Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Propagation)

A comprehensive course which covers all aspects of growing plants from seeds to cuttings, budding and grafting. Learn about different growing techniques and apply what you learn to your own business or towards a managerial career in the nursery industry.

Course Code: VHT083
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Become an Expert Grower

Learn all the skills of the trade to successfully grow a broad range of plants or develop new cultivars.

Use what you learn here to set up your own nursery or market garden, or to stand you in good stead for working in key roles in the nursery industry.

This course provides all the essential propagation studies plus you can choose some modules to suit your specific goals and learning needs.

Learn all aspects of nursery management from industry experts

This is an extremely comprehensive course which will help you develop a career in the retail or production nursery industry. Work as a Nursery Manager, Technical Officer, Marketing Manager, Consultant, Vocational Trainer.

This course allows you to focus on plants and horticultural skills that most interest you and match your needs.

Learn from experienced horticulturalists. Grow your awareness of industry and opportunities; and develop your networking skills.


“The nursery trade is crying out for well educated managers able to apply their knowledge and skills without constant supervision. This course covers all aspects of nursery management; it is structured to develop students with sound management skills.” - Adriana Fraser Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care, Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert IV Assessment and Training, Adv.Dip.Hort, ACS Tutor.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Propagation).
 Propagation I BHT108
 Cutting Propagation BHT211
 Seed Propagation BHT237
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Horticultural Research I BHT118
 Horticulture II (Plant Knowledge) BHT102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 30 modules.
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Azaleas & Rhododendrons VHT106
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Horticulture III (Plant Health) BHT116
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Soil Management (Horticulture) BHT105
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Botany II (Plant Growth and Development) BSC204
 Conifers BHT230
 Deciduous Trees BHT244
 Garden Centre Management BHT255
 Horticultural Research II BHT241
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Hydroponic Management (Hydroponics II) BHT213
 Irrigation - Crops BHT204
 Orchid Culture BHT232
 Plant Breeding BHT236
 Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
 Roses BHT231
 Scented Plants BHT229
 Tropical Plants BHT234
 Weed Control BHT209
 Wholesale Nursery Management BHT212
 Ferns BHT314
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
 Interior (Indoor) Plants BHT315
 Practical Horticulture 2 BHT323
 Tissue Culture BHT306

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Propagation) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Today there is an unprecedented interest in gardening and in the use of plants (for purposes both culinary and ornamental), and a nursery or garden centre can represent a viable small business proposition.

Nurseries today are different to what they once were.

  • Retail garden centres can be destinations for social and leisure activities; and places to buy far more than just plants -from homewares and food to pet and craft supplies.
  • Production nurseries are also often more than they once were. Some make significant income by selling over the internet. Others breed plants or acquire plant variety rights, and derive as much income from royalties as from selling actual plants. 

It is very important for you to realise that there are tremendous variations in the way plants are treated from place to place.

There are a number of very basic decisions which need to be made before commencing a nursery operation. These alternatives should be reconsidered every year' or two through an operation, and perhaps changes made accordingly. These first decisions are discussed in turn below.

FORM OF PRODUCT Many nurseries specialise in a limited range of products, for example:

Plants in Pots
This is the way the major part of the herb farm and nursery industries operates. The scale at which this sector of the industry operates makes growing in containers a low-risk operation compared with some other alternatives. Plants in containers do, however, become pot bound and need to be sold or else potted up within a certain time.

Plants in the Open Ground
Plants are grown in cultivated paddocks until ready for sale, at which time they are dug up and prepared for sale in various ways:

  • they are put into containers
  • soil is removed from the roots (deciduous plants only) and they are stored over winter with roots in moistened shavings or straw
  • the soil ball is held together by tying hessian around it
  • in some heavier soils, plants are sold with whatever soil clings to the roots left as such, not contained in any way by cloth or any other container.
After container growing this is the next most common practice.
Open-ground growing is economical in that it doesn't require the same expense for containers and usually it caIls for less watering.

Bare Rooted Cuttings
Some nurseries specialise in propagation, that is producing roots on cuttings. They leave the job of growing the plants up to a salable size to Herbal products such as cosmetics, herb vinegar, pomanders, and dried herbs for cooking are becoming ever more popular, but do not rely on them heavily at first - business may take time to build up another nursery. This type of operation requires less area but more expertise and a greater initial outlay on expensive  propagating structures and equipment.

Specialised Container Products
Hanging baskets, terrariums, bonsai, mini-gardens and plants in decorative
tubs are all products in which a nursery can specialise. Before commencing
this type of operation however, study carefully the demands of the market
and know what competition exists. You also need to be sure you know
how to produce your product and how to produce it well. Anyone can
make a bonsai but it takes skill to make a good one which will survive.

At what stages of the plants development will you be handling the plant?
The answer could be bay be to concentrate on one of the following.

Propagation Nursery
The beginning of the plants life: seed is sown, a cutting is struck, bulbs are divided or a fruit tree is budded etc. This stage requires greater technical skill and, in some cases, more expensive equipment than other stages.

Plants Ready for Planting Out
The small propagated plants are put into pots, planted into the open ground or into some other situation in which they can be grown to a larger size. There is more difficulty at the beginning of this operation when the plants are moved from a pampered propagating environment to a harsher growing-on environment As they become older, they harden and become more resistant to disease and environmental problems.

Advanced Grown Plants
This involves growing plants to a large size either in containers or the open ground. Though these plants might be hardy, this type of work is heavy and usually requires at least some machinery to handle the plants.
Many nurseries supplement their sales of plants with ancillary products - pots, window boxes, watering cans, potting mixes and various sprays and treatments.


You will develop the skills and knowledge required to work in the retail or production nursery industry at management level.

This course is different to many others. It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with the horticulture industry as you study. The industry is changing faster than ever; and will continue to change; and for ongoing success you need to become "connected" and remain "connected", so that you see and adapt to recent changes, and ongoing changes as your career moves forward.

Let us help you toward a successful future in nursery management!

We've always found it is better to communicate with someone before they enrol. If we understand your passions, capabilities and ambitions, we can help you map out a course of action to give you the best chance of achieving your goals.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

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We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS 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.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

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.

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.
She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.
In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others.
Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Graham Anderson

Graham Anderson B. Mech Eng (hons) Dip. Health

Graham has spent his life in the farming and agriculture industry, particularly carving a niche in the avocado sector with experience ranging from tissue culture, to nursery management to fruit marketing. He has an engineering qualification and an extensive range of mechanical skills which are now diversifying to an understanding of our internal mechanics in health and psychology with qualifications underway.

Diana Cole

Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), RHS Diploma in Horticulture, BTEC Higher Diploma in 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). She also has skills gained through leading a group of volunteers renovating a local park on behalf of a local council and has been a volunteer leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. She continues to teach the Royal Horticultural Society qualifications (Levels 2 and 3) at her local college. She is a member of The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd.

Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

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