Have a question about the Plant Care Facility?

Browse our FAQs or contact us for services or products. Our staff will be happy to assist you in setting up and maintaining your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a greenhouse project?

PCF users are asked to fill out a Project Request Form to initiate a greenhouse project. We ask for a minimum of 2 weeks notice, but every effort will be made to find the appropriate greenhouse space, obtain the necessary greenhouse supplies, and get the required soil for your project as soon as possible. Submit an on-line version of the Project Request Form. Space is only assigned as it becomes available. 

What is the charge for using greenhouse space?

The PCF Service Charges for space and associated services are based on the bench space assigned to a greenhouse project. The minimum charge is 0.69¢/square foot/month and covers the use of space and basic services. The maximum rate for full service which includes space, labor, and supplemental lighting is 0.94¢/sq ft/month. Soil and Storeroom supplies are charged separately per order/pickup.

An example of how these charges add up:

At the full service rate (94¢/sq ft/month), a 200 square foot room in the PSL greenhouse with the current bench arrangement will be charged $564/quarter.
Please note: Charges are calculated based on number of days the space is reserved and the level of services provided as elected by the greenhouse user (space is basic fee).

How do I get soil for my greenhouse, growth chamber, or laboratory project?

The PCF operates a full-service soil room to provide custom soil-based mixes. For soil-based mixes, you may choose from a selection of commonly used soil recipes or request a mix tailored to your specific needs after consultation with staff. Soil mixes normally require a 5 working day advance notice.

PCF stocks a selection of soilless mixes in the Storeroom PSL 1224. Fill out a Storeroom soil form at the time of each pickup. For soil mixes, you can fill out a paper soil order form outside the PCF Staff Office PSL 1312 or submit a Soil Mix Request Form

Please note: Soil charges are billed per order and added to your quarterly service charges.

Can I get supplies from the storeroom?

Yes, you can!  If renting space from the Plant Care Facility, you may use supplies on the left (west) side of storeroom only.  The section to the right is for Plant Biology staff and users exclusively.  Please do not use items from this side of room without obtaining prior permission from the Plant Biology Coordinator.

When using supplies from the PCF, complete the supply form at the time of pickup.  Accurately record all form information (PI, Class #, Date, Where will supplies be used?, Account #, Your name, Phone #, and Department) and quantity of items taken for billing purposes.  Please see this example of a completed supply form for your reference.

Invoices will be issued quarterly for supplies and soil which are charged a la carte.

Storeroom Hours of Operation:  Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4 pm (CLOSED following Campus Holiday Schedule)

What other services are available through the PCF staff and how do I request them?

The PCF Staff is available to assist with most activities in the greenhouse. Users are asked to submit a Project Request Form when initiating a greenhouse project. Subsequent changes to watering, fertilizing, planting schedule, control system settings, project dismantling, pest control, obtaining propagules and plant materials, etc., may be requested by contacting your Greenhouse Manager. You may also send a request to the PCF team by e-mail.

I need to get into the greenhouse at night and on weekends – how do I get keys?

Please submit the Key Request Form  to request greenhouse keys for lab members. Faculty/Staff authorization is required, allow at least 3-5 business days for the request to be processed. Email notifications will be sent out when the keys are ready for pickup and if there are any delays you will be notified.

How do I get my greenhouse plants sprayed if necessary?

Pest control is a basic service included in the service charge for any PCF project. Users are requested to note special pest control requirements on the forms when they initiate a greenhouse project. Pest control will be carried out on an as-needed basis or after consulting the greenhouse user. Please feel free to contact our staff at any time during a greenhouse project to discuss pest control options.

A note on greenhouse chemical applications: In the PCF greenhouses, pesticides and other greenhouse chemicals are commonly applied by the PCF staff. Greenhouse users who need to do their own chemical applications must have the appropriate licenses from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. All applicable EPA Worker Protection Standard (WPS) guidelines (wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, posting approved warning signs, keeping and posting chemical application records, etc.) must also be followed. If you have any questions about licensing requirements or the WPS, please contact the PCF staff.

Are personal plants allowed to be grown or housed in the Place Care Facility?

No. The Plant Care Facility is for the purpose of conducting plant and insect research or for the rearing of plant material for University courses or other educational purposes.

Where do I find SDSs for chemicals used in the greenhouse?

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the PCF are available at the WPS Central Location in the main hallway opposite 1312 PSL. WPS required safety information is also posted in this area.

Where do I dump my plants and soil from my project when I’m done with them?

Please note that when you dispose of any greenhouse refuse that is unregulated and/or non-transgenic, the soil and plant material needs to be disposed of separately from other trash (plastic pots, clay pots, paper, wood, etc.). Separate containers labeled  ‘Soil or Plant Material Only!’ or ‘Trash Only!’ are available throughout the greenhouses.

Containers should be emptied into the appropriate dumpster located on the north and south docks of the Plant Sciences Lab Building and south dock of the Turner Hall Greenhouses outside the freight elevator.

PSL and Turner Greenhouses have large autoclaves for destroying transgenic or regulated materials onsite. Greenhouse Users should bag up the regulated/transgenic material in autoclave bags which can be provided by PCF staff upon request. After the material is bagged, contact your Greenhouse Manager to schedule pickup for devitalization and disposal. 

If you need any assistance with cleaning up or sanitizing your greenhouse room, please ask your Greenhouse Manager.

Can I schedule a tour of the PCF greenhouses?

The PCF staff is available to give tours of the Greenhouse facility. Priority will be given to University classes and visiting scholar groups. Contact the PCF Assistant Director to learn more. 

Still have questions?

For any other questions or concerns about your project, give us a call, talk to your greenhouse manager in person at the staff office PSL 1312 or e-mail the PCF team! We’re here to help.