Plant Types Courses

Acacias VHT114

Learn about Wattles!

Acacias occur naturally mainly in dry tropical or mild temperate regions.  Authorities vary on the exact number of species that exist, but more are native to Australia than anywhere else. Other species are as wide spread as Africa, America and South East Asia. Some occur naturally in snow prone areas, and can withstand very harsh winter conditions.

  • Learn about the physiology, botany, culture, and propagation of Acacias.
  • Learn about their nutritional and environmental requirements, as well as potential disease and pest issues.
  • Learn about the wide range of commercial uses for Acacias - the food industry, in perfumes, medicine, furniture, as well as being used in land rehabilitation projects.

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African Violets VHT105

A Specialist Course for African Violet Enthusiasts

This course covers everything from potting and feeding, to pests and propagation. Learn how African Violets are classified, and cover the exciting range of varieties available. Here's your chance to achieve outstanding results with African Violets!

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Australian Native Trees VHT115

Importance of Natives

Native trees are a vital part of our landscape. They have existed and evolved over thousands of years to survive and thrive in our natural habitats. They support a myriad of life forms from insects to birds and mammals.  

Study this course to: 
  •  Learn about different Australian trees 
  •  Learn to Identify Australian Native Trees 
  •  Learn to Propagate Australian Native Trees
    Learn About: Plant identification, information sources, planting, feeding, soils, pests and diseases, watering, propagation and transplanting. The course deals with selected varieties of trees, windbreak planting, agroforestry, tree maintenance and tree selection.  This course could be a valuable training program for people working in plant nurseries, land management (forests, parks, farms);  carbon trading/environmental repair, or any other area of horticulture.   This is a course for:
  • Landscapers
  • Land Managers
  • Farmers
  • Environmental Managers
  • Forest Workers
It will also be of interest to anyone with a passion for Australian native trees.  

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Australian Natives I BHT113

Learn to Identify and Grow Australian Plants anywhere in the World.     Develop your ability to identify, select, cultivate and plan a management program, for appropriate varieties of Australian native plants, in a wide variety of situations; become an expert in this field. Australia has one of the oldest and most diverse varieties of plants of any country. Australian natives come from tropical areas to cold temperate snow covered mountains, and from inland deserts to fertile wet rainforests.   This course is relevant to any part of Australia, and equally to most other parts of the world.

 Study Australian Natives to:

  • Work with Australian natives in a nursery
  • Work on an Australian native flower farm
  • Use Australian native plants in landscape design or a gardening business
  • Start your own Australian natives business or enhance your career opportunities working for someone else
  • Work in public parks and gardens
  • Work in environmental rehabilitation
  To add to your knowledge, why not purchase our principal's book, Growing Australian Natives by John Mason, publisher: Kangaroo Press. It covers over 2000 plants, plus chapters on culture, landscaping, propagation, etc. Available at bookshops or click here for mail order.

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Australian Natives II BHT225


Australia has a rich source of native plants. The Australian genera provide some beautiful and fascinating species not found growing anywhere else. Some of our species have been grown successfully in other countries and many of these are often prized for their uniqueness. The more you know about Australian plants the more you realise that is not surprising they are so desirable.   

Course Content 

The course deals with both woody (hard wooded) and herbaceous (soft wooded) low growing Australian native plants which bear showy wild flowers.

  • Learn about Australia's beautiful wild flowers including cultivation and commercial applications.
  • Develop your ability to identify, select, cultivate and explain commercial applications for appropriate varieties of low growing Australian native flowering plants in a variety of situations.

This course is suited to those who would like to:

  • Extend their knowledge of Australian native plants (a good follow-on course to Australian Natives I)
  • Work in Australian native plant nurseries
  • Set up a business using Australian native plants
  • Work in revegetation    
  • Work in conservation and management of Australian national parks and gardens
It is also ideal for the Australian native plant enthusiast.


Comment from one of our Australian Natives II students: "The plant recognition assignments were challenging and a great help for the future" D. Sydenham

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Azaleas & Rhododendrons VHT106

Learn how to grow azaleas and rhododendrons to perfection!

Azaleas and rhododendrons are some of the most popular plants grown anywhere. This course shows how to grow them to perfection, and builds your knowledge of varieties available, to give you a long lasting display of colour in the garden. Learn about soils, weed control, feeding, pest and disease control, watering, landscape design, and more.

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Bonsai BHT320

Learn the Art & Craft of Growing Bonsai 

Bonsai is the Japanese art of pruning and training trees so that they become a miniaturised version of the natural tree. The practice of bonsai dates back thousands of years. Within bonsai are a range of techniques and specific practices to create specific types of plants and particular arrangements of plants. 

