Horticulture NC

What is special about this course?

This highly practical NC course will give you a broad introduction to the study of horticulture and will equip you with the essential skills required for a career in horticulture and landscaping.

The course has two pathways and you can choose to study either Landscaping or Plant-Based horticulture.  You will be asked to select one of these during your interview.

If you enjoy being creative, getting outdoors, and working in a team, then this could be an ideal course for you.

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements required although a keen interest in horticulture would be an advantage.

The course provides a mix of theoretical and practical skills with the emphasis on practical horticulture and landscaping.  This course has two pathways: Landscaping and Plant-Based Horticulture. Most course units are common to both pathways and are listed below – as are the specialist units for each area.

You will be asked about your preferred pathway during your course interview, and options may be limited subject to location and demand.

Course Units:

  • Soils and Growing Media
  • Plant Identification
  • Plant Husbandry – common disorders
  • Basic Botany
  • Planting and Maintenance
  • Horticultural Machinery – operation and maintenance
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Garden Design
  • Drystone Dykes – building and repairing

Landscaping Units: (available Oban, Dunoon & Rothesay only)

  • Horticultural Fence Construction
  • Laying Slabs and Paving - an introduction
  • Estate Maintenance - an introduction
  • Water Features

Plant-Based Units:

  • Plant Production from Seed
  • Home and Allotment Gardening
  • Soft Landscaping – general plantings
  • Vegetative Propagation

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time
  • Part Time

Theory based units will be delivered by a mix of face-to-face teaching and video conference (VC) classes.

Practical teaching will take place in our own garden (for Oban Centre), Islay House Community Garden ( for Islay Centre) and Mount Stuart Trust Gardens (for Dunoon and Rothesay Centres)

How long will my course last?

1 Academic Year

You’ll attend college for 3 days per week from September until early June.

Part time, over two years, you will attend college for approximately 1.5 days per week.

Where can I study my course?

    • Arran Learning Centre
    • Dunoon Learning Centre
    • Helensburgh Learning Centre
    • Oban Learning Centre
    • Rothesay Learning Centre

Start date



For the latest information on fees please see our fees policy.


There will be some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required. If you receive a bursary the costs of PPE will be paid for you.

What can I do on completion of my course?

When you complete this course you could progress to an SVQ in Horticulture or HNC Horticulture.


The horticultural industry is one of the largest employers in the UK. A career in horticulture could mean anything from a hands-on gardener to a research scientist.


There are many, many opportunities out there, such as

Greenkeeper,  Garden designer, Gardener, Aboriculturist, Florist, Environmental scientist, Horticultural journalist, Vegetable grower, Garden centre manager, Landscape contractor, Landscape architect, Nursery grower, Park ranger, Plant breeder, Soil scientist

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

It is such a pleasure to deliver the NC in Horticulture to students who have a shared passion for plants, gardens and the outdoors. Our tutors in each centre share this passion and bring a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to our teaching team.

Amber Crowley, Curriculum Lead

Apply for Horticulture NC

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at Argyll College UHI. Argyll College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.