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RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation (Theory)


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RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation (Theory)

Price: £395.00Course Code: RHSL301
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( Carolyn Collins, 15/11/2018 ) Q:

I would like to be able to sit the exam for the RHSL301 (Principles of Plant Growth etc) in June 2019. Would this be possible if I am able to put the study hours in? Thank you, Carolyn.

( 15/11/2018 ) A:

Hello Carolyn,

This should not pose a problem The total qualification time is given as 180 hours, so there is plenty of time between now and June to prepare for the exams.


( Jacob holt, 01/04/2018 ) Q:

Do you require a RHS level 2 qualification to enroll in this course? I see that it is listed as a requirement but many colleges say that it is just advised and not mandatory. For example on the RHS website they say that its strongly recommended to have a level 2 but not necessary Thank you Jacob

( 03/04/2018 ) A:

Hello Jacob,

Thank you for getting in touch about our RHS courses.

You are correct in saying that level 2 is not compulsory.We advise level 3 as a prerequisite because level 3 will assume that you will have gained knowledge from what is taught in its level 2 equivalent. However, if you feel that you advance directly to level 3, you are very welcome to.

Best regards



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RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation (Theory)

Your Career in Horticulture Continues Here!Logo RHS

Now that you have completed the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development, you're ready to step up a gear. This advanced course is also accredited and globally recognised and it will help you to develop additional horticultural skills and knowledge to an even higher level. By successfully completing this course, you will have further expanded and developed the practical skills necessary in the practical application of these principles. 

To obtain the RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation, you will need to pass four unit exams. These are held by the RHS in February and June every year and  you should be aware that there are deadline dates by which you need to apply to take them and that the fees are paid separately. Students should register as an external candidate with an RHS Approved Centre to take exams, or contact qualifications@rhs.org.uk for details. To help fully prepare you for the exams, there are past test papers readily available.

The four unit exams are:

1  Plant Taxonomy, Structure and Function

2  The Root Environment, Plant Nutrition and Growing Systems

3  The Management of Plant Health

4  Understanding Applied Plant Propagation

Course Duration:

The Total Qualification Time (TQT) given for this course is 180.

Learning Materials:

You can be assured that all of the course work and resource materials (revision workbook, PowerPoint presentations etc.), have been written by experienced professionals who have prepared everything in line with up-to-date RHS guidelines for learning providers.The syllabus is broken into the four units and because many people choose to spread their exams over the two examination months available, it means you can target your learning to those you want to take first. Please contact us if you just want to take one unit at a time.

Everyone gets online access to ADL's learning platform and the learning materials, which can be downloaded in a pdf. format to study offline and to print off for making notes and highlighting particular sections of interest. You can also choose to have the course posted to you on a USB memory stick.


At ADL we pride ourselves on the quality of the unlimited admin and tutor support we provide to our students. Our support team are there to help you with anything they can, whilst our tutors are seasoned industry related professionals, suitably qualified in horticulture and very happy to share their wealth of experience.

Studying from Abroad:

If you are intending to study from abroad (other than Ireland), you will need to email qualifications@rhs.org.uk to request an exceptional supervision form before applying to take the exams. This means that you can complete the course from abroad and get an internationally recognised qualification from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Tuition Fee Includes:

  •  Learning materials for all four units
  •  RHS student membership for the first 12 months.   

Key Facts:pink flowers in full bloom

  • Ideal qualifications for entry into horticultural employment, improving practical skills or further study
  • Course covers a range of wide range of horticultural topics and up-to-date working practices
  • Appropriate for career change or to gain a better knowledge
  • Suitable for part-time study
  • Each unit is assessed by examination 
  • Examinations take place in February and June
  • No entry requirements
  • Qualification consists of four mandatory units 

Important Links:

  • For RHS Website please click here
  • For RHS Examination dates for 2018 please click here
  • For RHS Examination fees please click here
  • For RHS approved UK Examination Centers please click here
  • For RHS Qualification Specification for this course, updated January 2018 please click here
  • For RHS Level 3 Statement of Qualification Purpose please click here

Previous Student Comments:

"I am delighted to report that I passed the exam and received a "Pass with Commendation." I appreciate very much the detail that you went into, in the the correction of my assignments and I found your advice and extra subject information invaluable in advancing my interest and knowledge in horticulture".  Go raibh mile maith agat! (a thousand thanks!)  Colin, RHS Certificate II , Ireland.   


