Skip to content

Biosystems Research Complex

Greenhouse Operating Procedures (V1.5)

The Clemson University Greenhouse Complex is a support facility for basic and applied plant research housed in the Biosystems Research Complex. The facility contains over 40,000 square feet of greenhouse space and an approximately 16,000 square foot headhouse. The greenhouse facility is comprised of two ranges of greenhouses each aligned along a central corridor. Together the ranges contain:

  • 24 greenhouse 4-bench zones measuring 36’ x 36'
  • 8 greenhouse single-bench zones measuring 12' x 36’
  • 4 greenhouse 3-bench zones measuring 24' x 36'
  • 2 covered growing areas

The headhouse contains all of the support facilities for the greenhouse including:

  • Preparation area
  • Demonstration room
  • 4 Temperature controlled storage rooms
  • General laboratory
  • Containment Laboratory
  • 7 growth rooms
  • Shop
  • Pesticide and Fertilizer storage and mixing areas
  • Autoclaves
  • Emergency utility equipment


The Clemson University Greenhouse Complex is located on New Cherry Street and is part of the Biosystems Research Complex located just East of Newman Hall and the Poole Agricultural Sciences Building

Mailing Address:
Clemson University Biosystems Research Complex
105 Collings Street
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29631-0151
Phone: (864) 656-7063
Fax: (864) 656-6924

Technical Specifications

Each greenhouse section is individually controlled and monitored through the central Argus environmental control system. Adjustable environmental parameters include perimeter heat, under bench heat in the propagation sections, ventilation, evaporative cooling, supplemental lighting, shade screening/heat retention and a black cloth light control system. Archived data includes Greenhouse temperature and humidity monitoring, and outside environment monitoring.

The complex is completely utility self-sufficient with backup boilers and an electrical generator available during utility outages.

Hours of Operation

The normal working hours for the Greenhouse Complex are 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday.

Access to Greenhouse Complex is limited to authorized faculty, staff and students. Visitors must be accompanied at all times. Children must be under adult supervision and may not enter greenhouse sections under any circumstances.

Greenhouse Manager

  • Coordinates space assignments
  • Receives and reviews work requests
  • Coordinates facility repairs and maintenance
  • Coordinates ordering to maintain a stock of common supplies
  • Is responsible for supervision and training of greenhouse staff
  • Provides mandatory training for new greenhouse users
  • Assists faculty with development of research projects
  • Consults with other University operated greenhouses
  • Works with Greenhouse users and Staff to promote the successful operation of the Greenhouse Complex
  • Programs and monitors Greenhouse Environmental Control System
  • Maintains a database of environmental controls and conditions
  • Provides historical environmental data to Users per request
  • Adjusts Environmental Control System for optimum efficiency of operation

Greenhouse Users

The Clemson University Greenhouse Complex is available for use by University faculty, professional staff, or students. Users are responsible for the planning, implementation, maintenance and successful completion of projects conducted in Greenhouse facilities. Users should plan to interact frequently and directly with Greenhouse Manager. Faculty members are responsible for the organization and supervision of their students’ use of Complex facilities. All first time users of the Greenhouse Facilities are required to schedule an orientation covering Greenhouse Services, Greenhouse Policies and Procedures and participate in EPA mandated Worker Protection Standard Training

Responsibilities of Greenhouse Users:

  • Submit a request for space well in advance of the anticipated experimental start date
  • Obtain non-stock materials and supplies that are required
  • Submit written work requests to the Greenhouse Manager indicating any special requirements
  • Maintain their projects in a professional manner following accepted greenhouse standards for neatness and sanitation
  • Follow proper procedures for the termination of the project and cleanup


Fees effective July 1, 2018:

  • 36’ x 36’ greenhouse section: $250/month
  • 12’ x 36’ greenhouse sections: $100/month
  • 24’ x 36’ greenhouse sections: $200/month
  • Growth room: $130/month

Growth Rooms are available to University investigators on a first-come-first-served basis. Current rental fees are $130/month for 100 square foot growth rooms. The minimum rental period is six months with increments of 1 month after that.

Fees are assessed on a monthly basis. Account numbers to be charged need to be established before occupying any greenhouse/growth room. Fees accrue from the date the space is assigned.

