By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Horticulture can be considered both a science and an art. Learning about it with a horticulture course involves the cultivation and propagation of plants, flowers, turf and vegetables for human use, whether as food, medicine or ornament.

The practice uses all the tools of modern science to investigate the complex growth and developmental responses of various crops and plants. Horticulture has developed into an exciting area of agriculture over the last number of years, and its popularity looks set to continue to prosper as an ever-greater number of people seek to convert their gardens into spaces in which they can grow their own produce.

What does it involve

Part-time courses in Horticulture cover a wide range of areas and cater for all levels of interest and ability, from garden enthusiasts to those with aspirations of working as food scientists or park managers.

A part-time course in how to grow your own organic vegetables, for example, will appeal to those who may be new to horticultural practices. Participants will learn about the basics of soil fertility, soil preparation, vegetable families, herbs and fruit. Upon completion of the programme, participants will know enough about crop production to be able to enjoy their own fresh garden produce.

Certificate and Advanced Certificate courses in Horticulture will provide students with a more comprehensive understanding of what the craft of horticulture is about and what it involves. Scientific knowledge, technological know-how and creative design skills will all be provided within a framework for understanding the horticultural industry. Key areas of study will include Plant Biology and Physiology, Garden Design and Construction, Soil Science, and Horticultural Law. Through studying such areas and putting their training into practice, students will gain an understanding of the design considerations involved in the creation of gardens, parks and sports facilities. They will also have developed a keen sense of environmental awareness.

While it may be assumed that Horticulture programmes may divide their time between the outdoors and lab work, this is not always the case. Home-based learning is an excellent alternative for those who may be restricted by time or circumstance. Horticulture programmes by distance learning can be taken either online or by correspondence. While students on these courses are given the flexibility to pursue their studies on their own terms, they also enjoy ongoing tutorial support from highly trained professionals.

Home study learners can enroll on Horticulture courses at certificate, diploma and advanced diploma levels. Students will learn to identify, dissect and prune plants; use appropriate irrigation systems, potting mixes and fertilisers; and how to prevent and deal with pests and diseases.

Why do it

There is a growing concern among consumers about environmental issues such as the quality of the food we eat, the environmental cost of its production, the level of pollution in our living areas, the impact of climate change and the loss of green space and other amenities. A part-time course in Horticulture helps to develop a student’s understanding of these issues and allows him or her to address them in a horticultural context.

What comes next

Technological advances mean that roles within horticulture are evolving at a rapid rate. Those with a desire to find work in the industry must be prepared to keep abreast of the latest developments. Naturally, one way of doing this is through pursuing one`s studies.

However, careers for those who have built up a sufficient level of training include garden and landscape design, parks and recreation management, sports surface management, horticultural therapy, food crop production, nursery stock, and garden centre management. There is also considerable scope in self-employment as garden maintenance and landscape contractors, specialist growers and florists. Opportunities in community development where horticulture can be used to assist social cohesion have also become more widespread.

At a glance

Horticulture has become more popular as people have become more aware of environmental issues and the health benefits of fresh produce. A Part-time introductory courses in Horticulture normally run for around 10 weeks. A Gaining a Certificate in Horticulture online takes approximately 700 hours of work, which is done at your own pace. A classroom-based Higher Certificate in Horticulture takes two years (part time) of study.


Frank Bolger

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  1. Oisin Slator 24th October 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I am writing to you enquiry about is their any night courses or evening courses, relating to horticulture in Dublin.

    1. Cormac O' Meara 24th October 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Oisin,

      There is an Online (Distance Learning) course in Horticulture right here here

      Kind Regards,


  2. Salima Khalpey 30th October 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I am writing to you enquiry about is their any night courses or evening courses, relating to horticulture in Cape Town South Africa

    1. Cormac O' Meara 1st November 2016 at 10:42 am

      Hi Salima,

      Currently we only list courses throughout Ireland. We hope to expand in the future. Best of luck finding a Horticulture course.

      Kind regards,


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