RHS Level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture

This practical-based qualification advances current skills – providing a route into, and supporting career development within, professional horticulture. While also encouraging specialisation in areas of interest and progression to further training

Who is this qualification for?

Career changers. Looking to work in professional horticulture for the first time and already have a Level 2 understanding

Professional horticulturists. Already working in horticulture and wanting to develop knowledge further

Casual learners. Wanting to develop personal interest and progress to further horticultural study at level 4

Busy people. Need a flexible learning style? Our qualifications are designed to be studied part-time 

No entry requirements. However, it is strongly recommended that students have obtained the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture or equivalent before they start this course.
The Plantsman December 2018 cover

Modules, learning outcomes and assessment

Each module is assessed by a range of practical activities timetabled and conducted at an RHS approved centre throughout the qualification

Mandatory modules

Collecting and testing of soil samples and specifying adjustments for horticulture
  • Potential hazards and risks
  • Select and use appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing
  • Reasons for soil testing
  • Collect and prepare a soil sample for laboratory testing
  • Accurately measure, by weight, the constituent components of different soil samples
  • Measure the pH of soil
  • Specify suitable materials to amend the pH value of soils
  • Measure the area of a given site and make calculations
  • Diagnose nutrient deficiencies and recommend remedial action
Collecting, preparing and propagating from seed
  • Plan seed propagation
  • Implement seed propagation
  • Monitor germination of seeds
  • Maintain and use equipment during seed propagation
  • Promote health and safety and environmental good practice
Establishing and maintaining a range of plant types and forms
  • Know the potential hazards and risks associated with establishing and maintaining plants
  • Select and use appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing
  • Select and use effectively a range of tools and equipment
  • Plant, stake and tie a tree
  • Understand the principles of pruning
  • Carry out maintenance pruning and training on a range of plants
  • Provide aftercare to promote growth and fruition
Identification of a range of common garden plants, weeds, pests, diseases and disorders
Identify a range of:
  • plants and know their characteristics and decorative merits
  • weeds by botanical name and know their characteristics and methods of control
  • seeds
  • pests and diseases and know their characteristics and methods of control
  • disorders and describe appropriate treatment

Optional modules (choose one)

Planning, collecting, preparing and establishing propagation material
  • Plan the collection of propagation material
  • Collect propagation material
  • Prepare propagation material
  • Establish propagation material in a growing environment
  • Maintain and use relevant equipment
  • Promote health and safety and environmental good practice
Management of green spaces, landscaped areas and ornamental gardens
  • Carry out site surveys
  • Assess the management requirements of horticultural areas
  • Produce management and maintenance plans for specified periods of time
  • Understand the importance of biosecurity in protecting horticultural areas
  • Understand how to monitor and maintain the health, safety and security of the work area
  • Monitor and maintain the health, safety and security of the work area

Useful documents and information

After the qualification

Career opportunities 

You will have gained a range of horticultural knowledge relevant to employment in various roles in commercial plant production and the horticultural sector, such as a head gardener or supervisor in private, public, or botanic gardens or parks and urban green spaces. 
Horticultural careers

Further learning

The qualification supports progression to level 4 courses in horticulture or entry onto various horticultural training programmes.
Master of Horticulture
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'Being RHS qualified has helped me to attract customers' - Lynn Heslop, Level 3 student

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.