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Qualification - Certificate in Horticulture (Propagation)

Course CodeVHT002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)700 hours

Become a Skilled Propagator

With its two-part format this course lays a solid foundation in horticulture so students are able to build up their knowledge of plant processes and biology, before teaching propagation. This helps students to appreciate the way plants grow before discovering how to grow them.  

This certificate involves the following areas of work:

  • CORE STUDIES - fifteen lessons involving at least 350 hours.
  • STREAM STUDIES - stream studies on plant propagation involving at least 350 hours of study.

This involves fifteen lessons as follows:

1. Introduction to Plants
Nomenclature and taxonomy, the plant kingdom, genus, species, hybrids.

2. Parts of the Plant
How plants grow, plant structure, parts of the flower and leaf, stem & root modification.

3. Plant Culture - Planting
How to plant and protect newly planted specimens, terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants.

4. Plant Culture - Pruning
Purpose for pruning, rules for pruning, how to prune.

5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery
Different irrigation systems, components of an irrigation system, designing an irrigation system, selection, use and maintenance of machinery and tools.

6. Soils & Media
Soil classifications, testing soil, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.

7. Soils & Nutrition
Fertilisers - deficiencies and toxicities, NPK ratios, salting, fertiliser programming, compost.

8. Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings
How to propagate plants by seed and cuttings, propagating mixes, cold frame construction, after care for young plants.

9. Propagation - Other Techniques
Other methods - budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.

10. Identification and Use of Plants
How are plants used in the landscape, how to choose and purchase plants, selecting plants suitable for the climate and site.

11. Identification and Use of Plants
Problems with plants and choosing plants for problem sites.

12. Identification and Use of Plants
Indoor and tropical plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns.

13. Pests
Identifying and controlling pests, chemical and natural methods for control, chemical safety precautions.

14. Diseases
Identifying and controlling diseases, plant pathology, fungi, viruses, non-pathogenic problems, interactions with the host and the environment.

15. Weeds
Identifying and controlling weeds, chemical terminology.

Through these specialised stream studies, the student will attempt to achieve the following objectives:

*Collect seed from and propagate different varieties of plants with that seed.

*Describe the method and time of year used to propagate at least 200 different plant varieties.

*Draw and label the parts of a seed.

*Explain how a seed germinates, and grows in the early stages of its development.

*Explain a variety of different harvest and post harvest treatments for seed.

*Explain a variety of pre-germination treatments for seed.

*Collect, identify and prepare cuttings for at least 50 different varieties of plants.

*Propagate from cuttings and successfully grow on ten different plant varieties to the stage of a saleable tube.

*Mix and use a propagation media suited to propagating cuttings and seed.

*Explain the reasons why particular propagation methods are preferred to other methods.

*Explain the propagation of at least 40 different varieties of plants by grafting or budding.

*Prepare examples of at least ten different types of grafts.

*Successfully execute at least ten grafts using at least ten different plant variety combinations.

*Propagate fifteen different plants by methods including separation, division and layering.

*Explain tissue culture techniques and their commercial relevance in plant production.

*Consider site features which are important to the operation of a nursery.

*Explain different nursery production systems.

*Construct a simple inexpensive cold frame.

*Prepare a routine maintenance program for plants in a production nursery.

*Analyse and report on the operation of two different production nurseries.

*Prepare a floor plan for the interior layout of a propagation/potting area.

*Describe how to pot up and plant out at least 20 different types of plants.

*Describe soils and potting media in terms of texture, structure and water holding and nutrient holding capacity.

*Prescribe methods of improving soil structure, infiltration rate, water holding capacity, drainage and aeration.

*Describe how to grow plants successfully in containers.

*Describe suitable potting mixes for container growing of five different types of plants.

*List safety procedures to be followed in a nursery.

*Show an awareness of irrigation equipment and its operation in a nursery.

*Explain growing structures and equipment used to enhance the propagation of plants including, hot beds, misting, fogging, cold frames and greenhouses.

Lesson Structure

  1. Methods Of Propagation
  2. Seed Propagation A
  3. Seed Physiology & Germination
  4. Seed Propagation B
  5. Propagation By Cuttings A
  6. Propagation By Cuttings B
  7. Efficiencies In Cutting Propagation
  8. Miscellaneous Propagation Techniques
  9. Budding & Grafting
  10. Tissue Culture
  11. Layering
  12. Propagating Structures & Equipment
  13. Propagating Materials
  14. Nursery Management A
  15. Nursery Management B

Note: Fees do not include exam fees (x 4)

NOTE: The Stream Studies for this course will undergo a major revision and restructuring in the future. The new structure will cover the same content, but be upgraded to incorporate three standard ACS modules. In doing this; we will improve many aspects of this course; amongst other things:  students will be able to better articulate into higher level courses.

ACS student comments: "I have learnt so much from this course. I have learnt how easy and how much material strikes and grows, if you follow the rules. I learnt to propagate bulb leaves and grow them on. There are so many more plants that can be propagated and its not hard to do. I hope more people take up the challenge. As I don't have the internet, it's good to be able to use what may be an old fashioned way of learning. Please don't change, I don't think I'm the only one wanting to learn without the internet." Pauline Ross - Australia, Cutting Propagation course.


ACS student comments:      I have learnt so much from this course. I have learnt how easy and how much material strikes and grows, if you follow the rules. I learnt to propagate bulb leaves and grow them on. There are so many more plants that can be propagated and its not hard to do. I hope more people take up the challenge. As I don't have the internet, it's good to be able to use what may be an old fashioned way of learning. Please don't change, I don't think I'm the only one wanting to elarn without the internet.       Pauline Ross - Australia, Cutting Propagation course.

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.
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

Growing and Using Perennial PlantsWhen designed and grown well, a perennial garden produces a blaze of colour for many months – starting in spring, flourishing through summer, and beyond into autumn.
Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmThis is both a guide to “how to propagate plants” as well as an exploration of the possibility of starting a small nursery or herb business that could eventually grow into a blossoming business! It's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. Since it was first published by “Grass Roots” in 1981, we have lost count of the hundreds of people who have told us how this book kicked off a successful business or career for them. 63 pages
Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.