Study plant identification, taxonomy and growing, propagating and using a wide range of different herb plants. Great for the home gardener.

Course Code: AHT108
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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This course aims to familiarise you with the use and culture of what are traditionally the most common herb plants.  It should provide you with a sound framework upon which you will be able to develop your knowledge of herbs. This is a course for the amateur who likes to use herbs at home.  If you are serious about growing or using herbs commercially, you are better to do our Herb Culture Course (Ht371).
Herbs have been gathered or grown, and used in all parts of the world for thousands of years. They have a history about them which is fascinating, and a diversity of uses.Many of the more popular herbs are some of the easiest, hardiest & fastest garden plants to grow. There is generally little cost involved in growing these plants except for your own labor. These factors, coupled with a growing preference for natural alternatives to the widespread artificial chemical use that is common in today's society, have resulted in a revival of interest in the use of herbs.


What is a Herb?


The scientific definition of a herb is a plant which has no persistent stem above the ground (ie: The leaves and stem die back to the roots after a period of growth). By this definition, strictly speaking, you would call plants such as Daffodils and Dahlias herbs as well as things such as mint and garlic.


A more popular definition of a herb is:

Any plant whose roots, bark, stems, leaves, seeds or flowers are used for culinary flavouring, medicinal or perfumery purposes.

Herbs are essentially plants which are grown because of the characteristics derived from the oils or other chemical components to be found in their tissue.


Herbs come in all shapes and sizes, from bulbs and perennials to woody trees and shrubs. Many are scented plants; all provide something which is useful, for example, in cooking, cosmetics, craft, pest control, or medicinally. Herbs are often grown by themselves as a "special herb garden", though there is no real reason why they can't be mixed in with other plants throughout the garden. Many people grow herbs in containers, as tub plants or baskets, kept on a patio, in a window box or even as indoor plants. Whatever way you choose, growing herbs will add a new and exciting dimension to your gardening. Even old hands at herb gardening continue to be amazed by the diversity of herb varieties and their uses. Buy and try a few today, and surprise yourself.


Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Herbs
    • Indentying Herbs
    • General characteristics of herb plants
    • History of herbs
    • Herb resources (nurseries, seeds, clubs, etc).
  2. Herb Gardening Methods
    • Planting
    • Propagating Herbs
    • Soils
    • Ferilisers and nutrition
    • Growing herbs in containers.
  3. Landscaping and Companion Planting
    • Introduction
    • Companion Planting
    • Herb garden design.
  4. Growing Herbs to Harvest
    • Herb products
    • Setting up a herb farm
    • Making compost.
  5. Herbs for Cooking
    • Herb crafts
    • Herb ingredients
    • Cooking with herbs.
  6. Herbs for fragrance
    • Health and beauty
    • Dyes, mordants
    • Oils
    • Other herb crafts


  • Define “herb”
  • Identify herbs suitable for hanging baskets, indoor growing, and appropriate methods of propagation for at least 50 herb species
  • Understand “companion planting”
  • Give examples of appropriate landscaping with herbs
  • Propagate and grow herbs in the garden
  • Build an efficient compost heap
  • Identify appropriate herbs for culinary uses
  • Identify some medicinal uses for herbs

What You Will Do

  • Collect and identify 30 different herb specimens
  • Learn the basics of plant identification
  • Make contact with herb farms to ask about their operation
  • Propagate herbs by cuttings
  • Prepare a soil suitable for growing herbs
  • Design and plant a herb garden
  • Visit retailers to investigate the types of herb products available
  • Prepare food containing herbs
  • Harvest and dry a herb correctly
  • Use herbs in other ways in crafts, cooking, etc.

How Can Herbs Be Used?

Herbs are quite versatile and can be grown in a variety of situations. These include:
    Where Do you Get Your Plants

    Your herb garden can be grown from division, seed or cuttings,or else purchased in pots. They can be readily purchased in small or larger pots, however most herbs grow so fast that smaller pots are generally the most economical means of buying most types.

    Large pots are usually better for the slower growing woody herbs such as Rosemary, Lavender, Bay Tree and so on.
    When purchasing your plants make sure the foliage is lush and healthy and that there is no sign of pest or disease attack
    Member of the International Herb Association since 1988

    UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

    Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

    Accredited ACS Global Partner

    ACS Distance Education is a member of the Australian Garden Council, Our Principal John Mason is a board member of the Australian Garden Council

    ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

    Member of the Permaculture Association

    Member of Study Gold Coast

    Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

    Recognised since 1999 by IARC

    Course Contributors

    The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

    Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

    Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
    In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

    Maggi Brown

    Maggi is the classic UK "plantswoman". She can identify thousands of plants, and maintains her own homes and gardens in the Cotswolds (England), and near Beziers (in Southern France). Maggi is regarded as a leading organics expert across the UK, having w

    John Mason (Horticulturist)

    Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
    Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
    He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and edito

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