A greenhouse is the best way to extend your growing season or grow exotic plants that otherwise wouldn’t thrive in the climate you live in. But their various types and uses vary, points out Veronica Lorson Fowler, a master gardener based in Ames, Iowa, and author of a number of gardening books. "A hoop-type greenhouse/row cover that is temporary might be fine for those gardeners who simply want an early start on cool-season vegetables, like lettuces and other greens," she says. "A serious orchid collector will want a sturdy wood- or metal-framed greenhouse with excellent climate-control features, like venting systems, fans, and depending on the climate, a heating system with an alarm."
To find the best greenhouses for specific needs and uses, we researched dozens of options in all sizes, ranking them based on material, structural stability, and overall value. Our best overall pick is the Home-Complete Walk-In Greenhouse, which has a quick and easy assembly and eight shelves to store a variety of large and small plants and gardening accessories. It is made of a durable steel frame with a clear PVC cover for protection.
Here are the best greenhouses.
Home-Complete Walk-in Greenhouse
Good value for the price
Plenty of shelves for storage
Not very stylish
Our pick for the best overall greenhouse is the Home-Complete Walk-In Greenhouse. This budget-friendly greenhouse has a sturdy steel frame and a durable PVC plastic cover that controls the greenhouse temperature and lighting, keeps out pests, and encourages plants to thrive all year long.
One of the best features about this top-rated greenhouse, which can be used indoors and outdoors, is its size and light weight (20 pounds). You'll find it small enough for most outdoor spaces such as patios, but large enough to walk comfortably into to manage your plants and move items. Also, it's easy to assemble without tools. We appreciated that the kit includes ropes and anchors.
We like that this greenhouse includes eight durable shelves, which offer plenty of space to store small and large plants, plant and seed trays, lights, and other gardening accessories. Use the included zip ties to keep them standing upright.
Price at time of publish: $89.95
Dimensions: 56.3 x 56.3 x 76.7 inches | Material: Steel frame, PVC cover | Weight: 20.2 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
porayhut Pop Up Mini Greenhouse Cover
Convenient to store and carry
Can be used indoors and outdoors
Easy to set up
Not very stylish
When most of us think "greenhouse," we tend to envision the mammoth structures dotting botanical centers. Consider the Porayhut Pop Up Mini Greenhouse Cover the anti-mammoth. Measuring just over 30 inches tall, it has room enough for one large plant or a few smaller plants. "More utilitarian and less attractive greenhouses can be tucked behind garages on that side of the house that is seldom used," points out our consulted expert, Veronica Lorson Fowler. We found it quick to set up out of the box. However, while it folds up for storage, some users may have difficulty making the product fold absolutely flat.
You always can see how your plant is doing, since the structure is entirely transparent. Should you need to administer TLC or ventilate the air, simply open the roll up transparent PE plastic cover that the manufacturer says is UV-protected and waterproof.
Price at time of publish: $18.99
Dimensions: 27.6 x 27.6 x 31.5 inches | Material: PVC cover, steel hoops | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
Ohuhu Mini Greenhouse
Heavy-duty steel frame
Four shelves for easy storage
No tools needed for assembly
UV-resistant, antioxidant cover
Not very stylish
The Ohuhu Mini Greenhouse is our top pick for small spaces because it offers plenty of storage space and has a high-quality cover, all at a reasonable price. It measures 2.5 feet wide and just under 2 feet deep. But at almost 5.5 feet tall, you have a four-shelf skyscraper to allow space for perhaps a dozen small plants. The manufacturer says each shelf, buoyed by thick tubes, can support up to 22 pounds. Shelves include ropes, so you can affix your plants to the poles.
This greenhouse’s cover is made of durable PE plastic, with reinforced gridlines for durability. It has a zippered, resealable door, and provides ample protection against harsh weather conditions. The poles that make up the heavy-duty frame are thick enough to provide stability. But they also can be easily detached, so you can move or store the greenhouse in the off-season. We have noted that despite manufacturer claims of protection against frost, this product may not protect against extreme cold in northern climates.