Available Supplies and Services:

A supply of standard growing media and containers is provided as part of the Greenhouse fee. This includes various potting media, perlite, vermiculite, washed sand, lime, fertilizers, labels, and plant supports.  A stock supply of standard pots and flats is also maintained. Pesticides and Fungicides are available only to certified pesticide applicators. The above supplies are available only for plants grown at the Clemson University Greenhouse Complex. For supplies used outside the facility, the greenhouse management can assist you with the purchase of the materials. Supplies and materials not maintained as part of the common stock of the Greenhouse Complex will be the responsibility of the individual PI.

Greenhouse staff will program, monitor, maintain and adjust all environmental controls. Environmental data is recorded and will be retrieved when requested. Staff will assist in pest monitoring and making pesticide recommendations. Pesticide applications will be made only after receipt of a written request and instructions as part of the Request for Greenhouse Services Form. If no instructions are provided, pest management will be at the discretion of the Greenhouse Staff. Individual greenhouse users are responsible for maintaining their plants to include spacing, watering and fertilization. Periodic maintenance is the responsibility of the Greenhouse staff; however individual users are responsible for general sanitation and cleanliness of their sections.

Supplemental Equipment

Installation of any supplemental equipment must be approved by the BRC Director prior to installation. This does not apply to portable devices, but does include any equipment that requires fixed mounting or utility services.

Placement of large equipment that will remain in the facility for an extended period of time must be approved by the Greenhouse Advisory Committee.

No alterations may be made to the greenhouse structure or headhouse areas without prior approval. This includes removal of benches, making attachments to the greenhouse structure or disabling or modification of any of the greenhouse control systems.

Equipment and materials should not be stored in the greenhouse sections.


There is a mandatory safety training session that all personnel working in the greenhouse must complete. The Greenhouse Complex is considered a laboratory environment. Safety guidelines applicable in labs should be followed. That includes the wearing of closed toed shoes and use of eye protection where applicable.

Smoking is restricted in all areas of the Greenhouse Complex.

Plant Care

Once greenhouse space is assigned, the Users (researcher, graduate student or department technician) are responsible for all plant maintenance.  This includes watering, potting/re-potting, pruning, fertilizing, and insect /disease control (monitoring). It is important that a member of the research group be a licensed pesticide applicator if pesticides are to be User applied. It is the responsibility of the research group to maintain appropriate greenhouse sanitation and keep its area of the greenhouse clean.

Pest Control

Pesticides are normally applied by the individual user group unless otherwise requested and approved. Pesticide application preferences should be indicated on the Application for Greenhouse Services Form. Pest control will be at the discretion of the greenhouse staff for projects if no guidelines are provided.

Pesticide applications by Users are to be discussed in advance with the Greenhouse Staff.

Anyone applying pesticides in the greenhouses must have the appropriate Operator or Applicator licenses from the South Carolina Department of Pesticide Regulation. All applicable pesticide label instructions and EPA Worker Protection Standard (WPS) guidelines must also be followed. This includes applying the pesticide(s) correctly, using appropriate rates, and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, posting approved

warning signs and, recording and posting pesticide application information in the Greenhouse Pesticide Records.

EPA Worker Protection Standard Warning Signs and Pesticide Application Record Sheets are available from the Greenhouse staff.

Plant Material and Media Disposal

Greenhouse waste should be discarded outside the building. Plants, waste soil and media should be placed in the waste media bunker outside the headhouse. Please do not discard any non-biodegradable materials (pots, flats, labels, sticky tags) in the waste bunker. Those materials should be placed in the dumpster. Garbage cans should not be used for plant and soil disposal. Leaving plant materials in the greenhouse garbage cans may lead to the spread of insect and disease problems to other locations.

Transgenic Material

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Policy states:

“Research that involves the use of recombinant DNA, hazardous biological agents, use of chemicals with vertebrate animals, select agents/toxins,  or the construction or use of genetically engineered organisms requires review by the Clemson University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) .”

 It is the researcher's responsibility to:

  • obtain IBC approval according to the NIH Guidelines (Appendix P “Physical and Biological Containment for Recombinant DNA Research Involving Plants”),
  • obtain the required  authorizations from the institution and from the appropriate federal agency, if needed, for growing transgenic or transporting plants, and 
  • follow the proper containment level practices and procedures identified in the IBC protocol.

