Course Description

Suitable for home gardeners and sole traders, including handypersons, landscapers and gardeners, this nationally accredited horticulture course is delivered by industry experts and will teach you:

  • How to recognise plants, prepare plant specimens and provide information on products and services.
  • The fundamentals of planting, potting and maintaining trees, shrubs and plants.
  • Soil testing and how to treat weeds, pests and diseases
  • How to work effectively in the industry and Work Health and Safety practices.

You’ll then choose one of three streams to develop your knowledge in a specialist area:

  • In the Nursery stream you’ll discover how to maintain nursery plants, pot up plants and participate in environmentally sustainable work practices.
  • The Parks and Gardens stream will teach you how to operate basic machinery, support turf establishment and maintain properties and structures.
  • If you choose the Landscaping stream, you’ll learn how to operate basic machinery, lay paving and assist with landscape construction.

Whichever stream you choose will give you a deeper understanding of this growth area and help you develop in-demand, industry-specific skills.

You will also be granted access to Trade Hub as part of your studies. Trade Hub is a literacy and numeracy support tool, which explains key concepts that you will need to understand to work in horticulture (area, volume, instructions, and safety documents).

Studying online with Open Colleges means you can fit learning around your life. There are no classrooms and no deadlines. You simply study whenever you want, at a pace that suits your life, and on any device that’s handy (smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer). 

Potential career outcomes

  • Crop workers
  • Gardener
  • Horticulturalist Assistant
  • Landscaping Assistant
  • Nursery Assistant
Course number E1212
Qualification name AHC20416 Certificate II in Horticulture
Course duration Maximum 12 months
Delivery Method Online
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Demonstrations, Knowledge tests, Multiple choice questions, Oral questions, Presentations, Projects, Scenario-based questions, Short-answer questions
Awarded by
  • Open Colleges (Provider number: 90796)


There are no formal education entry requirements for this course.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 16 years old. If you are under 18 your enrolment form will need to be signed by a parent or guardian.


This course involves reading and undertaking a range of written assessments, as well as engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 10 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 10 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate II level or higher; or
  • 2 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


You will need access to a computer and the internet and have basic computing skills. Minimum specifications for your computer are:

All users:

  • Microsoft Office 2010 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 2GB of RAM
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Adobe Reader XI or equivalent
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher.
  • Access to printer and associated software
  • Access to scanner and associated software
  • Digital imaging software
  • File compression software.

Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or higher (Windows 8 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Mac OS users:

  • Mac OSX v10.5 or higher (Mac OSX v10.6 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Equipment and tools

You will need to have access to specific tools and equipment for this course. Click here to view the complete list of materials, equipment and tools required for this course.

Physical requirements

Physical requirements for this course include manual dexterity (use of tools and equipment), as well as the ability to lift and carry equipment, in order to meet performance criteria and achieve a competent result.

Video assessments

As part of the assessment for some units, you will be required to produce a video of yourself performing certain tasks. Some of these videos may involve another person.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Once you are enrolled in this course, you will receive access to the first Study Period, which contains the first set of units for the course. When you have successfully completed those units, you'll be given access to the next Study Period. Study Periods 1 to 5 have been released and are available. The subsequent Study Periods will be available on the following dates:

  • Study Period 6: August 2017
  • Study Period 7: November 2017
Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements. Please download the course guide for current information about the course and its status.

Introduction to Horticulture

In this first study period, you will be introduced to important knowledge and skills of a Horticulturalist, including how to recognise plants (including common weeds) and how to collect and press dry plants to create your own personal herbarium. You will be introduced to Work Health and Safety, practice your communication skills and build up your knowledge of horticulture products and services.

  • Prepare for plant recognition
  • Recognise specified plants
  • Update the reference collection
  • Collect specimen
  • Press plants
  • Record data
  • Follow workplace procedures for hazard identification and risk control
  • Observe safe practices during work operations
  • Participate in arrangements for maintaining the health and safety of all people in the workplace
  • Identify information requirements
  • Provide information

Plan Installation

You will learn how to install and look after plant displays (using trees and shrubs) for permanent displays in park gardens or temporary displays, such as a garden show. You start with learning about soils and growing media (e.g. potting mixes) and how to improve them. You will practice doing simple tests such as light, moisture and pH. You'll also practice planting trees and shrubs.

  • Collect soil or media samples for testing
  • Perform basic tests on soil or media sample
  • Prepare for planting operations
  • Prepare trees and shrubs for planting
  • Inspect plants and report problems
  • Install trees, shrubs and/or other plants
  • Assess requirements for plantscaping
  • Install containerised and direct planted specimens
  • Maintain plants

Plant Health

You will learn more about how to maintain your plants displays, especially how to treat weeds, plant pests, diseases and disorders and how to prune shrubs and small trees. You will learn to recognise weeds, common pests and symptoms of common diseases and disorders. You will practice calculating and applying domestic chemicals using handheld equipment. You will also learn how to recognise when a shrub or small tree needs basic pruning and learn to use some basic pruning tools, such as handsaws, hedge shears and limb loppers.

