8 Courses • 5 Expert Tutors

RHS Level 2 Certificate: Principles of Plant Growth and Development

  • $1,530

    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

Course Description

RHS Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Plant Growth and Development is an internationally recognised qualification from the Royal Horticultural Society.

This RHS course is based on the new 2022 syllabus and the outline of course content for each course is shown below.

This price includes online RHS exams and registration.

You'll be taught by Dr Noel Kingsbury and Tom Cole - both qualified horticulture experts with experience teaching RHS students, and RHS approved tutors.

The RHS online course is suitable for everyone; from gardeners looking to expand their knowledge of plants, garden design and wildlife, to those already in horticulture careers or planning a career change.

Why study with Learning with Experts?

  • Learn directly from horticulture and RHS approved tutors Dr Noel Kingsbury and Tom Cole
  • Start your course at any time
  • Study at your own pace
  • Join a small friendly online classroom & interact with other students on your course
  • Complete mandatory assessments after each lesson and practice as you learn

RHS Level 2 Course Tutors

Dr Noel Kingsbury- Writer, designer and horticultural consultant, Noel lives and breathes gardening. A true expert in his field, Noel has worked closely with world famous designer Piet Oudolf (among others). He is best known for his ecological approach to planting design.

Tom Cole- Tom is an RHS Associate. He regularly lectures and has his own landscape and maintenance business. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio Essex and a contributor for many garden magazines.

Module Overview

  • Plant Science I

    In module Plant Science I you will develop your knowledge of plant structure and functions, along with teaching you about plant naming.

    You’ll learn how to identify and describe plants, how to select the best plants for each garden project and how to ensure those plants survive and thrive.

    You’ll learn how to use technical language to describe and classify plants.

    You’ll look at how a plant is structured, understand plant tissues and grow your knowledge on plant and tissue functions and characteristics.

    This module also includes an exploration of plant growth processes and how the environment can impact on plant function. You’ll also look at the impact of climate change on plants and their functions.

  • Plant Health

    The Plant Health module covers the factors that impact plant health such as environment, nutrition, pests, climate change and biosecurity.

    You’ll learn about abiotic factors and how these affect plant growth.

    We’ll look at pests, diseases and pathogens and strategies you can use to prevent or reduce problems.

    You’ll learn how plant nutrition can affect the plant and its characteristics and how to spot nutrient deficiency.

  • Plant Nutrition

    Plant Nutrition looks at the impact of plant nutrition on sustainability and climate change.

    We’ll explore the effect of soil and soil structure on plant growth, including the impact of climate change on soil.

    You’ll learn about nutrients and elements for plant growth, along with soil based nutrition and soil pH impact.

    We’ll also cover bulk constituents such as sand, peat, wool and grit and the environmental impact of using these in horticulture.

  • Plant Specification

    The Plant Specification module looks at how to choose the right plant for the right place, from selection to sourcing plants sustainably.

    You’ll learn how to assess a site and how to make plant selections based on your assessment.

    Then, we’ll look at plant characteristics and sustainability when selecting plants for your site.

    This module includes the principles for the process of bringing plants on your site – from specifying which plants to include, receiving plants on site, planting, and maintaining.

  • Plant Science II

    In Plant Science II you’ll build on the knowledge you gained in Plant Science I and look at a wider range of plant material and plant adaptations.

    We’ll look at how plants adapt to suit different environments – with a deeper look at adaptations in leaf types, stems, roots and flowers.

    You’ll learn to identify adaptations and how these can be used by the plant or the horticulturalist.

  • Planting Styles

    In the Planting Styles module, we’ll look at how horticulturalists combine their plant knowledge with the ways people interact with gardens and landscapes.

    We’ll cover formal and informal garden and planting styles and look at historic garden design characteristics.

    You’ll learn how to use the advantages of plants (for example, to create shade) and how to combine plants.

    This module will also include how horticulturalists can create edible landscapes and grow fruit and vegetables in ways that have a wider social impact.