UNIT 1 Plant Taxonomy, Structure and Function

Outcome 1: Understand the Plant Kingdon & the Taxonomic Hierachy

  • 1.1 Describe the major groups of the Plant Kingdom
  • 1.2 Describe features of plant classification and nomenclature relevant to horticulture

Outcome 2: Understand the Structure and Function of Plant Tissues and Organs in the Life of the Plant

  • 2.1 Identify a range of plant tissues and describe their structure and function
  • 2.2 Identify and describe types of inflorescence
  • 2.3 Describe plant adaptations for pollination
  • 2.4 Describe fertilisation and the structure of fruits

Outcome 3: Understand Photosynthesis, Respiration, Water/solute Relations in the Plant and their Relevance to Horticulture

  • 3.1 Describe the process of photosynthesis
  • 3.2 Explain how the rate of photosynthesis can be manipulated
  • 3.3 Describe the processes of respiration
  • 3.4 Explain the movement of water and solutes through the plant
  • 3.5 Explain the inter-relationships between photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration and describe their control in horticultural situations
  • 3.6 Explain how plants are adapted to different habitats

Outcome 4: Understand the role of Plant Growth Regulators in Plant Development and their Relevance to Horticulture

  • 4.1 Describe the properties and key effects of endogenous plant growth regulators (PGRs) and their interactions
  • 4.2 Describe the use of synthetic PGRs in horticultural situations
  • 4.3 Describe tropic plant movements
  • 4.4 Describe how flowering is controlled in plants


UNIT 2 The Root Environment, Plant Nutrition & Growing Systems

Outcome 1: Understand Formation and Properties of Soils and other growing media

  • 1.1 Explain the process of soil formation and development
  • 1.2 Review the properties of soil organic matter, colloids, and mineral components
  • 1.3 Compare a range of soil structures and describe their effects on plant growth and soil managementripe pumpkins
  • 1.4 Compare the physical and chemical properties of a range of substrates and constituents used for growing media

Outcome 2: Understand the relationship between plant growth and air and water in soils and other growing media

  • 2.1 Describe the relationship between air and water content in the pore space of soils and growing media and how this influences their management

Outcome 3: Understand the Role of Living Organisms in Soil Processes

  • 3.1 Summarise the biological activity that takes place in soils during the production of humus from organic matter
  • 3.2 Describe the carbon and nitrogen cycles and summarise the role of nitrogen-fixing organisms
  • 3.3 Compare the roles of the rhizosphere and mycorrhizae in aiding healthy plant growth and treatment of root zones with added mycorrhizae

Outcome 4: Understand the role of nutrients in plant growth

  • 4.1 Explain how specific nutrients affect plant growth
  • 4.2 Explain how various factors affect the availability of plant nutrients in soils and growing media

Outcome 5: Understand organic growing

  • 5.1 Describe how organic status is certified in the UK
  • 5.2 Discuss the benefits and limitations of certified organic status for growers
  • 5.3 Identify management techniques available to the organic grower


UNIT 3 The Management of Plant Health

Outcome 1: Know the characteristics of a range of pests, diseases and weeds of horticultural significance

  • 1.1 Describe symptoms and damage caused by a range of pests, diseases and weeds in specific horticultural situations
  • 1.2 Describe the life-cycles of a range of plant pests and diseases
  • 1.3 Describe the biology of a range of weeds

Outcome 2: Review the Control of Pests, Diseases and Weeds in Horticulture

  • 2.1 State a range of appropriate methods for control of pests, diseases and weeds
  • 2.2 Explain how pests and diseases develop resistance to chemical control
  • 2.3 Review the requirements for the safe use of chemicals used for plant protection
  • 2.4 Describe how biosecurity measures, are intended  to prevent the distribution of pests, diseases and weeds


UNIT 4 Understanding Applied Plant Propagation

Outcome 1: Understand how Knowledge of Seed Anatomy, Physiology and Environmental Factors can be Applied to Propagate and Conserve Seeds Successfully

  • 1.1 Explain the function of anatomical features in germinating seeds
  • 1.2 Describe the physiological and environmental factors in seed dormancy
  • 1.3 Describe methods used to overcome dormancy
  • 1.4 Describe methods of seed treatments, preparation and sowing used to enhance germinationcactus
  • 1.5 Describe the significance of seed conservation and propagation for planting
  • 1.6 Describe the maintenance of stock plants used for the commercial production of stem cuttings

Outcome 2: Understand the Relevance of Anatomy, Physiology and Environmental Factors to Methods of Vegetative Propagation

