Skip to main content

Why you need to make greenhouse maintenance a priority

Greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes, but they all work the same way: They’re insulated structures that provide warmth and protection to growing plants. Vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants do well in greenhouses. As with any environment, you’ll want to spruce up this space so your plants can thrive in their home. Ahead, we break down why you should maintain your greenhouse and go through which tasks you should put on your greenhouse cleaning checklist. 

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The benefit of having a greenhouse

One of the main reasons people use a greenhouse is to extend the growing season. This space offers bountiful sunlight and warmth so you can successfully start vegetables in early spring and autumn. While your plants receive enough energy to photosynthesize, they can also avoid rain, snow, and wind. After starting your plants, you can bring seedlings out into your garden once they grow big enough or the weather becomes warm enough. 

A tropical greenhouse

Reasons to maintain your greenhouse

Your greenhouse is a beautiful plant-filled space, but it still needs love and care like every other space.


While you may use a greenhouse for the sole purpose of keeping your plants warm, it’s presumably an area where you’ll spend a lot of time as a gardener. Maintaining this space will make it not only more visually appealing but also more functional. You want to navigate this space with ease. Designating areas for specific plants, tools, and resources will make greenhouse gardening more efficient. 

Pest control

Garden-friendly insects exist — ladybugs help with aphids, and bees aid with pollination. But not all critters will be good in a greenhouse. Pests and diseases that kill plants can quickly grow out of hand in a hot and humid greenhouse if you don’t keep an eye on your soil and foliage. 

Temperature regulation

Regulating the temperature in your greenhouse makes it comfortable not only for you but also for your plants. Extreme temperatures in the winter and summer can be strenuous on your green friends. Concentrated heat especially becomes an issue in hot weather, so you want to give your plants enough shade and ventilation so they don’t burn and wilt. 

Optimal photosynthesis 

Greenhouses essentially trap light and heat. Plants convert sunlight into energy to grow, and they need warmth to survive, as well. Optimizing photosynthesis in a greenhouse will require clean windows and walls so that sunlight can enter. When it comes to warmth, many greenhouses will have thermal mass, which refers to stored heat. Gardeners will keep water jugs or bricks around in this space so these materials absorb excess heat during the day and release it when it’s cold at night. 

Potting plants
Gary Barnes/Pexels

Your greenhouse maintenance checklist 

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with our inclusive maintenance checklist.

Tidy up your greenhouse

Tidy up your greenhouse by sweeping away debris and pulling weeds. Arrange your plants by similar requirements — you wouldn’t want to put a thirsty begonia next to a succulent aloe vera plant. Assess your space and see if you need any extra organizers or shelves for your plants and tools. 

Check your soil and leaves for pests and diseases

Every so often, check the undersides of your leaves for any signs of pests. Also, observe your soil for any growths or odors. It’s best to start with healthy plants from your local garden center so you won’t have to spend so much time with pest control. To keep plants happy, add compost and fertilizer to encourage growth. 

Dead leaves and residual dirt may make your greenhouse a hospitable environment for insects such as fungus gnats. If you have plants impacted by pests such as spider mites and scale, take care of them as soon as possible with water, alcohol, or neem oil. You don’t want the pests to stick around for long as they may spread to other plants. 

Gauge if your greenhouse needs extra ventilation or heat protection

During the summer, it’s critical to give your vegetables and plants enough ventilation. There are many ways that you can go about doing this. First of all, you can install fans in your greenhouse. If your plants start looking burnt, add shade cloths to the roof or windows. Gardeners who are still in the process of designing their greenhouses should consider installing windows and doors that open. 

Keep in mind the opposite — heat retention, which is a concern for cold nights. If you don’t close up your greenhouse altogether during the winter, consider using frost blankets and cardboard covers to protect your plants. You can throw glass panels over seedlings to warm them up and supplement them with heat mats. Use thermal mass in the form of water barrels, hay bales, or gravel. Thermal mass will absorb heat during the day and release it during the night. Some gardeners may even add a small space heater. 

Clean your greenhouse roof and walls

To make sure your greenhouse receives enough sunlight, you want to clean its walls and windows. Greenhouses are made from a translucent plastic or glass material, so water and mild soap should get the job done. Wipe away buildups of dirt, algae, and other debris so your plants can efficiently convert sunlight into energy. 

Maintaining your greenhouse may feel like a daunting task. However, if you break the work up into a checklist, you’ll be well on your way to creating a hospitable home for your plants.

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
Small greenhouse tips: 5 ways to make the most of limited space
Tips to help you effectively use your small greenhouse
Small rounded greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is useful, but it was also a luxury for many years. Now, thanks to smaller, portable greenhouses, almost any gardener can have a greenhouse of their own. There are even small greenhouse kits that can teach you how to make a small greenhouse on your own. However, since they’re smaller, you need to use the space more carefully. If you aren’t sure where to start, we can help.

There are plenty of ways you can use your greenhouse, but here are our top five tips for making the most of your smaller greenhouse!

Read more
Do you need a fence for your garden? What you need to know before deciding
From space considerations to pest control, we'll help you figure out if a fence is right for your garden
White plastic fence around grass

If you’re planning a garden or have already planted one, you may be wondering, "Do I need a fence for my garden?" Fences can certainly be useful (and can add a nice aesthetic touch), but do you really need one? Is it worth the effort of installing a fence, or would your garden be better off without one? Alternatively, will your garden be healthier and happier with a fence? We’re here to lay out all the facts and help you decide whether a garden fence is right for you and if it's worth the investment.

Benefits of garden fences
Garden fences are useful for a variety of reasons. Many gardeners put fences up to control pests. Fences with small gaps can keep most mammals out, which is great if you have pesky rabbits bothering your lettuce. Taller fences can help keep deer and some squirrels out as well, while fences with no gaps at all can even reduce the number of ground-dwelling animals and insects getting into your garden.

Read more
What you need to know about growing sugar snap peas in containers
Easy-to-follow tips for growing sugar snap peas in containers
Organic green sugar snap peas

An excellent way to enjoy the full flavor of sweet, freshly picked sugar snap peas is to grow them in containers. If you have limited room on a patio or porch garden, then using containers can help you maximize the space you have.

Sugar snaps are a crossbreed between garden peas and snow peas. They’re a variety with incredible versatility and can be used in their pods or shelled. When grown at home, sugar snap peas are significantly sweeter and juicier than store-bought peas. You can grow them organically without the use of toxic chemicals and pick them straight from the plant!

Read more