Price at time of publish: $42.99
Dimensions: 29.7 x 19.7 x 62.2 inches | Material: Steel and polyethylene | Weight: 11.18 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
E-X Frames 8 ft. W x 10ft. D Greenhouse
Brackets don’t rust or crack in extreme weather
Easy assembly instructions
Made in the USA
Lacks lumber, hardware, and cover
Building a custom greenhouse gives you the flexibility to create the perfect space for your garden. And the E-Z Greenhouse kit is for the serious horticulturist because it involves laying out considerable money and considerable time to build. But if you want to build your own greenhouse, this kit, which includes only brackets, is our favorite because it’s extremely durable and lets you choose your own lumber type.
The polypropylene brackets are made of heavy-duty polypropylene that won't rust. The manufacturer also claims that the brackets' built-in UV inhibitor prevents them from cracking in constant sunshine or cold temperatures. All parts included in this kit are made in the USA.
As mentioned, you have to supply the lumber, cover material, and hardware, which adds to the hefty price. So this product is as affordable or expensive as you want it to be, depending on the quality of lumber and other items you select.
Price at time of publish: $258.88
Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 9 feet | Material: Polypropylene | Weight: 8 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
Farm Plastic Supply Clear Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting
Tough and durable
Perfect level of light transmission
If you’re looking to create your own greenhouse from an existing frame or structure over your garden, the best option for greenhouse plastic is from Farm Plastic Supply. You can use this heavy-duty clear greenhouse plastic sheeting to create your own greenhouse. It features optimal light transmission and full protections from sun, wind, rain, and other harsh weather conditions all year long. It also can serve as a cover for an existing greenhouse that may need additional protection or ventilation.
This clear plastic 6-millimeter sheeting, made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), comes in 40-foot-long rolls that are 25 feet wide. The sheeting is designed to let 90 percent of light through. But it also contains additives the manufacturer says should protect against UV rays.
Price at time of publish: $114.98
Dimensions: 25 x 40 feet | Material: Low-density polyethylene | Weight: 30 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
Outsunny Lean-To Greenhouse
Easy to move plants in and out
Stable steel frame
No shelves included for storage
A lean-to greenhouse is built against a wall, or wall-mounted. We chose the Outsunny Lean-To Greenhouse as our top choice in this category because, at under 5 feet wide and less than 4 feet deep, it's the perfect size to fit against the side of a house and is easy to move when needed. We also like that this greenhouse has pegs and wind ropes for added stability. The solid wall acts as a temperature moderator, so the greenhouse can maintain a more consistent temperature throughout the year.
The Outsunny Greenhouse has a tear-proof and UV-protected polyethylene cover and steel frame. This greenhouse lacks shelves for storage, as do other picks on this list, but its roll-up zippered door allows for easy access to the plants. The manufacturer recommends full assembly by an adult.
Price at time of publish: $78.99
Dimensions: 84 x 56.4 x 46.8 inches | Material: Steel and polyethylene | Weight: 13.22 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
Best for Winter
Giantex Cold Frame Greenhouse
Stylish and modern
Lightweight and easy to move
Doors can be left open
Pre-drilled holes may not align
Do you want to overwinter plants? A cold-frame greenhouse is an enclosed structure that protects your plants during winter months. This Giantex Cold Frame Greenhouse is our top pick because it's made of sturdy Chinese fir wood and has plastic polycarbonate panels that keep cold air out but let sunlight in for heat. Its versatile design allows you to close the top to keep away the rain, attach and detach parts as needed, and move it around to optimize its location, all without tools.
At less than 3 feet long and under 2 feet wide, this attractively designed greenhouse doesn’t take up a lot of space, although it has a lot of storage room and built-in shelves for plants, trays, and accessories. We love that you can prop the roof and window panels open in summer months to let your plants enjoy the humidity and sunshine.
Price at time of publish: $208.99
Dimensions: 30 x 22.4 x 42.9 inches | Material: Chinese fir wood and polycarbonate panels | Weight: 23.7 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
Outsunny Walk-In Greenhouse
Great value for the size
Can cover an entire garden
Easy to set up
Not made for harsh weather
A portable greenhouse can be especially helpful if you want to protect your garden or certain plants during winter months only. The Outsunny Walk In Greenhouse doesn’t offer storage shelves, like other options in this roundup. But its size and structure make it perfect for a beginner who needs a solution for a large garden area.
