Certificate in Horticulture

Certificate in Horticulture

Registration for summer classes opens at 9 a.m. on  April 3.

Level up your horticulture skills—whether you are growing a career or cultivating a backyard garden.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Certificate in Horticulture program is designed for budding and current horticulturists as well as highly motivated home gardeners. Through classroom lectures and hands-on learning with our plant collections, certificate courses impart broad knowledge of plant care and utility, with a focus on the urban environment. Many graduates use the certificate to join or advance within the horticulture industry.

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Certificate Courses

To earn a BBG Certificate in Horticulture, students must successfully complete eight required classes:

  • Botany for Horticulturists
  • Herbaceous Landscape Plant Identification
  • Plant Health Care
  • Plant Propagation
  • Soil Management
  • Urban Garden Design
  • Urban Garden Maintenance
  • Woody Landscape Plant Identification


Visit bbg.org/learn to view all of the Garden’s current class offerings and register. New classes are offered seasonally.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enroll in the Certificate in Horticulture program, and how long does it take?

Students who register for any Horticulture Certificate class are automatically enrolled in the program.

The program can be completed in as little as one year, but more often students elect to take classes over the course of several years. The speed at which you complete the program depends on how many courses you take concurrently. You must complete all eight courses within ten years.

Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?

We do not require that students take the courses in a specific order. However, we do have a few recommendations for students to get the most out of the program:

  • We strongly recommend that students with no horticulture background begin with Botany for Horticulturists.
  • We recommend that students do not take both plant identification classes at the same time, due to the amount of memorization they require.
  • Urban Garden Maintenance and Urban Garden Design are good capstone classes that build on the information learned in other courses.
Why are there different sections of the same class?

In order to accommodate as many students as we can, we offer multiple sections of each class. You may see these listed as Section A, Section B, etc. The curriculum covered in each section of a class is the same. To fulfill the requirements for the Certificate in Horticulture, you need only enroll in one section of each class.

How much does it cost?

Classes are paid on an individual basis. Class costs range around $360–$430, depending on course hours and materials fees. Garden members receive a 10% discount on classes, so becoming a member is recommended if you plan to take multiple classes within one year. With a member discount, the total cost of the program in 2020 is $2,794.

What can I expect to gain from earning a Certificate in Horticulture?

Students can expect to develop the core skills needed to excel in the field of horticulture: identifying common landscape plants, assessing and ameliorating garden soil, managing plant health, creating a basic garden design, and maintaining an all-seasons garden. Through classroom instruction and hands-on practice, our graduates develop a holistic understanding of horticulture, while making key connections to experts in the field.

Many of our graduates have found work at public green spaces throughout NYC. Others have used their new skill set to improve their local community garden or home garden, to work for a private gardening company, or to start their own business.

What if all the classes are full?

You should add yourself to the waiting list. New classes are posted every two months.

Do you offer financial aid?

Garden members receive a 10% discount on all Continuing Education classes. Unfortunately, we cannot offer additional financial aid or discounts for our Certificate in Horticulture classes. The WHIN Food Council may be able to provide scholarships to eligible students enrolled in BBG’s Certificate in Horticulture courses. Please see their website for further details.

What is your refund policy?

In order to receive a refund, students must cancel their enrollment at least 5 business days before the course start date. Students will be charged a $15 processing fee for cancellation.

Are there other professional development opportunities at BBG?

Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers an annual Horticulture Internship for individuals interested in pursuing a career in horticulture, from those who are just starting out to those with experience who are looking to explore new areas of the field. The Garden subsidizes Certificate in Horticulture costs for BBG interns, who take all eight classes at no cost.

The Brooklyn Urban Gardener (BUG) program is an annual ten-session course that covers the basics in urban gardening and community greening. Upon completing all coursework and required volunteer hours, graduates are certified as Brooklyn Botanic Garden BUG volunteers. Certified BUGs then continue to support greening projects at schools, senior centers, block associations, community gardens, and other organizations.

Compost enthusiasts and advocates have the opportunity each spring to take the Master Composter Certificate Course with the NYC Compost Project hosted by Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This course requires 18–21 hours of classroom instruction, 2 field trips, plus 30 community service hours helping to advance on-site composting in NYC. Certification of completion will be delivered to trainees upon complete of volunteer service.

Through the Urban Greenscaping partnership between BBG and St. Nicks Alliance, young adults (ages 18-24) have the opportunity to participate in green job training at no cost. Participants receive their OSHA certification, their forklift operator’s license, and 70 hours of horticultural training at BBG. To see if you qualify and for more information, please reach out to [email protected].

What if I can no longer take classes at Brooklyn Botanic Garden?

Some of our students find that their ability to take classes at BBG changes partway through the program. They have moved out of Brooklyn, their job hours have changed, or they are unable to take classes in person for other reasons.

If this is your situation, you may be able to transfer credits from a comparable class at another institution to fulfill the requirements of BBG’s Certificate in Horticulture. Accepted classes must be graded (you must receive a passing grade), have at least the same number of course hours, and cover the same content. Prior approval is required. You may not transfer more than four courses to fulfill the Certificate in Horticulture. Please reach out to [email protected] for more information.

More questions? Contact Continuing Education at [email protected].

Image, top of page: Rebecca Bullene