RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture

Course code: OSC1338
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Learn all you need to know about the principles of horticulture from the comfort of your own home!

  • Gain the scientific knowledge of plant classifications, structures and functions.
  • Learn about how to maintain plant health and how to reduce problems with weeds, pests and diseases.
  • Learn more about choosing, establishing and maintaining plants and lawns.
  • Develop your knowledge how to select a suitable site and grow vegetables and fruit outdoors.
Course Overview

Whether you’re a keen amateur gardener, thinking of a career change, or want to go further with your gardening business, you can now gain the knowledge in horticulture you need to succeed.

Our experienced and friendly tutors will help you every step of the way.

Course Duration

Up to two years.

Study Hours

Approximately 315 hours.

Course Outcome

You will receive an RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture.

Entry Requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for this course.


Eight exams.

Course Content
  • Plant groups and their relevance to horticulture
  • Plant names and growth stages
  • Horticultural and botanical terms
  • Structure and functions of plant cells and components
  • Structure and functions of flower fruits and seeds
  • Photosynthesis, respiration, movement of water and their importance
  • Soil and its physical and chemical elements
  • Organic matter in soil and its importance
  • The nutrition plants receive from soil and other media
  • Growing media, its importance and uses
  • Safety and environmental sustainability practices for plant health
  • Problems of weeds and reducing them
  • Problems of pests and reducing them
  • Problems of diseases and reducing them
  • Problems of plant disorders and reducing them
  • The role seeds play in plant propagation
  • Propagation methods from seeds and spores
  • Vegetative reproduction and its role in plant propagation
  • Vegetative propagation methods
  • Recording and carrying out garden surveys
  • Carrying out site appraisals and recording data
  • Principles of garden planning and what contributes to a good design
  • Characteristics of garden design styles
  • Hard landscaping materials and their effective uses
  • Soft landscaping materials and their effective uses
  • Key elements and incorporating them into a design
  • Safe and environmentally sensitive/sustainable development of garden sites and its importance
  • Choosing, establishing and maintenance of plants for seasonal display
  • Choosing and growing herbaceous perennial plants and ‘bulbs’ for display
  • Choosing, establishing and maintaining woody plants for display
  • Choosing and growing alpine and rock garden plants
  • Planting and maintenance of a garden pool
  • The establishment and maintenance of lawns
  • Selecting sites for outdoor food production in a garden or allotment
  • Cultural operations used in producing outdoor food crops
  • Vegetable crop production and its principles
  • Top and soft fruit production in a garden or allotment
  • Protected structure in growing plants and their uses
  • Environments provided by protected structures
  • Structural and cladding materials used for protected structures
  • Environmental control in protected structures
  • Container and growing media types uses for production and display in protected environments
  • The protected environment and its horticultural uses
  • Care of plants in interior situations
Extra Info


This course is assessed through a series of examinations. In order to achieve an RHS Certification, you will need to sit an examination for each module within the course. These exams will need to be sat at an alternative RHS Examination centre. A list of approved exam centres can be found here.

Examinations are offered twice a year and take place in February and June.
For this course, you will need to sit eight exams. There is a fee for each exam, which you will be responsible for paying.

Course Duration

The total guided learning hours for this qualification is 196, and the total qualification time is 315.
You will have two years to complete this course. This is more than enough time to complete your studies, so you will be able to study in your own time and at your own pace.

Study Method

This course is designed for distance learning at home or at work. Students will receive a course pack containing all study materials, as well as full tutor support by email.

Course Outcome

On successful completion of this course and exams, you will receive an RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. The qualification is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.
RHS stands for the Royal Horticultural Society and is the UK’s leading gardening charity.


You do not need any previous knowledge to enrol onto this course.

  • Comprehensive study notes
  • Dedicated personal tutor support
  • Dedicated student support
  • Assignment marking and feedback
  • Pen and highlighter*
  • Student study planner*
  • Student notebook*
  • Document wallet*
  • FREE XO Student Discounts card
  • FREE CV critique service
  • FREE employability guide to help you impress future employers

* Only available with the study pack option

Yes, you will need to sit an exam for each module within this course.

Examinations are offered twice a year and take place in February and June.

For this course, you will need to sit eight exams. There is a fee for each exam, which you will be responsible for paying.

Everything you need to study will be provided. However, you will need to pay additional fees to sit your necessary examinations.

Once we receive your work, we will mark it and return it to you. On successful completion of the course and exams you will be awarded your RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture.

It's not a problem. We offer a course replacement service, so if you get into trouble and your course pack is lost or damaged, our Student Support Team can provide you with a new set of materials for a one-time additional fee.

That's not a problem. We want to make sure you’re 100% confident about enrolling on the course and starting your study. So, just give our Student Adviser Team a call on 03300 563 100 and they’ll do their best to help.

Enrol now

If you are interested in and you’re looking for a more flexible approach to learning that fits around your life - this is the ideal course for you. Enrol online today by clicking below or speak to one of our advisers for more information.

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