Online Non-Credit Courses

Learn to identify commonly used plants on your own schedule!

NC State University Department of Horticultural Science is partnering with Longwood Gardens to provide a fully-online introduction to plant identification. These courses will introduce you to plants that are widely popular, and includes a few special plants from breeding programs by top horticulture institutions.

Critical identification characteristics and best uses in the landscape are taught using a variety of tools, including:

  • Photo stories
  • Video presentations
  • Online fact pages
  • E-book
  • Flash-cards
  • Vocabulary games
  • Hundreds of beautiful images

Additionally, there is a forum for students to communicate with the instructor, and with each other, allowing for a robust discussion with people from around the world to reinforce class topics. This multi-disciplinary approach to teaching makes the classes fun and effective, regardless of your learning type!

These are asynchronous, fully online, self-paced, non-credit courses.  You may participate anywhere that you have access to the internet.  You will have access to the course resources 24/7 for the entire 6 weeks of the class and for 6 months after the course ends.  There are no required presentations or any set times that you will need to meet online.

Each course counts as a 3-week elective towards Longwood Garden’s Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture and includes 4-month access to the living collection at Longwood Gardens. All you need is proof of course registration and you’ll have the opportunity to view these plants in our seasonal displays and permanent collection!


  • Access to the internet
  • Access to a computer or tablet.  While it is possible to complete much of the course on a mobile device, some of the course activities use Flash applications and will require a full web browser on a computer to complete.  The course was not designed for use on a mobile phone or other devices with a small screen.  A tablet or computer are required for an optimal experience.
  • Access to a digital camera (smartphone is fine) to take images to submit as a part of assignments.
  • Access to PowerPoint, Word, or other software that you can use to add labels to images.

Fees per Class:

  • $195 – General Public
  • DISCOUNTED Fees (when you add the course to your cart, it goes in at full price, you add the discount later, before you enter any payment information)
    • Current Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Extension Master Naturalist Volunteers:  $98  (Get the discount code from your county extension agent) EMGVs anywhere are eligible for the discount.  If your agent needs the code have them contact
    • Current Volunteers at JC Raulston Arboretum.  $98 (Get the discount code from Kathryn Wall).
    • Discount Codes must be in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
    • When you add the discount code, it shows the amount of the discount to be subtracted from the Course Fee of $195 – Not the amount you will pay.
  • In addition to the course fee, you may choose to purchase an optional print copy of the online eBook that is included with the course.  Book price varies so check for each course.
  • Register now for early access to some of the course material.

Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers: Identification and Use

Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers: Identification and Use
Explore the world of traditional woody plants including flowering trees, shrubs, and conifers by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Learn cultural information about these structural plantings and their use in the landscape.

This six-week online class will be offered:

  • July 8th – August 19, 2019:  REGISTER
  • September 9 – October 21, 2019:  REGISTER


Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants: Identification and Use

Explore the edible side of the landscape with an introduction to vegetables, fruits, and herbs by examining 45 plants that do well across the country.  Then extend your growing season by learning to identify and cultivate bulbs and houseplants.

This six-week online class will be offered:

  •  March 4 – April 12th, 2019     REGISTER
  • September 9 – October 21, 2019:  REGISTER

Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers: Identification and Use

This collection of plants will add a burst of color to your landscape with exciting textures and blooms by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Learn to recognize and use these garden favorites to enhance your landscape.

This six-week online class  will be offered:    

  •  March 4 – April 12th, 2019: REGISTER
  • July 8th – August 19, 2019:  REGISTER

Request an Invitation to Upcoming Classes

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Course Instructor

Preston Montague is an artist, landscape designer, and educator working to strengthen the relationship between people and their environment in the interest of improving public health. He has a bachelors degree in horticulture and a masters degree in landscape architecture. Preston believes distance education provides an opportunity to connect people to horticultural innovations that encourage human and environmental wellness. 

Preston MontaguePreston Montague
Extension Assistant
Department of Horticultural Science
68 Kilgore Hall, Campus Box 7609
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
Phone: (919)-515-7172

Contact Me
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