Courses & Units

Science of Gardening KPZ001


In this unit, we are going to explore the science underlying what you do in your garden, why your plants respond to your gardening, and how plants grow and reproduce. What we hope that you will gain, is a much clearer understanding of the fundamentals:

•how to identify plants - what the critical features are that enable you to recognise some of the more common plant families

•how plants grow - the relationship between the internal structure of plants and their use of water and light to grow

•what plants need from the soil – what are the properties of soil and its inhabitants that contribute to healthy growth of plants?

•how plants know when to grow – what are the signals that tell the plants when to germinate, when to flower, when to burst leaf buds and when to shed their leaves?

•how plants know ‘how’ to grow – what are the underlying controls that shape plants? How do plants respond to pruning, to espaliering, to cutting back and deadheading? and lastly

•how do we multiply plants – how does vegetative propagation work? How does grafting work? What are the differences between heirloom varieties and F1 seed? Why do some apple varieties need cross-pollination but others don’t, and why don’t fruit trees breed true from seed?

And perhaps even more importantly, we hope that you will gain an appreciation of the role of science in testing gardening lore, to dispel myths, and to learn more about the plants that make our lives possible and more enjoyable.


Unit name Science of Gardening
Unit code KPZ001
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Biological Sciences
Coordinator Doctor Robert Wiltshire
Available as an elective? No
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Foundation


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Online Winter school (late) Off-Campus International Domestic
Online 12 Week Session Dec Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
12 Week Session Dec 27/11/2023 14/12/2023 8/1/2024 18/2/2024
Winter school (late) 19/6/2023 7/7/2023 31/7/2023 10/9/2023

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2023 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2023 will be available from the 1st October 2022. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply the scientific method to investigate problems
  • Explain how plant growth and development responds to environmental conditions
  • Identify unknown plants through key characteristics
  • Develop skills to test and adjust soil characteristics
  • Describe the roles of different methods of plant propagation
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
010903 $993.00 $993.00 not applicable $2,354.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.


Teaching Pattern

There are no tutorial requirements for this unit.

AssessmentQuizzes (x6) (60%)|Report (10%)|Experimental Design (20%)|Assignment (10%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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