Plant Selection And Establishment

Course CodeBHT107
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Understand How to Make Smart Plant Choices

In order to choose appropriate plants for gardens and other landscapes it is important to have a sound knowledge of how plants are affected by the environment such as soil types, nutrients, wind, extremes of weather, altitude and latitude, weed competition, pest and diseases, and so forth. Often the reason a plant fails to thrive in a given location is because of many factors combined. It is more difficult to try and modify the environment for plants than to choose the best plant for the site in the first place. 

Don’t make planting mistakes

This extremely detailed course is a go-to resource for anyone involved in making planting decisions. Discover all the factors which influence growth of the main plant groups so that you can decide on their suitability for any particular location. Also learn about how to establish new plants in gardens and what they require in terms of ongoing maintenance. 

  • Learn to identify lots more plants
  • Learn to select plants for specific situations
  • Learn different ways of establishing plants

Broaden your horticultural knowledge and expand your career opportunities.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What to plant where, Plant selection, Plant varieties, Colourful year round foliage, Establishment (timing, soil preparation, plant size, planting technique), Maintenance programs, etc
  2. Woody plants
    • Selecting woody plants, trees, shrubs, deciduous/semi deciduous/evergreen; flowering shrubs, Establishing woody plants, Planting procedure, Dealing with shade, etc
  3. Windbreaks, hedges and screens
    • Plant selection, establishing windbreaks & screens, Trimming a hedge, etc
  4. Alpine and water plants
    • Selecting & establishing alpines, Selecting water plants, Establishment & maintenance of water plants
  5. Annual and herbaceous plants
    • Selecting annuals, Types of annuals (by height, flower, edge plants, dot plants, groundwork plants), types of bedding schemes, Planting seed or seedlings, Container culture, Selection & Establishment of herbaceous plants (Bulbs & Perennials), Maximizing flowering effect, etc
  6. Turf
    • Varieties, Lawn mixes, What to grow where, Wildflower Meadows, Turf establishment, Soil Preparation, Seeding, Sodding, Stolonizing, Sprigging, Plugging, Mowing, Fertilising, etc
  7. Maintenance
    • Fertilizing, Managing pH, Replacing plants, Pruning, Irrigation, Humidity, Mulch, Developing a maintenance Program,
  8. Pest and disease control
    • Problem prevention, Non chemical control, Chemical control,
  9. Weed control
    • Non chemical control, Chemical control, Safety, Alternative strategies.
  10. Risk assessment
    • Identifying risk, Duty of care, Workplace safety, Protective clothing, Safety with tools, Significance of illness, etc


  • Understand the nature and scope of water gardens.
  • Identify and describe generic construction materials and techniques suitable for water gardens and pools.
  • Select appropriate equipment for use with water features.
  • Specify the design and construction of a pond or watercourse.
  • Specify the design, construction and maintenance of a spa or swimming pool.
  • Specify the design & construction of a Water Feature other than a pond or water course.
  • Identity the water plants commonly used in water gardens.
  • Identify a variety of aquatic animals suitable for water gardens, and their requirements

Why You Need to Learn to Better Select Plants

Plants are living things. They grow better and look better if they are in the right soil and environmental conditions; and growing in an appropriate part of a garden. Putting a plant in the wrong place is like putting a round peg in a square hole.
When you plant anything though; success will be determined by not only your choice of plant; but also how you treat it after you plant it.
Some plants will grow well in some places with very little attention. You can plant them anywhere; and largely forget them. Most plants however do require attention; particularly during the first months (and perhaps years), following planting.
This course helps you understand the criteria for selecting plants; and at the same time builds the variety and number of plant cultivars that you are familiar with.

Consider just one type of plant: bulbs

From late winter to early summer is a wonderful time for spring flowering bulbs in the garden. Your choice of bulbs and the time you plant them all depends on what you like, what you want, and of course, your climate. If you want bulbs that will flower in summer or autumn, you may need to plant them at a different time.
In general:
  • By choosing a different variety, you can get a type of bulb to flower earlier or later.
  • By planting a bulb earlier in the autumn, it may flower sooner.
  • By planting a bulb later in autumn, it may flower later in spring.
  • In colder climates, the same bulb will flower later in the season.
  • In warmer climates, the same bulb might not flower as well.
  • If you plant a bulb too late, it may need to be placed in the refrigerator for at least 6 weeks before it can be planted.

Opportunities After Your Studies

This course is likely to be of value to people who have an interest in garden design and landscaping. It will also appeal to anyone with a general interest in growing plants. People who take this course are most likely those working in or aspiring to work in:

  • Garden design
  • Landscaping
  • Gardening
  • Horticulture
  • Parks & gardens
  • Botanical gardens
  • Garden maintenance

The course will also be of value to people wishing to start a garden design or general gardening business.


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