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Course Title: Plant Growth in Horticulture

Plant Growth in Horticulture

Horticulture Course
Price:£340 Qualification: Certificate

Certificate for Plant Growth in Horticulture. This course was formally known as the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation & Development, which has now been updated in line with new RHS protocols. If you require an RHS qualification, please click here

Course Structure for Plant Growth in Horticulture

This course consists of 10 in-depth lessons which comprehensively cover a wide variety of subjects required to become a professional horticulturist, or a successful amateur gardener.

To obtain a certificate awarded by an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation, the student needs to sit and pass a final written exam taken at a time and place of their choosing. However, this is optional and a Certificate of Achievement is awarded to those who complete the course, but do not wish to take the exam.


Classification of Plants and the Plant Naming System

  • Botanical and Horticultural Nomenclature: common names, scientific names
  • The Binomial System
  • Botanical Classification levels
  • Horticultural Groups
  • Plant Families and their distinguishing characteristics
  • Species, Hybrids, Varieties, Cultivars
  • Review of significant Dicotyledon and Monocotyledon families
  • Plant Lifecycles
  • Stages in Plant Development
  • Plant Collection Reviews

The Internal Structure of Higher Plants

  • Plant Cell Structure
  • Cell Components
  • Cell Division; mitosis and meiosis
  • Types of Plant Cells; Parenchyma, Collechyma,Sclerenchyma, Xylem, Phloem, Epidermal
  • Internal Structure of Dicotyledon Stems: Epidermis, endodermis, cortex, vascular bundles, etc
  • Structure of Monocotyledon Stems
  • External Differences between Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons
  • Anatomica features of leaves and stems in cross section
  • Plant Tissues
  • Primary and Secondary Growth
  • Terminology
  • Botanical Keys and their use

The External Structure of Higher Plants, Roots, Leaves,  Stems and Buds

  • Stems; the framework, functions of the stem
  • Stem modificationsalt
  • Leaves
  • Functions of leaves
  • Respiration, transpiration and photosynthesis
  • Leaf shapes
  • Compound leaves
  • Leaf modifications
  • Buds: adventitious, apical, flower, vegetative
  • Root Structure
  • Types of Root Systems
  • Root Modifications
  • Morphological Changes due to Maturation

Identification and Function of the Reproductive Parts of the Plant

  • Parts of a flower: Sepals, Petals Staemens, Carpel
  • The Inflorescence
  • Flower Structure
  • Types of Fruits
  • Fruit and Seed Terminology
  • Modification of Fruits -dry fruits, succulent fruits, composite fruits, false fruits
  • Key to Main Fruit Types

Pollination and Fertilisation in Higher Plants

  • Pollination Processes
  • Self Pollination, Cross pollination
  • Pollination Mechanisms
  • Compatibility
  • Fertilisation, Embryo and Seed Formation
  • Post Fertilisation
  • F1 Hybrids
  • Genotype versus Phenotype
  • Male Sterility
  • Parthenocarpy
  • Hybrid Seed Production
  • Terminology
  • Seed and Fruit Development
  • Seed Structure
  • Seed Germination
  • Fruit Set, Growth and Development

The Fundamental Physiological Processes in Plants, Plant Growth and Developmental Relationships

  • Importance of Photosynthesis
  • The Light Reactions
  • The Dark Reactions
  • Chloplasts in Photosynthesis
  • C3, C4 and CAM Plants
  • Rate of Photosynthesis
  • Chemistry of Respiration
  • Rate of Respiration
  • Stages of Respiration
  • Aerobic versus Anaerobic Respiration
  • Transpiration and Translocation of Water
  • Osmosis
  • Diffusion
  • Mechanisms of Nutrient Uptake
  • How Water, ions and metabolites move through a plant
  • Tropisms; Phototropism, Geotropism, Thigmotropism, etc
  • Chemical Growth Modification; Auxins, Gibberellins, AA, Ethylene, Cytokinin, etc
  • Effects of Chemical hormones
  • Light factors in plant growth
  • Artificial Light

Soils and the Root Environment

  • Soil Profile
  • Importance of Soil
  • Soil Composition
  • Texture
  • Structure and soil types
  • Soil Horizons (A, B, C and R)
  • Naming the Soil
  • Improving Soil Structure
  • Soil Sampling
  • Improving Fertility
  • Organic Matter
  • Benefits of adding Organic Matter
  • Soil Water and it’s Value to Plants
  • Water Loss from Soils
  • Improving Water Retention
  • Hygroscopic Water, Gravitational Water, Field Capacity and other terminology
  • Saturation
  • Rate of Watering
  • Plant Health and Drainage
  • Symptoms of Poor Drainage Improving surface and sub surface Drainage
  • Tensiometer
  • Soil pH
  • Nutrient Availability and pH
  • Calcifuges and Calcicoles
  • Adding Lime
  • Adding Acidic Materials to Lower pH
  • Conservation Issues: Peat
  • Terminology

