Plant Production Aide- Temporary

Lisle, IL
Part Time

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned nonprofit botanic garden dedicated to the study, growth, and conservation of trees both in the Chicago region and worldwide. We are seeking a highly motivated individual to join our Plant Production Team to aid in the propagation and growth of plants for the Arboretum collections, landscapes, gardens, annual plant sale, plant breeding as well as research programs.  In our work at the Arboretum, we strive to be inclusive, work together, and keep learning so that we can make the Arboretum exceptional. 

Position Summary:  Assist the plant production staff in propagation, culture, and production of plants, and with the maintenance and development of the nurseries. 

Essential Functions:

  • Maintain proper cultural conditions for plants in production, including watering, fertilizing, pruning, and weed control, in the greenhouses, nurseries and outdoor-container areas.
  • Assist with plant propagation and the collection and distribution of propagules. Transplant seedlings, plugs, and containerized plants.
  • Assist with the maintenance of nurseries by performing the following duties: bed preparation, planting, digging, cultivating, mowing, and fence maintenance. Maintain and operate irrigation systems.
  • Provide turf mowing in nurseries and at plant production facility.
  • Assist with plant labeling and record keeping.
  • Assist with Members' Plant Sale; must be available to work the week and weekend of the event.
  • Assist with maintenance of plant production facilities and equipment, including plant container washing.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: High school diploma or equivalent required. Interest in growing woody and perennial plants, and in learning cultural techniques used in greenhouse and nursery production required. Previous horticultural work experience preferred. Ability to operate machinery and equipment used in nursery and greenhouse management. Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report. 

Success Factors: Strong attention to detail. Physical strength and stamina to perform tasks associated with nursery and greenhouse production. Ability to embrace and align with the organization’s employee core values to be inclusive, take ownership, work together, keep learning and make the Arboretum exceptional.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires regular amount of physical activity: some lifting and carrying (up to 60 lbs. assisted), bending, climbing (up to 8 ft.), pushing, pulling, standing or sitting for prolonged periods, walking, and kneeling. Sense of vision in the normal range with or without correction. Sense of touch and the ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment required.
  • Work Environment: Work is performed in a combination of indoors and outdoors, sometimes in hot greenhouse environments. 
  • Equipment: Typical plant care and growing equipment, greenhouse and environmental controls, hand and power tools, Arboretum pick-up truck and Cushman cart, commercial riding mower, and skid steer tractor.
  • Schedule: This is a temporary, 9-month position. Requires a minimum of three days per week, and up to four days per week from March through November, based on department need. Requires occasional weekends and holidays, collectively or in rotation with other employees to maintain plants in production facilities.

The hiring rate for this position is $17.00/hour


The Morton Arboretum is a champion for diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success. The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status. To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment. 

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If you have questions, please contact jobs@mortonarb.org