Diploma in Horticultural Practice

Learn everything you need to know about horticulture as you rotate through 10 departments at RHS Garden Wisley

Diploma studentsThe diploma is made up of two levels (known as Level 3 and Level 4) and can only be studied at RHS Garden Wisley. As part of this two-year course, Level 3 is studied in year one, and Level 4 in year two.

Applications are closed

Applications for the diploma at Wisley have now closed.

RHS Level 3 & 4 Diploma in Horticultural Practice

We teach our RHS Diploma in Horticultural Practice as a two-year course at RHS Garden Wisley.

Year 1 – Level 3

You will learn about the following areas of horticulture:

  • Horticultural operations
  • Plant care
  • Establishment and maintenance
  • Horticultural taxonomy
  • Botany and plantsmanship
  • Horticultural history
  • Philosophy and design
  • Productive growing propagation
  • Soils and growing media

You will have the opportunity to design and tend your own allotment and visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.


Year 2 – Level 4

You will study:

  • Horticultural management
  • Ornamental planting
  • Horticultural taxonomy
  • Botany and plantsmanship II
  • Plant health II
  • Garden design
  • Landscape construction
  • Propagation and protected growing environments
  •  Research project
  • Manage and build project


Diploma student in the garden

Diploma students rotate through 10 departments in the Garden. The course also comprises a detailed lecture and masterclass programme, and students complete various pieces of assessed coursework.

Additional qualifications

Diploma students also complete a number of short practical-based national qualifications, which include:

  • FEPA PA1 & PA6aw (pesticides)
  • Tractor driving
  • Strimming and brushcutting
  • Using a hedge trimmer
  • Tree assessment course
  • Manual handling course

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected, as a minimum, to hold a Level 2 horticultural qualification such as a National Certificate in Horticulture, Horticultural Operative Apprenticeship or RHS Level 2 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture.

Applicants should have:

  • A keen interest in the role being advertised
  • At least two GCSEs (or equivalents) in English and maths
  • At least three months’ worth of practical work experience in a professional horticultural environment
  • Experience using basic horticultural machinery, equipment and/or tools
  • Experience working as an individual and as part of a team
  • Openness to working with new individuals across the garden on a regular basis
  • Experience working with customers/visitors in a professional environment, and experience giving good customer service
  • A flexible approach to working (e.g. weekend work will be required on a regular basis, and evening work will be required from time-to-time)

Please take a look at the job description on our recruitment site for full applicant criteria.

Applicants from overseas are considered, on condition that non-EU nationals are able to obtain an appropriate work visa. Please note that the RHS is unable to sponsor any visa applications. A good working knowledge of the English language is essential and evidence to that effect will be requested.

How to apply – applications are closed

Applications for the diploma at Wisley have now closed.

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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.