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If you are a beginner at greenhouse growing, there is a lot you probably do not know. You do not know what the best greenhouse is, and you do not know where to get it. But there are a few things you are an expert in.
You know your needs, your desires, and your limitations. If you are shown a burdensome Titanic of a greenhouse, you know to avoid that even if no one tells you. But the problem with starting a new hobby is never in making the obvious mistakes but is missing the small optimizations that make the hobby come to life.
That means the challenge of finding the best small greenhouse is not in what is best, but what is best for your exact circumstances. And with the number of options on the market, that is quite the challenge indeed. Luckily, do not have to go in blind.
- What Makes the Best the Best?
- You might be interesting in these for your small greenhouse
- Palram Mythos Hobby Greenhouse
- Outsunny Greenhouse
- VIVOSUN Mini Walk in Green House
- Walk in Outdoor Plant Gardening Greenhouse
- Quictent Mini Cloche Greenhouse
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- All in All
What Makes the Best the Best?
The best small greenhouse is one that offers the optimal ratio between its cost and its effectiveness. A greenhouse cannot be considered worth your time without a few features:
- It must be insulated in order for your plants to survive the winter.
- It must be openable, in order for your plants to survive the summer.
- It must be stable, in order to survive the winds of spring and the chill of the fall.
- And it must be moveable, so that you may find the best place for it to stay in your backyard, garden, or patio.
Obviously, it also has to be able to hold all your plants, but that feature is a matter of course. What you should look for in a greenhouse is not a large and lavish living space. Your plants want to grow. They do not need to brag to other plants about the square footage of their home.
If you intend to grow in a small greenhouse, here is where you should begin your search:
You might be interesting in these for your small greenhouse
If you are after the best small greenhouse then you may also want to take a quick look at some extras that that will aid your small greenhouse and its growing capability. These are all my personal recommendations
Only a few of the recommended small greenhouses have shelves, you may need some if you wish to grow more. These 4 tier 35″ x 12″ x 42″ Shelves from Eagle Peak are ideal
If you want a great germination mat then you might want to check this out. You may also be looking for an extra-light source that uses a different spectrum of color – If so, then this LED Grow Light Strip Kit is worth taking a look at
I have two options for you here, the first is made into fabric pots with Handles filled with potting soil, here – multi-gallon grow Bags. Next, If you are just interested in the soil then Wonder Soil organic potting soil mix is a great nutritional option for your plants.
You may want a controlled temperature within your small greenhouse, then take a look at this iPower Electric Heater Fan, there are two options, one with a thermostat and one without.
If the weather is particularly windy in your area, or your winters get a little wild then think about some extra Lawn Stakes or some Ground Anchors to help keep your small greenhouse pinned firmly to the floor.
I mentioned that some small greenhouses might have issues keeping airtight, if that’s the case then try some weather stripping to seal gaps
Palram Mythos Hobby Greenhouse
As the name implies, this is a greenhouse for the hobbyist. As such its price point is higher than other small greenhouses.
However, that price gets you one of the most secure products on the market. Its panels are made of polycarbonate, which is the best glass substitute out there.
The 4mm Twin walled panels of this greenhouse can handle just about any problem you can throw at them. Naturally, polycarbonate allows sunlight to enter nearly as effectively as glass with the clear advantage being that polycarbonate panels are much stronger and lighter than glass panels which make them perfect for modern greenhouses.
If you wanted a bit more of a permanent structure, one that can withstand all the seasons then the Palram Mythos is certainly a top pic. It’s protected against the winter conditions, there is no doubt about that. It can also retain heat well, and by adding a heater you could keep optimal growing conditions during the cold winter months.
By the time summer arrives, the adjustable roof vent will act as a perfect way to remove some of the hot air inside. You may also want to consider a fan, although not included, it will go a long way in automating the process for you.
Guttering runs along the side of the roof to collect and dispose of the rainwater and the door of the small greenhouse is lockable for security which is all supported by a strong aluminum frame.
Although it is a little more expensive than polyethylene greenhouses, the stability and building materials make the price more than justified.
This greenhouse doesn’t come with flooring, so consider placing it on some flat base foundation for the best results – It also lacks shelving.
If you are looking for a strong and durable small greenhouse to grow in then you will be hard pushed to find one that’s built better than this one.
What real owners say:
“This greenhouse exceeded our expectations“
“I am very pleased with the purchase and wish I had bought a larger one.“
“My plants are quite happy and thriving“
Where some products offer versatility, others offer reliability. This greenhouse is sturdy, being made of an aluminum frame with polycarbonate panels. This makes it heavy, anchoring itself to the ground even while lacking shelves or prebuilt anchors.
What does all this amount to? Well, it is a greenhouse that will hold your hand in some respects. Namely, it will endure almost any weather.
Its polycarbonate panels insulate it against the cold, its weight keeps the wind from affecting it, and the vent will prevent overheating.
