If you love gardening, should you invest in a greenhouse? I think so! Greenhouses provide many benefits to both beginner and expert gardeners. The real question is which greenhouse is best?
To help you make a smart decision, I put together this guide, where I review my top greenhouse picks, discuss why you need one, and explain what features are essential.
I also answer some common questions people ask about greenhouses so you can decide if buying or building one is best, what flooring to use, and which types are best for winter use. Once you read to the end, you’ll be ready to find the perfect greenhouse that will help all your plants thrive!
What I Look For In A Greenhouse:
|Assembly||Easy To Assemble/disassemble|
|Construction||Minimal Hardware And Tools Required|
5 Best Greenhouse Picks
Best For Walk-In For New Gardeners
ShelterLogic GrowIT Greenhouse-In-A-Box
Reasons To Buy
- Easy “lock-in” assembly helps keep framing square and secure
- Long auger-style anchors provide superior ground hold to prevent blowing
- Good ventilation with a mix of roll-up side panels and screen vents
- Thick ripstop cover prevents tears and filters harmful UV exposure on plants
- Powder-coat steel frame resists rust and peeling to remain looking new long-term
- Plenty of height to stand upright and space for plants
Reasons To Avoid
- Assembly instructions are hard to follow
- Seams on the cover can start to weaken after a year or two of exposure
The ShelterLogic GrowITGreenhouse-in-a-Box provides ample ventilation for growing a wide variety of plants.
I like that the triple-layer, translucent cover is waterproof and UV-treated on both sides. The heavy-gauge, powder-coated steel framing features patented stabilizers for an increase in strength, so the structure remains more stable.
On the downside, the assembly can be frustrating, and the sweeper won’t fit into tight areas. Even though the collection bin is large, it fills quickly. Expect plenty of stops to empty it if your lawn has lots of leaves.
I give the ShelterLogic GrowIT Greenhouse a top spot for the heavy-duty framing that you can adjust to tighten the fit of the cover. This model is best for homeowners who want the flexibility of a portable greenhouse that is large enough to handle a more extensive gardening hobby.
Best Portable Greenhouse
Quictent Portable Greenhouse
Reasons To Buy
- Super-quick assembly for use and break down for storage
- Handy doors make it easy to reach plants, and screen vents control moisture and heat levels
- Thick material for outer cover helps resist wear and tear
- Lightweight and easy to move to any section of garden
- Large enough to protect an ample amount of plants
Reasons To Avoid
- Not made for walking inside, only for a cover for shorter plants
- Need stronger, screw-in style stakes to keep it secure on windy days
The Quictent Popup Greenhouse is the perfect solution to quickly protect planter beds or containers or to get an early-season jump-starting seeds.
I like how this greenhouse pops open and then insert the fiberglass poles and secure it to the ground with stakes. The cover is heavy oxford cloth and clear PVC plastic, which is waterproof and provides UV protection. Zippered doors open on both sides, while screen windows can zip open or shut to control internal temperature.
On the downside, the height isn’t tall enough to stand inside. It’s also easier to group plants and set the greenhouse on top. The bottom of the door opening has a flap that interferes with the direct placement of plants.
The Quictent Pop-up Greenhouse is small but delivers on quality construction. This model is best for homeowners who practice raised-bed or container gardening and need convenient plant protection from pests or inclement weather.
Best Mini Walk-In
Nova Microdermabrasion Mini Walk-In Greenhouse
Reasons To Buy
- Easy no-tool assembly/disassembly, compact design, and portability lets you quickly move it where you need it
- 100-percent waterproof cover keeps out the rain, wind, and UV rays but allows in beneficial light so plants can flourish
- Walk-in design and convenient shelves makes tending to plants less of a strain
- Door can roll up during use then zipper shut to protect plants
- Affordable option for gardeners on a budget
Reasons To Avoid
- Framing wants to pull apart, so customers recommend extra reinforcement with tape or screws
- Included ground stakes can slip from ground
The Mini Walk-in Greenhouse is compact so that you can pop this up in any confined space yet garden without needing to stoop over.
I like the powder-coated metal framing that features two tiers of shelving on each side for pots, trays, and supplies. The waterproof plastic cover offers UV protection while allowing ample sunlight penetration. The zipper door rolls up for easy access.
