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Master Gardener Program

Learn about the St. Lucie County Extension Office Master Gardener Program:

What is a St. Lucie County Master Gardener?

An individual who completes a University of Florida/St. Lucie County Cooperative Extension specialized course in gardening in Florida. This person then provides educational leadership to the community in home gardening and landscaping. St. Lucie County Master Gardeners help Extension in fulfilling the educational outreach mission by:

  • staffing plant question phone lines
  • giving talks and presentations
  • manning displays at fairs and community events
  • organizing educational programs, plant sales and festivals
  • creating and maintaining demonstration gardens
  • promoting gardening experiences with children
  • and many other activities


Why become a St. Lucie County Master Gardener Volunteer?

As a Master Gardener, you can help to educate and advise home gardeners in your community. Many newcomers and inexperienced gardeners in Florida are in great need of gardening advice. Our informative training will give you the skills needed to diagnose plant problems and give you the confidence to share your expertise with others. You will have the opportunity to work with homemakers, school children, teachers, seniors, and others. You can develop public speaking skills or learn to use computers and other technologies. Being a Master Gardener volunteer is fun, interesting and rewarding.


The St. Lucie Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener program and training is conducted by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension in St. Lucie County. The training provides gardeners with the opportunity to improve their horticultural knowledge and skills and then share their experience with the public through organized volunteer activities.

Classes are taught by University of Florida Extension agents and other horticulture experts. The program covers the challenges specific to gardening in Florida. Some of topics covered include:

  • Basic Botany and Plant Identification
  • Plant Problem Diagnosis
  • Soils and Fertilizers
  • Lawns and Landscape Plants
  • Basic Entomology and Pest Management
  • Temperate and Tropical Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Plant Propagation and More!

The training is scheduled in the winter, beginning every January. Classes typically meet every Tuesday for a six-hour session, for 12 consecutive weeks. The cost is $175.00, which covers the cost of the Master Gardener materials. A 75-hour volunteer commitment is required within the 1st year. To apply, contact Kate O'Neill, Program Specialist for St. Lucie County, (772) 462-1660 or kasmi@ufl.edu.


Benefits of Being a Master Gardener

  • Basic Botany and Plant Identification
  •  Help to educate your community
  • Promote environmental responsibility through water conservation and least -  toxic pest control
  • Beautify Florida by teaching about appropriate plants for our climate
  • Work with some of the most talented and interesting gardeners in the area
  • Fun and friendship
  • Participate in team projects
  • Take on leadership roles



To become a certified Master Gardener, participants must complete the initial training class and donate 75 hours of volunteer service. There are a wide variety of service opportunities available ranging from answering gardening questions from the public, planning and conducting plant clinics and other educational opportunities for the public, working with school gardens, propagating plants for sales and community projects, etc,. To remain in the program after the first year a donation of 35 hours of service and 10 hours of continuing education are required every year thereafter to remain active.


Who Can Apply?

Anyone with an interest in horticulture can apply for the Master Gardener program. If you have an interest in improving your skills and knowledge and the desire to work with people, the Master Gardener program may be for you. There are frequently more applicants for this program than slots available. Selection is based on enthusiasm for volunteering, appetite for learning and appreciation for Florida gardening. After applying, potential applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.
For more information, contact us.