Layout of the greenhouse complex. Listing the Shade house, the hoop house the greenhouse and the head house

Tyler School of Art and Architecture Greenhouse Education and Research Complex

Benjamin Snyder
Greenhouse Horticulturist and Manager
(267) 468-8180

Main Greenhouse

Main Greenhouse

Constructed in 2000, our Main Greenhouse features 3,700 square feet of climate-controlled growing space for various projects, including faculty and student research, class projects, and plant forcing for our annual display at the Philadelphia Flower Show. This space also houses a large percentage of our permanent teaching and research plant collection.

The Main Greenhouse is the warmer of our two enclosed growing areas, with a minimum temperature of around 66°F. The growing space is divided into three bays, each controlled individually though our Wadsworth environmental control system.

This system uses data collected from an on-site weather station to efficiently operate the various heating, venting and cooling equipment to provide an ideal growing environment. 

Our Greenhouse features an automatic dual-purpose thermal blanket to increase our energy efficiency. This material is drawn across the roof area at nightfall and helps slow the escape of heat through the roof. It then reopens at daybreak to allow the sunlight in. This material is also used to shade the plants and reduce heat buildup during hot summer weather.

The Greenhouse also has the capability to capture and store rainwater from the 6,600 square feet of roof surface on the Greenhouse and Headhouse buildings. This water is stored in two underground cisterns with a combined holding capacity of 12,000 gallons and can be pumped into the Greenhouse for plant irrigation.

Headhouse Hallway


As part of the Main Greenhouse constructed in the year 2000, the Headhouse was constructed adjacent to the Greenhouse structure itself. This 2,900 square foot space serves multiple functions, including storage for horticultural materials, lab space for class use, and office space.

One of the main features of this room is a large walk-in floral cooler which is used by the Floral Design courses, as well as for the cold storage of seed.   

There is also a 72” display monitor that is available for class use. During non-class times, this display often shows a rotating slideshow of what is currently in bloom in the greenhouses and Arboretum, as well as graphs showing the current Greenhouse conditions.

A locked and vented chemical room is located in the rear of the space and is used for the safe storage of any fertilizers, pesticides, and plant growth hormones. These materials are used for researchers, class experiments, or for forcing plants for the Philadelphia Flower Show. rently in bloom in the greenhouses and Arboretum, as well as graphs showing the current Greenhouse conditions.

There are two office spaces located in the Headhouse – one is for the Greenhouse Horticulturist while the other is shared by the Arboretum Student Workers.

Research Garden

Research Garden

Originally laid out as a W. Atlee Burpee trial garden around the 1960s, this 1-acre fenced area has been home to many different staff, faculty, and student projects.

In the recent past, there was a section allotted to the Saunders Brothers Nursery’s National Boxwood Trials. As part of this trial, Temple University Horticulturists planted and evaluated numerous boxwood cultivars on their grower friendliness, impulse cosmetics, and also noting any peculiar or striking characteristics.

The John Paul Endicott Memorial Food Crops Garden is also located in this space. Every year during the Spring Semester, students in the Food Crops I class design, plan, and execute a planting schedule for this vegetable garden. Over the summer months, there is an internship program to pay for a student to maintain and harvest from the garden. All produce grown in this garden is donated to local food cupboards. In the 2017 season, we have donated over 1,000 pounds of fresh produce.

The Research Garden also contains our newly-planted fruit tree orchard, featuring apples, plums, and pears. There are also rows of thorn-less blackberries and ever-bearing red raspberries.

Another highlight of this area is the apiary. At any one time, there are 3 to 5 hives located in the one corner of the Research Garden. The hives are maintained during the Spring Semester by the beekeeping elective class who learns the basics of caring for the hives and harvesting the honey.

Shade House

Shade House

Built in 2013, the Shade House provides 1,500 square feet of enclosed growing space. The shade cloth reduces incoming solar radiation, preventing the overheating of plant containers which would lead to root death.

This multipurpose space is used for temporary holding of plant material destined for use in the gardens. A portion of our permanent collection (including the orchid collection) is also housed in this space over the warm summer months.

Faculty utilize this space as well for research projects, including one looking at the nectar content and hummingbird preference of different tropical Saliva species.

This area is also used for holding newly propagated plant material. Much of this material is produced by the Woody Plant Identification courses which spend a few labs learning the procedures of woody plant propagation. 

Hoop House

Hoop House

Renovated in 2015, our 1,500 square foot polyethylene-covered Hoop House is utilized for faculty projects, housing the permanent teaching collection, as well as plant forcing for our Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit.

This is the cooler of our two growing environments, with a low temperature between 55 and 60°F. This area also has the highest ceiling height of the two, making it the perfect place to force trees (up to 15’ tall) for our exhibits.

Course Use:

A wide variety of courses in the LA-Hort program use the Greenhouse facilities. These include Food Crops, Herbaceous Plants II, Plant Propagation, Greenhouse Management, Plant Physiology and Applied Plant Physiology, and Botany. Fundamentals of Horticulture, Applied Plant Pathology, and Applied Entomology courses often feature one or more special labs or fieldtrips to the Greenhouse and Arboretum.

Permanent Teaching Collection:

The Greenhouse staff maintains a wide range of tropical and subtropical plant species. These plants are utilized by various courses for plant identification, plant morphology and physiology experiments, as well as students and Campus faculty and staff who just need to see some greenery in the middle of winter. Within the 5,200ft2 of growing space, you can find plants from all over the globe, from deserts to rainforests. There are plants that have mutualistic relationships with ants (myrmecophytic plants) and ferns that float on water (Azolla). The collection also holds the plant species with the largest inflorescence in the world, the titan aurum, and the host plant (Tetrastigma) for the world’s largest flower, the parasitic Rafflesia.

Current collection statistics*:

  • Total Number of Taxa: 1601

  • Total Number of Plant Families Represented: 129

  • Total Number of Plant Genera Represented: 508

  • Total Number of Plant Species Represented: 1106

  • Total Number of Named Cultivars: 698

*Totals current as of 5/16/2021