If you want to protect plants and provide an ideal environment for their growth within a limited space, a plastic greenhouse may be the perfect option! It is a great way to create an entirely different ecosystem for your plants that you can control.
They are preferred over a glass or any other greenhouse cover because of their low cost and a higher rate of flexibility, despite having to change the material periodically. Plastic film greenhouses are a lot less expensive, and they have a wide range of options to choose from.
Polycarbonate greenhouses come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose one that fits your needs and budget. It is also the most commonly used greenhouse material and a more effective greenhouse insulator than glass.
It has a greater heat retention rate, which means that the average temperature is at a moderate level. With greenhouse plastics, you can produce and cultivate crops all year round, including the winter months. You can even grow crops that demand higher-than-normal temperatures. I will get into the depth of that later but first, let’s address the question…
- 1 What is a Plastic Greenhouse?
- 2 Benefits of a Plastic Greenhouse Frame
- 3 Downsides of Plastic Greenhouses
- 4 Plastic Greenhouse Sizes
- 5 What Factors Should You Consider Before Buying a Plastic Greenhouse?
- 6 My Final Words
As the name suggests, a plastic greenhouse is made of polycarbonate panels, polyethylene film, or plastic sheeting that protects plants the same way any other greenhouse film does. However, there are a lot of reasons why they are in the hype these days, and all of them are good ones.
These houses are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Whether you want to go for a plastic high tunnel or a portable greenhouse with a zippered roll-up door, the choices are endless. Besides, they are flexible; for instance, if you want to install a vent or an exhaust fan, simply cut a hole in the plastic film and fix the fan there!
Here are some of the major benefits of a plastic cover.
The key benefit of this greenhouse is that the material is quite durable for the price. It is mostly made of white greenhouse plastic, which lasts quite long without needing a replacement cover anytime soon.
The main purpose of having a greenhouse is to retain warmth and stimulate longer and faster growth. The sunlight diffuses with plastic, which spreads throughout the greenhouse, producing heat and retaining it for longer.
This clear greenhouse film provides 40% more insulation than a glass greenhouse due to its double glazing effect and air pockets to minimize heat loss, making it easier to grow beautiful plants, even in cold weather.
The light weight of the plastic film makes it quite easy to assemble and carry anywhere. You can take it wherever you go without worrying about any breakage.
Polycarbonate blocks UV radiation while allowing in heat and sunlight. It’s ideal for greenhouses since it lets in 88% of the sun’s rays. They may be treated to disperse sunlight and filter out harmful UV rays, contrary to glass, providing a safer environment for you, your family, and your young plants and fresh vegetables.
Also, you won’t have to move plants inside to make sure they are getting enough sunlight or add light to the interior to keep plants that are away from sunlight warm.
Most plastic greenhouses have a premium powder-coated steel frame that protects them against peeling, chipping, corrosion, and rusting.
One of the major advantages that I touched upon at the beginning of this article is the cost of the greenhouse. For the most part, plastic greenhouses are less expensive.
As the process of polycarbonate manufacturing has developed and become more simplified, the cost of polycarbonate greenhouses has decreased, while the variety and quality of modular polycarbonate designs have increased.
You can buy a plastic mini greenhouse for less than $100 online. The price varies depending upon the size and shape, structure, construction material, and style of the house you are searching for.
While there are endless benefits of plastic greenhouses (apart from the ones covered above), there are a few downsides.
One factor about the plastic greenhouses that is considered unappealing is their appearance. While the glass counterpart looks pleasing to the eye, the plastic one fails to deliver the “aesthetic” appeal. Plastic is translucent and seems cheaper. But it also depends on the type of greenhouse you choose. Since there are a ton of options, you can pick one that you find the best in terms of appearance.
This one is obvious but there are some things that need to be clarified.
Almost all plastics are made from natural gas or petroleum, which are nonrenewable natural resources. There are plastic-like materials manufactured from natural plant material, but they are not completely plastic and are not durable enough to create a greenhouse. There’s no way of disposing of the PE material, which is not good for the environment.
But the manufacturers are coming up with innovative new methods to recycle plastic items, such as construction materials. Recyclable plastic sheeting that can properly cover a greenhouse is in the making and maybe we get to use them soon.
Although plastic film greenhouses can generally withstand minor weather fluctuations, they can not compete in extreme weather situations, such as:
- Heavy snows – Since they aren’t designed to tackle heavy snowfall, these greenhouses will collapse if heavy snow builds up on them.
- High heat – Although a normal amount of heat and sunlight is good for a plastic greenhouse, they are not able to survive under high heat. Therefore, make sure they are not exposed to excessive heat otherwise it will result in a faster breakdown of the film.
- High winds – If your greenhouse isn’t installed properly, high winds or storms could toss them away from the ground. They may also tear loose due to their lightweight so make sure you keep them nicely intact at the time of installation.
As you can see, the pros clearly outweigh the cons and that’s why this greenhouse cover is so popular. But it may still be challenging to pick the right greenhouse for your needs. Therefore, I am going to share some of the best greenhouse plastic covers for growing plants. Here we go!
The size of the greenhouse frame depends a lot upon what you want to grow as well as how much area you have to install it. There are various sizes available in the market today. Whether you are a pro who wants a heavy-duty one or a beginner who is looking for a hobby greenhouse, here are some options you can consider.
If you don’t have the room or time to produce your own food, you may want to consider getting a mini greenhouse. No matter how small your outside area is, a mini greenhouse kit is perfect to make your own little garden.
You can choose from a variety of sizes based on your budget and enjoy growing beautiful plants all year round.
