longer before the plant begins to flower. Once the plant is old enough and strong enough, the plant tissues mature and become capable of supporting flowers. After that point, the plant only needs the right set of stimuli to cause flowers to form. Different plant varieties have different sets of requirements, for example:
  • The air temperature around the plant or a warmer root zone temperature.
  • An increase or decrease in light levels and day length.
  • A shortage of moisture, or extra moisture.
  • A response to lack of nutrients, or excess nutrients of one sort or the other.
All these factors can encourage flower buds to form and blossom.  
Timing is critical if you want annuals to flower well and for a long time! 
If you read the seed packet, and plant the appropriate variety for your locality, right in the middle of the recommended planting time, you should produce a crop of flowers quickly and easily.  
The timing of annual seed sowing is very important. Some annual seeds need cooler temperatures and may need to be covered and kept in the dark to germinate whereas other seeds need to be exposed to light and sown only on the surface of soil mixes. Some annuals prefer heat to germinate and grow, other varieties like it cool to grow. Some need heat to start them off but then they want to continue to grow over the cooler months. Most of this relates to the timing in a seasonal year a particular variety likes to grow and flower. 
If you do not sow seeds at the correct time, the plants will wither and die, simply not flower, or run to seed. For example, Primulas (Primrose) sown in spring and planted out into the garden as seedlings in summer will quickly turn yellow and run to seed with the hot temperatures. The same goes for many vegetables that are cool season ones planted out of season in summer - they run to seed very quickly before producing a good crop.

Meet some of our academics

John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing Flowering BulbsWith 187 pages the Growing and Knowing Flowering Bulbs ebook is a great foundation on growing bulbs and includes a colour glossary of flowering bulbs. This ebook is a great read for students, professional horticulturalists and gardeners.
Growing and Knowing NutsDiscover the many different varieties of nuts that you many not have ever heard of. Learn unique ways of using nuts and cooking with nuts.
Growing & Knowing AnnualsGet to know your Annual plants better. Learn to identify and grow Annuals with Growing and Knowing Annuals. This ebook has 141 pages and stunning colour pictures and is ideal for home gardeners, students, professional horticulturalists and nurserymen.
Commercial HydroponicsLearn to grow vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs and other plants hydroponically. A classic, republished with new images, a new layout and revised text. Contains unique advice on growing 102 different plants hydroponically! 74 pages