Wholesale Nursery Management

Course CodeBHT212
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Advance your career in the Production Nursery Industry

Managing a production nursery involves more than just propagating and potting up plants. The nursery industry currently has a real need for people with skills and knowledge in managing production plant nurseries! This course provides a solid grounding for developing those skills.

Production Nurseries operate both within government authorities, and as commercial enterprises, supplying plants to landscapers and retail outlets. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Nursery Site Organisation
    • Nature and Scope of Wholesale Nurseries
    • Specialist Nurseries
    • Location and Site Selection Characteristics : market proximity, land cost, climate, isolation, air quality, water etc
    • What to Grow
    • Determining Marketable varieties
    • Site Surveying
  2. Management
    • Starting as a Nursery Producer
    • The Mission Statement
    • Controlling Quality
    • Revamping an Existing Nursery
    • Nursery Standards: Cost Efficiency, Quality standards, Size
    • Business Planning
    • Quantity
    • Case Study
    • Production Systems
    • Flow Chart for Growing a Nursery Crop
    • Production Methods
    • Cutting Production Efficiencies
    • Work Scheduling
    • Type and Number of Employees
    • Human Resource Management
  3. Nutrition and Pest Management
    • Overview of Nursery Pests and Diseases
    • Identifying Problems
    • Disease and pest management
    • Nursery Hygiene
    • Resistant Plants
    • Controlling Problems through Cultural Practices
    • Physical Control of Problems
    • Biological Control
    • Chemical Control
    • Minimising Chemical Use
    • Conducting Inspections within the Nursery
    • Nutrient Management
    • Fertiliser use and plant nutrition.
  4. Growing media
    • Growing Media for Container and Field Grown Plants
    • Understanding soils
    • Soil Testing
    • Improving Soils
    • Potting Mixes and soil-free mixes
    • Components of Potting Media
    • Selecting Potting Media
    • Problems with Potting Media
    • Propagation Media
    • Sanitation
    • Sterilisation techniques.
  5. Irrigation
    • Water Supply
    • Town Water
    • Water Courses and Groundwater
    • Rainwater
    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment
    • Recycling Water
    • Irrigation Systems: overhead sprinkler, drip, etc
    • Pulse Watering, Demand Watering, Precision etc
    • Pumps
    • Scheduling Irrigation
    • Irrigation System Maintenance
    • Use of liquid fertilisers through irrigation.
  6. Modifying Plant Growth
    • Plant Uniformity
    • Holding Stock
    • Making Stems Sturdier
    • Making Plants Taller
    • Developing a Compact Root System
    • Creating a denser, bushier Plant
    • Improving Foliage Colour
    • Encouraging Flowering
    • Flower forcing out of Season
    • Using Light to Modify Plant Growth
    • Greenhouses and other protective plant structures.
  7. Marketing Strategies
    • Overview of Nursery Marketing
    • Nursery Products
    • Marketing Mix
    • Market Research
    • Marketing Budget
    • Marketing Plan.
  8. Selection of Nursery Crops
    • Considering Options
    • Choosing a Plant Variety to Market
    • Developing a stock list
    • Criteria for Selecting Plants
    • Quarantine Concerns
    • Clearing Surplus Stocks
    • Nursery Industry Trends
    • Surveying Customers
    • Terminology


  • Explain the significance of property, marketing and contracts to site selection.
  • Estimate the cost of producing different plant varieties as specified marketable products.
  • Develop a nutritional program for plants in a wholesale nursery.
  • Explain the implementation of integrated pest management in a specified nursery situation.
  • Explain different chemical methods of controlling plant appearance.

This is an example of some course notes:


Green Plant is a hypothetical business located about 100 km from the nearest capital city. The site has two hectares available with the option to expand. The nursery will be a relatively simple operation, with the production of tube stock limited to varieties easily grown from seed or cuttings, the principal markets for these plants being retail and wholesale growing-on nurseries. Other markets might include direct sales to the general public, farmers, parks departments, tourists (eg. wildflowers and other indigenous plants) and production for specialist retailers.

The aim is to produce at least 150,000 plants in the first year, increasing to 500,000 within three years. The nursery will initially require a work building, storage areas, a propagating structure (polyhouses), an additional two polyhouses for establishing newly transplanted seedlings and rooted cuttings, and a shade area for growing on and hardening off stock. The final desired plan for the 2-hectare site is a wholesale propagation nursery with a retail area and a display garden, which will also provide a source of propagation material.

It is envisaged that a nursery will initially provide enough work to fully occupy three to four full time workers, and several casual/part time staff. The staff employed will be experienced personnel, plus trainees which will become a larger percentage of staff as time progresses.

• Develop a broad concept plan for developing the site. The design should include the garden and stock plant areas in addition to the nursery layout, and must allow for expansion and other future developments. It should be drawn up by a consultant skilled in both nursery operations and landscape design.

• Develop basic nursery facilities - employ qualified tradespeople or experienced contractors.

• Ensure there is sufficient propagating material available when required. Purchase or collect seed, and obtain stock plants while the construction of basic nursery facilities progresses. Propagation should commence as soon as construction of the main nursery facilities are complete; with some collection and preparation of propagating material having occurred prior to and during construction. The first month of operations (including at least two weeks of propagation activity) should be considered a training period. It is extremely important that a skilled, experienced and commercially successful nurseryperson manage this period of the operation. In addition, propagators must also be experienced to ensure high productivity and quality.


More from ACS