Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II)

Course CodeBHT102
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Identify Plants and Become an Expert

  • Learn about the system of plant identification - once you know the system - remembering names becomes easier.
  • Learn shortcuts to identifying plants, and how to pronounce plant names.
  • Discover a pattern to cultural requirements, pest susceptibility, propagation methods and other plant characteristics.
  • Expand the number of plants you can identify, and set yourself on track to keep expanding that ability after completing this course.

A good horticulturist or gardener needs to be able to identify hundreds of plants early in their career; and after 5 years in the industry, that number should be well over 1,000.  This course sets you on the path to achieving this level of plant knowledge; or better.

This is a course for anyone working in landscaping or gardening. It will extend your knowledge, improve your ability to find solutions to problems you confront, and improve your opportunities for advancing your career (or growing your business).

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. The Groups of Plants ‑ setting a framework for the whole subject.
    • Plant Names
    • Common Names
    • Scierntific Names
    • Hybrid, Variety, Cultivar
    • Botanical Keys
    • History of Organised Nomenclature
    • International Code, Ranks of Taxa
    • Principle of Priority
    • Choice, Construction and Spelling Names
    • Name Changes
    • Abbreviations
    • Colour Charts
    • Plant Breeders Rights
    • Review of Selected Families
    • Different ways of grouping or classifying plants
  2. Use of Plants
    • Plants in the Landscape
    • Choosing Plants
    • Pre purchase Considerations
    • Planting Techniques
    • Conservation Planting
    • Vandalism and Planting
    • Recycling spent wood
    • Soil restrictions on Plant Selection
  3. Australian Native Plants
    • Conditions needed by a particular species
    • General characteristics of Indigenous Plants
    • Selected Native Trees of Australia
    • Selected Native Trees of Great Britain
    • Selected European Native Trees
    • Selected American Native Trees
    • Selected Asian Natives
    • Selected North African Natives
    • Selected Middle East Natives
    • Street Trees - Review of a Survey/Report
    • Quick Reference Review of both Australian and UK Amenity Plant Genera
  4. Exotic Ornamental Plants
    • Rhododendrons
    • Azaleas
    • Roses
    • Conifers
    • Trees in the Landscape -Why plant trees, tree problems, Popular ornamental trees
    • Guide to Shrubs in the Landscape
    • Environmental Influences on Plant Selection
    • What Plant Where
    • Review of many Genera
  5. Indoor & Tropical Plants
    • Indoor Plants
    • Potting Indoor Plants
    • Ferns
    • Landscaping with Ferns
    • Recommended Ferns
  6. Bedding Plants
    • Bulbs
    • Chrysanthemums
    • Cut Flowers
  7. Vegetables
    • What Can be Grown
    • Crop Rotation
    • Varieties and Seed to grow
    • Mushrooms
  8. Fruits, Nuts & Berries
    • Apples
    • Apricots
    • Avocado
    • Banana Cherry
    • Citrus
    • Fig
    • Grape
    • Mango
    • Olive
    • Passionfruit
    • Paw Paw
    • Pear
    • Peach
    • Plum
    • Berry Fruit
    • Walnut
    • Chestnut
    • Almond
    • Macadamia
    • Other Fruits and Nuts
  9. Herbs
    • Easier to Grow Herbs
    • Quick Reference Herb Chart
    • Companion Planting and Insect Deterrants
    • Herbal Teas
    • Herb Cultivation
    • Harvesting Herbs
    • Making Pot Pourri
    • The Mints
    • Propagating Herbs
    • Landscaping with Herbs
    • Poisonous Plants
  10. Alternative Growing Techniques
    • Containers & Comparing types
    • Container Aesthetics
    • Preventing Moss and Algae
    • Potting Up Plants
    • Potting Mixes
    • Hydroponics
    • Bonsaiu
    • Greenhouse and Shadehouse Growing
    • Heating
    • Growing Epiphytes
    • Terrariums.
    • Water Gardens


  • Identify plants from a wide range of taxonomic and cultural groups, using a range of different techniques.
  • Determine techniques for the growing of native shrubs and trees, including the selection, culture and use of different species.
  • Determine techniques for the growing of exotic ornamental shrubs and trees, including the selection, culture and use of different species.
  • Determine techniques for the growing of indoor plants, including selection, culture and use of different varieties.
  • Determine techniques for the growing of bedding plants, including selection, culture and use of different varieties.
  • Develop techniques for the growing of edible crop plants, including selection, culture and use of vegetables, fruit, berries and nuts.
  • Determine appropriate applications for a range of alternative growing methods.

Plant Collections

Part of this course involves doing plant reviews in each lesson; submitting those reviews, and getting feedback on them from an expert professional horticulturist. Along with other techniques (used in this course) this is a tried and proven method of learning plant names. It can be tedious, but if you are serious about horticulture; doing this and everything else in this course can give you a very real edge on the competition in today's horticulture industry.

How we do Plant Review

 With each specimen you include the following information:

1. Find your plants. You might find these plants growing in your own garden, or you might visit a nursery to find them.

2. Send in an illustration of the plant (see below) attached to a Plant Identification Worksheet (see next page).

3. Fill in details of the plant’s name, including the family it belongs to, its genus, species and, if you can, a common name.

4. Fill in remaining information about the plants in the spaces provided:

  • Propagation...state how to propagate it.
  • Height...how high it can grow in your locality?
  • Width...how wide can it grow in your locality?
  • Uses...what uses does the plant have with respect to amenity landscaping, crop production, etc.?
  • Hardiness...is it frost tender? Will it survive full sun or does it need shade? How does the wind affect it? Will it tolerate all types of soils? etc.
  • Culture...are there any special things the plant requires? How hard should it be pruned & how often? Does it need good drainage? How often should it be fertilised? etc.
  • Pest & Diseases...List any pests or diseases which are particularly significant for this plant.

Illustrating the Plant
This may be done any of the following ways:

a) Submit a photograph or drawing of parts of the plant.

b) Send a scan of a photograph or drawing. (Do not send large graphics files over the Internet. Consult your student manual for details.)

c) Refer to a web site page location where you have found the plant illustrated on the Internet. D) Submit a photograph of a pressed specimen. Note: Do not send pressed specimens across state or national boarders. To do so may be illegal and breach Quarantine law.

Who Will Benefit From This Course?

If you work in horticulture but seem to fall a bit short when it comes to plant identification and general plant knowledge, you could be holding back your career progression. Employers are always on the look out for people who have these advanced skills - it sets you apart from the rest.

This course is great for:

  • Nursery workers
  • Nursery owners
  • Garden designers
  • Grounds managers
  • Gardeners
  • Parks and gardens employees
  • Those working in the flower cropping sector
  • Those who want to improve their skills for personal development


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