Volunteers are essential to meeting the Garden’s mission of connecting people and plants. Join this community of plant lovers and contribute to the success of a beloved San Francisco institution.

Welcome, prospective volunteers!


Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Garden. In observance of the latest guidelines from local and state public health authorities, we have limited opportunities for volunteers. Please submit an application indicating your interest, and we will reach out when new opportunities are available.


Garden volunteers must:


After an application form is received, a short/informal interview in the garden will be scheduled. Volunteers will then be asked to:

  • Read and agree to follow the Garden’s volunteer policies and procedures as defined in our Volunteer Handbook.

  • Attend a docent-led garden tour.


Current Volunteer Opportunities

Green Team

  • Join a delightful group of dedicated volunteers who assist garden staff with collections maintenance- weeding, raking and mulching- on a regular basis. No experience necessary.
  • Requirements - Energetic, positive attitude, interest in physical activity. Able to follow instructions and collaborate with fellow volunteer.

Docents: Tours & Interpretation Stations

  • Join a community of lifelong learners and plant lovers! Docents lead visitors on 75-90 minute walking tours. Requirements – Attend docent training. Submit to a background check. Commit to leading 20 tours per year. Participate in continuing education opportunities. Trainings for new docents are offered in spring. The Spring 2021 training is full. Subscribe to the Leaflet, the Garden's e-newsletter for updates on future trainings.

Special Event Volunteers

  • Volunteers are essential for hosting special events in the Garden, assisting as greeters, check-in volunteers, set-up and breakdown, food service, and more. Requests for support and signup opportunities will be shared via email and posted here.
  • Requirements – Friendly, flexible, able to assist on evenings and weekends

Plant Detective

  • Teams of Plant Detectives (2-3 people) work with horticulture and plant collections staff to document plant locations, verify accuracy of plant information, and take photo documentation of the plants.
  • Requirements – Must be able to bend/kneel/squat in tight planting spaces and be able to nimbly walk into garden. Will use a smartphone or tablet to document plants. Meets weekly, 10am-2pm. Weekdays only.

Youth Education- Children's Walk Guide

  • Volunteer guides lead groups of 6 to 8 elementary age students and chaperones on a walk in the Garden. Walks are given year round, Tuesdays-Fridays, 10am-12pm.
  • Requirements – Complete Children's Guide training. Submit to a background check. Commit to leading at least 20 walks per year. Participate in continuing education opportunities.

Library Volunteer

  • Welcome visitors from around the world to our horticultural library. Library volunteers answer visitor questions and assist library staff with processing and maintenance of library collections.
  • Requirements: Weekly or biweekly shifts of 10am-1pm and 1-4pm, for a minimum of 6 months.


  • The bookstore volunteer is expected to welcome visitors in a friendly manner and assist customers in order to facilitate the sales of books, gift items and plants. Training provided.
  • Requirements: Regular shifts of 10am-1pm and 1-4pm, for a minimum of 6 months.

Learn more about how volunteers support the Garden below. Please note that volunteer needs fluctuate throughout the year.


Although the Garden is open to visitors, some volunteer programs will be on pause as the Garden responds to COVID-19 concerns.