RHS Certificate Practical Horticulture Level 3

Course overview

Embark on a transformative journey in horticulture with Merrist Wood College’s RHS Certificate Practical Horticulture course. Aligned with Level 3 qualifications, our program is informed by the Ornamental Horticultural Round Table Group (OHRG), ensuring it caters to industry-specific pathways.

Aimed at budding professionals and passionate hobbyists, our course equips learners with the skills needed to supervise and develop gardens and landscapes. With a focus on personal development, including career transitions and enhanced learning engagement, students delve into transferable skills like problem-solving, management plan implementation, and effective communication.

Set amidst our renowned 400-acre estate, complete with award-winning gardens and state-of-the-art facilities, including lecture rooms, laboratories, and computer suites, Merrist Wood College provides the perfect environment to nurture your horticultural aspirations.

In the RHS L3 Certificate Practical Horticulture course at Merrist Wood College, you’ll explore a comprehensive curriculum informed by the following modules:

Plant Knowledge: Delve into the fascinating world of plants, mastering the art of plant identification and understanding their characteristics, growth habits, and requirements.

Creating Planted Areas: Learn the principles of garden design and how to create aesthetically pleasing planted areas, including considerations of colour, texture, form, and seasonal interest.

Maintaining Planted Areas: Develop the skills needed to care for and maintain planted areas, including soil preparation, planting techniques, watering, mulching, pruning, and weeding.

Plant Health: Gain insights into plant health management, including the identification and treatment of common pests, diseases, and disorders affecting plants.

Productive Growing: Explore techniques for growing plants for food production, including vegetables, fruits, and herbs, and learn about soil fertility, crop rotation, and pest management in productive gardens.

Protected Growing: Discover the benefits of protected growing environments such as greenhouses and polytunnels, and learn how to create optimal growing conditions for plants in controlled environments.

Ecological and Sustainable Plantings: Understand the importance of ecological balance and sustainability in landscaping, and explore techniques for creating biodiverse and environmentally friendly plantings.

Landscape Materials: Learn about the various materials used in landscaping, including hardscape materials such as stone, wood, and paving, and how to select and use them effectively in garden design.


Assessments encompass a variety of methods, all conducted in strict accordance with RHS requirements. These methods ensure a comprehensive evaluation of your knowledge and skills:

Formative Assessment: Throughout the course, tutors will provide formative feedback on your practical skills during hands-on sessions at the college. This ongoing assessment helps track your progress and development.

Summative Short Answer Tests: You’ll undertake summative assessments in the form of short answer tests, evaluating your understanding of theoretical concepts and horticultural principles. These tests cover a range of topics and are designed to assess your knowledge comprehensively.

Direct Observation by RHS Assessors: RHS Assessors will directly observe your practical skills in action, providing valuable feedback and assessing your competence in tasks such as plant identification, propagation, and maintenance. This observation ensures that you meet the standards set by the RHS for certification.

All assessments adhere strictly to RHS requirements, maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualification. By engaging in these varied assessment methods, you’ll receive a well-rounded evaluation of your abilities, preparing you for success in the field of horticulture.

For admission to the RHS Certificate Practical Horticulture course at Merrist Wood College, applicants must meet the following entry requirements:

Level 2 Practical Qualification in Horticulture: Applicants MUST hold a Level 2 Practical qualification in horticulture from either RHS, City and Guilds or equivalent. This ensures a foundational understanding of horticultural practices and techniques.

Physical Fitness: Prospective students must be physically fit to proficiently complete tasks within allocated timeframes. The course involves practical work, including lifting, digging, and prolonged outdoor activity. Please note that extra time as an exam consideration cannot be granted.

Age Requirement: Applicants must be at least 19 years old to enrol in the course.

Educational Qualifications: While there are no formal academic requirements, a basic level of literacy and numeracy skills is beneficial for the successful completion of the course. It’s important to note that common terms cannot be used for plant identification, emphasising the need for precise botanical terminology and understanding.

Interest in Horticulture: A genuine passion for plants, gardening, and the natural environment is essential. Applicants should demonstrate enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and engage in horticultural activities.

After completing the RHS L3 Certificate Practical Horticulture course at Merrist Wood College, you’ll find various avenues to further your career in horticulture:

Employment Opportunities: With practical skills and knowledge in hand, you can explore job opportunities in gardens, nurseries, local councils, or educational institutions. Roles may include garden maintenance, nursery management, landscape design, or horticultural education.

Specialised Certifications: Enhance your credentials by obtaining specialised certifications in areas such as organic gardening, permaculture, or floral design. These qualifications can set you apart in specific markets and open doors to unique career paths within horticulture.

Advanced Horticulture Courses: Consider advancing to the RHS Level 3 Principles Certificate, which builds on the practical skills and knowledge gained in the Practical Horticulture course. This certificate provides a deeper understanding of plant science, soil management, and garden design, preparing you for specialized roles within the industry.

Apprenticeships: Explore apprenticeship programs that combine on-the-job training with further education. These programs offer valuable hands-on experience and a structured pathway to becoming a skilled horticulturist while earning a wage and gaining industry exposure.

University Degrees: To expand your knowledge base, pursue higher education in horticulture, botany, landscape architecture, or related fields. University degrees offer comprehensive education and may lead to advanced positions in research, teaching, or management within the horticultural sector.

For prospective students considering enrolment in the RHS Level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture at Merrist Wood College, here are additional details relevant:

Schedule: The Level 3 Certificate course is designed to accommodate students’ busy schedules. Classes are conveniently held one day per week during the academic year’s term time. This flexible format enables students to balance their studies with other commitments, making it accessible to working professionals and individuals with diverse lifestyles.

Accreditation: The Level 3 Certificate is accredited by RHS, a renowned awarding organisation. This accreditation ensures that the qualification aligns with industry standards and is widely recognised by employers in the horticulture sector, enhancing students’ employability upon completion.

Practical Emphasis: Building upon the practical emphasis of the Level 2 Diploma, the Level 3 Certificate places a strong focus on practical skills development. Students will have opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world horticultural settings. Due to the volume of practical tasks that may arise during assessments, students will need to seek additional practice to refine skills in their own time to supplement the course.

The practical approach, industry accreditation, and flexible scheduling, the Level 3 Certificate offers a valuable pathway for individuals seeking to advance their careers in horticulture.

The course will run from 9:30 to 15:00.

Delivery Day: Thursday 24-25. Disclaimer – please note the delivery day of a program can change each academic year, therefore we will not be able to confirm the delivery date for the following academic year until the summer term.

Course Starts in 78 Days
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