Proficiency Award 4 in Horticulture - Nursery

Proficiency Award 4 in Horticulture - Nursery

Course Code
Payment Options
Upfront & Payment Plans
Online & Correspondence
2400 Hours

Proficiency Award 4 in Horticulture - Nursery

Develop a career in the  retail or production nursery industry

  • as a Nursery Manager, Technical Officer, Marketing Manager, Consultant, Vocational Trainer.
  • focus on plants and horticultural skills that most interest you and match your needs
  • start any time, study from anywhere, set your own study timetable


“The nursery trade is crying out for well educated managers able to apply their knowledge and skills without constant supervision. This course covers all aspects of nursery management; it is structured to develop students with sound management skills.” - Adriana Fraser Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care, Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert IV Assessment and Training, Adv.Dip.Hort, Learning Cloud Tutor.


This course is written to satisfy all relevant competencies of the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.


There are no academic pre-requisites for this course but it is expected that successful applicants have achieved an educational level that will enable the completion of the course objectives.

Entry to this course is based on:

  • a person with 5 years industry experience;
  • Year 12 standard of education;
  • mature age student.


If you've ever wanted to grow plants for a living, put your gardening talents to good use, or start your own business, this is the book for you.

Today there is an unprecedented interest in gardening and in the use of plants (for purposes both culinary and ornamental), and a nursery or garden centre can represent a viable small business proposition.
It is very important for you to realise that there are tremendous variations in the way plants are treated from place to place.

There are a number of very basic decisions which need to be made before commencing a nursery operation. These alternatives should be reconsidered every year' or two through an operation, and perhaps changes made accordingly. These first decisions are discussed in turn below.

Many nurseries specialise in a limited range of products, for example:

Plants in Pots
This is the way the major part of the herb farm and nursery industries operates. The scale at which this sector of the industry operates makes growing in containers a low-risk operation compared with some other alternatives. Plants in containers do, however, become potbound and need to be sold or else potted up within a certain time.

Plants in the Open Ground
Plants are grown in cultivated paddocks until ready for sale, at which time they are dug up and prepared for sale in various ways:
-they are put into containers
-soil is removed from the roots (deciduous plants only) and they are stored over winter with roots in moistened shavings or straw
- the soil ball is held together by tying hessian around it
- in some heavier soils, plants are sold with whatever soil clings to the roots left as such, not contained in any way by cloth or any other container.

After container growing this is the next most common practice.
Open-ground growing is economical in that it doesn't require the same expense for containers and usually it caIls for less watering.

Bare Rooted Cuttings
Some nurseries specialise in propagation, that is producing roots on cuttings. They leave the job of growing the plants up to a saleable size to Herbal products such as cosmetics, herb vinegars, pomanders, and dried herbs for cooking are becoming ever more popular, but do not rely on them heavily at first - business may take time to build up another nursery. This type of operation requires less area but more expertise and a greater initial outlay on expensive  propagating structures and equipment.

Specialised Container Products
Hanging baskets, terrariums, bonsaL mini-gardens and plants in decorative
tubs are all products in which a nursery can specialise. Before commencing
this type of operation however, study carefully the demands ofthe market
and know what competition exists. You also need to be sure you know
how to produce your product and how to produce it well. Anyone can
make a bonsaL but it takes skill to make a good one which will survive.

At what stages of the plants development will you be handling the plant?
The answer could be bay be to concentrate on one of the following.

Propagation Nursery
The beginning of the plants life: seed is sown, a cutting is struck, bulbs are divided or a fruit tree is budded etc. This stage requires greater technical skill and, in some cases, more expensive equipment than other stages.

Plants Ready for Planting Out
The small propagated plants are put into pots, planted into the open ground or into some other situation in which they can be grown to a larger size. There is more difficulty at the beginning of this operation when the plants are moved from a pampered propagating environment to a harsher growing-on environment As they become older, they harden and become more resistant to disease and environmental problems.

Advanced Grown Plants
This involves growing plants to a large size either in containers or the open ground. Though these plants might be hardy, this type of work is heavy and usually requires at least some machinery to handle the plants.
Many nurseries supplement their sales of plants with ancillary products - pots, window boxes, watenng cans, potting mixes and various sprays and treatments.

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