What is the RHS Level 2 Qualification?

The Royal Horticultural Society's level 2 qualification is internationally recognised and widely respected in the horticulture industry.  If you are a career changer this is the qualification for you. If you are a keen amateur gardener this is the qualification for you. If you are a beginner gardener this is the qualification for you. As well as a detailed list of learning goals in the qualification specification, the RHS has a science based professional website which assists with study.  Every learner has different levels of knowledge, experience and different areas of interest so if you want to pass the exams it’s up to you to put the work in no matter where you start from.

flower botany.JPG


Yes I did say the E word and for some mature learners who haven’t taken an assessment for a while the thought of exams can bring on palpitations.  Exams are taken at set times during the year – in February and June. Dates for exams can be found on the RHS website. For 2020, theory exams will be taken on February 10th and 11th and June 22nd and 23rd.

Exams can be sat at various locations across the UK. See here.

How is the qualification structured

The ultimate level 2 horticulture qualification is the RHS level 2 Diploma. This is made up of 3 parts:

*Part 1 –  THEORY - Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development made up of 4 modules (exams)

R2101  Plant classification, structure and function

R2102  Plant nutrition and the root environment

R2103  Maintaining plant health

R2104  Plant propagation

*Part  2 – THEORY - Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance made up of 4 modules (exams)

R2111  Garden features, plant selection and planning

R2112  Choice, establishment and maintenance of garden plants and lawns

R2113  Production of outdoor vegetables and fruit

R2114  Protected environments and their use in plant cultivation

Part 3 – PRACTICAL – Certificate in Practical Horticulture (Continual assessment so students have to attend a course in person)

* Part 1 and 2 can be completed in any order


When students have achieved all 8 exams in part 1 and 2 (Theory based exams) they are awarded the RHS level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture.

When students have achieved the Practical level 2 qualification they are awarded the RHS level 2  Certificate in Practical Horticulture


Once students have achieved the Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture and the Certificate in Practical Horticulture, they are awarded the RHS level 2 Diploma.

How do you know what to learn? - Horticulture is a BIG subject

The RHS has produced a qualification specification which outlines topics and their associated learning goals which shows what to cover and what to exclude in some instances. This is the guide which tutors follow, making sure they have covered all the learning outcomes in the syllabus.

The blog will follow the same format each time-studying a particular learning outcome from one of the modules from the syllabus.


The qualification specification (or syllabus) can be found here