The biggest drawback of this greenhouse is its size. Just as the last product’s drawback was an advantage, this product’s advantage is a drawback: With the combined weight of the aluminum frame and the polycarbonate paneling, you will be hard-pressed to reposition this greenhouse once you have assembled and populated it.
This small greenhouse from Outsunny is available in three sizes; the smallest: 6’L x 4’W x 7’H – The middle size: 6’L x 6’W x 7’H – The largest: 6’L x 8’W x 7’H.
All three sizes offer the same features, such as UV protective 4mm twin-walled polycarbonate, an aluminum frame, a sliding door, guttering for draining rainwater, and an adjustable roof vent.
This small greenhouse doesn’t come with a floor so to improve the stability and longevity you’ll need to provide a flat base to sit the greenhouse on. But once you do you’ll have an outbuilding that will function perfectly well in all seasons for many MANY years to come.
Over the winter months, you might want to add a heater, especially if you are growing heat-loving plants like tomatoes. If you are growing heat-loving plants then be mindful of the one drawback I have with this; the sliding door doesn’t seal well. Ensuring the greenhouse is built on a completely flat base or foundation will help with this. Additionally, you can add some weather stripping to help seal the sliding door which will help retain the heat.
Overall, a great little greenhouse for all seasons.
What real owners say:
“For the price, this is an excellent greenhouse.“
“I definitely recommend this product“
” their customer support won me over. They deserve a special shout-out for being so responsive and helpful.“
VIVOSUN Mini Walk in Green House
This product looks similar to the Gosunny on this last, but it does have a few traits that set it apart. Like before you are looking at a cheap, mesh greenhouse with velcro-sealed vents on the side. It comes with shelves, no floor, and a steel frame to hold it down.
But unlike that item, this greenhouse’s frame is pure steel, not a steel-and-plastic mix. The pure steel of this product means it can bear its weight better and stand up in wind easier.
These are not easy feats for such a cheap, lightweight product. You might not look at its thin frame and transparent materials and assume it to be a rocksteady greenhouse, but customers tend to report it as such.
Although many caution that it could do with an additional anchor.
One thing that jumps out in all the reviews of this product is its assembly: Most products are designed to be tool-free and idiot-proof. This one is tool-free, and by all accounts, its instructions are quite easy to follow. However, it does seem to be more cumbersome to put together solo.
This product is just about as basic as greenhouses get, which is as much an advantage as it is a drawback. In the summer, you are more likely to move it into the shade than add shading materials onto it (if it is not in the shade already).
It also has limited protection during the winter. Most consumers bought into this product knowing that, so it fits that you should too. Luckily, it can still be moved into a garage if you have one available. Your plants will want sunlight, but that is always a problem in the winter.
If you really feel compelled to grow through the winter, you will either need a heater placed outdoors, or lights placed indoors. This is not the greenhouse for either of those things.
The materials of this greenhouse are not insulated well enough to retain the heat of a heater. Nor is the structure sound enough to hang lights from its ceiling.
If you are trying to use heaters and lights, then you do not want a greenhouse. Or rather, you do not want a backyard greenhouse. An appropriate substitute would be a “basement greenhouse kit”, which is for growing year-round indoors.
That would include lamps for giving plants light, heaters for giving them warmth, and misters for giving them water (if you do not have the time to water them yourself).
This is a good, small greenhouse for growing in the spring, but it meets its limitations in the winter. That is what you get for the low price point, however.
What real owners say:
“I left it up all winter and she’s still standing.“
“Good little greenhouse. Lots of space.“
“Great little greenhouse!!“
Walk in Outdoor Plant Gardening Greenhouse
The interesting thing about this product is that its greatest feature is not immediately obvious. This is a small greenhouse made of a double-layered plastic mesh. The mesh material is thick enough to withstand the wind, while still being light.
Factors such as the placement of the greenhouse, its ability to survive wind, and its options for dealing with heat are critical to the lifespan of the plants within it.
They are often overlooked, however, and many assume greenhouses are one-size-fits-all.
This small greenhouse covers most bases here, It has a steel frame for stability, which includes ropes and stakes for added strength against harsh weather conditions.
I feel it could have been built structurally stronger, but for the price, it’s on point if not better.
If you are using this to grow some extra plants and vegetables then this could be the perfect solution as it’s a nicely sized walk-in greenhouse with 2 tiers of 8 shelves built into the frame on either side. The Shelving certainly won’t hold too much weight but it can handle the weight of a few small pots, so be mindful of what you place on them.
The door and windows are zipped together to help keep the heat-sealed inside but the zips could be better quality in my opinion. They do work well but are just a little weak. Actually doing more research on this greenhouse shows others have also had similar things to say about the zip.
There is a white and green version, and both colors come either with a window or without – The window can act as a vent as its uses breathable mesh to aid in airflow but also stop pests from entering and damaging the plants inside.
The dimensions are Height-77 Inches x Width-56 Inches x Length-56 Inches so it’s a nice size for a small greenhouse with room to move and stand up in.
