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Duration (approx) 500 hours
Qualification Proficiency Award

Learn about Orchids - be conversant with the production and evaluation of plants and cropping systems.

  • Understand the plant naming and classification systems.
  • Gain an insight into the appropriate way to grow a range of different orchid species.
  • Learn about greenhouse management.
  • Study commercial and marketing techniques.
  • Study and advance your own career or gain the knowledge to set up your own business.







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Become an Orchid expert!

We are offering you the chance to become an orchid expert with this detailed course.

This course will broaden your knowledge of orchids, making you the orchid expert you have always longed to be.  

  • Learn more about the culture and production of orchids.
  • Increase your knowledge of cut flower orchids.
  • Improve your job and career prospects with an outstanding knowledge of orchids.
  • Work in garden centres, orchid production, horticultural journalism or set up your own business.
  • What could be better than working with these beautiful flowers?

The course requires the completion of two core modules –

Cut Flower Orchids VHT240
Orchid Culture BHT232

You then choose one elective module from –

Crops I BHT112
Cut Flower Bulbs BHT317

You are also required to undertake an industry related project or work experience.  

To pass the course, you are required to complete an assignment at the end of each lesson.  For example, Orchid Culture has eight lessons, so there are eight assignments.

You are also required to complete three exams and the industry project.


Orchid Culture
There are 8 lessons in this module:

1. Introduction

  • Introduction to Orchid Species.
  • Plant Names and the System for Naming Orchids.
  • Orchid sub families and tribes.
  • Plant Name Pronunciation.
  • Orchid Plant structure.
  • Resources.
  • Terminology.

2. Culture

  • Overview of Growing Orchids.
  • Guidelines; temperature, light, humidity, ventilation, watering, feeding, potting mixes.
  • Growing Cattleyas.
  • Substrates for Geophytes and Epiphytes.
  • Understanding Soils; texture, pH, nutrient availability, fertility.
  • Mycorrhyza and Orchids.
  • Propagating and Potting Media.
  • Nutrients and Nutrition.
  • Plant Health; orchid pests, orchid diseases, other problems.
  • Pruning Orchids.
  • Watering Orchids.

3. Propagation

  • Sexual vs. asexual propagation.
  • Asexual Propagating sympodial Orchids.
  • Asexual Propagation of Monopodial Epiphytes.
  • Aerial Offset Propagation (Keikis).
  • Propagating Orchids by Seed.
  • Hybrid Seed Production.
  • Harvesting Orchid Seed.
  • Flasking Method of Seed Sowing.
  • Tissue (Meristem) Culture of Orchids.
  • Propagation Equipment; greenhouses, hotbeds, cold frames, mist systems, furo light boxes, etc.

4. Cymbidiums And Dendrobiums

  • Cymbidium culture.
  • Dendrobium Types - soft cane, hard cane, black haired.
  • Dendrobium Culture.
  • Dendrobium species.

5. Cattleyas, Vandas And Other Commonly Grown Orchids

  • Cattleya varieties and culture.
  • Vandas; main species and culture.
  • Odontoglossum.
  • Oncidium - types (climbing and spreading), culture.
  • Paphiopedalum (Slipper Orchids).
  • Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids).
  • Pleione (Indian Crocus).
  • Crucifix Orchids (Epidendrum).

6. Australian Native Orchids

  • Endemic, naturalised and indigenous plants.
  • Problem Based Learning Project, with the following Learning Ourtcomes:
  • Determine which species of orchids are most commonly sold in your locality;
  • Determine orchid varieties which are being grown in your locality;
  • Determine any orchid genera suited to growing in a warm climate.

7. Growing Orchids: Commercial and general uses

  • Cut Flower Production.
  • Basket Plants.
  • Epiphytes.
  • Review of Orchid Genera for Cut Flower Production.
  • Environmental Requirements for many significant orchid genera.
  • Vanilla Bean Culture and Production.
  • Greenhouse Management for Orchids.

8. Harvest and Special Project On One Group Of Orchids

  • Crop Scheduling; Writing a schedule for production of an Orchid Crop.
  • Harvest and Post Harvest of Selected Orchid Cut Flowers; bud opening, transport, storing flowers, etc.
  • Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium.


  • Understand the system of plant classification and naming.
  • Gain an insight into the appropriate way to grow a range of different orchid species.
  • Understand common methods of Orchid Propagation.
  • Understand the basics of the structure, taxonomy and culture of Cymbidiums and Dendrobiums.
  • Learn about some of the more commonly grown orchids apart from Dendrobiums and Cattleyas.
  • Learn about orchids native to your locality.
  • Understand a range of alternative ways in which to grow orchids.
  • Research two commercial orchid growing establishments.


  • Compile a resource file of organisations and information sources relevant to orchids.
  • Draw and label an orchid flower.
  • Review and detail 56 different orchid species.
  • Test the drainage of soil from two different areas (two different types of soils). 
  • Obtain (or make up) a potting mix which you consider appropriate for growing orchids.
  • Visit a nursery or garden growing orchids. Determine which plants appear healthiest and assess this according to the conditions in which they are growing.
  • Propagate four different orchids vegetatively.
  • Consider the properties of pots that you see for sale in nurseries or other places that sell a wide variety of pots. Assess their suitability for growing orchids in. Note prices of each.
  • Investigate further into tissue culture processes specific to Orchids beyond the notes offered in the course.
  • Discover which species of orchids are most commonly sold in your area.
  • Carry out research and look through any references you have and determine any orchid genera (not yet covered in this course), which are suited to growing in a tropical or sub-tropical climate.
  • Visit a florist shop and make note of the variety of orchards for sale, and how they are presented and stored
  • Evaluate the cultural practices observed (or investigated) in the different enterprises which you considered in your set task.

