Admissions to Hadlow have risen by 17 per cent in further education and 24 per cent in higher education in the past year, fuelled by interest in sustainability and fruit growing, according to a representative.
"Five years ago it was a failing institution," she said. "Now, thanks to a huge effort and management change, it aims to become number one in the country."
The £55m plans, funded by the Learning & Skills Council and via long-term loans, will be phased over the next two years. The first phase involves redeveloping the Victorian Garrad House to house the college's central operations facilities, and constructing a sustainably built animal-management unit.
The second phase, to be carried out next year, will replace the majority of the 1960s buildings with new facilities for teaching and accommodation. The Mottingham campus, home to garden design and horticulture departments, will also be substantially redeveloped.
The third phase - work on the nursery and landscape design school - is due at the end of 2009.