Unit of competency details

RTF2008A - Maintain indoor plants (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by AHCNSY204A - Maintain indoor plants09/Jun/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 10/Apr/2003


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050301 Horticulture  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050301 Horticulture  10/Apr/2003 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

This competency standard covers the process of maintaining interior plant displays in buildings and offices. Maintenance involves watering, feeding and other plant treatments necessary to maintain the health and appearance of indoor plants.

Indoor plant maintenance is usually performed under routine supervision with intermittent checking. Responsibility for some roles and co-ordination within a team may be required. Competency is demonstrated by the application of knowledge and skills to a range of plant maintenance tasks and roles usually within established enterprise guidelines.

Application of the Unit

Not applicable.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements and Performance Criteria 


Performance Criteria 


Prepare to maintain indoor plants


Workplace information  is interpreted and clarified with the supervisor.


Tools, equipment and materials  for maintenance activities are selected and prepared according to enterprise guidelines, and safe working practices are employed.


OHS hazards  relating to maintaining indoor plants and the growing environment are identified, risks assessed and reported to the supervisor.


Maintain the growing environment


Plants are accessed according to client requirements  and supervisors instructions.


Tools, equipment and materials are transported safely in accordance with access requirements, client and supervisors instructions.


Watering system is maintained and /or adjusted  where necessary according to enterprise guidelines.


Light meter readings are taken to ensure specified parameters  are maintained.


Condition of media  is checked according to supervisors instructions.


Containers and growing site are cleaned to ensure the aesthetic and hygiene standards of indoor plants are maintained.


Maintain indoor plants


Common problems  in indoor plants are recognised, and rectified and/or reported to the supervisor.


Treatments  are selected and applied to optimise plants health and appearance according to enterprise guidelines.


Water is applied  in the quantity and method specified by enterprise work procedures.


Plants are replaced when no longer at optimum health and appearance.


Complete indoor plant maintenance operations


Rubbish, litter and decaying material are removed from plants, pots and surrounds and cleaning procedures are performed according to enterprise guidelines.


Waste  is collected and disposed of, or recycled to minimise damage to the environment.


Tools and equipment are cleaned and stored according to enterprise work procedures.


Workplace information is recorded  in the appropriate format.

Required Skills and Knowledge

Not applicable.

Evidence Guide

What evidence is required to demonstrate competence for this standard as a whole ?

Competence in maintaining indoor plants requires evidence that the feeding, watering, cleaning, pruning, and treatment needs of indoor pot plants and displays can be met.

The skills and knowledge required to maintain indoor plants must be transferable  to a different work environment. For example, if plants can be maintained in an atrium with high intensity natural light, it must also be evident that plant maintenance can be undertaken in an office with low light intensity.

What specific knowledge is needed to achieve the performance criteria ?

Knowledge and understanding are essential to apply this standard in the workplace, to transfer the skills to other contexts, and to deal with unplanned events. The knowledge requirements for this competency standard are listed below:
1. identification and characteristics of common indoor plants and their culture
2. growth requirements of indoor plants
3. light and moisture tolerance/intolerance for common indoor plant species
4. acclimatisation techniques for indoor plants
5. common problems that may occur with indoor plants and their treatment
6. operations and maintenance of a range of irrigation/subirrigation systems used for watering indoor plants/displays
7. methods of disposing of waste to minimise damage to the environment.

What specific skills are needed to achieve the performance criteria ?

To achieve the performance criteria, appropriate literacy and numeracy levels as well as some complementary skills are required. These include the ability to:
8. participate in teams and contribute to team objectives
9. interpret enterprise work procedures
10. communicate with clients, team members and supervisor
11. measure quantities and calculate application rates.

What processes should be applied to this competency standard ?

There are a number of processes that are learnt throughout work and life, which are required in all jobs. They are fundamental processes and generally transferable to other work functions. Some of these are covered by the key competencies , although others may be added. The questions below highlight how these processes are applied in this competency standard. Following each question a number in brackets indicates the level to which the key competency needs to be demonstrated where 0 = not required, 1 = perform the process, 2 = perform and administer the process and 3 = perform, administer and design the process.