A notation of the use of transgenic organisms should be made on the Application for Greenhouses Services Form. All procedures shall be conducted in accordance with accepted Greenhouse practices that are appropriate to the experimental organisms. An inventory of the plant material is required as well as a record of the experiments currently in progress. All transgenic plants, soil and pots must be sterilized before discarding using the autoclave located in the Greenhouse.

It is the Principal Investigator (PIs) responsibility to immediately report any Greenhouse accidents involving the inadvertent release or spill of microorganisms to the following:

  • Greenhouse/BRC Director
  • Director of  EHS 
  • Director of Office of Research Compliance.

Any questions should be directed to the Director of EHS at 864-656-1806

Project Requests and Space Allocations

An Application for Greenhouse Services Form should be completed and submitted to the BRC Director at least two weeks prior to the initiation of a project. Greenhouse users are encouraged to discuss options available for projects with the Greenhouse Staff and are also asked to suggest appropriate space for the project.

The request will be:

  • Reviewed and approved with the specific space assigned and availability of that space
  • Reviewed and returned for further information or clarification
  • Rejected with an explanation for the decision. A written appeal may be submitted to the Greenhouse Advisory Committee

Greenhouse space will not be permanently assigned.


Once greenhouse space is assigned, keys will be issued. Keys should be returned immediately upon completion of the project. After-hours and weekend access is limited thru the electronically locked door into the headhouse. A list of individuals requiring after-hours access should noted as part of the request for services. Anyone authorized after-hours access is responsible for building security. All outside doors, corridor access doors and support area doors are to remain locked except during normal working hours.

Use of Greenhouse Support Facilities

Mist facilities

Two greenhouse sections (GH 101 and GH 102) are designed for mist propagation.  These sections have both timed misting and under bench heat. Parameters for each of two zones within the section are shown on the bench and at the entrance door. Only Greenhouse Staff are authorized to make alterations to these parameters.

Placement of materials under mist requires an Application for Greenhouse Services Form. If plants are scheduled for movement into another section following propagation, there is no need to complete additional forms. That move should however appear on the initial request.

All materials placed in the propagation rooms must be properly labeled and dated.

Pesticide Spray Chamber

A specialized pesticide spray containment chamber is available for use in greenhouse. Please see the greenhouse staff prior to using and to obtain dilution bottles and instructions. Special care cleaning and waste disposal should be made following use.

Headhouse demonstration room

The demonstration room in the headhouse (room H101) is not intended for use as a general use classroom. Only classes with requirements for greenhouse space will be permitted to schedule use of this area.

Greenhouse autoclaves

Two autoclaves are available for use in the headhouse for sterilization. Autoclave bags and closures are available in the pesticide storage room (H107). Only individuals who have received proper instruction on operation and maintenance are allowed to operate autoclaves. It is the responsibility of the user to remove autoclaved material and disposed of it properly. Users must fill out the autoclave log sheet for each use.

Cold Storage, Freezer and Refrigerator Space

Four walk-in cold storage rooms are located at the west-end of the headhouse. The use of these rooms is scheduled by the BRC Director. Changes in temperature settings must be approved by the BRC Director. All items stored in these locations must be clearly labeled with the user’s name, office phone number and dated. Unlabeled materials will be discarded. Storage of food and drinks are prohibited.

Storage Areas and Pesticide Storage

A limited amount of storage is available in the headhouse. Greenhouse sections should not be used for storage of large items. Small items used on a daily basis may be stored in watertight containers in the greenhouse. Nothing should be placed on the perimeter heat coverings located along the walls of the greenhouse sections or in the greenhouse corridors.

Pesticide and fertilizer storage and mixing rooms are located in the headhouse (room H107). All undiluted pesticides and fertilizers should be stored in these areas. Please refer to Pesticide Safety Guidelines for specific details regarding pesticide use.

Employee Restrooms and Showers

Greenhouse staff has priority for locker and shower use. Available lockers are assigned by the Greenhouse Director. Lockers should be clearly labeled with the user’s name.

Biosystems Research Complex
Biosystems Research Complex | 105 Collings Street Clemson University Clemson, SC 29634-0310