In this course you will learn the ancient art of bonsai in this practical and comprehensive course.  You will cover how to select plants suitable for use in bonsai, develop an understanding of the history and classic shapes which form the basis of the art, and gain exposure to techniques of planting, training, pruning, watering & feeding.

This is a 100 hour self-paced course suitable for passionate hobbyists through to bonsai nursery operators.

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Cacti and Succulents VHT108

Learn to identify and grow a wide variety of different cacti and succulents.

Cacti and succulents both include plants that tolerate harsh, dry conditions, but they are two very different groups of plants. Most cacti need good drainage or at least relative dryness. Succulents are more variable in their requirements.

This course studies major cacti & succulent groups and the differences in how to treat plants from each; in terms of soils, feeding, watering, pruning, pest control, planting procedures and more.

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Carnivorous Plants VHT107

Learn to identify and grow Carnivorous Plants

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Conifers BHT230

Learn about growing conifers

Eight lessons provide you with a systematic understanding of the way conifers are classified, show you how to identify the differences between types and develop your understanding of cultural requirements common to the whole group and differences in cultural techniques needed for specific types of conifers. Sections of this course look in detail at trees (e.g. Pines, Cedrus, Spruce), small shrubs, medium shrubs, native conifers and rarer varieties.

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Cut Flower Bulbs

Learn how to grow cut flower bulbs!

This is a course designed for the flowering bulb enthusiast or commercial bulb grower for the cut flower market.

  • Develop your ability to select and cultivate appropriate varieties of bulbs as cut flowers (in different situations).
  • Identify bulbs and the families they belong to and to determine their cultural needs.
  • Form a sound understanding of the basis of horticultural practice: soil types, plant nutritional needs, treating and preventing pests, diseases and weeds.

If you have always wanted to learn more about flowering bulbs and how to grow them commercially or at home, this is the place to start!

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Deciduous Trees BHT244


  • Learn about the major deciduous tree groups
  • Become an expert on deciduous trees
  • Save time and money by home study
  • Extend your knowledge and confidence
  • Save money by making the right choices - choose plants that are right.
This Deciduous Trees Course is suitable for:
  • Horticulturists
  • Arborists
  • People working in public parks and gardens
  • People working as gardeners in private estates
  • Those wanting to extend their knowledge in amenity horticulture
  • Those wanting to create more energy efficient homes by using deciduous trees to keep out summer sun and allow in the winter sun.

Not only are deciduous trees beautiful, but they play an important role in providing summer shade and winter sun.

Deciduous Trees are widely planted in both hemispheres. They are very important for both amenity horticulture and forestry. This course is a great foundation study for new or experienced horticulturists, landscapers, arborists, nursery workers, gardeners, parks managers; or anyone else concerned with the selection, propagation, care, maintenance or harvesting of deciduous trees.

8 Lessons each with a set task, 8 assignments.

There is such a range of uses for these beautiful additions to a garden, and this detailed course provides specialist knowledge. The course will provide specialised information on these trees; which arms you with a great resource, either for your own garden, or others’ gardens.

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Eucalypts VHT117

Learn how to grow, propagate and use Eucalypts!

Eucalypts are primarily natives of Australia, but have been cultivated widely around the world, from the tropics to cool temperate areas and from very wet to very dry climates.

This is a comprehensive foundation course on the genus Eucalyptus, covering identification, culture (propagation, soils, landscape uses, feeding), and uses. Throughout the course you build both a knowledge of the group as a whole, and of the range of species you can identify.

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Ferns BHT314

A detailed look at the identification and culture of ferns

There is so much more than meets the eye with these wonderful prehistoric plants!

Learn to propagate ferns (spores, division, tissue culture), and study different groupings (e.g. epiphytes, ground ferns, tree ferns) and both common & uncommon species. Growing techniques (baskets, indoor/outdoor containers, terrariums) and cultural methods (soils, watering, pest & disease control) are also examined.

This is a course for amateurs and professionals; plant collectors and breeders, nurserymen, botanists, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.

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Fuchsias VHT112

Open your eyes to the world of fuchsias!

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about fuchsias, from soil management and feeding to pruning and propagation. Discover how fuchsias are classified into several major groups, the characteristics of those groups and how/where to grow different types to achieve the best results.


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Geraniums and Pelargoniums VHT113

Learn all about Geraniums and Pelargoniums!

Geraniums and Pelargoniums are great collector’s plants with many varieties available. They are a good source of vivid colour, even in winter if a warm situation is provided.