  • Prepare to treat weeds
  • Treat weeds
  • Carry out post treatment operation
  • Prepare to treat plant pests, diseases and disorders
  • Apply treatments to plant pests, diseases and disorders
  • Carry out post treatment operation
  • Identify pruning requirements
  • Undertake pruning of shrubs and small trees

Working in the Industry

You will learn how to work in an environmentally sustainable way, including how to measure and reduce the resources you are using, and how the horticulture industry complies with environmental legislation. You will also have opportunities to explore career paths within horticulture, understand employment obligations and learn why bio-security is so important to Australian horticulture.

  • Identify current resource use
  • Comply with environmental regulations
  • Seek opportunities to improve resource efficiency
  • Obtain information about the industry
  • Observe employment requirements
  • Accept responsibility for quality of own work
  • Plan and conduct own work
  • Promote workplace cooperation
  • Contribute to a productive work environment
  • Undertake an activity to workplace requirements

Nursery Stream

(Elective stream) This is a very hands-on study period where you will learn some of the key tasks that are done in a commercial or non-commercial nursery. You will propagate plants that interest you and treat them if they become stressed or suffer from a disease or disorder. You will also practice potting up plants and how to maintain plants in a nursery.

  • Prepare for plant propagation
  • Propagate plants
  • Complete propagation activities
  • Prepare for potting up operations
  • Prepare growing media
  • Pot up propagated plants
  • Complete potting up operation
  • Prepare to work
  • Monitor and maintain the nursery environment
  • Determine daily water requirements
  • Promote plant growth by intervention
  • Complete work

Parks & Gardens Stream

(Elective stream) This is a very practical study period where you will learn how to use basic machinery and equipment used in parks and gardens, such as mowers, whipper snippers, hedge clippers and herbicide sprayers. Safety is a core focus and you will learn how to do pre-operational safety checks and how to clean and maintain basic machinery. You will also practice how to maintain and repair properties and structures typically found in parks (e.g. simple irrigation systems and timber structures, play equipment and paving) that don’t require the specialist skills of another trade. Finally, you will learn some of the common tasks required to establish turf by seed and sod, including how to decide what turf to use, how to calculate quantities, apply fertilisers and use basic machinery, such as a hand roller.

  • Prepare basic machinery and equipment for use
  • Operate basic machinery and equipment
  • Check, clean and store basic machinery and equipment
  • Identify and confirm maintenance requirements
  • Select and prepare tools, equipment and materials
  • Carry out routine maintenance
  • Complete maintenance activities
  • Prepare to establish a planted area
  • Prepare the planting area
  • Plant turf
  • Provide post-planting care
  • Complete establishment of the planted area

Landscaping Stream

(Elective stream) This is a very practical study period. You will learn about basic machinery and equipment used in landscaping, this may include cement mixers, whacker-packers, saws, and levellers. Safety is a core focus and you will learn how to do pre-operational safety checks and how to clean and maintain basic machinery. You will also learn how to lay modular paving in landscape projects.

  • Prepare basic machinery and equipment for use
  • Operate basic machinery and equipment
  • Check, clean and store basic machinery and equipment
  • Plan and prepare for paving work
  • Set out and prepare paving area
  • Undertake ground preparation
  • Lay bedding material
  • Lay pavers to a given pattern
  • Clean site and store tools and equipment
  • Prepare materials, tools and equipment for landscaping work
  • Undertake landscape work as directed
  • Handle materials and equipment
  • Clean up on completion of landscaping work



What are my payment options?

Pay in full

If you pay your course fees up-front in full, you’ll benefit from a discount. When you pay in full, we don’t have to spend extra money on administration for tasks such as payment plan processing. Instead, we get to pass this saving onto you in the form of a discount.

ZipMoney Payment Plan

If you need a little more flexibility in your finances, and want to pay off your course fees over a longer period of time, you can switch to a zipMoney payment plan. Essentially, zipMoney pays your course fees for you, and you pay this loan back over 24, 36 or 48 months. As long as you are eligible, you can switch to a zipMoney plan at any time.

Payment Plan

Pay for you course in weekly or fortnightly instalments. By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges payment plans are interest-free.

Find out more

Julie Miller

As a trainer in our Certificate II in Horticulture and Home Gardener courses, Julie will share her green thumb, knowledge of plants and her extensive nursery experience with you. She currently runs a wholesale nursery and also maintains the grounds for an historic property. Julie has also taught Horticulture previously for Richmond TAFE, and her qualifications include a Bachelor of Horticultural Science from UWS, an Advanced Certificate in Urban Horticulture and a Graduate Diploma in Adult Vocational Education.

What materials and tools are provided?

The following resources will be provided to you in Study Period 1:

  • Kitchen Herb Planter Kit
  • Botanical Field Guide
  • Combination Meter (Moisture, light and pH tester)

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Weekly and fortnightly payment plans are also available when you pay online.

Click Enrol Now and choose a payment plan or call an Education Advisor on 1300 161 345 for more details.