  • 2.1 Describe how plant anatomy and plant physiology are relevant to vegetative propagation
  • 2.2 Describe the preparation of a range of propagules
  • 2.3 Describe the propagation of plants by micro-propagation

Outcome 3: Understand Methods of Propagation used in Horticultural Production

  • 3.1 Describe a range of propagation facilities
  • 3.2 Describe the production of a range of plants in the horticultural industry


The quality of this course is second to none, from the in-depth learning you will get to the expert individual mentoring you will receive throughout your studies. The mentors for this course are: 
yellow roses Susan Stephenson tutorSusan Stephenson
BSc in Applied Plant Biology (Botany) Univ. London 1983.
City and guilds: Garden Centre Management, Management and Interior Decor (1984)
Management qualifications in training with retail store. Diploma in Hort level 2 (RHS General) Distinction. 
Susan Stephenson is a passionate and experienced horticulturist and garden designer. She has authored three books, lectures at 2 Further and Higher Education Colleges, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of plants and garden design, and tutors many students by correspondence from all over the world.
Susan studied botany at Royal Holloway College (Univ of London) and worked in the trading industry before returning to her first love plants and garden design. She is therefore, well placed to combine business knowledge with horticulture and design skills. Her experience is wide and varied and she has designed gardens for families and individuals. Susan is a mentor for garden designers who are just starting out, offering her support and advice and she also writes, delivers and assesses courses for colleges, introducing and encouraging people into horticulture and garden design.
In 2010, Susan authored a complete module for a Foundation degree (FDSC) in Arboriculture.
Susan holds the RHS General with Distinction. She continues to actively learn about horticulture and plants and (as her students will tell you) remains passionate and interested in design and horticulture.
Steven whitaker tutorSteven Whitaker
Diploma in Garden Design (Distinction) – The Blackford Centre, Gold Certificate of Achievement in Horticulture, Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture, Level 1 NOCN Introduction to Gardening, – Joseph Priestly College, BTEC Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Operations (Merit), Trainer Skills 1, & 2, Group trainer, Interview and Selection Skills – Kirby College of Further Education
Steven has a wealth of Horticultural knowledge, having ran his own Design and Build service, Landscaping company, and been a Head Gardener. His awards include five Gold awards at Leeds in Bloom, two Gold awards at Yorkshire in Bloom and The Yorkshire Rose Award for Permanent Landscaping. Steven has worked with TV’s Phil Spencer as his garden advisor on the Channel 4 TV Programme, “Secret Agent”. 
He is qualified to Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture and has a Diploma in Garden Design which he passed with Distinction. Steven’s Tutor and Mentor was the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Award-winning Garden Designer, Tracy Foster. He also works for a major Horticultural Commercial Grower in the field of Propagation and Craft Gardening. Steven lives in Leeds where he is a Freelance Garden Designer and Garden Advice Consultant. 

Optional Recommended Books:

Capon, Brian Botany for Gardeners Rev Edn Timber Press 0881926558 -  Good clear plant science.

Adams, C. and Earley, M. Brook, J and Bamford, K. Principles of Horticulture Level 3 Routledge, 0415859093 Previous editions of Principles of Horticulture are useful, and the Sixth Edition was revised for the latest syllabus changes, but now the book has been divided into two and this separate volume covers the level 3 syllabus speicifically. Most useful additional textbook for this course.

Ingram, D., Vince-Prue, D. and Gregory, P. Science and the Garden Wiley-Blackwell; 3rd Revised edition 111877843X This was designed by the RHS to cover the syllabus for the Advanced and Diploma, so although a lot of the material is taken beyond the level required for the exams, making it not as approachable as some other texts, it covers all the required science. For the new level 3 Certificates regard it as background reading, not core.

Clegg, C.J. Green Plants: The Inside Story John Murray 0719575532 - Excellent clear and cheap explanation of introductory science, an AS level textbook. However, remember that some parts will not be necessary for the RHS syllabus – it is not A-level plant science.

Bird, C. (ed) The Fundamentals of Horticulture: Theory and Practice Cambridge University Press 0521707390 Some good information but variable in its level, better for level 2.

Thompson, Ken An Ear To The Ground: Understanding Your Garden Eden Press 01903919207 ‘Forthright, breezy and authoritative...It is about time someone told it how it really is.’ Ursula Buchan. manages to make articles on quite advanced science very readable - and relevant to real horticulture.

