Certificate in Plantsmanship

Become a professional plantsman; training as a horticulturists, nurserymen, environmental managers. Unique in depth course for skills that set you apart among the most valued in your profession.

Course CodeVHT033
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

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PLANTSMEN have been the backbone of horticulture for hundreds of years.

These are highly respected experts who can identify, describe and manage a very large range of plants (commonly thousands of varieties). Plantsmen are not created overnight though, they require a very solid foundation in plantsmanship, then experience on top of that.

This course gives you a foundation well beyond what you get in most modern horticulture courses; then sets you on a path to extend your knowledge and experience, and in time, carve out an exceptional place for yourself in the world of horticulture.

What will this course give YOU?

  • Sharpens your knowledge and skills for identifying plants
  • Extends the rage of plants you can identify
  • To scientifically identify plants
  • To differentiate characteristics that distinguishes one plant from others
  • Select the right plant for the right place
  • Understand soils
  • Develops techniques for the growing of a range of plant types including natives, food crops, indoor plants, ornamentals etc.
  • The opportunity to choose 4 electives units that best suit your interests and needs.
  • Be an expert plantsman or plantswoman.


  • Nursery staff (both retail and wholesale)
  • Landscapers
  • Garden Designers
  • Workers in public parks and gardens (amenity horticulture)
  • Parks managers 
  • Environmental officers.
  • Garden designers
  • Gardeners
  • Garden enthusiasts

Virtually any career that deals with plants will be advanced by studying this course i.e.  knowing how to identify plants, knowing what a plant needs to grow well and knowing how to make the right choice for the right place is invaluable to any horticulturist or gardener.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Plantsmanship.
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Horticulture II (Plant Knowledge) BHT102
 Plant Taxonomy BHT344
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 25 modules.
 Acacias VHT114
 African Violets VHT105
 Australian Native Trees VHT115
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Azaleas & Rhododendrons VHT106
 Cacti & Succulents VHT108
 Carnivorous Plants VHT107
 Eucalypts VHT117
 Fuchsias VHT112
 Growing Annuals BHT115
 Growing Camellias VHT109
 Growing Grevilleas VHT118
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Deciduous Trees BHT244
 Fruit Production - Temperate Climate BHT218
 Lavender BHT228
 Orchid Culture BHT232
 Palms & Cycads BHT233
 Roses BHT231
 Tropical Plants BHT234
 Bonsai BHT320
 Ferns BHT314
 Proteas BHT318

Note that each module in the Certificate in Plantsmanship is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What's involved in these Modules?



There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. The Groups of Plants ‑ setting a framework for the whole subject. Learn to identify plants from a wide range of taxonomic and cultural groups, using a range of different techniques.
  2. Use of Plants ‑ plant selection, soils.
  3. Australian Native Plants -The growing of native shrubs and trees, including the selection, culture and use of different species.
  4. Exotic Ornamental Plants -Techniques for the growing of exotic ornamental shrubs and trees, including the selection, culture and use of different species.
  5. Indoor & Tropical Plants -Growing indoor plants, including selection, culture and use of different varieties
  6. Bedding Plants -Bedding plants...growing, selection, culture and use of different varieties.
  7. Vegetables -Techniques for the growing of edible crop plants, including selection, culture and use of vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts (Part A).
  8. Fruits, Nuts & Berries
  9. Herbs
  10. Alternative Growing Techniques ‑ hydroponics, container growing, terrariums. Determine appropriate applications for a range of alternative growing methods



There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Taxonomic Classification of Plants
  2. Cells and Tissues
  3. Specific Vegetative Parts of a Plant
  4. Flowers and Fruit
  5. Seed and the Developing Embryo
  6. Photosynthesis and Growing Plants
  7. Respiration
  8. The Role of Water
  9. Movement of Water and Assimilates through a Plant
  10. The Effects of Tropisms and Other Growth Movements



Choose from dozens of options.
These are designed to build extra skills which compliment job in plant identification and broader knowledge of the characteristics and cultural requirements for a large number of different plants.

Graduates of this course will have specialised plant knowledge relating to at least four different groups of plants, and the ability to identify dozens of plant families and over 400 different plant species.

A range of options are offered, to provide students the chance of studying areas of specific relevance or interest to them. This way every student can build a slightly different set of skills, differentiating themselves from others in industry, and allowing them to develop a reputation as a "specialist" fulfilling a niche that is different to others.


Plants are often given common names; but common names can be many and varied for the same plant. Scientific Names are far more accurate; but there can still be inconsistencies.

As with many plant families, the names you are likely to encounter with different references and experts may sometimes appear to be in conflict. It is not uncommon to encounter two different names for the same plant. To understand and appreciate this, you need to recognise the fact that the scientific naming of plants is despite being a very accurate system; it is also a system that is constantly changing. 

As scientists discover more and more things about plants; the need arises to alter the way we classify different plants. Sometimes this may result in different genera or species being split to create new classifications; and sometimes amalgamated to eliminate old classifications

Occasionally old names are replaced with new ones, in an effort to adopt a more “sensible” name that better reflects something about the plant.

If you are referring to something written by someone in the past; you may well be looking at an old name.

Some experts may not always or immediately adopt name changes either; so even things written today by one expert, might not always be identical to that written by another.


EXTEND KNOWLEDGE IN YOUR CURRENT CAREER OR START A NEW CAREER virtually any career that deals with plants will be advanced by studying this course.


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Maggi Brown

Maggi 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
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.
Jacinda Cole

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three year
Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Hort
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