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Arid Plant Collections Supervisor

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America Req #230
Friday, March 10, 2023

Summary: Performs supervisory duties associated with design, maintenance and care of arid plant displays and collections.  Responsible for the conservatories arid plant collections; ensures the conservatories display the maximum amount of arid plant diversity relevant to the Garden’s mission and actively works on using the collections for ex-situ conservation.  Ensures the highest standards of quality for displays, plant health, plant database records and labeling associated to the collections.  Upholds a leadership role for Missouri Botanical Garden in arid plant collections among peer institutions.  Leads the arid plant collations team in researching and keeping cultivation information associated with the collections.   


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop a diverse and exceptional arid plant collection of the highest quality conforming to MBG’s collections policy.
  • Maintains collections and displays in assigned conservatory and greenhouse space.
  • Supervises a team of horticulturists and volunteers that develop and care for MBG’s arid plant collections, supervising daily work assignments. Coach and develop performance for success, create and maintain work schedules, review and approve time sheets.  Keeps accurate attendance records and completes annual performance evaluations and set goals.
  • Maintains the ideal greenhouse and conservatory growing environment including but not limited to; appropriate light levels, humidity, soil media, soil nutrients, water quality, identifies, treats pests and diseases.
  • Researches, creates, implements and modifies cultivation techniques to ensure optimum health and display quality of each taxon in the collections.
  • Ensures that all plant records associated to the arid plant collections are maintained to the highest standards according to MBG protocols and guidelines.
  • Works collaboratively with and provides information to MBG nursery staff to increase success in propagation and requests re-propagation as needed to maintain health of plant collections
  • Participates in field collecting nationally and internationally associated to the arid plant collections and where approved participates in capacity building activities in the field.
  • Develop and maintain conservatory landscape displays that are aesthetically pleasing and informative for the Desert House, Linnean House and Mediterranean House.
  • Follow and be mindful of all appropriate legal and ethical processes when acquiring plants for the Garden; oblige with national and international permits and regulations including Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • Provides information on expenses for inclusion into the divisional budget, ensures the conservatories run within approved budget; completes purchase orders and assigns time and material costs to suitable accounts.
  • Ensures that equipment and tools are maintained and submits maintenance requests to General Services larger items.
  • Performs tours and presents, as needed; responsible for interacting with the media (TV, Radio, Newspaper).
  • Ensures that all applicable safety standards are followed; adjusts work methods to reduce hazards.  Reports accidents and injuries immediately.
  • Displays knowledge and understanding of organizational policies, procedures.
  • Behaves and communicates in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork and cooperation, within our division and throughout the Garden, with co-workers, supervisors and managers, volunteers, visitors and employees.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities: Varies, between (2-5) employees (Horticulturists and Gardeners) and over twenty (20) volunteers.


  • Communication: Combines listening skills, verbal and written communication skills and visitor relation skills.
  • Collaboration: Incorporates teamwork, mutual respect, active engagement, cooperation and visitor focus. 
  • Accountability: Initiative to take ownership of responsibilities, the ability to prioritize and the working knowledge and skills to take action.
  • Problem Solving: Blends problem solving skills, judgement and decision making skills along with creativity and resourcefulness.
  • Stewardship: Merges the practical application of the Garden values and support for a positive organizational climate.


  • Minimum of (5) five years of practical, relevant work experience.
  • Minimum (3) years experience in personnel management including demonstrated abilities in staff support, coaching and development and conflict resolution.
  • Strong knowledge of and plantspersonship associated arid plants species.
  • Arid Plant cultivation and maintenance techniques.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing multiple landscaping operations.
  • Working knowledge of safe operation procedures for various types of landscape maintenance equipment.
  • Thorough understanding of different components and basic design requirements of automatic irrigation systems.
  • Working knowledge of budget development/management and forecasting.
  • Must possess and maintain valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to secure pesticide applicators license.
  • Proven ability to lead and direct the work of others to complete general projects
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively at all levels; must enjoy and feel comfortable interacting and working in close proximity to general public, in a safe and friendly manner, answering questions regarding horticulture collection.
  • Scheduling flexibility that allows working weekends and holidays as needed.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to all health and safety guidelines.
  • The requirements and duties listed are representative and not exhaustive of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.


  • B.S. degree in Horticulture, Biology, Botany and/or related field required.
  • M.S. degree preferred in Horticulture, Biology, Botany and/or related field.
  • An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered.

Computer Skills:
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Word, Excel, Outlook).
  • Solid Internet research skills.
  • Ability to use e-mail to communicate with Garden staff in order to answer questions and service their needs. 

Other Skills and Abilities: N/A

Language Skills: 

  • Ability to communicate effectively in English (verbal and written).
  • Ability to read and understand pesticide labels.        


Reasoning Ability: 

  • Requires ability to exercise independent judgment to apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to problem resolution.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations: 

  • Ability to possess and maintain valid driver’s and chauffeur’s licenses and a pesticide applicator’s license.
  • Other related certifications are a plus.

Physical Demands: 

  • Ability to lift and carry up to 80 lbs. (i.e., load, unload and move gardening supplies, medium to heavy weight tools and equipment).
  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights (i.e., climb ladders, etc.)
  • Hike several miles while carrying field collections gear
  • Must be able to work in high heat and humidity.
  • Requires standing, walking, bending, stooping and reaching for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to transport cumbersome potted plants and trays of varying weights.
  • Ability to safely navigate narrow greenhouse aisles.
  • Ability to wear Garden-issued Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Ability to utilize computer keyboard (typing).

Work Environment: 

  • Ability to work indoors in all weather conditions (i.e., humid conditions, temperatures over 100°F as well as temperatures below 0°F, in rain, snow and other inclement weather conditions as needed).
  • 80% or more of the workday is standing on feet while watering or maintaining plants.
  • Wet conditions much of the time as watering is frequent.
  • Comfortable working in immediate proximity to general public, in a safe and friendly manner, answering general questions regarding the Garden’s operations, events, facilities, etc.
The Garden is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our employees, volunteers and guests.  All staff are strongly encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccinations by hire date, and the Garden reserves the right to require future proof of current vaccination status, based on community health department guidelines.  When international travel is necessary for Garden business, staff must be able to obtain visas, vaccinations and immunizations for all countries where travel is required.  

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
Location on Google Maps
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America