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A beginners guide on what to grow in your greenhouse for a thriving garden

If you’ve ever wanted to up your gardening game with a greenhouse — or wondered what the purposes of one might be, to begin with — but had no idea where to start, look no further!  In this beginner’s greenhouse guide, we’ll talk through the basics and, at the end, we’ll list some of the easiest plants you can grow in a greenhouse.

man watering plants in greenhouse

Why you should have a greenhouse

First, let’s talk about why you should have a greenhouse. There are several reasons a greenhouse will help you on your gardening journey. Greenhouses allow you to get a jump start on the gardening season and grow more robust plants to transplant once the weather warms up. The indoor environment also gives the baby plants a safer place to grow. In a greenhouse and a controlled environment, the tiny plants don’t have to worry about diseases, insects, or rodents coming along and killing them before they get a chance to grow.

Additionally, growing in a greenhouse allows you to grow plants you might not otherwise be able to grow in your climate. For example, in zone 4 and 5, it’s tough to grow tropical plants; with a greenhouse, you might finally be able to grow your dream plant that likes warmth and high humidity.

For those with flourishing flower gardens during the summer, you likely miss those colorful blooms in the middle of winter. Luckily, greenhouses provide the perfect place to grow gorgeous cutting flowers all year round. You could also grow herbs for fresh spices for your cooking!

Consider this before you choose which plants to grow

There’s a lot to consider before choosing which plants you’ll want to grow in your greenhouse.

Care requirements

What a plant needs will greatly determine if they’re a good fit for growing in a greenhouse. So, research the plant in question and find out what it needs. If those requirements can’t be met within your greenhouse, we suggest avoiding growing that plant. While you might be able to keep the plant alive, it won’t thrive and will probably only end in you being frustrating and wasting your time and money.

Temperatures

One of the most significant aspects of a greenhouse is having a warm place to grow plants for more extended periods. However, this can only go so far and there’s a certain point where even a greenhouse can’t keep out the cold. So be sure that the plants you’re planting will be able to survive the temperatures that your greenhouse will provide.

Alternatively, during the summer, the greenhouse will be much hotter. Many plants may suffocate and die. We don’t often think about it being too hot to grow certain plants, but this is a concern when growing in a greenhouse. Plants that like it hot are tropical plants and peppers! Hot peppers love the heat and taste better if exposed to scorching summer temperatures.

Transplanting

When growing veggies for the garden, you can use a greenhouse to get a head start on your seed starts. However, a bit of math is required to ensure your plants are at the proper development stage to be transferred to the outdoor garden. This simply means looking at their seed to transplanting dates and backtracking.

First, find out what your last frost date is; that’s when you’ll be able to transplant most of your plants out of the greenhouse and into the soil. Second, check on the seed packets to determine how many days it takes those seeds to germinate and grow to be ready for the soil. Third, take that number and count backward from the frost date. Now you know when to start your seeds in the greenhouse!

plants growing in greenhouse

Plants that grow well in greenhouses

With the proper setup, you could pretty much grow any plant you wanted in a greenhouse. But here are some of the easiest and most popular options to grow in the most basic greenhouse setup.

Vegetables

  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Peppers

Flowers

  • Geraniums
  • Impatiens
  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Caladiums
  • Ferns
  • Poinsettias
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Pansies
  • Coleus
  • Gazanias

Exotics 

  • Orchids
  • Venus fly traps
  • Cacti

Getting a greenhouse is an excellent way to up your gardening game. Luckily there are many different options and many unique setups depending on what you’re looking to grow. So do some research on what type of greenhouse you might need and get started producing some big, luscious, and healthy plants!

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