Program Details, Costs, and Admission Requirements

  • Program Length 
    9 Months
  • Credential 
  • Location Offered 

Got a green thumb? VIU’s 9-month Horticulture Technician Program prepares students for a broad range of jobs in the horticulture field, from landscaping and landscape design, to nursery work and greenhouse production, to management positions.

This landscaping program differs from other horticulture programs as large parts of it are taught at the G.R. Paine Horticultural Centre, a 32-acre site close to VIU’s Nanaimo campus at which students grow bedding plants, ornamental nursery materials, native plants and forest seedlings. Students also work at Milner Gardens and Woodland, a 70-acre estate in Qualicum Beach with an established seaside garden that is open to the public. About 50 per cent of this horticultural program is hands-on training, including three months of paid work in the industry.

The Horticulture Technician Foundation Certificate Program

The curriculum of this one-year horticultural foundation program has been designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of horticultural principles and practices. The program covers a broad spectrum of horticultural practices including plant propagation techniques, greenhouse production, nursery crop production, landscape design, landscape construction, and plant identification. As well, pest and disease management, pruning techniques, and maintenance practices are investigated. Throughout the program, special emphasis will be placed on many aspects of sustainable horticultural practices.

The curriculum used in this program meets the provincial standards set for all one-year horticulture foundation programs.

Approximately 50% of the program will be spent in actual “hands-on” training on- and off-campus. This includes three months working in the industry.

The program is taught at the G.R. Paine Horticulture Centre, on a 5-acre site near the Nanaimo campus. The site contains a “Harnoise Nordique” style greenhouse, a headerhouse, a classroom and lab facility, as well as a containerized nursery. Students also practice their skills at the Milner Gardens and Woodland, in Qualicum, a garden estate environment where they participate in the day-to-day, season-to-season operational activities.

Spring Semester


HORT 100T  - (Greenhouse Environment and Control)


HORT 110T  - (Horticultural Botany)


HORT 115T  - (Introductory Plant Identification)


HORT 125T  - (Landscape Maintenance and Turfgrass Management)


HORT 130T  - (Landscape Construction Techniques)


HORT 135T  - (Greenhouse Production)


HORT 140T  - (Practicum I)


HORT 145T  - (Field Trips I)


HORT 160T  - (Horticultural Skills and Practices)


Semester Credits


Fall Semester


HORT 101T  - (Plant Propagation)


HORT 112T  - (Pest Management and Weed Control)


HORT 116T  - (Advanced Plant Identification)


HORT 120T  - (Irrigation Systems and Design)


HORT 131T  - (Landscape Design Techniques)


HORT 132T  - (Estimating and Business Practices)


HORT 141T  - (Work Experience)


HORT 146T  - (Field Trips II)


HORT 150T  - (Soils and Growing Media)


HORT 161T  - (Horticultural Skills and Practices)


Semester Credits


All program courses must be successfully completed before certificates will be issued.

Friday, April 24, 2015
  • General Trades admission requirements apply.
  • English 12 with minimum “C” grade, or equivalent, or successful completion of English assessment test.
  • Minimum “C” grade in one of Principles of Mathematics 11, Applications of Mathematics 11, Foundations of Mathematics 11, Apprenticeship and Workplace Mathematics 11, or successful completion of assessment test.
  • Letter, at time of application, indicating reasons for applying to the program and outlining any previous horticultural experience, as well as future career goals.
  • Interview.
  • Fitness required to participate in physical aspects of the program and industry.

Notes on Admission

  • Availability and willingness to participate in plant roster duty on weekends.
  • Previous experience in commercial or industrial horticulture is recommended.
  • Successful candidates will be selected from qualified applicants on the basis of the personal statement and outcome of the personal interview. Phone interviews may be arranged for out-of-province applicants.

Notes on Completion Requirements

  • A Pesticide Applicator’s Certificate must be completed prior to graduation.
  • An Occupational Level I First Aid Certificate must be completed prior to graduation.

Graduates of this program may find employment in the following industries:

  • landscape maintenance and installation companies;
  • municipal and regional Parks Departments.
  • floriculture and vegetable greenhouse operations;
  • ornamental and forest seedling nurseries;
  • garden centres and horticultural retail outlets;
  • landscape design firms;
  • turf enterprises;
  • golf courses;
  • horticultural supply companies;
  • irrigation design and installation firms;
  • arborist assistant;
  • small scale agriculture;
  • community supported agriculture.

Successful completion of this program enables graduates to continue their studies in Apprenticeship or a two-year Diplomaprogram at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.



Tuition (10 months x $470.40 per month)


Supply fee


Student Activity fee (4% of tuition and supply fee)


Student Services fee (10 months x $20.79 per month)


VIU Students' Union fee (10 months x $20.90 per month)


Health and Dental Plan fee ($275.00 per year)


Books and supplies (approximate costs)





* A detailed summary of special expenses will be provided at the student interview.

The Health and Dental Plan fee is in effect only for full-time students at the Nanaimo Campus.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Jan 4, 2022
Application Fee
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Carine Hutchinson
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2283

Chair Contact

Name: Jessica Gemella
Phone: 250-754-8756

Documentation Deadline

November 15, 2021. Please note: the program is filling quickly so it is best to send the documentation as soon as possible.


This program runs from January to December (9 months in class and 13 weeks of work experience).

Testing required only if prerequisites are not met.

Applicants must complete a phone interview with the Faculty. Interviews will be booked once all the documents requested in the letter of acknowledgement have been provided.

How to find us? The G. R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre is located at 2324 East Wellington Road, in Nanaimo, BC. To reach the centre, turn from the Nanaimo Parkway onto Jinglepot Road (Jinglepot Intersection near the main VIU campus, not the Jinglepot/Mostar intersection). Follow Jinglepot Road to Holland Road. Turn right onto Holland and continue until you reach East Wellington Road, then turn left. The Horticulture Training Centre is directly across from the Unity Church. There is a G.R. Paine Horticulture Centre sign by the driveway.