Horticultural Marketing

Horticultural Marketing Course for horticultural managers, business owners and sales staff.

Course Code: BHT304
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Good Horticultural Marketing Makes a Difference

All horticultural enterprises need to keep their clientele happy! Some like landscapers and nurserymen, need to be constantly finding new customers; others, like contract farmers and parks departments may have a relatively captive clientele; but they still need to ensure the clientele remains happy with their service.

Study horticultural marketing, and learn to find and satisfy your clients.

“There are many valuable skills to be learned in this course that will help you market your horticultural enterprise. You will learn strategies pertinent to this kind of business that you had never thought of!” - Tracey Morris Dip.Hort., Cert.Hort., Cert III Organic Farming, ACS Tutor.

  • Enrol any time, study from anywhere, learn at your own pace
  • Interact one on one with highly qualified and experienced tutors
  • Access tutors whenever you need them -Our faculty of 10 horticulturists are accessible 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year by phone or email

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Horticultural Marketing
    • Introduction
    • Key elements of marketing
    • Resources and networking
    • Supply and Demand
    • Understanding economics
    • Marketing horticulture plant produce vs plant products
  2. Horticultural Marketing Processes
    • Packaging
    • Plant labelling
    • Product line decisions
    • Problem Based Learning project
  3. Horticultural Marketing Methods
    • Introduction
    • Deciding marketing methods on type of business
    • Legal obligations
    • Value of business
    • Controlling business growth
    • Improving results in business
    • Use of internet for marketing
  4. Customer Service
    • Dealing with complaints
    • Customer satisfaction
    • How to become effective communicator
    • Ways of communication
    • Selling
  5. Horticultural Marketing Research
    • Introduction
    • Research process
    • Statistics
    • Tracking trends
    • Marketing tips
  6. Developing An Advertising Program
    • Publicity marketing
    • Public relations
    • Structuring advertisements or promotions
    • Advertising budgets
  7. Developing A Horticultural Marketing Strategy
    • Introduction
    • Shop layout
    • Displaying products for sale
    • Merchandising
    • Type of service
    • Stock control
    • Understanding selling
    • Sales methods
    • Pricing

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain different components of the marketing process which may be used in the horticultural industry.
  • Explain different marketing methods for horticultural products and services.
  • Explain the role of customer service in horticultural marketing.
  • Conduct market research into a product or service in the horticultural industry.
  • Develop an advertising program for an horticultural enterprise.
  • Develop an appropriate marketing strategy for a given horticultural situation.

What You Will Do

  • Explain the concept of supply and demand, in a specified horticultural context.
  • Explain two specified economic theories in relation to two different horticultural commodities.
  • Define twenty five terms relevant to horticultural marketing.
  • Distinguish between marketing and selling in a horticultural enterprise.
  • Compare different packaging strategies for various horticultural products.
  • Analyse the labelling of three different horticultural products, to determine possible improvements.
  • Analyse options for transportation to market of two different horticultural products.
  • Analyse storage options during marketing, for two different horticultural products.
  • Determine criteria which are critical to the marketing success of two different horticultural products.
  • Prepare a marketing plan for a horticultural enterprise, that summarises:
  • *handling *storage *packaging *transportation *promotion *selling.
  • Describe specific examples of three different marketing strategies, used in the horticultural industry.
  • Analyse the marketing of a specific, successful product or service, in the horticultural industry.
  • Define ten terms relevant to horticultural marketing, including:
  • *demographic *penetration *segmentation *targeting *product position.
  • Determine target markets for three different selected horticultural products.
  • Compare the marketing of a specified horticultural product using different marketing methods.
  • Evaluate the success of marketing methods being used by six different specified horticultural
  • enterprises, to market their products or services.
  • Evaluate positive features of customer service, in a specific horticultural enterprise.
  • Evaluate negative features of customer service, in a specific horticultural enterprise.
  • Explain the importance of consistent product availability, in a specified horticultural enterprise.
  • Explain the importance of well-trained customer service providers, in a specified horticultural enterprise.
  • Develop guidelines for maintaining good public relations, in a specific horticultural enterprise.
  • Prepare a customer service policy for a selected horticultural enterprise.
  • Design a questionnaire to determine demand for a new specified horticultural enterprise, in your locality.
  • Design a questionnaire to determine customer attitudes towards a specified horticultural product or service.
  • Determine the socio-economic attributes of clients of a specified horticultural enterprise, investigated by you.
  • Determine the behavioural characteristics of clients of a specified horticultural enterprise, investigated by you.
  • Conduct market research into a specific product or service, by questioning a representative sample of ten customers, of a horticultural enterprise.
  • Collate statistics from conducted market research that you conducted.
  • Analyse statistics relating to market research undertaken by you.
  • Explain appropriate applications for different advertising avenues, in the horticultural industry.
  • Develop guidelines for writing advertisements for a specified horticultural service or product.
  • Write appropriate advertisements for three different specified horticultural services or products.
  • Prepare an appropriate brochure, to the stage of finished art work, for a specific horticultural product or service.
  • Evaluate the response from specific horticultural advertisements.
  • Evaluate two different advertising methods used in a horticultural enterprise investigated by you, in terms of costs versus benefits.
  • Determine the significance of packaging, presentation and labelling to marketing of a specified horticultural product.
  • Estimate the relative benefits four different techniques which may be used to promote a specific horticultural enterprise.
  • Produce design for a specific nursery, farm, or other horticultural enterprise, to enhance marketing in that enterprise.
  • Develop a promotional campaign for a specified horticultural product or service.
  • Explain two different methods of determining a price for a specified horticultural product.

