Interior (Indoor) Plants

Learn all about indoor plants with this 100 hour course, tutored by expert horticulturists.

Course CodeBHT315
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn skills to make informed decisions on the selection, care and use of indoor plants.

  • Learn to identify hundreds of indoor plants systematically and easier
  • Learn how to grow plants inside, their care and use
  • Indulge your passion or increase your commercial skills

A useful course for nurserymen, interior plant suppliers, florists, interior designers, indoor event managers, gardeners and horticulturists.

To be successful with indoor plants, you need to be able firstly, to identify correctly, the plants you are dealing with; and then secondly, understand the conditions required for the specific plant variety concerned.

“Indoor plants are a bigger business than what most people realize. Florists and garden centres around the world sell indoor plants, and plant hire companies rent them out. Most homes and commercial properties have indoor plants; and greenhouses are filled with them. All of these plants need propagating, selecting, transporting, displaying and caring for; and there is a huge global industry that exists to do just that.  Quote from John Mason, Dip Hort Sci, FCIH, FPLA, FIOH. Garden writer, editor, principal of ACS Distance Education.



Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Plant Naming and pronunciation
    • Review of indoor plant families
    • Resources
  2. Indoor Plant Culture - Part A
    • Understanding interior environments
    • Plants for different light conditions
    • Problems with indoor plants
    • Potting Media
    • Potting up
    • Container selection
    • Managing plant nutrition
    • Pruning indoor plants
    • Propagation and caring for young indoor plants
  3. Indoor Plant Culture - Part B
    • Acclimatizing indoor plants
    • Helping plants survive neglect
    • Managing plant health indoors
  4. Foliage Plants
    • Growing palms inside
    • Review of palm genera
    • Selecing and Growing Ferns inside
    • Review of other foliage plant genera
  5. Flowering Plants
    • Orchids
    • African violets
    • Poinsettia
    • Other genera grown for flowers indoors.
  6. Other Indoor Plants
    • Herbs
    • Vines and Climbers
  7. Making The Best Use Of Indoor Plants
    • Deciding where to place an indoor plant
    • Managing colour
    • Using mirrors
    • Plants in baskets
    • Hydroponics indoors
    • Miniature gardens
  8. The Interior Plantscaping Industry
    • Interior Plantscaping Business
    • Growing in Greenhouses
    • Environmental control

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.


  • Distinguish between different types of indoor plants
  • Describe the cultural methods used for growing various indoor plants
  • Evaluate a range of plants not commonly grown indoors for their suitability for interior plantscaping.
  • Select appropriate plants for different interior plantscaping situations.
  • Develop innovative ways of presenting plants for indoor situations.
  • Explain the interior plantscaping industry, including its nature and scope.

Tips for Helping Indoor Plants Become Acclimatised

Indoor plants can look beautiful all year round providing you choose the right varieties and help them get used to their new environment.

Acclimatisation involves helping plants adapt to changes in things like temperature, light and air quality. It happens to all plants when they are moved from one place to another, eg. from a greenhouse or nursery to the interior of a building or a shaded area around the house. Since plants cannot move themselves from an unfavourable position, they must adapt to the conditions where they are.

Why Acclimatise?
When plants are provided with suitable light, high nutrition, adequate water, suitable temperatures and humidity conditions they respond accordingly and grow beautifully. When they are suddenly moved into the low-light, low-humidity conditions found indoors, most are subject to stress. This can result in leaf drop, reduced growth and even death.

Light intensity and water stress have the most obvious effect in the acclimatisation process. Leaves from light loving plants, when grown in the shade, tend to be smaller and thinner than those grown in the sun. They also have a more reflective surface, and are closer together on the stem.

When placed in a shady spot, changes occur in the leaves over the next 4 to 8 weeks. Food reserves may be depleted and leaves may drop off. With time, the leaves become acclimatised and become a healthy darker green.

How to Acclimatise
The first step is to talk to your nurseryman about the history of the plant you wish to buy. How long has it been sitting in the nursery? Has it been receiving a lot of light? Remove any slow release fertiliser which may be on the surface of the plant. Thoroughly leach the soil by flushing with good clean water. Place the plant in 50% shade in a protected area, either under a large tree in the backyard or on a shaded veranda under other leafy plants.

How to Care for the Acclimatising Plant
1. Never expose the plant to low temperatures, direct sunlight or wind during this period. Bring the plant indoors at night or on windy days and then take it back outside to its protected area when conditions have improved.

2. Throughout the acclimatising period keep the soil moist but never wet, and keep a close eye on any potential pest or disease problems.

3. Light pruning and shaping can be done during this period but don’t overdo it, as the plant may suffer another setback in growth.

4. If the plant shows signs of stress (burnt leaf tips, wilting or leaf drop), move the plant to a more protected position for a few days. You may need to find a new, more sheltered, position for the acclimatisation period.

5. When the plant shows signs of recovery, give it a half-strength liquid feed.

Acclimatising Period

The length of time required for a plant to be acclimatised varies according to species, its previous treatment, and the magnitude of the change. Up to 8 weeks may be necessary for some plants.

Philodendron and Aglaonema require very little time, but sun grown Ficus benjamina and Brassaia require 40% to 80% shade for approximately 5 weeks. Ficus nitida requires 10 weeks at 50% shade. The larger the plant, the longer the process; to acclimatise properly a plant must have a fully developed root system.


This is a great stepping stone toward becoming an expert with indoor plants.

You may simply be a passionate collector of indoor plants; or perhaps you already work as a nurseryman, for an interior plant company, or have a desire to set up a business or find a job in this industry.  Whatever your purpose; this is as serious a course as you are likely to find on this subject, supported by a team of professionally qualified and experienced horticultural tutors who have worked with indoor plants in both commercial and public situations from England to Australia and in both sub tropical and temperate climates.


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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
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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