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The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers working with plants on any scale of gardens and landscapes: urban, suburban, and rural; residential, commercial, and agricultural. Ideal for individuals interested in obtaining full-time employment within the field of commercial horticulture as well as for those presently working who seek further knowledge and advancement, the AAS degree offers two major options: a degree in Horticulture or a specialization in Landscape Design.

Horticulture Club & Program Plant Sale

The Horticulture Club and Program are excited to announce the return of the annual Winter Poinsettia Sale. This year there are 16 exciting varieties of poinsettia being grown in our one-of-a-kind campus greenhouse. With a wide range of colors from the sparkling speckles of Red Glitter to the striking variegation of Tapestry Red to the snowlike Alaska White, you are sure to find that one that suits your style. Sale dates are November 30th and December 2nd at the Loudoun Greenhouse from 11am to 6pm both dates

Program Details

Students are prepared for a wide range of careers working with plants on any scale of gardens and landscapes: urban, suburban, and rural; residential, commercial, and agricultural. Student knowledge and hands-on skills are developed in the program in the following areas: general horticulture and gardening practice, plant identification and botany, pruning, soil management, pest management, plant propagation, greenhouse production, landscape construction, plant pathology, plant nutrition, floral design, landscape design, landscape graphics, computer aided drafting, site analysis and more. Students gain this knowledge through peer-reviewed scientific literature, professional case studies, comprehensive lectures and projects, and through hands on laboratory demonstrations and procedures in our campus facilities and at numerous field sites throughout the region.

Attention Horticulture Program Students

The 2020-2021 Catalog Year Programs of Study have been published (https://catalog.nvcc.edu/) and involve some considerable changes and improvements to the required courses for both Horticulture AAS Degrees. The following is to serve as a quick guide to these changes:

  • Remember that you will automatically stay in your current declared Catalog Year Program and that you can still graduate under that program. You may elect to be enrolled in the new Catalog Year Program if desired.
  • The following courses are considered equivalent (in degree requirement not in content) in all Catalog Years (but a course substitution request will still need to be submitted with your advisor):
    • HRT 251 Site Engineering is equal to HRT 259 Arboriculture
    • HRT 252 Construction Drawings is equal to Any Approved HRT Elective
    • HRT 246 Herbaceous Plants is equal to HRT 201 Landscape Plants I
    • HRT 247 Indoor Plants is equal to HRT 202 Landscape Plants II
    • HRT 125 Chemicals in Horticulture is equal to CHM 101 or higher

(HRT 125, HRT 251, HRT 252 have been eliminated from the program, HRT 246 and HRT 247 have been replaced with HRT 201 and HRT 202)

  • In most cases, if you are close to completion, it makes sense to stay in your current (historic) Catalog Year Program.
  • If you have specific types of financial aid or are relatively new to the Horticulture Program, it might make sense to elect to the new Catalog Year. Please contact your Advisor or Horticulture Instructor for specific questions.

For Questions Contact: Anders Vidstrand (avidstrand@nvcc.edu)

The Horticulture Department hosts a monthly Horticulture Club Meeting, taking part in trips, discussing market trends, events for members, and student presentations. The Horticulture Club is also in the works of offering scholarships and have scholarships available from outside organizations.

Learn More: Hort Scholarships

Current Job Openings 

View Job Postings: Horticulture Jobs

5200 sq ft greenhouse, including a conservatory bay, propagation bay, and growing bay. The surrounding grounds are solely maintained by the Horticulture department. The department also has an array of construction equipment and a woodshop. There is also a Horticultural library and study lounge.

Anders Vidstrand

Program Head/Assistant Professor

Anders Vidstrand

Loudoun Science - 146
703.450.2614 / avidstrand@nvcc.edu

My life has been a continuing journey working more and more closely with plants. My original interest in horticulture and plant science began with growing edible plants and has since expanded to include all aspects of the plant kingdom but with a special interest in edible gardening (especially fruit), rare and unusual plants of all types, and trees and woody plants. I also value practices that are sustainable and align myself with the environmental and food justice movements. I have been teaching college-level horticulture classes since 2012 and began teaching at NOVA Horticulture full time in January 2018 after completing my MS in Horticulture from UC Davis in 2017 where I conducted research with USDA-ARS scientists in the National Plant Germplasm System (doing a phenotyping study of the National Prunus persica collection). I also have a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from UC Berkeley. I have worked professionally in the field of horticulture since 2005 (farming, USDA forest service, nursery management, public gardens management, horticulture and greenhouse technician, and as a small business owner). I have been studying horticulture since 2007 at the college level, and gardening since I ran over tomato hornworm caterpillars on my tricycle in my father's vegetable garden in the Mojave desert of California. My wife is from Maryland and we are now happy to be in the Chesapeake Bay region raising our twin daughters.

Susan Dickson

Assistant Professor/HS Outreach Coordinator


Loudoun Science - 148
703.948.5483 / sdickson@nvcc.edu

I grew up 10 minutes from Longwood and Winterthur Gardens and with such extraordinary inspiration, I couldn’t avoid becoming a horticulturist! Over the years I have sustained a deep commitment to horticulture as a greenhouse perennial plant production grower, garden designer, and horticulture educator. While working on my Masters of Science in Horticulture at Virginia Tech, I produced a manual titled “Designing Sustainable Landscapes for Small Towns.”

Many of my horticultural accomplishments and writings were widely recognized at my previous posts as horticulture manager at Keswick Hall and Woodberry Forest School near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Expertise and Teaching

  • HRT 100 Introduction to Horticulture
  • HRT 115 Plant Propagation
  • HRT 121 Greenhouse Production
  • HRT 201 & 202 Landscape Plants I &II
  • HRT 207 Plant Pest Management (Plant Health Care)
  • HRT 245 Woody Plants

I have an extensive background in production horticulture which has provided me with a wealth of hands-on experience that I apply in the classroom every day. Additionally, I am an ISA certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. I thrive in the practically-minded nature of the community college experience as I instruct and mentor my students.

In my free time, I enjoy searching for Big Trees, civic involvement with my church, dogs, photography, and hiking in as many National Parks as possible!

Education and Experience:

  • B.S. Plant Science, University of Delaware
  • M.S. Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and State University
  • Ivy Nursery, Ivy, VA
  • Eltzroth and Thompson Greenhouses, Charlottesville, VA
  • Keswick Hall and Club, Charlottesville, VA
  • J.W. Townsend Landscape Contractor, Charlottesville, VA
  • Adjunct Horticulture professor: Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA

Transfer Opportunities

In order to learn more about possible transfer opportunities associated with this program of study please visit here. Students interested in transferring should contact an advisor or counselor to further discuss their plans.

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning (CPL) generally refers to the process of granting college credit for learning gained in nontraditional ways, including but not limited to: certifications, AP or IB exams, military training, or life experience. For a list of CPL-eligible courses, see the Credit for Prior Learning Manual.

Program Degrees and Certificates


Career Prospects

Many students find permanent employment with employers for whom they worked in their cooperative education (internship) experience. Potential employers often contact NOVA regarding openings, allowing students to remain informed about career opportunities. The program has a Career Board were employers may post job opportunities and students may post their resume. Many part-time and full-time positions are filled every year in the private sector, often leading to supervisory or managerial opportunities. Graduates often accept positions in landscape design and operations, greenhouse management, turf and grounds management, fine gardening, tree care, public gardens, floral design and retail nursery and flower shop management.

Related Programs

Students in most degree and certificate programs could benefit from a Career Studies Certificate or courses from the business discipline.

Get Started

Want to get started with this program? Speak with an adviser to start shaping your educational journey at NOVA.

Contact an Advisor