What Is A Greenhouse?
Simply put, greenhouses are structures that are used to grow plants. A greenhouse will have a roof and walls made of transparent materials like glass or plastic. The transparency allows light to enter the greenhouse, and also maintain a regulated atmosphere that is conducive for growing many different types of plants.
The origins of greenhouses can be traced to Rome: the Roman emperor Tiberius, who had developed an insatiable appetite for Armenian cucumbers, compelled his gardeners to develop a system that would allow for the year-round production of the cucumbers. The structure produced by those ancient Roman gardeners established the foundation for modern-day greenhouses.
Today, we can find many different kinds of greenhouses, available in a wide range of sizes. Smaller greenhouses are used in homes, while the larger, industrial greenhouse structures are used to grow crops for commercial purposes.
Can You Have A Greenhouse Indoors?
Yes, it is certainly possible to have a greenhouse indoors. While most people prefer placing their greenhouses outdoors because of the amount of space that they require, you can always choose to find an indoor house for your greenhouse. Indoor greenhouses are smaller and portable, taking up less space than their outdoor counterparts.
If you do opt for an indoor greenhouse, it is important to place it someplace where it receives plenty of sunlight. As you are aware, the sun is the single-most important factor in plant growth. For this reason, placing your greenhouse in a garage will not work, as the garage will not attract any sunlight.
Why Get An Indoor Greenhouse?
An indoor greenhouse offers a number of unique advantages, some of which are discussed below:
1. Excellent For Apartments In Big Cities:
If you have an apartment in a big city, you will probably not have enough space for a larger, outdoor greenhouse. In such situations, you can opt for a more portable indoor greenhouse. Indoor greenhouses can adjust even in very small spaces, such as a living room or dining room table, the corner of your balcony or kitchen, or even the windowsill.
As mentioned, the important thing is to identify a spot where the greenhouse gets ample sunlight. Look around the house, and get your creative goggles on. Remember that the smallness and portability of indoor greenhouses is their biggest advantage.
2. Enhanced Beauty And Health:
An indoor greenhouse will significantly beautify your residence, and can serve as a point-of-attraction for your guests. In addition, you and your guests will get to enjoy organic, home-grown food.
Apart from the aesthetics, a greenhouse can also improve the air coming into your home. This is particularly beneficial if you reside in a large city where pollution is a major problem.
3. Can Be Placed Anywhere:
Perhaps your backyard struggles to attract sunshine, or the climate is not ideal for vegetable growth, or the growing season is not long enough. Maybe the soil is unsuitable for greens.
All of these problems can be resolved with an indoor greenhouse.
4. Easily Movable:
If you decide to move elsewhere, you will not have to leave your beloved greenhouse behind.
5. Protection For Plants:
An indoor greenhouse means that you do not have to worry about heavy rains, snow, wind, or other harsh climatic conditions damaging your plants.
6. Easier To Care For:
Indoor greenhouses are more accessible, and are therefore easier to care for. You can adjust factors like humidity and temperature, and can regularly examine your plants for the presence of pests or diseases.
How Much Does It Cost To Build An Indoor Greenhouse?
A basic indoor kit, consisting of a plastic cover and soil container, can cost anywhere between $3 and $30. You can use these kits either to initiate seedlings, or to grow small plants or herbs. Many kits in this range are created for educational purposes for children.
If you are a more serious gardener looking to grow seedlings, a larger tabletop kit –or a kit having extra features like a heating mat, grow light, and extra trays – can cost around $25 to $65, or more.
An indoor growing rack consisting of three to six shelves along with a zipped plastic cover can cost around $25 to $95 for the more basic models. Racks for more advanced models can cost anywhere between $100 and $500. The precise cost will depend upon the rack material (aluminum generally costs more), size, covering type, and the presence of additional features like ventilation fans or a separate grow light for each rack.
Indoor huts or portable growing rooms that regulate the lighting and atmosphere can cost around $100 to $700, or beyond. The exact price, once again, will depend upon the material, size, and options and features present.