1. How can communication of ideas and information  () be applied?

Ideas and information relating to indoor plant maintenance activities and problems encountered should be discussed with other members of the work team and the supervisor.

2. How can information be collected , analysed and organised  ()?

Enterprise work procedures, such as watering plan or nutrition schedule, should be consulted, interpreted and applied to coordinate indoor plant maintenance activities with further clarification sought from the supervisor where necessary.

3. How are activities planned and organised  ()?

Work activities for indoor plant maintenance routines may need to be organised around client requirements, and there may be some responsibility for coordinating work activities with other members of the work team.

4. How can team work  () be applied?

Indoor plant maintenance activities may involve working with other members of a team to complete operations within the daily work routine.

5. How can the use of mathematical ideas and techniques  () be applied?

Calibrating spray equipment and determining quantities and application rates for treatment of indoor plants will require mathematical application.

6. How can problem -solving skills  () be applied?

Problems relating to maintenance of the growing environment, the plants, treatments, watering, tools and equipment, workplace safety and other team members may arise during the maintenance of indoor plants.

7. How can the use of technology  () be applied?

Technology may be applied in the preparation, use and maintenance of horticultural and test equipment.

Are there other competency standards that could be assessed with this one ?

This competency standard could  be assessed on its own or in combination with other competencies relevant to the job function.

There is essential information about assessing this competency standard for consistent performance  and where and how it may be assessed , in the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package. All users of these competency standards must have access  to the Assessment Guidelines . Further advice may also be sought from the relevant sector booklet .

Range Statement

Range of Variables 

The Range of Variables explains the contexts within which the performance and knowledge requirements of this standard may be assessed. The scope of variables chosen in particular training and assessment requirements may depend on the work situations available

What workplace information  may be relevant when undertaking indoor plant maintenance activities?

Workplace information may include Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), specifications, work notes, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), manufacturers instructions, product labels, or verbal directions from the manager, supervisor, or senior operator.

What tools , equipment and materials  are likely to be used to maintain indoor plants?

Tools, equipment and materials may include secateurs, knives, dibblers, trolley, trowels, hand tools, hand sprayers, water spray containers, cleaning equipment, rubbish bins, plant supports, ties, growing media, plant nutrition, fertilisers and fungicides.

What OHS hazards  may be associated with maintaining indoor plants?

Hazards may include the use of a limited range of chemicals, sharp tools, and manual handling.

What access factors may influence client requirements ?

Access factors may include time constraints, parking restrictions, stairs and level changes, work areas, lift size, equipment needed, floor surface, furnishings and room use.

What adjustments and maintenance  may be required on watering systems?

Adjustments and maintenance may include altering flow rate and timing, repairing or replacing worn, leaking or blocked irrigation components.

What specified parameters  might apply to light meter readings?

Specified parameters that apply to selected indoor plants include low, medium and high light intensity.

How might media condition  be assessed?

Media condition may be assessed by visual inspection or touch to check if it is dry or water logged and for the presence of mould or fungus.

What common problems  associated with indoor plants may be encountered during plant maintenance activities?

Common problems may include dehydration or over watering, pests and diseases, nutrient deficiencies, low or high light intensity, pot-bound and deformed plants.

What treatments  are likely to be selected and applied to indoor plants?

Treatments may include the limited use of pesticides, fungicides, and fertiliser, removing weeds and dead material, and trimming, pruning or training.

What methods may be used to apply  water to indoor plants?

Watering methods may include irrigation, subirrigation, and hand watering and spraying.

What type of waste  may be collected?

Waste may include left over treatments, containers, and plant debris.

What workplace information is likely to be recorded ?

Records may include client details, plant identity, date and treatments applied.

For more information on contexts, environmental implications and variables for training and assessment, refer to the Sector Booklet.

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.