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 Plant Science
Coordinator Doctor Robert Wiltshire
Available as student elective?
Delivered By Delivered wholly by the provider
Level Foundation


This unit is currently unavailable.


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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
12 Week Session Dec 29/11/2021 16/12/2021 10/1/2022 20/2/2022
Winter school (late) 21/6/2021 9/7/2021 2/8/2021 12/9/2021

* 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 2021 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2021 will be available from the 1st October 2020. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • The power of the scientific method in addressing questions.
  • Plant structure and function.
  • Plant taxonomy and identification.
  • Basic soil chemistry and biota, how to test your soil, and how to adjust it.
  • Factors influencing plant reproduction and 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
  • Available as a Commonwealth Supported Place
  • HECS-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility3
  • FEE-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility4

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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