This 11.5-foot-tall greenhouse has a traditional walk-in tunnel structure with a roll-up entrance and windows for ventilation. The transparent PE plastic cover protects plants and allows enough sunlight to pass through. One thing to note is that this greenhouse is not rated for snow or high winds, and is recommended in milder climates with little or no snow.
Price at time of publish: $156.07
Dimensions: 11.5 x 10 x 7 feet | Material: Steel frame and PE plastic cover | Weight: 37.47 pounds | Assembly Required: Yes | Temperature Control System: No
IKEA Senapskal Greenhouse
Modern design, great as decor
Can support climbing plants
Good for indoor and outdoor
This mini greenhouse from Ikea is our favorite tabletop option that also fits modern-aesthetic home design. The Senapskal Greenhouse is available in black or white and can double as decor or storage if you don't use it for plants. This greenhouse’s structure supports small container plants, such as herbs, and provides excellent support for any climbing plant.
We also like that this greenhouse is made of powder-coated galvanized steel, which is very durable and would work just as well outdoors as indoors. One drawback is it lacks a cover and has no temperature control. You could always add your own plastic cover or even a grow lamp if the plants on your table need climate control.
Price at time of publish: $17.99
Dimensions: 13.5 x 14.25 x 7 inches | Material: Galvanized steel, polyester powder coating | Weight: Not listed | Assembly Required: No | Temperature Control System: No
Our top pick is the Home-Complete Walk-In Greenhouse. It’s easy to assemble, budget friendly, and has eight shelves for plenty of storage space. For a cold-weather option that looks great in your yard, we recommend the Giantex Cold Frame Greenhouse, which is made of beautiful wood, includes sturdy doors that can be propped open, and supplies plenty of storage room.
What to Look For in a Greenhouse
Greenhouses come in many different sizes, ranging from minis, which you can put on your deck, to options 20 feet long, which can take up a good chunk of your yard. "You should ask yourself what your goal in having a greenhouse is," advises Veronica Lorson Fowler, a master gardener and author of several books on gardening. "If you want to save money by starting your own annuals, and you have a modest-sized garden, it probably doesn't make sense for you to spend several thousand on a greenhouse. However, a small, inexpensive greenhouse that can be set up in late winter and knocked down for summer might be perfect."
To determine the best option, consider how you plan to use the greenhouse. If it’s just a warm, humid place to display your tropical plants, a small, budget-friendly model may be the way to go. However, if you hope to have a workbench and many large plants, consider a walk-in greenhouse, starting at around 6 x 4 feet.
"The materials and features should match what you want to do with a greenhouse," Lorson Fowler advises. "A hoop-type greenhouse/row cover that is temporary might be fine for those gardeners who simply want an early start on cool-season vegetables, like lettuces and other greens. A serious orchid collector will want a sturdy wood- or metal-framed greenhouse with excellent climate-control features, like venting systems, fans, and depending on the climate, a heating system with an alarm."
Most greenhouses have aluminum or steel frames, but greenhouse siding is typically made from from plastic film, polycarbonate panels, or glass. There are benefits to each material:
Plastic is the most affordable film and retains heat well, but it can rip or tear and doesn’t do well in strong winds.
Polycarbonate is more durable, thanks to its shatter resistance, and it also provides superior UV-filtering and light diffusion. However, this material isn’t fully transparent. Also, you need cellular polycarbonate at least 4 millimeters thick for three-season use, or at least 8 millimeters for year-round use.
Glass is beautiful but inefficient for heating and easily breakable. It needs to be double- or triple strength to be practical. Glass siding, which generally requires professional installation, also doesn’t diffuse light and can burn plants and requires a sturdier frame and foundation and smaller, more numerous panes.
And don't forget the base. Permanent structures may need a foundation of gravel or stone or even poured concrete.