This is great for summer growing and also does well in the winter too, although harsh windy conditions might cause this small greenhouse some challenges. The greenhouse does retain heat well overall but still may need a portable heater during the cold winter months.
What real owners say:
“Great customer service here!“
“it’s a fantastic way to get a head start on the summer.“
” For the price, it is perfect for what I wanted it for.“
Quictent Mini Cloche Greenhouse
This greenhouse is a little different from the other offerings on display here. It is long, squat with zippers on the doors which can help release some of the hot air.
It has no floor, no vents, and a lighter frame that all make it seem weaker than the average greenhouse.
If you just want to protect a small patch of vegetables planted in the ground or grow a small crop then this could be a good choice. It can help fend off the frost of winter while retaining some heat inside. There are no vents sadly, which I think they should have included, but the doors are zipped and therefore can be opened to allow airflow if needed.
It retains heat surprisingly well even though the PVC plastic covering is pretty weak and can be torn easily. Sadly, this small greenhouse is let down slightly by this.
Different from others on this list, this greenhouse doesn’t have a floor, therefore it can sit over the top of an existing growing plot nicely. The lightweight nature of this structure means it can be easily moved to add extra protection from the elements and retain heat to give your plants and vegetables the growing help they need anywhere in your garden.
One big plus is how easy it is to erect. Simply slot in the poles together and place the PVC plastic over the top, tie and zip it sealed. It’s also somewhat customizable, as you could easily connect a couple of these small greenhouses together and zip the plastic up, making an even longer mini-greenhouse if needed.
You may not need to piece together multiple greenhouses as it already is available in two lengths – the shorter – 71″ X 36″ X 36″ and the longer – 95″ X 36″ X 36″
Another letdown in my opinion is It comes with nothing to anchor it down. Other greenhouses are weighed down by their shelves, along with tethers on their sides that stab into the ground. This greenhouse has neither.
The best way to anchor it to the ground is to buy stakes or to bury its edges under an inch or two of dirt. It would still be susceptible to truly outrageous winds, but it would not succumb to small, unexpected gusts that way.
What real owners say:
“These little cold-frames are wonderful!“
“Outstanding customer service.“
“The product itself is extremely useful for early seed/plant protection“
Buying a greenhouse is sometimes the hardest part about getting into greenhouse growing. But always remember that growing is a matter of problem-solving, and no problem lasts forever.
In a sense, deciding on a greenhouse means deciding on what problems you want to face.
Growing in the Winter
You could decide that you absolutely, positively must grow in the winter. Then your best decision is between the Outsunny Greenhouse and Palram Hobby Greenhouse as these are more reliable in the harsh winter conditions. The others can hold their own in the winter depending on the conditions but they aren’t as strongly built.
On a Budget
But what if you want to grow in a greenhouse, but on a budget? The other three products can cover you then. The only thing that you cannot have is everything. You cannot both grow on a budget and grow in the winter.
In the Summer
You might also decide that you want to grow during the summer, but do not want to open and close your greenhouse’s vents every day.
This is an interesting decision to make because it has multiple solutions. You must either pay extra to get a greenhouse stable enough to add shading materials onto it, or you must put forward the effort to either build or relocate your greenhouse to a shaded area.
In a Relaxed Manner
And of course, you might decide that you want to avoid a complex assembly. This is an understandable obstacle to avoid, as many designs are made by engineers with no sense of what the layman finds intuitive.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you peruse the reviews of any of these products you will see the same questions asked again and again. Not everyone is interested in perusing reviews, however, so you are welcome to view those questions here, along with some helpful answers:
How do you keep a greenhouse from blowing away in the wind?
If a greenhouse does not come with its own anchors, then the best anchor is the earth itself. Either use stones or bury the edges of your greenhouse under an inch or two of dirt. This is basically a non-issue for greenhouses with polycarbonate panels, however.
What keeps bugs from getting in through the vents?
Every product with a vent on this list has a bug shield that is thin enough to release heat, but dense enough to keep bugs out.
How can you tell if a greenhouse can handle the winter?
Most greenhouses made of plastic meshes cannot. Most greenhouses made of polycarbonate can. This is because polycarbonate is plastic, and plastic makes good insulators. The thicker the plastic, the better the insulation.
Is it cheaper to buy a greenhouse or build one?
If you want a greenhouse with a steel frame and polycarbonate panels, you should probably get one pre-built. They are simply too complicated to reliably replicate, and the price difference would be minor. The mesh models, however, are far cheaper to build on your own
All in All
What each greenhouse is best at:
- Palram Mythos Hobby Greenhouse is best for enduring the weather.
- Outsunny Greenhouse is best for customizing your experience.
- VIVOSUN Mini Walk in Green House is best for an easy assembly and mobility.
- Walk in Outdoor Plant Gardening Greenhouse is best for simplicity and value.
- Quictent Mini Cloche Greenhouse is best for small gardens.