Scope of Marketing in Plant Nurseries

Marketing is essential if a business is to be profitable. No matter how good your product may be, if your customers cannot find you, it will not be possible to make a sale. There are many different ways of marketing nursery products and services. The type of marketing depends upon the product or service, the type and size of the business, and the business plan.


Retail Nurseries

Retail nurseries are those that offer their products and services directly to members of the public. Marketing techniques include:

  • Shops such as garden centres or nurseries which concentrate on selling plants, or sections within other shops such as supermarkets, hardware stores and florists.
  • Specialist nurseries that concentrate on growing one particular type of plant which is sold direct to the public from the nursery. This type of nursery may also sell plants wholesale.
  • Mail order. This is usually conducted through catalogues and magazine advertisements.
  • Trade shows, homes shows, agricultural field days and other such events can be used as an outlet for plants.
  • Market stalls such as those at craft markets, fruit and vegetable markets, etc. Some nurseries find regular attendance at a market can make a significant contribution towards sales. Markets may also be used on an irregular basis to clear excess stock.

Wholesale Nurseries (or Production Nurseries)

Wholesale nurseries usually sell products in bulk to other businesses. Marketing techniques include:

  • Trade markets conducted by industry associations or private markets where producers can sell to retailers, landscapers and other industry people at wholesale prices. Members of the public are usually excluded and the organisers of these markets usually charge participating nurseries a fee or commission, or both.
  • Truck sales where a vehicle loaded with plants calls on retailers and usually sells direct from the truck. Some wholesalers use a smaller vehicle with stock samples to stimulate sales.
  • Agents that take a commission from the wholesale grower to take responsibility for marketing the product. This method is only worthwhile if the agent can provide a greater return than if the product was marketing by the wholesale business itself.


The marketing mix is a combination of practical rules and ‘flair’. It entails the setting of sales, making objectives, strict control and measurement of sales and profits ‑ all combined with effective presentation and display. Marketing can be described as a combination of these interconnected factors:

  • Products and services
  • Promotions and advertising
  • Packaging
  • Transport and distribution
  • Sales
  • After sales
  • Market research
  • Marketing budget
  • Legal implications of marketing


The nursery industry provides a wide range of products and services. They include:

Plants (also called ‘Green Life’)

The majority of sales are usually plants, seed or flowers. These can include: Natives, Trees, Shrubs, Ground Covers, Climbers, Perennials, Herbs, Bulbs, Indoor Plants, Cacti, Bonsai, Topiary, Potted Colour, Hanging Baskets, Terrariums, Vegetable Seedlings, Berry Plants, Fruit Trees, Instant Turf (Sod), Cut Flowers, Lawn Seed, Flower Seed, Vegetable Seed, Tree and Shrub Seed.

Allied products

These are things purchased to help grow plants better, or to be used in landscaping. They provide add on sales when customers buy plants and can include: Fertilisers, Stakes, Pots, Mulch, Soil additives, Tree Guards, Chemical sprays, Tools and Equipment, Horticultural Fabrics, Soils and Potting Media, Hydroponic Equipment, Irrigation/Watering Equipment, Garden Buildings, Fencing, Rock and Stone, Masonry, Concrete, Timber, Garden Furniture, Statues, Ponds, Pumps, etc.


Nurseries may have the expertise already on staff to offer some special services either free or at a charge. Alternatively, they may develop a relationship with local "experts" to provide such services. These services can include: Landscape Design, Delivering Plants, Identifying Pest and Disease Problems, Tree Surgery, Lawn Repair, Garden Renovation, Chemical Spraying, Routine Garden Maintenance, Landscape Construction, Installing Irrigation Systems, Erecting Garden Buildings, Transplanting, Pruning, Recycling (refunds for used pots, chipping prunings etc), Entertainment (eg. a guitar player or clown), a Garden Advice Booth, Garden Lectures, Courses, etc.

Allied services

Allied services are those that have a synergistic relationship with the nursery operation. They include franchises and business partnerships. For example, there has been a strong trend by retail nurseries in recent years to add a tea room or cafe to their operations. As well as generating income, these facilities encourage customers to spend longer in the nursery, increasing the likelihood they will make a purchase.


There is a range of other things which may be included in nurseries to generate extra turnover. They need to be relevant to the type of nursery, and the type and number of customers attracted. They can include: Self Service Drink or Snack Food Machines, Books, Magazines, Art and Craft, Cards, Souvenirs, Aquarium Supplies, Pet Shop, Hardware Supplies, Pool and Spa Supplies, etc.

How Can This Course Help Me?

Lots of people may study horticulture and end up dealing with the public but they don't necessarily know how to raise public awareness of their products and services, or how best to sell them. This course does all that. Graduates can feel confident that they will be well informed when it comes to promoting what their business, or their employer's business, has to offer and translate this into improved turnover.
Horticultural marketing is a valued skill that can be applied to many different areas of horticulture including:
  • Garden centre
  • Retail nursery
  • Garden shop
  • Horticulture supplies
  • Crop growing
  • Fruit & vegetables
  • Gardening services  

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

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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.

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer
, teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient lifestyle. She has decades of practical experience growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs, and making her own preserves. She is well connected with horticulture professionals across Australia, and amongst other things, for a period, looked after Australia's national collection of Thymus. Advanced Diploma in Horticulture, Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.

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