Mini greenhouses and indoor herb gardens are great ways to start producing your own food in the comfort of your home. Take a look at my best picks for mini greenhouse kits.
- SUNGIFT Mini Greenhouse for Outdoors (71″ X 36″ X 36″)
- Quictent Mini Greenhouse, Waterproof UV Protected Reinforced Cloche Indoor Outdoor Green House (71″ x 36″ x 36″)
- Home-Complete Mini Greenhouse (27″ x 16″ x 63″)
- Quictent H Mini Portable Greenhouse (95″ x 36″ x 36″)
If you don’t want to grow a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and plants and are on a semi-professional level, a medium or small-sized greenhouse would be perfect! It gives you the freedom to start at your own pace and control the process however you want. If you have some free time to spare or are a fan of slow-paced gardening, I suggest going for small plastic greenhouses. Here are a few of the best of them.
- Hanience Walk-in Greenhouse with Anchors and Ropes (56″ x 29″ x 77″)
- Palram 6×8 Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse, (6′ x 8′ x 7′)
- EAGLE PEAK 6’x4′ Portable Walk-in Greenhouse (72″ x 48″ x 88.8″)
- Home-Complete HC-4202 Walk-In Greenhouse (39.2″ x 5.4″ x 14.2″)
- Homewell Walk-in Greenhouse Kit (56″ W x 29″ x 77″)
If you wish to take your gardening game up a notch (just like the professionals), go for a large greenhouse. You can arrange and use this greenhouse to best fit your gardening style. In addition, it provides you with complete coverage and a regulated environment any time of the year.
You can regulate the temperature according to your preference, grow your very own garden, and feed your family throughout the year with fresh veggies and fruits – how great is that! Check out my picks for the best large plastic greenhouses.
- Palram 6×8 Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse, (6′ x 8′ x 7′)
- KING BIRD Upgraded Walk-in Greenhouse (4.7′ x 4.7′ x 6.4′)
- Ohuhu Walk-In Plant Greenhouses (4.9′ x 4.7′ x 6.4′)
- Quictent Upgraded Portable Greenhouse (20’ x 10’ x 7’)
Before you start making your own greenhouse (any type), you must first decide how you want to use it. If you simply want to grow a few seeds or keep a few plants, you may not want to spend the money on a huge, beautifully crafted, large greenhouse. However, if you want to grow a big number of seedlings and expect to harvest far into the autumn, a backyard greenhouse is the best alternative.
Lindsay Pangborn, a gardening expert at Bloomscape with 15 years of horticulture experience, says, “Consider whether you want a permanent structure or something that’s able to be packed away for the summer or moved to different areas of your garden.”
Some other factors to be looked at are:
While some greenhouse kits and structures need a complete cement base, most do not. So it is crucial to keep this point in mind when purchasing one. Even though a complete foundation isn’t required, it often needs some kind of flooring. You can build a walkway out of gravel, bricks, or wood chips based on your preferences.
If you’re looking to build a customized greenhouse for your home, you’ll likely have to take into account the size and budget of your site. Plant health is heavily influenced by environmental parameters such as temperature and humidity, and thus the height of the house should not be ignored during the installation process. Having a tall greenhouse will allow you to better control the internal temperature.
An ideal greenhouse height is around 13 feet, allowing warm air to ascend away from plant leaves while maintaining a somewhat even temperature for better air circulation.
If you’re looking for a large-scale kit, you’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort to put it together. As far as time commitment goes, polyethylene kits are the most convenient.
Due to the design and structure of most greenhouses, two persons are usually required to complete the task.
Before making one, it’s good to consider what other accessories you’ll need. Based on the environmental conditions and the intended use, you may need some specific equipment. Some of these may be installed more easily and quickly throughout the greenhouse design process, while others can be added at a later date when your finances allow for an upgrade.
Check out these accessories for a quick overview.
A thermometer/hygrometer is required for keeping a check on the humidity levels in your greenhouse. Humidity and temperature levels largely depend on the kind of plant that you’re growing.
There are two options for greenhouse thermometers: standard analog and digital.
Because they are passive solar collectors, greenhouses naturally catch heat in the summer as well as the winter. They may not get sufficient sunlight to maintain a consistent temperature in the winter. Therefore, it is important to insulate them if you want to keep temperatures from going below the freezing level.
Using bubble wrap is the best and least expensive option. But be sure to store supplies early in the winter so that you are prepared to act if needed.
Water is one of the most essential elements for plants to survive. If you don’t get the chance to water your plants every day, automatic watering systems may be an excellent alternative.
Watering systems come in many varieties. Make sure to consider what plants you want to cultivate before you buy a watering system.
If you want to get the most out of your greenhouse, plan ahead of time how you’re going to set up the shelves.
While it’s important to maximize the number of plants you can put in your greenhouse, you also have to consider whether there is enough walking space.
Ventilation is crucial for eliminating the intense temperature inside the greenhouse. If plants are subjected to too much heat, they may deteriorate. Proper ventilation is crucial to reduce the spread of disease and prevent pests. Make sure your greenhouse is properly ventilated with either natural or powered ventilation.
Gosh! That was long, but I enjoyed every bit of writing it and I hope you enjoyed reading it as well. All the greenhouses I listed above are excellent, but that doesn’t mean they are the ‘best’ for everyone. It majorly depends on the space available, what plants you want to grow, the temperature of the region you live in, and whether you want to take it as a hobby or go all-in.
In addition to determining the objective of your greenhouse, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of materials and the whole design. Finding the perfect greenhouse for your requirements and needs is more important than the greenhouse itself. I hope I was able to shed some light on that.