On the downside, the interior space limits the number of plants you can grow. You should also expect to add additional bracing to the structure to help it withstand strong winds.
I make the Mini Walk-in Greenhouse a top choice because it’s a budget friendly option for homeowners who need temporary protection of plants for short spans or who are short on space for a larger structure.
Palram Mythos Hobby Greenhouse
Reasons To Buy
- Features like gutters, vents, rust-resistant framing, locking door handle, and UV filtering increase durability and function
- Super-tough polycarbonate panel cladding can withstand breakage
- 70-percent light penetration keeps plants safe from overexposure that can hinder healthy growth
- Twin wall roof and walls provide more insulation and stability for better climate control and wear
- Tall enough to stand inside while tending to plants
Reasons To Avoid
- Assembly takes a long time
- Needs extra bracing and ground stakes to withstand high winds
The Palram Mythos Hobby 6′ x 8′ x 7′ Greenhouse provides an abundance of value for the cost with its rust-resistant aluminum and galvanized steel framing, roof vent, locking door, and rain gutters.
I like the crack-resistant polycarbonate exterior, with twin walls for better insulation, and that filters out nearly all harmful UV rays. I also like the diffuse lighting the panels create, which bathes plants in a safe amount of illumination.
On the downside, this greenhouse lacks interior space. The name is apt since it’s most fitting for those who garden as a hobby and won’t work as well for more serious growers.
The Palram Mythos Hobby Greenhouse offers features not found on many greenhouses in this price range. This model is best for homeowners who only need enough space to start seedlings or grow a limited amount of plants.
Best Quality For Larger Budgets
NW Green Panels Large Walk-in Greenhouse
Reasons To Buy
- Crafted by hand and beautifully stained for instant visual appeal
- Cedar framing is strong and weather-resistant, even under the strain of heavy snowfall
- Adjustable Dutch door allows you to open the top to allow airflow
- 8-millimeter, dual-wall polycarbonate panels deliver ultimate durability and increased insulation
- Automatic venting system conveniently keeps the interior comfortable for both plants and humans
- Assembly instructions are easy to follow
Reasons To Avoid
- Very pricey initial investment
- Interior space may be too small for serious gardeners
The NW Green Panels 8’X8′ Walk-in Greenhouse is a stunner with solid cedar wood framing, thick polycarbonate cladding, and a Dutch-style door.
This greenhouse features ridge-line venting that is heat-activated, so you don’t need fans or electricity to keep the interior from overheating. The dual-wall, shatterproof polycarbonate exterior brings forth the perfect amount of light, while the 2×4 wood framing brings extreme stability and longevity.
On the downside, the quality materials and unique design come at a steep price, even if it will last for years.
The NW Green Panels Walk-in Greenhouse makes our list for its beauty and long-lasting, carefree design. This model is best for homeowners looking for a smaller yet permanent greenhouse that can hold up to any type of weather.
Do You Really Need A Greenhouse?
Here are all the reasons a greenhouse is worth the investment.
Protecting plants from harsh weather helps them grow strong and healthy all year. Greenhouses also provide a barrier against wildlife who love to nibble on new growth.
A greenhouse saves money by allowing you to propagate new greenhouse plants from ones you already own, protect plants from dying during drought or cold snaps, and lets you grow veggies all year.
Expands The Plant Varieties You Can Grow
A greenhouse allows you to plant varieties that don’t grow naturally in your region.
Palms, orchids, cacti, and heirloom varieties of vegetables are in reach when you can control the environment in which they grow.
Improves Mental Health
A greenhouse helps boost mental well-being by bringing warmth, light, and oxygen to those long, dreary days of winter and a lush escape during every other season.
Adds Landscaping Appeal
A well-designed greenhouse can bring a pleasing focal point to your homes’ landscaping which increases enjoyment and value.
Important Greenhouse Features To Consider
Let’s look at the things you need to watch out for before selecting a greenhouse, such as:
If you need the flexibility to move the greenhouse about your yard or taking it with you if you move, choose a style that is easy to deconstruct and rebuild.
Do be aware that most cold-frames only go so far to stand up against severe weather if not firmly secured to the ground or have a tough cladding material.
Traditional greenhouses are usually wood or steel framing with thick cladding that should withstand the elements for years. This style is often set on a foundation and remains in one place during its lifetime.
