The Certificate II covers the basics of horticulture, including recognising, planting and maintaining trees and plants. You’ll also choose an elective stream to develop specialist industry-relevant skills.

Why study this course?

  • Studying this engaging course is an excellent way to get an idea of what it would be like to work in the horticulture industry without committing to an apprenticeship or more extensive studies.

  • You have three elective streams to choose from: Nursery, Parks and Gardens and Landscaping. Whichever stream you choose will give you a deeper understanding of this growth area and help you develop in-demand, industry-specific skills.

  • 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).

  • You will 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).

  • With a Certificate II in Horticulture, graduates can get employment in a range of roles, including Nursery Assistant, Gardener, Horticulturalist Assistant, Landscape Gardener, Landscaping Assistant, Arborist or Crop Worker.

  • Students who want to focus on open space management (e.g. parks, sporting fields, golf courses, etc.) can progress to the Certificate III in Horticulture. Completing the Certificate II will allow to apply for direct credit transfer into the Certificate III, allowing you to complete the course more quickly.

Course number E1212
Qualification name AHC20416 Certificate II in Horticulture
Course duration Maximum 12 months
Recommended hours per week 12.0
Qualification level Certificate II
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 Pty Ltd (Provider number: 90796)

About the course

The industry

The Australian nursery, landscape and park and gardens sectors are a multi-billion-dollar industry that ‘plays a vital part in the human (community and personal), environmental and economic wellbeing of Australia’. Increased focus on food security and the ‘grow your own’ sector offers a range of opportunities for Horticulturalists while environmental initiatives like bushland regeneration and urban landscaping offer graduates the chance to make a lasting difference to the planet.

Who this course is for

This course is perfect for organic, or home gardeners and sole traders, including Handypersons, Landscapers and Gardeners who want to develop their horticulture knowledge skills.

If you are an existing worker or have experience in the related industry, please inform our enrolment consultants during your enrolment conversation as you may be eligible to enrol as an existing worker and may be able to complete your studies faster.

Potential career outcomes

  • Crop workers
  • Gardener
  • Horticulturalist Assistant
  • Landscape Gardener
  • Landscaping Assistant
  • Nursery Assistant

What you'll learn

  • 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 electives to develop your knowledge in a specialist area:

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

Students aren’t expected to complete a work placement for this course but are encouraged to demonstrate their skills in their own garden environment (e.g. own garden, community garden, etc.).

Course trainers

George Koukkoullis

George is a qualified Horticulturist who has gained practical experience working in retail nurseries, residential/commercial gardening as well as completing a 4-year Parks & Gardens apprenticeship with the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney.

Passionate about Horticulture & sharing his knowledge, George completed the Certificate IV in Training & Assessment before joining the Open Colleges team.

George continues to work in Horticulture Parks & Gardens and operates his own Horticultural business.

Academic information

Once you are enrolled in this course, you will receive access to the first Module, 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 Module. 

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.

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 plant specimens
  • Preserve plant specimens
  • Record and catalogue specimen
  • 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
  • Complete work
  • 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
  • Conduct week treatment
  • 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

Assessment details

  • Demonstrations
  • Knowledge tests
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Oral questions
  • Presentations
  • Projects
  • Scenario-based questions
  • Short-answer questions

Recognition of Prior Learning

We understand that you may already have many skills and areas of expertise that you have obtained in different ways and these are recognised through our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process.

Open Colleges has developed an RPL application kit for this course.

The Student Handbook, available in the Key Student Information section of our website, provides more information about our RPL process. Alternatively, you can contact an Enrolment Consultant to discuss your RPL options. 

Course duration

The duration for the course is maximum 12 months. As a self-paced online course, the time it will take you to complete is flexible and dependent on ability and time available.

Qualification awarded

Upon successful completion of this course you will receive a nationally recognised qualification AHC20416 Certificate II in Horticulture, awarded by Open Colleges Pty Ltd (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 you 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)

Workplace projects

You will need to have access to a workplace, or workplaces, in which you can complete your projects and presentations (video demonstrations). Your workplace must be approved by Open Colleges as a suitable and safe environment. The workplace supervisor verifies the activity and you as the student, but does not assess your competence. The projects and presentations are evaluated by an Open Colleges assessor, who will judge competency based on the written and visual evidence you submit online.

You can find more information about the workplace projects here

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.


To successfully complete this course, you will require basic computing skills. This includes:

  • Creating, saving and editing Microsoft Office documents.
  • Accessing and searching the internet.
  • Downloading and saving documents from websites.
  • Uploading documents through websites.
  • Participating in online discussions.
  • Compressing image files.
  • Connecting digital cameras and downloading and storing images.

