Moody said the industry's image was recovering following "excellent" campaigns by the RHS and other horticulture bodies but he expected it to take at least a year for applications in horticulture to pick up significantly.
Hadlow College representative Pat Crawford said increases in tuition fees have hit applications, adding: "There is still a tremendous ignorance about horticulture in the general public."
Capel Manor chief executive Steve Dowbiggin said the focus on attracting young people to horticulture was "great" but risked marginalising career changers and adults.
Further education loans have been introduced this year after the Government removed all funding for level 3 and above qualifications for over 24s. This has hit the number of adults applying.
Both Hadlow College and Landex said there was a higher number of apprenticeships on offer.