New online landscape skills courses available from Penn State Extension

Penn State Extension recently launched two new online landscape skills courses: “Plant Identification and Usage: Plants for Green Infrastructure” and “Plant Identification and Usage: Annuals and Biennials.”

These courses are ideal for green industry professionals, including landscape contractors, landscape maintenance professionals and horticulturists. The courses can benefit people seeking employment in landscape design, installation and maintenance, and landscape businesses wanting to provide additional training for experienced employees.

Organizers of “Plant Identification and Usage: Plants for Green Infrastructure” explain that green infrastructure can help in managing stormwater and can create beautiful landscapes. Rain gardens and green roofs reduce the flow of stormwater, prevent flooding and keep pollutants from entering bodies of water.

The course will cover plants used in rain gardens and green roofs in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, the cultural requirements of plants for green infrastructure, and basic maintenance requirements for plants used in green infrastructure.

“Plant Identification and Usage: Annuals and Biennials” introduces participants to annual and biennial plants. Instructors note that these plants add color and visual interest to a landscape.

Participants will learn:

  • Key identification features of common annual and biennial plants in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
  • The cultural requirements, botanical names, and usage of annual and biennial plants.
  • Selection criteria for annual and biennial plants with resistance to common problems.
  • Basic maintenance requirements and timing.

Both courses are self-paced and use educational videos, images, short readings and knowledge-check questions. Registrants will gain access to the course for 365 days. Each course takes approximately three hours to complete.

Registration for “Plant Identification and Usage: Plants for Green Infrastructure” is $59 per person. “Plant Identification and Usage: Annuals and Biennials” costs $49 per person.

Each course qualifies for three Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist continuing education units.

More information about “Plants for Green Infrastructure” is available on the Penn State Extension website at, while information about the “Annuals and Biennials” course is available at

These courses were developed with support from the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association.