If you buy an indoor greenhouse with growing lights or warming pads, you can expect an increase in your electricity bill. The precise increase will depend upon the local electricity rates, and the energy efficiency of the particular items.
Is An Indoor Greenhouse Worth It?
A greenhouse, whether indoor or outdoor, is certainly worth it: you get an environment where you can grow the vegetables, fruits, and other plants of your choice all-year-round, regardless of the external climatic conditions. You can even grow crops that are not native to where you live.
Do Mini Greenhouses Work?
Mini greenhouses certainly work, and are particularly effective at starting plant or seed cloning. Other than that, these greenhouses are mobile, and require very little space.
They are an excellent alternative for farmers who have space restrictions.
Another major benefit of mini greenhouses is that they are quite easy to build. Yes, you can always choose from one of the many commercially-available mini greenhouse options, but constructing one by yourself is certainly not out of the picture.
In fact, all you need to do to build a mini greenhouse is take a wire, create a makeshift frame out of it, and cover that frame with a plastic sheet. Even if you prefer purchasing instead of building one by yourself, a mini greenhouse is rather inexpensive –especially when compared against its outdoors, full-sized counterparts.
Mini greenhouses are particularly beneficial for seed starting, particularly if the greenhouse does not have more than one shelf. Mini greenhouses supply ample sunlight to the seeds, while shielding them from undesirable natural elements. We recommend covering the frame with amorphous plastic, as it allows plenty of sunlight to go through to the seeds.
Mini greenhouses restrict rain or wind from damaging your seeds, and also keep insects and pests at bay.
Another thing that mini greenhouses are really good at is cloning any plants already present in your garden. Plastic is very effective at trapping humidity.
Mini greenhouses made of plastic are also very good at hardening small or young plants. Hardening is when you provide young plants with maximum possible sunlight, while shielding them from strong winds or heavy rains.
Indoor growing seedlings are often affected by the limited amount of sunlight that they receive. Thankfully, a mini greenhouse can be moved around your garden or any other outdoor space to maximize natural sunlight exposure for the young seedlings.
However, that is not to say that mini greenhouses are not without its disadvantages. For one, they are quite vulnerable to strong winds. The strong winds can sometimes cause tears in the plastic cover, particularly in the plastic surrounding the door.
However, this threat can be combated by placing the mini greenhouse in a spot that does not receive too much wind. If this is not possible, you should at least position the greenhouse in a way that the door is facing opposite to the windiest direction.
Another way to reduce wind damage is reinforcing the mini greenhouse. This reinforcement can be done by using small bricks or rocks to increase the greenhouse weight. You could also use ground anchors to achieve the same purpose. The frame material will also impact the resistance of the greenhouse.
Galvanized greenhouse frames are the strongest by some distance, but they are also the most expensive by an equal distance.
Truthfully, susceptibility to wind damage is perhaps the only major disadvantage associated with mini greenhouses. Any minor pitfalls in a mini greenhouse are far outweighed by its low-cost, convenience, and versatility.
If you can devise a way to protect your mini greenhouse from harsh weather conditions, there is a lot of benefit to be derived.
One other important consideration regarding mini greenhouses is rainwater. If there is a rainwater buildup on the top of the mini greenhouse, its structure could end up being damaged.
To prevent this from happening, design the greenhouse roof in a way that facilitates the easy running off of water.
The way that your greenhouse is built –whether you build it yourself or purchase it ready-made – will play a key role in its durability. The poles used in building the structure of the greenhouse need to be strong and made using sturdy materials. This is especially crucial if your locality is prone to strong winds.
Does an Indoor Greenhouse Need Direct Sunlight?
An indoor greenhouse needs to be placed in a spot that has direct access to sunlight, and does not attract a lot of shade or wind. Placing your indoor greenhouse under the shade will lower its benefits as, like we have already mentioned, the sun is the single-most factor that defines plant growth.
Ideally, your greenhouse should be getting at least six hours of sunlight, especially during winter months. Place your greenhouse in a way that shade from trees or buildings is minimized, since most plants thrive under full and direct sunlight. However, if you reside in sunny or high-altitude regions, or are growing plants that enjoy shade, partial shade could be beneficial.
