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Qualification - Advanced Certificate Applied Management (Wholesale Nursery)

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Become Equipped to Manage a Wholesale Nursery

This course is designed for anyone who works in a production/wholesale nursery and want to take the next step by managing and supervising staff, or wanting to start their own business.  Modules covered in this course help develop management, marketing and propagation skills, as well as the how to run a nursery efficiently.



This course is comprised of:

*Core studies - Four units (400 hours) of compulsory subjects for all students.

*Elective studies – Three stream units for the development of knowledge in a chosen industry sector.

*Project – a workplace project of 200 hrs relevant to your field of study. The project specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study. Contact the school for more information.

CORE UNITS Click on each module for more details

Office Practices
Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc.

Business Operations
Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.

Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.

Marketing Foundations.

Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.


The stream studies are as follows:



· Explain the significance of property, marketing and contracts to site selection.

· Estimate the cost of producing different plant varieties as specified marketable products.

· Develop a nutritional program for plants in a wholesale nursery.

· Explain the implementation of integrated pest management in a specified nursery situation.

· Explain different chemical methods of controlling plant appearance.


This subject involves eight lessons as follows:

1.Nursery Site Organisation: Buying an established nursery or establishing a new site, site planning, estimating space requirements.

2. Management: Government and commercial nurseries, partnerships, companies, sole proprietorships, developing a management structure, labour relations and seasonal staff, work programs and production timing.

3. Nutrition and Pest Management: Field crops, container plants, principles of fertiliser use and plant nutrition.

4. Growing Media: Soils and soil-free mixes, rockwool, sterilisation, techniques.

5. Irrigation: Methods and equipment, estimation of water requirements and use of liquid fertilisers through irrigation.

6. Modifying Plant Growth: Modification techniques, flower forcing and quality control.

7. Marketing Strategies: Exploiting existing markets, developing new markets, advertising, product presentation, pricing, plant recycling.

8. Selection of Nursery Crops: Developing a stock list, operational flow charts, market surveys.



The course is divided into ten lessons as follows:

1. Introduction to Propagation – asexual and sexual propagation, plant life cycles, nursery production systems

2. Seed Propagation

3. Potting Media

4. Vegetative Propagation I - cuttings

5. Vegetative Propagation II – care of stock plants; layering, division and other techniques

6. Vegetative Propagation III – budding and grafting, tissue culture

7. Propagation Structures and Materials – greenhouses, propagating equipment

8. Risk Management – nursery hygiene, risk assessment and management

9. Nursery Management I – plant modification techniques, management policies

10. Nursery Management II – nursery standards, cost efficiencies, site planning and development


· Develop the ability to source information on plant propagation, through an awareness of industry terminology and information sources.

· Plan the propagation of different plant species from seeds, using different seed propagation methods.

· Plan the propagation of different types of plants from cuttings, using different cutting propagation methods.

· Plan the propagation of various types of plants using a range of propagation techniques, excluding cuttings and seed.

· Determine the necessary facilities, including materials and equipment, required for propagation of different types of plants.

· Determine a procedure to minimise plant losses during propagation.

· Determine the management practices of significance to the commercial viability of a propagation nursery.

· Design a propagation plan for the production of a plant.



The course is divided into eight lessons as follows:

1. Introduction. The principles of propagating plants by cuttings.:Importance of cuttings, Phenotype vs genotype, why choose cutting propagation, where to get cuttings from, basic cutting technique.

2. Stem cuttings. Ease with which tissue forms roots, types of stem cuttings (softwood, hardwood, semi hardwood, herbaceous, tip, heel, nodal, cane etc), treatments (eg. basal heat, mist, tent, etc), testing rooting, etc.

3. Non-stem cuttings. Leaf cuttings, root cuttings (natural suckering with or without division, Induced suckering, In situ whole root cuttings; ex situ detached root cuttings), bulb cuttings, scaling and twin scaling, sectioning, basal cuttage.

4. Materials and equipment. Selection and maintenance of stock plants; disinfecting cutting material;

5. Growing media. Propagation media; biological, chemical and physical characteristics of propagation and potting media, Testing for toxins, air filled porosity, potting up cuttings, soil-less mixes, rockwool, etc.

6. Factors affecting rooting. Juvenility, Cutting Treatments (hormones & their application, anti transparents, acid/base treatments, disinfectants etc), Callusing, Mycorrhizae, Carbon Dioxide enrichment, etc.

7. Setting up a propagation area. Creating and managing an appropriate cutting environment in terms of: Water; Disease; Temperature; Light and Air Quality. Greenhouses and other structures, watering methods (mist, fog, capillary etc), heating, etc.

8. Management of cutting crops. Estimating cost of production; Keeping records, etc.


· To familiarise the student with the principles of propagating plants by cuttings

· To develop an understanding of how to propagate plants from stem cuttings

· To develop an understanding of how to propagate plants from non-stem cuttings

· To develop an understanding of the materials and equipment used for propagating plants from stems

· To understand the principles of growing media in relation to cutting propagation

· To understand how and why cuttings form roots. To learn how to manipulate the formation of roots on cuttings

· To understand the principles for establishing successful plant propagation areas

· To understand the principles of nursery crop scheduling


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.
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.
Bob JamesHorticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC

Check out our eBooks

Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.
Trees and ShrubsA great little encyclopaedia that is valuable for students, tradespeople, or the home gardener needing a quick reference when selecting garden plants. It covers the care and culture of 140 commonly grown genera of trees and shrub, plus many hundreds of species and cultivars. 169 colour photos 94 pages
Tropical PlantsA comprehensive ebook that covers hundreds of plant genera, species and cultivars suited to the tropics and subtropics such as indoor plants and those grown in protected areas in milder climates. Chapters include: How to Grow Tropicals, Bulbs and Perennials, Low Growing Plants, Climbers, Trees and Shrubs, Creepers, Conifers, Bamboos and Grasses, and Palms. Previously published in print form by Kangaroo Press (Simon and Schuster). 120 pages, 137 photos
Trees and Shrubs for Warm PlacesA stunning book with around 300 colour photos! A comprehensive reference to thousands of tropical plant varieties (mostly different information to the Tropical Plants book) . An classic reference for nurserymen, landscapers, interior plantscapers, horticulturists and any tropical plant enthusiasts. 209 pages