Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Department of Horticultural Sciences

​​What is Horticultural Science?

Horticulture is the science, technology and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use – from a garden to the activities of a multinational corporation. It is very diverse in its activities, covering plants for food and non-food crops. Because of the growing consciousness of the enormous challenges of feeding the world's expanding population in future, the concepts "farm to the fork" and "farm for the future" are extremely important. Both concepts place the emphasis on the sustainable use of our natural resources to produce tasty and nourishing products at the lowest possible cost with the least amount of waste.

The Department of Horticultural Science​

From the inception of the Department of Horticultural Science in 1918 teaching and research have been mainly focused on production methods of suitable deciduous fruit cultivars for the South African fruit industry. From the start interaction with and support for the industry were emphasised, remaining to this day a cornerstone of the Department's activities, especially because it finds itself in the heart of the RSA's horticultural industry. The Department is extremely proud of the fact that it was involved in the training of almost all the horticulturalists whose expertise and knowledge underpin the different aspects of the industry – fruit (apples, pears, stone fruit such as plums and peaches, citrus products, as well as olives, pomegranates, figs, nuts and berries) as well as cut flowers.  Its mission is to develop, test and improve technologies for the enhancement of pre- and postharvest fruit and cut-flower quality; to introduce and transfer the developed technologies to growers and other horticultural companies for commercial implementation; and to supply skilled manpower to the horticultural industry by delivering graduates from designated groups, as well as five to eight postgraduate students annually.​

Programme information

Undergraduate programme

BScAgric (Plant and Soil Sciences)

The four-year program in plant and soil sciences offers training in the production of agricultural and vegetable crops, fodder crops, aromatic plants, deciduous fruit, citrus, fynbos and vineyards. For each crop, knowledge of the following is integrated into a meaningful whole: agricultural economics, biochemistry, biometrics, crop production, entomology, genetics, nematology, plant pathology and soil science.

The program is subdivided into 3 fields of study:

  • Crop Productions: In this field of study, you will receive training in the production and quality management including field crops, deciduous fruit, citrus, fynbos, vineyard and greenhouse crops.
  • Crop Protection and Breeding: This field of study trains you as an expert in crop protection (entomological and nematological pests, plant diseases and their control) and genetic crop improvement (cultivation and manipulation).
  • Soil and Water Management:  This field of study equips you with the expertise to understand the nature, importance and management of soil and water as they relate to crop production. 


Opting for study in one of these three fields prepares you for a variety of careers in the agriculture industry or agriculture-related industries, including careers such as adviser, consultant, entrepreneur, manager, technician and researcher. 


Postgraduate programme​






During the last decade or so research facilities in the laboratories as well as in the field have been vastly improved. Starting with the development of carbohydrate and plant-growth regulator laboratories, and leading to the acquisition of modern equipment for post-harvest and eco-physiological research, the Department is now well positioned for world-class research and training. Today it is firmly positioned to conduct dynamic research in the deciduous fruit and citrus industries, providing value-adding technology for industry partners aimed at increasing their global competitiveness and profitability.

The Department conducts dynamic research for the deciduous fruit, citrus, ornamental cut flower and potted plants industries, providing value-adding technology for industry partners and lending support to new horticultural industries focusing on alternative crop production.

The established export-focused soft fruit, citrus and fynbos industries play an important role in the economy of the Western Cape and of South Africa as a whole. Research is focused on continually improving the enormous potential for the expansion of these industries and the growth of new alternative industries in the Western Cape, but also elsewhere in Southern Africa. ​

Contact Details​

Department of Horticultural Science

Faculty of AgriSciences

Private Bag X1, 7602 Matieland, South Africa​

Tel +27 21 808 4900                    Fax +27 21 808 2121

E-mail:​              Web:

Staff ​

​​​Academic Staff


Dr Paul Cronje021 808 Post-harvest Physiology
Dr Elke Crouch021 808 Fruit Post-harvest Physiology
Dr Malcolm Dodd021 808 Physiology
Dr Lynn Hoffman021 808 and Cut-flower Production and Post-harvest Physiology
Dr Marius Huysamer021 808 Physiology
Prof Gerard Jacobs021 808 Production and Post-harvest Physiology
Dr Mariana Jooste021 808 Fruit Post-harvest Physiology
​Dr Esme Louw​021 808​Plant Physiology
Dr Elmi Lötze021 808 Fruit Quality
Prof Linus Opara021 808 technology
Dr Michael Schmeisser021 808 Ecophysiology and Stress Physiology
Dr Wiehahn Steyn021 808 Physiology
Prof Karen Theron021 808 Physiology, Chairperson


Technical & Support Staff​​


Van, voorletters (noemnaam)Tel.E-pos
Nazneen Ebrahim021 808 
Tikkie Groenewald021 808 
Gustav Lötze021 808 
Maria Ntunzi021 808 
Carin Pienaar021 808 
Sandy Turketti021 808 
Dr Elizabeth Rohwer021 808 
Andre Swartz021 808 
Willem van Kerwel021 808 ​