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Qualification - Certificate In Hydroponics

Course CodeVHT013
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours



What one of our students said- "Having completed the Advanced Hydroponics Course, I have since gone on to open my own successful hydroponics retail shop, now in it's third year of trading"- Ted

This course provides an understanding of modern technology and its application to growing plants, with emphasis on hydroponic production. Learn about hydroponic systems (NFT, Rock wool, aeroponics, gravel culture); plant growth requirements, growing structures (greenhouses), nutrients, management of vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, berries, and more.

A great foundation for working in hydroponics (eg. a hydroponic shop, farm, consultant business, etc).

  • Study from home
  • Covers a wide variety of commercial applications
  • Gain extensive understanding of hydroponics and skills necessary for employment
  • Gain confidence in your knowledge.

General Objectives:

  1. To provide a sound basis of knowledge in horticultural principles as they apply to the culture, use and management of plants in various production situations.
  2. To provide new and existing employees who are unable to undertake on campus training with the opportunity to gain appropriate knowledge in the field of plant culture, use and management.
  3. To prepare employees for supervisory and managerial positions in the field of plant culture, use and management.
  4. To provide horticultural business owner/operators (or those contemplating ownership) with appropriate training to apply technical skills to the management of the physical, financial and human resources in which they have made, or will make, a substantial investment.
  5. To provide an understanding of modern technology and its application to growing plants, with emphasis being placed on hydroponics production of commercially valuable plants.

Course structure

This subject has 30 lessons, each requiring about 12 to 15 hours of study:

  1. Introduction to Hydroponic Technology, Why grow hydroponically? - Definition, history, resources, the industry.
  2. Plant Growth Requirements Light: artificial light, light balancers
  3. Plant Growth Requirements Nutrition: nutrient requirements, deficiencies, toxicities, pH, conductivity, salinity, growth regulators
  4. Plant Growth Requirements Temperature
  5. Hydroponic Growing Systems:basic concepts and designs, site considerations.
  6. Growing Media: types, properties, uses.
  7. Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions nutrient formulae, preparing solutions.
  8. Hydroponic Equipment components, nutrient delivery, pumping, testing and monitoring
  9. Growing Structures Design and Construction types (greenhouses, shade houses, cloches), materials, siting
  10. Environmental Control A Heating, Cooling
  11. Environmental Control B Lighting, Shading.
  12. Environmental Control C Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
  13. Plant Culture In Hydroponics A: trellising, pruning, pollination, transplanting. problem diagnosis
  14. Plant Culture In Hydroponics B
  15. Aggregate Culture
  16. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Culture
  17. Rockwool Culture
  18. Other Techniques: wick systems, flood & drain, bag culture, aeroponics, etc.
  19. Irrigation Soil Requirements
  20. Irrigation Systems
  21. Plant Propagation: seed & cutting propagation & tissue culture
  22. Market Gardening Cut Flowers
  23. Market Gardening Vegetables
  24. Other Plants In Hydroponics: herbs, grasses, indoor plants
  25. Pest and Diseases: identifying the problem, pests and diseases in hydroponics
  26. Weeds: identification and control
  27. Managing A Commercial Hydroponics Farm: crop scheduling & selection, standards, layout.
  28. Management Organisation and Supervision
  29. Marketing Promotion and Selling

Special Project:  Prepare a detailed report of at least 2,000 words, plus photos or diagrams, on a particular
aspect of technology which you have studied that significantly assists growing.

PLUS 2 exams: one at the end of lesson 15, the other at the completion of lesson 30.


Hydroponic farming offers a fantastic opportunity for high tech and very profitable business. This form of farming does require a significant investment in materials and equipment though; and you can make a big loss just as easily as make a profit; if you do not prepare properly first.
There are two things you should do:
  1. Be sure you have a level of understanding about hydroponics that is needed to succeed. You may do this by studying, by reading books or by employing competent people (The best way forward is to do all three)
  2. Choose a profitable crop to grow. Even if you know how to grow plants well in soil, it is essential that you conduct a trial before investing on a large scale. Growing an experimental crop on a small scale will enable you to determine the problems you are likely to encounter, and be prepared with solutions before they become a bigger problem than you can handle.
Hydroponic grower trials attempt to simulate conditions under which a crop might be grown commercially, but on a much smaller, and less costly scale.

They often compare the success of growing a number of different plants, or groups of plants.

There are many different variables that can affect the success or failure of a hydroponic crop. These fall into different categories, including:
  • Type of system
  • Nutrition supplied
  • Water supplied
  • Plant cultivar being grown
  • Environmental conditions (eg. Temperature, light, air quality)
  • Exposure to pest and disease
  • Cultural Management (eg. Pruning, spacing, harvest time, etc).
A useful trial is generally designed to compare one type of factor, and in order to do this effectively, all but that one type of factor must be kept the same.

For example:
Four different tomato varieties are all grown in the same system, each being exposed to identical growing conditions (ie. same nutrition, same hydroponic system, same nutrition, etc).

The same variety of tomato is grown in four different hydroponic systems, but using the same nutrient, pruned and trained the same way, fed the same nutrient at the same rate, etc).
What Can Be Grown?
Hydroponic culture is now so well advanced that almost any plant can be produced this way. It has many applications for indoor gardens in both large and confined spaces for maintaining interior landscapes. Commercial production of indoor and foliage plants can be very successful using hydroponic cultivation. Likewise, a wide range of herbs respond to hydroponics. Also, elaborate and technically complex environmentally controlled structures are being used to produce fodder hydroponically from sprouted grains for intensive animal production enterprises.    
Many vegetables are today grown commercially in greenhouses to produce crops out of season. Hydroponics is a technique which is also widely in use today as a method of growing some vegetable crops more than others. Lettuce is the main vegetable crop grown hydroponically in Australia, though in other countries a range of crops are grown by hydroponic methods (including tomatoes, capsicum and cucumbers).
Some cut flower crops, including orchids, carnations and roses are widely cultivated in hydroponics. Many other flowers are grown commercially using hydroponic methods. 
 Even fish culture has been integrated into hydroponic systems (ie. creating aquaponic systems).


There are 2 exams: one at the end of lesson 15, the other at the completion of lesson 30.  For more information regarding exams please visit


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.
Dr. Lynette MorganBroad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
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

Farm ManagementThis ebook covers tips to manage your own farm, or work for someone else. It also covers the farm site, production systems, managing livestock, pasture, crops, water, equipment, farm structures, finance, marketing, staff management, farm planning and more. 15 chapters, 129 pages
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
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more. This book has nine chapters covering the following topics: an introduction to herbs, cultivation, propagation, pest and diseases, herb gardens, an A-Z plant directory, using herbs, features for herb gardens, herbs in pots - 113 colour photos 61 pages
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.