Plant Nutrition

  • Soil Life: Earthworms, Mycorrhyzae, Nitrogen Fixing
  • Nitrogen Cycle; Ammonification,Nitrification, Detritrification, Nitrogen Loss
  • Forms of Nitrogen
  • The Nitrogen Cycle
  • The Carbon Cycle
  • The Nutrient Elements
  • The Major Elements
  • The Minor Elements (Trace Elements)
  • Total Salts
  • Diagnosis of Nutrient Problems
  • Fertilisers
  • Types of Fertilisers
  • Applying Fertilisers
  • Natural Fertilisers
  • Manures, Rock Dusts, Seaweed
  • Composting Methods: sheet composting, Indore method, 14 day method, compost bins, trench composting, etc
  • Green Manures
  • Mulch and Mulching
  • Cultivation Techniues
  • Cultivation Tools and Equipmentalt
  • Improving Water Infiltration into Soil
  • Non Dig Growing Method
  • Soil Problems
  • Soil Rehabilitation
  • Properties of Growing Media
  • Potting Media: Components and mixes
  • Choosing Growing Media
  • Air Filled Porosity
  • Hydroponics defined

Plant Health Problems

  • Factors Affecting Plant Health and Growth
  • Types of Problems
  • Conducting an Inspection
  • Determining and Recommending Treatments
  • Responding to Difficult to Diagnose Problems
  • Plant Pests -major groups
  • Pest Treatments – Sanitation, Physical control methods, Resistant varieties, Biological controls, Chemical controls, Soil drenches
  • Insect Biology; structure, lifecycles, etc
  • Review of Major Pests and their Treatments
  • Review of Major Diseases and their Treatments
  • Review of Environmental Problems and their Control
  • Types of Weeds
  • Identifying Weeds
  • Weed Control Methods; suffocation, burning, cultivation, grazing, mowing, solarisation, chemicals, etc

Plant Propagation Principles and Practice

  • Sexual Propagation
  • When to Sow Seed
  • Why Some Seeds Don’t Germinate
  • Dormancy Factors in Seed -Hard Seed Coat, Chemical Inhibitors, Undeveloped Embryos etc
  • Difficult to Germinate Seeds
  • Treatments to Break Seed Dormancy
  • Seed Sources
  • Seed Saving; Seed Storage
  • Sowing Seed Indoors
  • Seed Sowing: Germination, Temperature Control Hygeine
  • Seed Propagating Media
  • Sowing Seed Outside
  • Handling and caring for Seedlings
  • Potting Up
  • Propagation after care
  • Propagation from Cuttings
  • Succeeding with Cuttings
  • Types of Cuttings
  • Softwood, Semi Hardwood and Hard wood Cuttings
  • Variations on Cuttings: nodal, heel, tip, etc
  • Leaf Cuttings, Leaf bud cuttings, Root Cuttings, Bulb Cuttings, etc
  • Stock Plants for Cuttings
  • Layering
  • Propagation from Specialised Stems and Roots; Offsets, Division, etc
  • Propagating Tools: Secateurs, How to Cut, Knives
  • Grafting
  • Propagating Plants in a Greenhouse
  • Cold Frames
  • Heated Propagators


Aims of Plant Growth in Horticulture

  1. Describe the classification of higher plants
  2. Describe the internal structure of higher plants
  3. Describe the structure and functions of roots, leaves, stems and buds.
  4. Describe the functions of the reproductive parts of the plant
  5. Describe the process of pollination and fertilisation in higher plants.
  6. Describe the processes photosynthesis, respiration, the movement of water in plants and plant growth and development.
  7. Develop an understanding of the constituents, properties and management of soils and growing media.
  8. Describe the nutrient elements and plant nutrition in relation to soil and growing media.
  9. Describe the uses of organic matter and the importance of living organisms in the soil.
  10. Develop an understanding of pest, diseases and weeds that affect horticultural plants, and the cultural, biological, chemical and integrated systems used to control those problems.
  11. Develop an understanding of the principles and main practices of plant propagation in horticulture.

Price: £340
Qualification: Certificate
Estimated Course Duration: 100 hours
Available Learning Methods: Online, USB (+£5) and Correspondence (+£35)
Enrolment Dates: Our courses are self-paced and you can start at anytime

Enrol today and develop your expertise in this subject

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As soon as payment has been confirmed you will be able to access your course materials online within 24 hours. Any further correspondence will arrive at your address between 3-4 days.

For any Questions or to Enrol please call 01227 789 649