This course opens up a wealth of possibilities for growing and using these plants. Learn about plant identification, culture, propagation, pest control and much more.

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Growing Annuals BHT115

Learn how to identify, grow and use annual plants

Become an expert in growing and maintaining annual flowering plants. A useful course for passionate home gardeners or professional horticulturists.

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Growing Camellias VHT109

Learn how to grow camellias

While many Camellia species are highly adaptable, the best results are generally achieved by choosing cultivars to suit the climate and conditions you are growing them in. In this course, learn about the different groups of camellias (e.g. japonicas, sasanquas, reticulatas), their special characteristics, and their culture. Develop your understanding of soils, feeding, watering, pruning, planting methods, pest & disease control, propagation, & more. Improve your ability to identify different varieties (both common and uncommon), and how to use camellias to achieve desired landscape effects.

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Growing Carnations VHT110

Study the different methods of growing and harvesting carnations

Learn about growing quality carnations (planting, watering, pest & disease control, fertilizing), different ways of growing them (e.g. as row crops in soil, in hydroponics, in a greenhouse); and harvesting, post-harvest treatments, and quality control. This course is equally valuable to the home enthusiast and the commercial cut flower grower.

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Growing Grevilleas VHT118

Select and cultivate Grevilleas

Grevilleas are a wide group of plants, all but seven species coming from Australia. They are widespread across Australia, occurring in both cool temperate, and hot tropical climates.

Known commonly as “Spider Flowers”, the Grevillea flower is more like a brush than a traditional flower. It has obscure petals, but is none the less very colourful. Flower colour varies greatly; and most hold their flowers for a long period.

This course provides a thorough grounding in identifying, growing and using grevilleas.

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Growing Iris VHT111

Learn how to Grow, Propagate and Care for Irises

This is a valuable course for anyone with a serious interest in irises either as a commercial grower or an enthusiastic home collector. You will gain an in-depth appreciation of the iris, how to grow them to achieve optimum results and the identification of different varieties of irises. Significant sections are included on landscaping with irises, hybridisation and propagation, harvest, post-harvest treatments, achieving and assessing quality, and exhibiting the flowers.

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Interior (Indoor) Plants BHT315

Expert in Indoor Plants

Plants don't belong inside buildings but many can be successfully grown if you have the know-how. In nature, plants are found in areas of low natural light such as inside entrances to caves or on the lower storey of forests and woods. The ability to survive in these and similar conditions is what makes them highly adaptable.     

Who is this course for? 

Study this course and become a professional plantscaper :

  • Learn to identify, select, pot up and maintain indoor plants
  • Indulge a passion for indoor plants or train to work with indoor plants
  • Start a business, or nurture a career in nursery or interior plantscaping

This is a course equally applicable to the professional interior plantscaper or the home owner (or interior decorator) who aspires to achieve the very best results with their indoor plants.

You will learn about the main family groups indoor plants fall into, the cultural requirements and general characteristics of each of those groups, and from there develop the ability to select the right plant for the right situation. Many types of growing methods are covered (pots, baskets, hydroponics, terrariums, greenhouses) as well as soil mixes, propagation, pest control, feeding, and lots more.  

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Lavender Production BHT228

How to Grow Lavender for Profit    For the lavender enthusiast, or anyone interested in starting commercial lavender production.   Lavender has been a popular cultivated plant for many centuries and is perhaps the most common, and certainly one of the most versatile herbs you could ever consider growing. It can be grown as a shrub, a tub plant or a hedge; you can keep it cut low or let it grow to over a metre tall, depending on the species. The flowers and leaves can be used for medicinal, craft, cosmetic and even culinary purposes. It is sold as ‘bunched lavender’, stripped flowers for crafts and distilled for its essential oil – making it a profitable commodity world-wide.

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Medicinal Herbs BHT227

Understand the Medicinal Properties of Herbs Herbal medicine is as old as the hills. There is evidence of plants being used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years around all parts of the world - from Chinese medicine to Indian Ayurvedic medicine and traditional medicines of Africa and Europe. Before synthetic medications were developed most cures and remedies were derived from plants.   However, many plants or plant combinations are poisonous. For this reason, it is essential that before using any herb, you are able to POSITIVELY identify it.   This course provides an excellent foundation for developing a sound knowledge of medicinal herbs. It will give you a great introduction to use of herbs as medicines both in the past and today. You will learn about the properties of herbs that hold their medicinal value, how to prepare and grow them. Learn the basics of how to identify and correctly administer herbs for medicinal purposes. This is a great course for the beginner and those thinking of becoming part of this rewarding and exciting industry.

