Plant Selection And Establishment

Course CodeBHT107
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Understand How to Make Smart Plant Choices

A well-selected plant is always more likely to survive establishment, be more easily maintained; and look better. The success of a garden is largely determined by three interconnected factors:

  • Suitability of plants to conditions they are expected to grow in.
  • Use of optimum plant establishment techniques.
  • The maintenance provided (quality and quantity)

Don’t make planting mistakes

Study this comprehensive course to find out how to make the best plant choice from those available. Learn about all the different groups of plants and the key factors which influence their growth and how they can be used in the landscape.  

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What to plant where
    • Plant selection
    • Plant varieties, Which plant
    • Colourful year round foliage
    • Establishment (timing, soil preparation, pot plant size, planting technique)
    • Maintenance programs
    • Plants that tolerate poor drainage
    • Coastal plantings.
  2. Woody plants Selecting woody plants
    • Trees
    • Deciduous and Semi deciduous trees
    • Evergreen trees
    • Flowering shrubs
    • Selecting flowering shrubs
    • Establishing woody plants
    • Planting procedure
    • Planting deciduous and bare rooted plants
    • Shade Plants
  3. Windbreaks, hedges and screens
    • Purpose of windbreaks
    • Hedges and screens
    • Selecting plants for screening
    • Establishing screens, hedges and windbreaks
    • Pruning an established hedge, Hedge trimmers.
  4. Alpine and water plants
    • Selecting alpine plants
    • Establishing alpines
    • Rock gardens
    • Raised beds
    • Sinks and troughs
    • Selecting water plants
    • Establishment and maintenance of water plants.
  5. Annual and herbaceous plants
    • Advantages of annuals, Types of annuals (edging plants, groundwork plants, dot plants), Low, medium and tall annuals
    • Scented annuals
    • Colourful foliage
    • Bedding schemes (pure, mixed, single variety, single genus, standard garden, standard park)
    • Annuals from seed or seedlings
    • Annuals in containers, Selecting & establishing herbaceous plants
    • Popular herbaceous plants, Supporting herbaceous plants
    • Maximising flower displays.
  6. Turf Selecting turf
    • Turf varieties, Lawn mixes
    • What to grow where
    • Wildflower meadows
    • Turf establishment, Soil preparation, Seeding, Sodding, Instant turf, Stolonizing, Sprigging, Plugging
    • Mowing turf, Mo0wers, Mowing guidelines, Mowing heights
    • Fertilizing turf.
  7. Maintenance
    • Fertilizing, pH
    • Replacing plants
    • Pruning, Pruning deciduous trees & shrubs
    • Irrigation systems, Irrigating turf, Irrigating garden beds and container plants, Designing an irrigation system, Sprinklers, Flow rates, Micro irrigation, Avoiding watering
    • Humidity, Mulch
    • Developing a maintenance program.
  8. Pest and disease control
    • Preventing pest and disease problems
    • Non chemical control
    • Chemical controls
    • Environmental problems
    • Insect pests, Viruses, Fungal diseases, Bacterial diseases.
  9. Weed control
    • Chemical and non chemical control
    • Safety with weedicides
    • Alternative weed control strategies.
  10. Risk assessment
    • Identifying risks
    • Preventative maintenance
    • Duty of care, Workplace safety
    • Illness
    • Protective clothing
    • Safety equipment
    • Safety with tools and equipment
    • Safety with electricity
    • Tool maintenance.


  • Understand the nature and scope of water gardens.
  • Identify and describe generic construction materials and techniques suitable for water gardens and pools.
  • Select appropriate equipment for use with water features.
  • Specify the design and construction of a pond or watercourse.
  • Specify the design, construction and maintenance of a spa or swimming pool.
  • Specify the design & construction of a Water Feature other than a pond or water course.
  • Identity the water plants commonly used in water gardens.
  • Identify a variety of aquatic animals suitable for water gardens, and their requirements

How do You Choose Plants?

This is the million dollar question for all landscapers and horticulturists.

There are literally tens of thousands of different plants in cultivation; and it is virtually impossible to know all of the plants you can choose from. Even the best horticultural expert in the world, simply doesn't have sufficient time in one lifespan, to learn all of the possibilities.

The more plants you become familiar with though; the more choices you have; and the more capable you should be in choosing and using plants in a garden.
Some landscapers never build an extensive knowledge of plants; and still succeed; but their designs are a little like the photographer who only ever photographs black and white photos inside a studio. What they can offer a client is limited; and as good as they might be at their craft, their full potential might never be realized.
There are many different types of plants to become familiar with; from perennials, bulbs and annuals; to trees , shrubs and ground covers. The task of learning thousands of plant names may seem daunting; and it does take years to achieve; but the task does become easier as the years pass. There is a system to learning about not only the identification, but also the culture of different types of plants.


Who Will Benefit From This Course?

This course is likely to be of value to people who have an interest in garden design and landscaping. It will also appeal to anyone with a general interest in growing plants. People who take this course are most likely those working in or aspiring to work in:

  • Garden design
  • Landscaping
  • Gardening
  • Horticulture
  • Parks & gardens
  • Botanical gardens
  • Garden maintenance

The course will also be of value to people wishing to start a garden design or general gardening business.



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