Conservation Propagator

Mt. Cuba Center’s mission is to inspire an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and a commitment to support the habitats that sustain them. Our team is comprised of professionals that value the importance of ecological horticulture and utilize their knowledge and skills to create healthier landscapes. We seek an experienced and passionate plant propagator to facilitate our native plant propagation program. This is a hands-on, collaborative position within our Conservation and Research Division. The Conservation Propagator works with a wide variety of native species and develops propagation protocols to share with the conservation community. The work focuses on rare and threatened species, supporting conservation projects onsite and with regional collaborators. This individual will also produce plants for our renowned Trial Garden and collections. The Conservation Propagator will begin work in our current greenhouses, but then transition to our state of the art, energy-neutral greenhouse facility once construction is completed later this year.


Position Summary

The Conservation Propagator is responsible for the propagation of all plants started at Mt. Cuba Center. This person schedules the activities necessary to process seeds, cuttings, and divisions. The Conservation Propagator works closely with the Greenhouse & Nursery Manager to create a schedule that produces plants in a timely manner for research, display, and other mission-based needs. This person manages the collection of all propagation data and develops protocols from the findings. The Conservation Propagator acts as a primary back-up to the Greenhouse & Nursery Manager to ensure continuity and effectiveness of operations. Rotational weekend and holiday work is required. This is a full-time, exempt, position.

Essential Functions:

Manage Propagation Programs

  • Scout and collect seed, cuttings, and divisions in garden for propagation program. Oversee germination and rooting procedures to produce required propagules on schedule. Manage propagules until they are transferred to the G&N Manager
  • Manage the propagation areas. Procure propagation supplies. Research, trial, and implement best propagation practices, and experiment with innovative procedures
  • Support MCCs wild collected plant initiatives. Monitor data management of wild collected species in the greenhouse through their entire life cycle
  • Research, develop, and publish propagation protocols, focusing on species of concern, species with industry interest, and potential plant introductions
  • Collaborate on plant conservation projects with local and regional colleagues to propagate rare species and support research
  • Manage propagation requests and accessioning in collaboration with the Curatorial Department
  • Assure propagation data integrity by applying rigorous data collection protocols

Effective Greenhouse Operations Management

  • Act as primary back-up to the G&N Manager to support effective greenhouse operations including facilities trouble-shooting processes, cross-training in production practices, and serving as supervisor in the event of extended absences of the G&N Manager
  • Support plant production with regular coverage of greenhouse areas as needed
  • Lead, guide, and train employees, interns, and/or volunteers performing related work

Lead Guest and Organizational Programs related to Propagation

  • Provide knowledge and guidance to support guest and organizational initiatives related to propagation
  • Develop industry contacts and represent MCC’s propagation efforts in public forums. Work collaboratively with the conservation community to identify projects and share research findings

 Program & Project Administration

  • Lead the planning and execution of propagation initiatives in alignment with Mt. Cuba Center’s mission and goals, including effective policy and procedural development
  • Collaborate with the G&N Manager and Director of Conservation and Research to develop research priorities


Minimum qualifications include a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture, botany, or a related plant science field and 5 years of propagation experience, or equivalent combination of education and work experience.

Baseline Knowledge & Skills: 

  • Sound working knowledge of plant identification, propagation techniques, and plant growth
  • Familiarity with curation practices
  • Skill in record keeping


  • Demonstrated ability in the propagation of native plants
  • Proficiency in researching propagation literature and applying findings
  • Ability to operate and maintain a wide range of tools safely and effectively
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and ability to learn and adapt to various software and technology to complete work duties
  • Ability to effectively fulfill organizational roles and build meaningful partnerships
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build strong personal relationships and persuasively communicate with Mt. Cuba Center staff and the public
  • Self-motivated, organized, attentive to details and the ability to manage time and effectively function without close supervision
  • Ability and willingness to work flexible hours including evenings, weekends, holidays, and special events as needed

Physical requirements: 

Requires moderate physical work; frequent/significant time spent standing; occasional time spent reaching, carrying, lifting, pushing, or pulling of objects up to 50 pounds.

The successful candidate must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An exception to the COVID vaccine requirement may be provided to individuals for religious or medical reasons.

Mt. Cuba Center is committed to diversity and inclusivity, and we encourage qualified candidates from all cultures and communities to apply. This is a full-time, benefits eligible position. We offer a competitive salary, comprehensive benefits package, and outstanding professional development opportunities.

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