Audio visual requirements

  • You will need access to software to view online videos and images. Software such as Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Viewer etc. are available as a free download from the internet. 
  • You'll also need access to a digital video recording device and/or digital camera and associated software to save and upload video and image files to OpenSpace. Many mobile phones and smart phones include this technology. 

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. Learners are required to be fully able bodied for tasks such as digging.

Other technology requirements

  • Office equipment and resources including telephone, photocopier, scanner and printer.

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.

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, we can assist by organising zipMoney to pay your course fees directly to us on your behalf, and you pay this loan back to ZipMoney over a period of agreed time with them. zipMoney provides you flexible options of selecting a 24, 36 or 48 months interest-free* payment plan (dependant on which course you are enrolling into) to suit your lifestyle, giving you more flexibility than ever before. 

Payment Plan

Pay for your 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.

Studying online with Open Colleges

Flexibility - study at your own pace

When you study online with Open Colleges you’re in control.

You can choose to complete your course quickly or keep to a steady pace, and with no deadlines or schedules to stick to, fitting your learning around your everyday commitments is easy.

Everything you need to study is online so you can study wherever you like – but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own.

OpenSpace is our purpose-built online learning platform. It’s where you’ll go to access your learning materials, contact your expert trainers and assessors, upload your assessments and find all the support and motivation you need to keep going from the OC community.


Your online community

What is OpenSpace?

Open Colleges offers you a custom-designed online-learning platform called OpenSpace.

Your learning platform is the heart of your study experience. This is where you'll navigate through your course materials, contact your trainers and assessors, and connect with other online students.



What can you do in OpenSpace?

OpenSpace provides you with a secure, interactive learning environment that allows you to access a wealth of learning resources. In OpenSpace you can:

  • Access all your course materials, including videos and other digital resources
  • Complete the learning activities related to your course
  • Get the latest news about Open Colleges and your course
  • Get to know your fellow students by posting in the course forums, and find a 'Study Buddy'
  • Connect with your Trainers and Assessors
  • Access extensive online libraries for research
  • Upload your assessments, view feedback, and access your grades 

It’s just like a real campus – but it’s available anywhere and anytime.

How to get support

Academic support

Your experienced trainers are available in OpenSpace to answer any questions you may have regarding the learning materials or assessments.

Your training operations manager can also provide you with advice and support regarding the overall course. 

Student support

The student support team is your one-stop service centre for all student administrative issues – including enrolment, change of contact details, OpenSpace support, assessment results and certification.

You can access the student support team in OpenSpace or by email or phone

Online Community Support Officers

Your friendly in-platform support officers help students make the most out of their OpenSpace learning experience through managing the discussion forums, providing orientation and study skill webinars, and one-to-one support calls.

Peer support

As a student of Open Colleges you will join a community of over 65,000 people who are also studying online. Through OpenSpace you can connect and collaborate with others to share study tips and advice. 

Our students find this is a great way to keep motivated and build lasting friendships and networks. 

Work Placement Support

If your course contains work placement, the work placement support team can provide you with support, advice and resources if you encounter difficulties in securing a workplace for your work placement.

You can access the work placement support team via your trainer and assessor or the student support team.

About Open Colleges

Our history and heritage

Open Colleges has been delivering quality education for over 100 years. During this time, we have honed our unique learning model to become Australia’s leader in online learning.

We’ve achieved this by continuously evolving our approach to meet the needs of our learners by offering flexible, accessible, affordable and supportive courses.

So far, we have helped over 700,000 people gain the skills to launch, change or take the next step in their careers.

All of us at Open Colleges put the student at the centre of everything we do, whether that’s helping you find the right course, designing a new course, making improvements to our online campus or giving the support you need to reach your goals.

Commitment to quality

December 2013 saw Open Colleges Australia (the holding company of Open Colleges Pty Ltd) become part of Apollo Education Group, Inc.

Being part of Apollo gives Open Colleges access to the expertise, experience and educational resources of the University of Phoenix (USA), Institute of Professional Development (USA), BPP University (UK) and other institutions in the Apollo global network.

Our ongoing partnerships and place within the Apollo family ensure we continue to deliver a student experience that’s best in class.


With Open Colleges you can:

  • Study nationally recognised qualifications
  • Choose from over 100 online courses
  • Fit study around your family or work commitments
  • Enrol 365 days of the year
  • Find a payment option that works for you
  • Get academic and student support – online or over the phone
  • Join a community of thousands of like-minded students

Get in touch

Still got a question?

Call an Education Advisor on 1300 161 345 for more details about this course and the enrolment process.

It’s our priority to ensure you enrol in the perfect course so an Education Advisor will be in touch shortly to discuss your specific goals and what you want to achieve through studying online. They’ll clearly explain the course options that would suit you best and why they would work for you and talk you through how online learning with Open Colleges works.