Need Assistance? 01384 442752 (UK)


Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Produce orchids for the cut flower trade - increase your knowledge of orchids to improve your knowledge and career prospects

Learn more about this beautiful flower and its production.

Study in your own time at your own pace.

Learn from our highly experienced and knowledgeable tutors.

“This specialist course is aimed at those that would love to work in the orchid growing sector. Greenhouse growing is covered extensively throughout this very rounded course. Improve your skills and gain work or set up your own business.” - Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor

Orchids occur naturally from very cold temperate climates through to tropical locations; and provided you choose appropriate species and treat them according to location, it is feasible to grow orchids as cut flowers almost anywhere. Orchids are one of the most commercially viable cut flower crops (partially due to their beauty, and also due to their long shelf life). Learn how to produce orchid flowers for the cut flower trade.

It's easy to enrol...

Select a payment plan:  

Select a learning method  

Work in the Orchid Business
  • Learn more about identifying, growing, harvesting and operation of an orchid business
  • Grow orchids for cut flowers -start a small business; improve a large business
  • Learn to propagate orchids, grow Orchids in a Greenhouse, Harvest and Market the flowers, and more
  • 100 hour self paced course for the orchid enthusiast or commercial farmer

“This specialist course is aimed at those that would love to work in the orchid growing sector. Greenhouse growing is covered extensively throughout this very rounded course. Improve your skills and gain work or set up your own business.” - Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor


There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction.
    • Covers plant names
    • Basic plant classification
    • Information on plant flower structure
  2. Culture.
    • Looks at soil cultivation
    • Container growing
    • Hydroponics
    • Baskets
    • Epiphytes
    • Potting mixes
    • Pruning orchids
  3. Propagation A.
    • Propagation materials and equipment
    • Seed
    • Miscellaneous propagation techniques
  4. Propagation B. (Tissue Culture).
    • Materials necessary for tissue culture
    • Types of tissue culture
    • Plant hormones
    • Diseases
    • Plant nutrients
  5. Greenhouse Management A.
    • Greenhouses and other growing structures
    • Environmental controls
    • Benches and beds
    • Effects of carbon dioxide
    • Yields
  6. Greenhouse Management B.
    • Growing plants in greenhouses
    • Plant needs
    • Temperature control
    • Greenhouse irrigation
    • Cooling
  7. Pest and Disease Control.
    • Horticultural Management in greenhouses
    • Sterilisation
    • Pests and diseases
  8. Management, Harvest and Post Harvest.
    • Harvest and post-harvest
    • Managing a market garden
    • Crop scheduling
    • Standards
    • Farm layout
    • Nursery costs
  9. Marketing.
    • Marketing your produce
    • Economically valuable orchids
    • International flower markets
  10. Special Project.
    An in depth study of a specific 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




Orchids are a very large and diverse range of plants. As a result, naming of genus is not always as straight forward as it could be. There are literally hundreds of new cultivars and two or three new genus (intergeneric) registered every month. Classification is an evolving science and changes are occurring on a continual basis. Here are some examples that may assist you in finding information out about those orchids which are hard to locate.

Some plants, which are actually hybrids, have been given an intergeneric name that is used as the genus. Others have been given one name which is later changed, or reclassified, to another name. For instance, plants in the genus Rhyncholaelia were once considered to be of the genus Brassavola. Some sources now class them separately, as we have here in this book, while some have chosen to keep them as Brassavola. Most newer text will use the two separate names, or indicate that they are sometimes considered synonymous. However, especially in older text, this is not always the case.

Cross pollination of orchids to create a new, unique plant is a regular occurrence. In some instances, the resulting hybrid is referred to as a new genus. These names are actually intergeneric names. For example, Zygowarrea is the genus name for a cross of Warrea lindley x Zygopetalum hooker (Zygo + Warrea). All other plants then hybridised from Zygowarrea will likely be given the intergeneric genus name of Zygowarrea. Intergeneric names can also be named in honour of a particular person, and usually occurs when several plants have been crossed to breed the plant. For instance, the intergeneric name Alangreatwoodara is in honour of plant breeder Alan Greatwood, with the original plant in the "genus" being a cross of three orchids.

To add to the confusion, all genus and intergeneric names are given an abbreviation. So, you may see a plant identified as Ascda. 'Park Yon Kyoung'. In this instance, the full stop is in place, giving the indication that an abbreviation is being used. However, if that full stop does not appear, as is often the case, there is no indication that Ascda is the accepted abbreviation for the genus Ascocenda.

We have covered a great range of orchids in this course, but due to the constant changes as detailed above, it is nearly impossible to include every genus, intergeneric name and cultivar in one publication. However, with this knowledge of how the names evolve, it can assist you in finding out about your orchids, with a little detective work.

Orchid Growing Tips

·       Most orchids require a very loose open potting mix. These are commonly made from mainly shredded or milled bark, or tree fern fibre.

·       In cool climates never water orchids until the bark on the surface of a pot feels dry. Never let the entire pot dry out!

·       When watering with a hose, keep the water jet soft and don't wash bark away from any roots.

·       Don't water any orchids with icy cold water. Generally make sure water is at least 15 degrees Celsius. This may mean filling a watering can with water from your hose, and if it is a bit cold, adding some warmer water from a hot tap. Be careful not to add too much hot water!.

·       Overwatering is more likely to kill an orchid than underwatering. Keep orchids relatively dry when growth is slow or dormant.

·        Generally the thicker the stem of the orchid (often called a pseudobulb) the less often it needs to be watered, unless conditions are very hot and dry.

·       Avoid potting up orchids into too large a pot. Pot up a pot bound plant into a pot only one or two pot sizes at a time, no more). 

·       Keep a look out for pests, in particular, aphis, snails, scale or mealy bug insects, and use control methods as soon as they appear.

·       Keep orchids in places where conditions are not likely to be changeable.

·       In cool climates, don't place them inside near an open window, where cold draughts of air could be a problem.

·       Keep them away from gas heaters or stoves.  

·       Avoid an inside window sill or bench where they will get direct, hot sunlight. Indirect light is preferred by the majority of orchids.

·       Avoid direct sun in the hottest part of the day, and generally provide shade in summer.

·       Protect flower buds from direct sun, wind, aphids, snails and slugs.

·       Do not overfeed. If in doubt, feed regularly with quarter strength fertilisers.





Register to Study -Go to panel toward top of this page (right column)


Get Advice -Use our FREE COUNSELLING SERVICE to contact a tutor





Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

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.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Tropical PlantsThis luscious, illustrated ebook covers hundreds of different plant genera, and many more cultivars. You will learn how to grow plants commonly cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. It contains everything you need to know about growing tropical plants, managing them and working with them (they can be a little temperamental). Many of the plants can also grow in milder climates as indoor plants or in protected places. Previously published in print form by Kangaroo Press (Simon and Schuster).
Growing FernsA complete guide to growing Ferns in Australia, New Zealand and beyond. A great reference for professional and amateur gardeners, and fern enthusiasts from anywhere around the world.
OrchidsA colourful guide for students, home gardeners and orchid enthusiasts. The first part deals with growing orchids, and the second covers dozens of orchid genera, and hundreds of cultivars. Explore orchids as cut flowers, container plants, indoor plants and outdoor garden plants, in both tropical and temperate climates, across the world.
Plant Pests & DiseasesAre you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into your plant...visit the bookshop to find out more...