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Orchid Culture BHT232

Discover How to Grow Beautiful Orchids

Orchids belong to the Orchidaceae family which is one of the largest in the plant kingdom. Many orchids are highly prized due to their rarity or because of their striking flowers which may be born singly or as an inflorescence. Some of only flower under optimal growing conditions and so understanding what these conditions are is an important part of growing these wonderful plants successfully. 

   Study this course to develop your knowledge of orchids, their culture and uses.  

Get the broad picture of what orchids are all about and learn how to improve your results and grow flowers which will be the envy of all who see them.

Find out how to propagate different species of orchids and how to feed and care for them. Review best practices for pest and disease control, and enhance your knowledge of different orchid species.   

This course was developed by John Mason (author of Growing Orchids, published by Hyland House). Tutors include expert professional horticulturists from Australia, N.Z. and the U.K.

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Palms and Cycads BHT233

Become a Palm and Cycad Expert!

Palms are a very important group of plants, primarily throughout the tropics. There are palms growing successfully in cooler places throughout the world, including Tasmania, England, Canada and Cape Cod in the USA. Many palms however are not particularly hardy to the cold, and will be injured by temperatures approaching freezing point. In temperate climates, palms are also often grown as indoor plants.

Throughout this course you will learn to distinguish between the characteristics of different types of palms and cycads. Learn the general cultural practices required to grow palms and cycads, including propagation and appropriate pest and disease treatments. Discover how to choose palms and cycads to suit different climatic situation; how to use them in the landscape and their various commercial applications.

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Perennials BHT316

Learn all about Perennial Plants

Perennials come in all forms, from herbaceous plants that die down in the winter and re-emerge in spring (year after year), to plants that retain their soft-stemmed leafy growth year round. Although beautiful, many perennials are also tough and very much adapted to a variety of climates - ranging from very dry to wet. Some have colourful foliage as well as beautiful flowers, others add architectural interest - but all add excitement and diversity to the landscape or garden as they burst into flower each year.

Discover what perennials are, which perennial plants are most popular today, their cultural requirements (i.e. feeding, watering, soil requirements, pruning, pest control), and learn how to use them to create beautiful landscapes. A course equally valuable to landscapers, nurserymen, cut flower growers and garden enthusiasts.

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Proteas BHT318

Become a Protea Expert!

The term “Protea” is sometimes loosely used to refer to any plants in the Proteaceae family; though the scientific name Protea is strictly confined to one genus.

Even nurserymen and cut flower growers the world over, may sometimes use the term Protea to refer to related plants in the Proteaceae family, such as Telopeas, Leucadendron and Leucospermum (though strictly speaking they are not Proteas). This course is primarily concerned with those plants classified scientifically into the genus Protea.

  • Learn to identify and grow different Proteas
  • Grow as cut flowers or landscape plants 
  • Propagate and nurture plants for optimum vigour

This is a course for amateurs and professionals; flower growers, plant collectors and breeders, nurserymen, botanists, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.

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Roses BHT231

A Rose Course for the Professional or Amateur Grower   A unique, comprehensive course for rose enthusiasts whether professionals or amateur grower.   Roses are one of the most popular ornamental plants in a garden, valued highly for their blooms which many would claim are the most beautiful flowers in existence.

Roses are grown for many reasons, including:

  • As a cut flower
  • As a landscape specimen (garden plant)
  • For perfume extraction

This course is relevant in all these situations.

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Scented Plants BHT229

Learn about Fragrant Plants! Short scented plants course by distance education!

A Course for:

  • Nursery owners
  • Garden designers
  • Amenity horticulturists
  • Landscape architects
  • Horticultural therapists
  • Anyone wanting to set up a sensory garden
  • Anyone wanting to learn how to use scented plants for therapeutic or sensory purposes

Know what plants to choose to create a fragrant garden, or build your knowledge for business purposes. This course will teach you about:

  • Soil types, pests and diseases
  • greenhouse growing
  • marketing
  • plant health... and much more!

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Tropical Plants BHT234

Become an expert in the identification and culture of tropical plants!

Some people would think a tropical is a plant that comes from the tropics. Others might consider tropical to also include plants from sub tropical places. This course concentrates on plants which originate from tropical or sub tropical climates, but there may be some plants covered which fit a looser definition of “tropical”.

This course provides valuable instruction for both growing plants in warm places or in protected places such as greenhouses and inside homes or offices.

Study many of the significant tropical plants including: Heliconias, Alpinia, Hedychium, Zingiber, Musa, Costus, cordylines, palms and cycads, climbers, shrubs, trees, orchids, ferns, aroids and bromeliads, herbs, vegetables and fruit bearing plants, etc.

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