One of the biggest reasons for investing in a greenhouse is the opportunity for year-around gardening. As you make the shift from seasonal gardener to evergreen horticulturist, there are many benefits to owning and maintaining a winter safehouse for your flowering plants, vegetables, and herbs. Greenhouses optimized for winter weather allow you to extend the growing season of thriving outdoor perennials while also getting a head start on seedlings for the new year.
Fortunately, winter-optimized greenhouses are readily available for the home gardener in a variety of sizes and price points. To make things even easier, we’ve selected six of the bestgreenhouse kits you can purchase on Amazon:
1. Double Garden Bed Cold Frame Mini-Greenhouse Plant Protector – 39 in by 39 in
Investing in your first “greenhouse” doesn’t have to be costly. This little box by Hanover might be the perfect fit for someone who is just getting started with winter gardening. Labeled as a “cold frame mini greenhouse,” the device transforms a portion of your outdoor garden into a personal “microclimate” for your most delicate plants. Whether you are merely wishing to lengthen your growing season beyond an initial frost or to preserve hibernating perennials during five-months of harsh winter, this greenhouse offers an affordable, low-maintenancesolution.
2. HC-4202 Walk-In Greenhouse – 4.5 ft by 6ft
Considered an “all season” greenhouse, this walk-in style structure by Home-Complete is constructed with the intension of lengthening your produce season. Though the greenhouseremains affordable and lightweight, the clear PVC covering is designed to protect young and fragile plants from frosts andsudden cold spells. This greenhouse also offers 8 complementary shelves to get your plants off the cold ground as well as plenty of additional room for storing equipment below. Customers have noted that this economical option withstands high winds and winter weather with surprising success.
3. Greenhouse Cold Frame Sturdy Weather Resistant Flower Box – 70 in by 24 in
This cold-frame style greenhouse by vidaXL provides a hefty layer of armor for small-to-medium sized plants facing chillyconditions. While the wooden aesthetic blends well into many outdoor settings, the PC-board structure also maintains strong water resistance. Finally, the hinged lid offers not only easy access to your flowering plants and herbs, but a convenient and fast method for removing excess layers of snow with a singleflip.
4. Aluminum Greenhouse Frame with Transparent Sunroom Panels – 4 ft by 6 ft
Marketed as a “winter greenhouse,” this inconspicuous lean-to-style device by Ogrow is ideal for early planting and nursing seedlings during cold months. The frame of the structure is not only powder coated but also rust-resistant for extreme weather exposure. Meanwhile, the sun window accommodates for proper ventilation without sacrificing warmth when it is needed most. Eventually, when it’s time for the spring meltdown, the built-in drain gutters help with water removal from rain and melting snow.
5. Hobby Greenhouse with Window for Winter – 6 ft by 8 ft
This spacious, walk-in greenhouse by July’s Song is an ideal winter-gardening base station to store not only your summer plants but all of your equipment as well. Built to last, the aluminum frame is coated to prevent damage from the elementsand is supported by a galvanized steel base which can be secured onto a concrete slab (sold separately). The inclusion of drain gutters also allows this greenhouse to easily stand against heavy rain and snow. In addition, the two-year warrantee practically guarantees you at least two successful seasons of effective gardening during the coldest months.
6. Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse – 6 ft by 10 ft
For maximum volume, sturdiness, and cold weather protection, you can’t go wrong with this “virtually unbreakable” polycarbonate greenhouse by Palram. Though it is always a good idea to regularly remove the excess snow from any winter greenhouse, this heavy-duty, all-season structure is designed to withstand a snow load of 15.4 pounds per square foot. In addition, the greenhouse can resist powerful winds up to 56 mph and utilizes rain gutters for the proper drainage of quickly melting snow and ice.
Winter & Cold Climate Greenhouses: Questions & Answers
What greenhouse is best for winter?
Of all the sizes and varieties of greenhouses designed to preserve your plants in the offseason, we most highly recommend Palram’s 10 ft by 8 ft Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse. This greenhouse is designed intentionally for snow baring and is large enough for the winter gardener who may wish to take further precautions with the introduction of an electric heating element.
Do greenhouses really work in cold climates?
With the right equipment, proper procedures, and adequate sunlight, greenhouses are a viable option for keeping yoursensitive plants outside and thriving during the coldest months. Ultimately, an all-season gardener should way the pros and cons of maintaining an outdoor greenhouse year around versus relocating potted flowers and herbs into a sunroom or basement beneath a quality grow light.
How cold is too cold for a greenhouse?
When it comes to the internal temperature of your winter greenhouse, it is a necessity to maintain a few degrees above freezing to prevent frost for most ordinary plants. With ideal insolation, a properly-maintained winter greenhouse can support temperatures roughly 30 degrees above the outdoor temperature. This means that if you are seeking to maintain a minimum of 35 degrees Fahrenheit inside your greenhouse, the lowest outdoor temperature for an effective greenhouse will be about 105 degrees. However, if your plant varieties are capable of surviving colder temperatures down into the teens, a greenhouse could potentially be effective in outdoor temperatures below zero.
Is an unheated greenhouse frost free?
Not always. An unheated greenhouse will only be frost free if the temperature inside is at least slightly above freezing (shoot for 35 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe). During the winter months, a mixture of insolation methods and proper sunlight effects can be useful in raising the internal temperature of your greenhouse to roughly 30 degrees above the outdoor temperature.
How do you make a greenhouse withstand snow?
Depending on the design and durability, some greenhouses are built to withstand snow up to a certain weight. However, regardless of the structure or price point you invest in, you never want to underestimate the importance of temperature monitoring throughout the day and regular snow removal to prevent collapsing. As a rule of thumb, every time you take a shovel to your driveway, be sure to give the greenhouse some attention as well. That said, allowing for some light snow covering can actually increase your insolation level and raise the temperature in your greenhouse. The implementation of a safe, internal heating system (such as a regularly-monitored space heater) can also be useful in resisting snow buildup. Meanwhile, any greenhouse that contains rain gutters will be preferable as this allows for the easy drainage of melting snow and ice.
Looking for more information? Here are two excellent sources for maintaining a winter-proof greenhouse:
- “How Warm Does a Greenhouse Get in Winter” – https://www.greenhousetoday.com/how-warm-does-a-greenhouse-get-in-winter/
- “How to Use a Greenhouse in Winter” – https://www.backyardboss.net/how-to-use-a-greenhouse-in-winter/