Purdue Master Gardener Program

What is the Purdue Master Gardener Program?

The Purdue Master Gardener Program is an integral part of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and provides the citizens of Indiana a chance to grow. The Program provides a learning framework for participants to increase their knowledge on a wide variety of horticultural subjects. In turn, participants volunteer, representing Purdue University. They "help others grow" by sharing knowledge while providing leadership and service in educational gardening activites within their communities.

The Master Gardener program was created in 1972 in Seattle, Washington in response to the overwhelming demand for home gardening information. The Indiana Master Gardener Program began in 1978 with 4 participating counties. Currently, over 70 Indiana counties have active Master Gardener programs as part of the newly renamed Purdue Master Gardener Program.

The purpose of the Purdue Master Gardener Program is to teach people more about growing plants and to more effectively extend information related to plants. Its specific aim is to provide information and technical assistance in the areas of gardening and home horticulture through the use of trained and certified volunteers.


Why Become a Purdue Master Gardener?

You can grow in several ways when you become a Purdue Master Gardener - the ways you grow and how far you go are up to you!

  • Increase your knowledge on a wide array of gardening subjects through a structured training program.
  • This increased knowledge will give you the skills - and the confidence - to teach others in your community, either one-on-one or in group settings.
  • Sharing your gardening knowledge with others will help improve the quality of life in your community.
  • If desired, use the leadership training and experience from your activities in the Purdue Master Gardener Program as a springboard to other forms of community leadership.


What Topics are Covered?

After acceptance into the Purdue Master Gardener Program, participants receive training in the following areas:

  • Plant Science
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Disease Diagnosis/Control
  • Insect Pest Diagnosis/Control
  • Weed Identification/Control
  • Pesticide Safety/Pesticide Alternatives
  • Wood Ornamentals (trees and shrubs)
  • Vegetables
  • Herbaceous Ornamentals (annual and perennial flowers)
  • Plant Propagation
  • Home Lawns
  • Animal Pests
  • Home Fruit Production


Home Do I Become a Purdue Master Gardener?

Complete an application form (available below or Contact the Purdue Extension - Vanderburgh County office) and return it to the Extension Office. Enrollment is limited.

After being accepted into a training session, you must attend a series of weekly classes, each lasting about 3 hours. While it is best if you attend all the classes, you may miss up to three and still complete the course. Training sessions are typically offered in the fall with a morning option and an evening option. Purdue University Extension county and state staff provide instruction free of charge. Materials and expenses for the training sessions are currently $100 per person.

Achieve the rank of Master Gardener Intern by completing the required training and passing the exam with 70% success.

Master Gardener Interns are required to volunteer, representing Purdue University, a minimum of 40 hours to be certified as a Purdue Master Gardener.


Purdue Master Gardener Program