Best Indoor Greenhouse:
This is one of the best greenhouses for plant-lovers or gardeners who do not have access to gardens, patios, backyards, or decks. All seedlings and young seeds can be placed into this greenhouse until they are ready for a larger pot. This Gardman mini indoor greenhouse is extremely lightweight, and has a simple and tool-less assembling process. Besides being portable and lightweight, the greenhouse has a zippered rolled-up door and a polythene cover.
The door can be opened to access your plants or to provide them with a bit of ventilation. Even though the material has been primarily designed for indoor use, it is waterproof and can endure the sun’s UV rays.
One of the best features of this mini greenhouse is the PE cover that helps avoid frost or sunburn (not that indoor users need to worry about either of these factors). Still, you will be in full control of the moisture and temperature, whether you use this greenhouse within the confines of your home or beyond them.
The cover is made using flexible material, and has four zippers for easy airflow management. In addition, it has straps which let you tie aside certain portions of the cover. In other words, you will be able to access your plants from your preferred greenhouse sides.
The steel frame can be combined with the PVC connectors. The 16 shelf-clip set, meanwhile, helps keep the greenhouse shelves intact.
The Eagle Peak walk-in indoor greenhouse is ridiculously easy to set up. The greenhouse has enough space that you can easily walk inside and check in on your plants. The walls, meanwhile, have been reinforced with mesh, and therefore allow adequate air through it and ensure the health and freshness of the plants.
The zippered door is roll-able, as are the windows present on either side of the indoor greenhouse. The greenhouse also offers adjustable, three-part legs that can help increase the amount of headroom.
Tips To Enjoy Your Indoor Greenhouse To The Fullest:
1. Go For Plants That Flourish Indoors:
If you are a beginner, it is best to go for plants that have low lighting and maintenance requirements, thrive inside containers, and can contribute to your residence’s air quality. If they are edible or can produce mood-boosting flowers, that is a bonus.
Below are a few plants that you should try growing indoors:
- Aloe Vera*
- Pothos Plant*
- Spider Plant
- Snake plant*
*The Aloe Vera, Pothos Plant, and Snake Plant can be toxic to pets and should be kept away.
2. Learn the Water and Light Requirements:
We cannot stress this enough – lighting is a vital element of an indoor garden. Sometimes, the lighting requirements are pretty straightforward; at other times, though, they can be tough to decode:
- Direct Light: at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
- Moderate Light: around four hours of direct sunlight every day
- Indirect Light: the plant requires ambient sunlight for the most part of the day.
- Low Light: A maximum of two hours of daily ambient light.
You must also remember that water requirements vary between plants. As is the case with lighting, water requirements can sometimes come across as ambiguous.
A ‘water often’ direction means that you must water the plant whenever you feel the soil drying up. ‘Water moderately’, meanwhile, means that you should water the plant once the top of the soil becomes dry.
3. Get the Temperature Right:
Alongside sunlight and water, plants also have specific temperature requirements. Conduct thorough research to learn about the temperature needs for each plant, and group the plants that have the same needs.
For instance, avoid grouping plants with an 80-degree Celsius requirement with those that require 65 degrees.
Ensure that the plants are not close to any drafts. Insufficient insulation or the presence of air-conditioners can create excessively cold air patterns, causing the plants to wilt and eventually die.
Where Should You Place An Indoor Greenhouse?
The ideal spot for an indoor greenhouse is one that gets ample sunlight, such as a patio door or a south-facing window.
While you can always use grow lights, remember that the best lighting option for plants is natural sunlight. If you cannot provide enough sunlight, at least combine natural lighting with grow lights. It is not desirable for plants to grow solely on artificial lighting.
Other than that, your indoor greenhouse spot should be warm and humid.
To sum up, indoor greenhouses are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that, not only are they convenient, but they actually work. This guide covered everything that you might have wanted to know about indoor greenhouses, including their advantages, how much they cost, where you should place one, and the best indoor greenhouse models.