Johnson & Smith Plant Names Simplified: Their Pronunciation Derivation and Meaning Old Pond Publishing 1905523823 cheap and useful guide - print quality makes it hard to read

RHS Latin for Gardeners Mitchell Beazley 184533731X Excellent useful book on plant names and origins. Look around book clubs as it can be bought cheaply, sometimes with RHS Botany for Gardeners

The Art and Science of Gardening Explained & Explored Mitchell Beazley 1845338332 an excellent readable set of articles from The Garden covering some up to date areas of plant science, very good background going beyond level 3 in places.

Course Info
How Do Our Tuition Fees Compare?Full time classroom based Further Education Courses - Approx. £5,000 per year - Part-time classroom based Adult Education Courses - Approx. £7.00 per hour - N.B. classroom tuition means you learn at the pace of the class. One-to-one private tuition - from £15.00 per hour - ADL one-to-one tution fees - From £340 per 100 Hour Course = Average of £3.40 per hour - N.B. one-to-one tuition is tailored to your own individual learning availability and pace.
Course StartBegin your learning at any time.
Course Prerequisite Level 2 Plant Growth is advised, as level 3 will assume you have knowledge from level 2.
Course Qualification (Study Option A)Recognised qualification from the RHS. N.B. Course fee does not include exam fees.
Course Qualification (Study Option B)
Comparative Credits InformationUK Course Credits: 15 - Regulated Qualification
Course Duration and DeadlinesCourse hours given are a guide only. You will be encouraged to work at your own pace to learn as much as you can, with no assignment deadlines or end date by which you must complete your course by. You are in control!
Study SupportPersonal tutor/mentor support from industry relevant professionals throughout your whole course. Mentors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through the Moodle online classroom. They provide assistance with your course material, plus discuss, explain and give advice when needed. They will also mark and grade your assignments, plus provide constructive and helpful feedback vital to your success.
Suitability for Self Employment and Small BusinessesOur courses are ideal for sole traders and small business owners and their staff. Customer confidence in what you can do will determine how successful you are in getting clients. Doing the job right using the correct knowledge and skills, leads to repeat business and referrals to friends, family and work colleagues. Completing one or more of our courses for the service you have to offer, will give you the tools to achieve this and grow your business.
Recognition of Your Course By Employerse aim to achieve the correct balance between your qualification being recognised and providing you with the in-depth learning, to empower you to succeed. If you can demonstrate that you have the level of knowledge and transferable skills necessary to an employer, you should stand out from someone who has only received a superficial understanding of what's required - Your qualification is recognised in its own right on the Ofqual Register
Recognition of Your Course By Universities
Designing Your Own Qualification
How Can I Enrol?Online by selecting your study option, learning materials, plus payment option and then clicking the Enrol Now button - By contacting us for an application form - By telephoning us on 01227 789 649 (International: 0044 1227 789 649). Lines open 9am till 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.
How Can I Get a Pro-forma Invoice for my Employer?Contact us with details and we will email your employer an invoice. We will need: employer's name, address, telephone number, email address and contact name. We will also require your name, telephone number, email address, date of birth and the course and code you wish to enrol for.

                       Learn, Progress, Change, Achieve                                                     


Previous Customer Experiences with our CoursesWoman leaping to the next level in her career development

"Fantastic Teacher. Well organised modules. Assignments force me to learn and research more so I can prepare well for exams. I really enjoyed studying via ADL.  I can now continue study at Ulster University which accept my certificate from ADL".    Level 4,  Advanced Certificate in Applied Science,  VSC001,  Stanislawa,  Poland.

Its with great pleasure I am announcing you my new job as 'Park Manager' for a 5 star hotel in Reunion Island.  Its definitely my courses with ADL (Botany, Agronomy and Trees for Rehabilitation) which were decisive for my nomination. Accordingly, my sincere thanks goes to all the ADL team.

"The course was a valuable learning experience as it provided me with the knowledge and understanding for me as a Careers Advisor. The feedback was very good from my tutor, and allowed me to  build upon my assignments that were marked. The comments were very informative  and very useful. Well written course material."  Andrew W, Careers  Counselling, UK

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Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure all information from the academy is accurate and that the student has attained the competencies taught in a course, at the point of their assessment. Beyond this point, the graduate is responsible to maintain their acquired competencies, and apply acquired knowledge and skills in a way which is appropriate to the unique characteristics of each application. This will release the academy from any liability, action and claims of whatsoever nature in connection with, or arising from any such information, instruction or advice, given by any student or ex-student, whether directions given during the course are followed or not.