Cut Flower Orchids
There are 10 lessons in this module:

1.    Introduction

  • Plant classification, Naming of plants, Parts of the flower.

2. Culture

  • Basket, epiphytes, media.

3. Propagation A

  • Methods, materials, equipment.

4. Propagation B (Tissue Culture)

  • Techniques, application, culture nutrients.

5. Greenhouse Management A

  • Environmental controls, beds & benches, carbon dioxide.

6. Greenhouse Management B

  • Temperature, irrigation, cooling, ventilation, etc.

7. Pest and Disease Control & Identification
8. Management, Harvest and Post-Harvest

  • Harvesting, post harvest, standards, layout, production costs.

9. Marketing

  • Marketing the product, valuable orchids, international markets.

10. Detailed study of one species or group of orchids.


  • Explain the plant naming system, identify flower parts and compile resources.
  • Describe cultural techniques applicable to orchid growing.
  • Describe propagation techniques used for orchids.
  • Explain tissue culture propagation techniques.
  • Describe protected plant production facilities suited to orchids.
  • Explain the day to day management of a greenhouse.
  • Manage Pests and diseases on an orchid flower crop.
  • Explain management of an orchid enterprise and the harvest and post harvest of an orchid crop.
  • Explain marketing techniques used for cut flower orchids.
  • Describe a major orchid group.

Students select one module from the following:

Crops I
There are 10 lessons in this module:

1. Crop Production Systems

  • Explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops.

2. Organic Crop Production

  • Evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries to achieve organic certification.

3. Soils and Nutrition

  • Understand the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.

4. Nursery Stock Production

  • Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.

5. Tree Fruit Production

  • Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.

6. Soft Fruits Production

  • Develop an understanding of the techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.

7. Vegetable Production

  • Develop an understanding of the techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.

8. Cut Flower Production

  • Develop an understanding of the commercial production of outdoor cut flowers.

9. Herbs, Nuts and Miscellaneous Crops

  • Develop an understanding of the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.

10. Crop Production Risk Assessment

  • Understand the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.


  • Explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops.
  • Evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries, to achieve organic certification.
  • Explain the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.
  • Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.
  • Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.
  • Explain techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.
  • Explain techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.
  • Explain the commercial production of outdoor-grown cut flowers.
  • Describe the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.
  • Identify the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.

Cut Flower Bulbs
There are 10 lessons in this module:

  • Introduction to Cut Flower Bulb Production.
  • Cultural Practices that effect the production of flowering bulbs, such as soils, nutrition, etc.
  • Flower Initiation & Development. Consideration for the affects different cultural practices can have on flower production.
  • Pest & Disease Control. various pest and disease problems are over-viewed.
  • Managing Yield, Greenhouse Culture. We look at the specific aspects of growing greenhouse crops.
  • Management, Harvest & Post Harvest.
  • Gladiolus and Liliums.
  • Narcissus.
  • Iris.
  • Other Bulbs.


  • Describe cultural practices for production of different cut flower bulbs and the basis of good horticultural practice: soils and soil types, plant nutrition, pest and disease management and weed control.
  • Understand the initiation and development of flowers in plants with bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, corms or other specialized parts. A look at the factors affecting the flowering stages.
  • Learn how to manage any pests and diseases for a crop of cut flower bulbs or in the home garden.
  • Manage the quantity and quality of a crop of cut flower bulbs, both grown in the open and in a greenhouse. In this lesson we also have a good look at the various systems of growing cut flower bulbs in greenhouses and look at ways to manage the environmental conditions in them.
  • Learn about the management and the harvest/post harvest of cut flower bulbs.
  • Explain the production of Lilium and Gladioli cut flower crops.
  • Explain the production of Narcissus cut flower crops.
  • Explain the production of Iris and Gladioli cut flower crops.
  • In this lesson we look at a comparison of a variety of different cut flower bulb crops.

This course offers you the opportunity to increase your knowledge of orchid care and production and use that knowledge to improve your job and career prospects.

?    Learn about the different types of cropping.
?    Understand good horticultural practices - valuable knowledge in many different areas.
?    Become an orchid expert.
?    Move your career forward - get an edge over your competition!


Any questions for our Orchid Tutors? Please don’t hesitate to contact us -



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Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.

Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing Flowering BulbsContaining 187 pages of great facts on growing bulbs and stunning colour pictures, the Growing and Knowing Flowering Bulbs ebook is an essential read for students, professional horticulturalists, hobby gardeners and anyone who is interested in knowing more about flowering bulbs.
BanksiasLearn more about Banksias in this 62 page ebook with pictures. Knowing which banksia to plant can be difficult given the different growing conditions.
Getting Work in HorticultureExplore what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse this industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Commercial HydroponicsThe Commercial Hydroponics ebook is ideal for students, professional horticulturalists and those who want to build a strong foundation knowledge in hydroponics. The commercial hydroponics ebook explains how to set up a commercial hydroponics system, including growing techniques and equipment that you will need. The topics covered in this book include an introduction to hydroponics, site considerations, alternatives, plant nutrition, nutrient film technique culture, rockwool culture, aggregate culture, other techniques, hydroponics equipment, greenhouse operation, plant culture in hydroponics, Vegetable crops, berry and other fruit crops, flower crops, other crops, managing a commercial hydroponic farm and a troubleshooting guide.