"In full sun in warmer months, greenhouses can get quite hot," reminds Lorson Fowler. "Without the ability to expel very hot air, your greenhouse can stress plants and perhaps even kill them." Proper ventilation is essential for any greenhouse, as it allows you to regulate the temperature and humidity inside. For this reason, look for a greenhouse that includes controllable temperature, at significantly higher cost, or a window or vent. Lorson Fowler also recommends considering an automatic vent opener, since it can be difficult to always be home when temperatures soar.
This factor may be vital, depending on where you live and how you plan to use your greenhouse. Many inexpensive plastic greenhouses don’t stand up well to heavy winds, and they often collapse under the weight of snow. If you plan to leave your greenhouse up year-round, it’s best to look for a product that has a high wind-resistance and snow load capacity.
In larger greenhouses, a temperature control system can help you maintain the right level of heat for your plants. A few different features can help you regulate your greenhouse's temperature, including horizontal air flow (HAF) fans, which help circulate air throughout the space; as well as shade curtains, which can be closed on hot days to prevent the greenhouse temperature from skyrocketing. Automatic watering systems can also help keep your plants the appropriate temperature throughout the day.
Since you are likely to spend a lot of money on a greenhouse (prices can range into the thousands), look into its warranty. These buildings commonly have 5- or 10-year limited warranties, during which time the manufacturer repairs or replaces any defective pieces. However, most warranties mandate that you install, use, and maintain the structure based on the manufacturer's recommendations. So if you made changes during assembly or are using a “hobby” greenhouse to run a business, they may deny your claim.
What can you grow in a greenhouse?
One of the main benefits of greenhouses is they extend your yearly growing season, allowing you to have plants when they can’t be grown outdoors. This allows you to start seeds for your vegetable or flower gardens earlier in the spring and perhaps keep plants alive and producing longer into the fall. However, you can grow virtually anything in a greenhouse, from vegetables and herbs to your favorite houseplants and flowers. It’s just a matter of maintaining a proper temperature and humidity to help them thrive.
How do you maintain a greenhouse?
It’s important to maintain an appropriate temperature and humidity level within your greenhouse, and there are a few ways to do this. A thermometer is a must to monitor the temperature, which should stay around 80 to 85 degrees. When it gets too hot, it’s important to open vents and turn on any fans to help cool the space. You also can prop the door open or use a shade cloth to maintain the temperature.
Proper ventilation also helps control humidity levels. You should take care not to overwater plants to prevent the space from getting too humid. Bugs can infest your greenhouse, so stay on top of pest control, inspecting new plants for bugs before you bring them in. It’s also important to wash the greenhouse's interior and exterior panels at least once a year to keep them clean. If too much grime accumulates, it can prevent sunlight from reaching your plants.
Where should you place a greenhouse?
When installing your greenhouse, choose a level spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Keep the structure away from any trees that would cast shade over it, and make sure the location is easily accessible since you probably visit it every day.
If you plan to use your greenhouse year-round, it’s best to have the ridge of the structure run east-west, as this maximizes light in winter. However, if you’re only going to use the greenhouse in spring and summer, align the ridge north-south, which gives it an equal amount of sun on each side and reduces the risk of overheating on hot days.
How do you keep a greenhouse warm in winter?
Which method you choose depends largely depend on your budget and personal preferences. The Royal Horticulture Society (RHS), Britain's leading gardening charity, recommends electric sources, even though they are costly, because they offer close control over the temperature and do not use combustion products, which can harm plants. Electric options include a fan heater, or a ground-source heat pump. Less expensive options include gas and oil systems such as boilers. But you must ensure proper ventilation, or your plants could be harmed. Other possibilities are solar panels, hot beds, and heated propagators.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Deanna McCormack, a freelance writer for The Spruce. She specializes in home and outdoor reviews and has extensive personal and professional experience as a home product tester. To put together this list of the best greenhouses, she considered factors like size, shape, and overall value, and prioritized options made with a high-quality, durable cover which keeps cold air out and provides optimal light and heat conditions. We also consulted with Veronica Lorson Fowler, a master gardener based in Ames Iowa, who has published several books about gardening, and is a former garden editor for Better Homes and Gardens special-interest publications.