RHS Level 2 Qualifications

Ideal for those looking to pursue a career in horticulture or stretch and challenge skills for personal interest

This level is also suitable for those already working in the industry who would like to formalise and expand their existing skills by gaining a professional qualification.

Highly valued by employers, the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture consists of two individual qualifications; a practical-based and knowledge-based qualification.

The well-rounded learner, in particular those seeking employment, will achieve both elements to demonstrate the vital skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the modern day workplace.

There are no pre-requisites for entry to this qualification level.  

What will I study?

These qualifications allow learners to increase their breadth of horticultural knowledge and skills required to carry out routine tasks proficiently in a variety of contexts. 

The RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture covers essential craft skills, which include the planting, pruning, propagation and maintenance of plants along with the establishment and management of turf, and maintenance of garden features.

Learners will also be able to identify a range of plants, pests, diseases, pathogens and disorders.

The RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development, provides learners with a solid theoretical grounding.  This offers an understanding behind the science of plants, such as how they function, nutrition, health, adaptations and various planting styles.

Learners will also develop an understanding of the horticultural industry and the vital role plants play in enhancing biodiversity. 

Attainment of both the Certificate in Practical Horticulture and the Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development will result in learners achieving the Level 2 Certificate in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture

Topics covered in the Level 2 qualification

    Across both qualifications, learners gain an understanding of current horticultural practices including best practice, an understanding of health and safety consideration as well as how sustainable principles can be applied in practice.  

    To complete each qualification learners should expect to undertake approx. 120hrs of learning (Guided Learning Hours).

Discover more

Download a pdf document of the specifications for each of the certificates available:

*Please note: As part of the changes to RHS Qualifications, registrations for RHS Level 2 Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance are no longer permitted. The specification is only available for those enrolled before 31 March 2023.

How will the qualifications be delivered?

Approved centres offering RHS qualifications are free to define their own teaching framework, within the structure of the qualification specification, and will provide the learning materials to support your studies. 

Qualifications are delivered on a part-time basis allowing learners to study alongside other commitments. Teaching may be face-to-face, online via distance learning, or a mixture of both known as blended-learning. 

External Candidates

Qualifications which started before September 2022:
RHS Qualifications permits candidates to take theory examinations as an external candidate. Centres can continue to accept external candidates for examinations of the theory qualifications, which started before September 2022. External candidates are candidates who self-study or study with an RHS approved provider but would like to take the paper examinations at a different centre.

Qualifications which started in September 2022:
RHS Qualifications do not permit candidates to take examinations as an external candidate. Centres are not permitted to accept external candidates for examinations of the new theory qualification, which started in September 2022. These candidates are now required to take the examinations online. Approved centres are responsible for registering all their candidates on examinations.

How will I be assessed?

Practical Horticulture
In order to achieve this qualification, learners must complete and attain (pass, merit, distinction):
  • Online Competence Assessment Test
  • Practical Competence Assessment  Test

Principles of Plant Growth and Development
In order to achieve this qualification, learners must complete and achieve two examinations. These exams are offered online or paper-based and available in February, June and October each year. 

Sample exam papers are available for revision purposes.

The combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills will provide fully rounded capabilities.

A formal certificate is issued by the RHS on successful completion of the qualification the learner is enrolled on.

Where can I progress to after Level 2?

Completion of this qualification (both elements) will give learners the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to boost career prospects. Achieving Level 2 allows learners the opportunity to progress to further learning opportunities at Level 3, allowing progression to higher education, career advancement or entry in the horticultural industries at a more advanced, technical and management level.

RHS Level 3

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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.