A greenhouse can be short and small so it can cover a few plants or be a huge conservatory design that houses full-grown trees.
Most homeowners install a greenhouse in the 8′ x 10′ to 16′ x 20′ range that is tall enough to walk in.
Remember that it’s wise always to get a greenhouse as big as space, and your budget allows since once you experience the benefits, you’ll want room for more plants.
Wood, plastic, steel, or aluminum are common greenhouse framing materials. Wood and steel are the strongest, while plastic or aluminum offer rust-free, lightweight portability.
Wood is a top choice for durability, visual appeal, and secure attachment of shelving or hooks for plants. Most commercial-grade greenhouses utilize steel framing.
Aluminum or plastic pipe framing can blow apart easier and need a lightweight plastic covering since they typically cannot support the weight of heavy glass cladding.
Clear glass and polycarbonate cladding are the most durable, bring in the most light, and create more heat.
Plastic material cladding tends to be slightly opaque, which reduces light penetration. Plastic covers can be flexible sheeting, rigid panels, or woven material.
Expect to replace plastic or woven sheeting every few years since it wears out quicker from exposure to the elements.
How well will the space function? Can you install secure shelving or hooks for plants? Can you stand upright? Is the door large enough to bring supplies in and out? Are vents easy to reach and operate?
Ask yourself these questions when greenhouse shopping to avoid frustration down the road when your space isn’t conducive to your gardening style.
Insulating And Strength Features
If you live in colder regions, look for a greenhouse with useful insulating features, such as a double or triple wall that retains heat better.
Another area of concern is the weight of snow that can accumulate on the roof and cause a cave-in if framing isn’t reliable.
Warmer regions can use a single-wall exterior but take into consideration that wind, hail, or falling branches could topple weak framing or damage the cladding.
Do Greenhouses Work In Winter?
Some greenhouses work better in winter than others to protect plants. A traditional style provides more protection and stability over a cold-frame greenhouse.
Greenhouses, by nature, have thin walls so that light can penetrate. The downside is that glass or plastic material provides little to no insulation against the cold, especially once the sun goes down.
If you live where winter temperatures drop to freezing or below often, you will need a fully-enclosed greenhouse with supplemental heating to keep plants alive.
In the southern US winters are mild. I use a cold-frame greenhouse with zip-up doors to keep plants safe from strong winds and the handful of freezing nights we may experience without the need for supplemental heating.
If sunlight is scarce during winter in your area, opt for glass or clear plastic on your greenhouse, which delivers the most light and warmth to your plants. You can also add LED, fluorescent, or HID lights during winter if necessary.
What Is The Best Floor For A Greenhouse?
The best flooring in a greenhouse is one that provides drainage yet doesn’t encourage the growth of weeds, mold, or fungi.
A few inches of pea gravel or small stones set over landscape fabric is a common choice. The material is easy to sanitize to keep mildew at bay or to discourage plant diseases.
Paver block is another fantastic choice, especially for a permanent greenhouse. This flooring drains well, is easy to clean, and provides solid footing for walking or plant shelving.
Cement blocks also absorb heat during the day and release it at night, which helps maintain warmer temperatures overnight.
You can leave the ground grass, dirt, or sand, but all tend to get messy. I suggest adding a rubber or plastic floor grid or mat to improve cleanliness if you plan to leave the greenhouse floor in a natural state.
WARNING: Avoid using mulch for flooring. While cheap, you can’t clean it, and fungi and bacteria grow readily in the wood, which could then spread to your plants.
Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A Greenhouse?
For those just starting, it is probably cheaper to buy a greenhouse and use it for a few years before considering upgrading to a larger size, a different style, or a permanent structure.
For under a few hundred dollars, you can test out a greenhouse and see how it fits your needs before investing the thousands of dollars it costs for the more complex greenhouses serious gardeners demand.
Depending on your carpentry skills and the style of greenhouse you desire, it may be cheaper to build one yourself, but not always. The bonus of a DIY greenhouse is that you can design it to your exact specifications. The reward of a greenhouse kit is that assembly is much quicker and requires fewer tools.
I suggest it’s most beneficial to buy a prefab kit from a greenhouse specialist or hire a contractor to construct a custom design that also meets local building codes.