Horticulture Internships 2021

The mission of the U.S. National Arboretum is to enhance the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental plants through research, conservation, and display. Horticulture interns work in one or more of Arboretum’s gardens or collections. An internship project, which is presented to staff, volunteers, and stakeholders at the end of the internship, is required. In addition, interns participate in professional development opportunities and educational field trips.

Intern by pond


Interns are supervised by the National Arboretum’s curators and horticulturists. Internships are 3-6 months long and are anticipated to begin in April or May, 2021. All internships are paid positions by either an hourly wage or stipend, depending upon the position. College credit may be arranged by the student and is encouraged.

Intern with cuttings


Applicants need to have either completed course work or have acquired practical experience in horticulture or a related field. Basic gardening skills, interest in plants, and the ability to work independently are essential.

Duties & Working Conditions

Interns will be responsible for the typical duties of working in a public garden by assisting staff in the development and maintenance of the plant germplasm collections. Duties include general gardening tasks that provide proper environmental conditions which includes watering, mowing, mulching, and weeding. Assists staff with updating records and labels of plants in collections. Internships will involve heavy lifting, repetitive tasks, and exposure to extreme heat and humidity.

Interns will be assigned to one or more of the following areas:

  • Asian Collections featuring plants collected from the rich floras of China, Japan, and Korea.
  • Azalea Collection featuring cultivated azaleas in a wooded setting.
  • Boxwood Collection one of the most complete collections of boxwood in the world.
  • Conifer Collection highlighting hundreds of varieties of conifers.
  • Dogwood Collection featuring more than 100 varieties and species of Cornus in a naturalistic setting.
  • Fern Valley Native Plant Collection featuring plants native to Eastern USA in woodland and meadow settings.
  • Friendship Garden an innovative landscape that includes woody plants, perennials, ornamental grasses, and bulbs designed for year-round interest.
  • National Herb Garden the largest designed herb garden in the nation that includes annual, perennial, and woody herbal plants. This internship may start in early spring.
  • Introduction Garden displaying new plants to the gardening public, including new National Arboretum introductions.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter stating your educational goals and horticulture interests, resume, references, and transcripts (unofficial are acceptable) via email to USNA.Internships@ars.usda.gov.

Questions? Contact the internship office at (202) 245-4563 or USNA.Internships@ars.usda.gov.