Certified Retail HorticulturalistHow do I become a Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist?

Prior Industry Experience:
It is strongly recommended that candidates have at least 2,000 hours (1 year) of experience in a garden centre setting.

Testing Process:
The certification of an individual’s competency is accomplished through a series of written and hands-on evaluations.

  • Written exams are designed to measure an overall comprehension of the trade.
  • The written portion of the exam is usually taken just prior to the hands-on test and is 2 hours long.  All written portions are also usually offered by your provincial association at industry events.
  • The hands-on tests measure an individual’s level of competence through a series of stations.
  • The candidate is required to successfully perform specific tasks within a specified period of time in the presence of a qualified industry judge.
  • A minimum grade of 70% is required for all problems before certification status can be obtained.

A pre-evaluating orientation process is also available in most provinces.

Preparing for the Exam:
What help is there to prepare for the exams?

An actual test booklet is included in the exam registration fee, which describes testing stations. The Retail training manual can be purchased for $80.00. Some tutorials are available from participating provincial associations.

Candidates are encouraged to seek additional information sources or tutors for areas in which they are less experienced.

CNLA offers a Canadian landscape plants and flash card learning module. This is an online guide to 350 popular plants used in Canadian landscaping. This is an excellent resource to help prepare for Plant ID.  To access it, contact CNLA for login information and follow the link to the CNLA Plant Learning Module at the bottom of this page.

How to Take the Test:

  • Contact CNLA or your provincial association for information on exam dates, applications and study materials
  • Receive a study guide, plant list and description of the testing stations
  • Register for your region’s next test to start the certification process
  • Once certified, maintain your certification by continuing your horticultural training.
  • Enjoy your status as one of North America’s finest horticultural professionals.

Participating Associations 
(contact the one closest to you for related workshop dates)

Western Canada
BC Landscape Nursery Association P: 604-574-7772  F: 604-574-7773

Prairie Canada
Landscape Alberta  P: 780-489-1991  F: 780-444-2152

Central Canada
Landscape Ontario P: 905-875-1805  F: 905-875-3942

Atlantic Canada
Landscape Nova Scotia P: 902-463-0519  F: 902-463-6308
Landscape New Brunswick P: 866-752-6862  F: 866-595-5467
Landscape Newfoundland & Labrador P: 709-726-5651  F: 709-726-8441


Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist Exam Details


Written Evaluation
(2 hours total)

  • 100 multiple choice questions

Practical Stations

  • 35 min. Plant Identification
  • 35 min. Planting
  • 35 min. Pruning
  • 80 min. Plant Health
  • 35 min. Shipping & Receiving
  • 80 min. Merchandising
  • 35 min. Signage
  • 35 min. Point of Sale
  • 35 min. Service & Selling

Why Should You Hire A Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist?

The Landscape Industry Retail Horticulturist program is an internationally recognized, industry-developed program that sets and maintains standards for the landscape & retail garden centre industry.

By becoming a Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist, each individual has undergone a combined written and practical examination that tests knowledge, technical skills and safety practices.  A high level of excellence is required to pass each section of the exam, meaning that even the most experienced person must demonstrate ‘mastery’ of the topic areas.  Once certified, the individual must continue to upgrade their skills through a mandatory continuing education program.

So the next time you’re planning a landscape project, insist that they have Landscape Industry Certified individuals on staff, because they are more than qualified, they are certified.