  • Horticulture & Society

    Horticulture & Society looks at the role that horticulture plays in enhancing people’s wellbeing and health.

    We’ll look at how green spaces can connect people, build communities and impact lives.

    You’ll learn about the role of horticulturalists and horticulture in society, from environmental impacts to the economy.

    We’ll also cover how community gardening and planting projects can change and benefit society.

  • Biodiversity

    The Biodiversity module covers how horticulturalists can use their plant knowledge, planting styles and plant selections to enhance biodiversity.

    You’ll learn about the food chain, the relationships between primary and secondary consumers, and the impacts of climate change on plants.

    We’ll look at the importance of habitats within horticultural sites, the role of citizen science projects to monitor biodiversity and the concept and impacts of biodiversity action plans.

I've just completed the RHS Level 2 Course and have really enjoyed it. The tutors are quick to reply and give excellent feedback to develop a wider understanding.


Buy now, start anytime

  • Included in this course

    Develop your learning further with personal tuition from Expert Tutors

    • Start courses whenever you like
    • Personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 46 marked assignments
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
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Buy this course for a business or group

You can now buy this course through your business or organisation for individuals and groups up to 20

Everything you need to know

What is the RHS Level 2 Online Course?

The Royal Horticultural Society's Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development is an internationally recognised RHS qualification designed for those just starting out in gardening as well as experienced gardeners.

To complete your RHS qualification you need to sit the RHS Level 2 exams (there are 2 exams for this course).

How is the course structured?

The course includes on-demand video lessons, downloadable course notes, mandatory assignments for each lesson and access to our small interactive classrooms (limited to 20 students).

To obtain the RHS Level 2 Certificate: Principles of Plant Growth and Development qualification you study the RHS courses with us, complete the mandatory assignments and then sit exams with the RHS.

Our course will leave you fully prepared for the final exam. You can interact with the world-class tutors, having them mark your assignments and provide you with your own personal feedback.

Each unit will be assessed by a separate written exam covering all learning outcomes specified in the unit. Examinations take place normally in February, June and October.

Is this qualification right for me?

This qualification is available to anyone over 16 years of age, from anywhere in the world. Our tutors are used to teaching people for whom English is a second language. All that is required is a keen interest in gardening.

We have students of all levels on our RHS courses - from people starting out in their horticulture careers to those who already have other professional horticulture qualifications.

The RHS have designed this course to be ideal for:

  • anyone who is working as a professional horticulturist,
  • anyone who wants to make a career change into gardening and horticulture,
  • anyone who wants to expand their gardening knowledge.

How long does the course take?

This collection is entirely flexible and fits around your schedule, so you can go at your own pace. To fully qualify you'll need to sit exams which normally take place either in February, June or October. When you start the course we'll register you for your exams.

Each lesson includes:

  • On-demand video lesson (around 30 minutes) - presented by the expert
  • Mandatory assignments (which takes on average 3 hours to complete)
  • Downloadable lesson notes with slides

Do I need to have completed RHS Level 1?

No, RHS Level 2 is run entirely separate to RHS Level 1 and you don't need to have completed RHS Level 1 (or plan on completing it) in order to study RHS Level 2.

RHS Student Membership

As a Learning with Experts' student, you qualify for the £10 RHS student membership (saving you £39.95 annually).

The membership includes The Garden magazine, priority booking and discounted ticket rates for RHS Shows (including RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS Hampton Court), unlimited days out at the RHS Gardens and over 200 partner gardens across the UK and abroad. Contact us for more details.

Buying for your gardening business or employees?

Contact us for VAT invoices or buying multiple courses (click the speech bubble in the bottom left).

More RHS qualification questions?

Read more on our blog post or just click the speech bubble in the bottom right of your screen to ask us about RHS qualifications and the RHS Level 2 online course - we'd love to hear from you!

Gardening classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

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Awards & Accreditations

  • Royal Horticultural Society - Approved Centre 2023-2024
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Digital Health and Wellbeing Learning Product of the Year
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Adult Home Learning Product of the Year