1Course Overview

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!

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.

  • Develop your scientific knowledge of plant classification and structure
  • Understand how to optimise plant nutrition and health
  • Learn how to apply your knowledge to plant selection and garden planning
  • Discover how to grow outdoor fruit and vegetables within a garden environment


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

You can work at your own pace. You are in control of your learning.

Develop your interest and knowledge by enrolling now and join the 60,000 students that have already done so.

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2Course Content
Unit 1: Plant Classification, Structure and Function (R2101)
  • 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


Unit 2: Plant Nutrition and the Root Environment (R2102)
  • 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


Unit 3: Maintaining Plant Health (R2103)
  • 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


Unit 4: Understanding Plant Propagation (R2104)
  • The role seeds play in plant propagation
  • Propagation methods from seeds and spores
  • Vegetative reproduction and its role in plant propagation
  • Vegetative propagation methods


Unit 5: Understanding Garden Features, Plant Selection and Planning (R2111)
  • Recording and carrying our 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


Unit 6: Understanding the Choice, Establishment and Maintenance of Garden Plants and Lawns (R2112)
  • 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


Unit 7: Understanding the Production of Outdoor Vegetables and Fruit (R2113)
  • 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


Unit 8: Understanding Protected Environments and their use in Plant Cultivation (R2114)
  • 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
3Other Information


This course is assessed through a series of examinations.

In order to achieve a 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 8 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; the total Qualification time is 315.

You will have 2 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.



Your Questions Answered

What skills are needed to enrol onto this course?

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

What is included in the cost of my course?
  • Comprehensive study notes
  • Dedicated personal tutor support
  • Dedicated student support
  • Assignment marking and feedback
  • Ballpoint pen and highlighter*
  • Student study planner*
  • Student notebook*
  • Document wallet*
  • FREE NUS Extra 
  • FREE CV writing service

* Only available with the study pack option

Do I need to sit an exam?

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 8 exams. There is a fee for each exam, which you will be responsible for paying.

Are there any additional costs?

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

How do I get my work assessed?

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.

What happens if I lose my course pack?

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.

What if I still have questions?

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 Support Team a call on 03300 563 100 and they’ll do their best to help.

Finance options

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The total course fee includes a loan arrangement fee. Your initial deposit payment will be used towards this fee, any remaining fee balance will be added the loan amount.

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Our finance option is provided in partnership with AffordItNow.
For your finance application to be considered you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Be employed for at least 16 hours a week or retired and in receipt of a private or company pension. Certain state benefit schemes may also be considered.
  • Be a permanent UK resident with a 3 year address history
  • Have a good credit history with no late payments, debt relief orders or bankruptcies
  • Have a valid email address and can access it

Please note that meeting the above criteria does not guarantee finance acceptance.

Open Study College, 6140 Knights Court, Birmingham Business Park, Birmingham B37 7WY is a licensed credit broker, authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority (licence number 724179 with FCA).