A greenhouse can provide your plants with the environment they need to survive, and is useful for overwintering and successfully growing many varieties in our UK climate.
Greenhouses offer protection from winds and frost, and can help more tender plant varieties to survive out of season. Plants commonly grown in greenhouses include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chillies, as well as non-edible plants and flowers, which favour a warmer climate.
The best greenhouses for year-round growing are strong and stable, with transparent walls to let plenty of sunlight in, and good ventilation. You may also wish to add a heat source to your greenhouse, as this can extend the growing season for tender plants, and allow you to grow tropical varieties.
If you’re looking for a new greenhouse for your garden, take a look at our pick of the 5 best greenhouses on the market. We’ve based this on their size, durability, usability and value for money.
Last update on 2021-02-11 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
You’ll be growing those warm-weather plants in no time!
Our favourite greenhouse is good-looking, sturdy and durable, with ‘virtually unbreakable’ clear polycarbonate panels
Cost: Price not available
This 6 x 8ft Palram Harmony Greenhouse is an excellent example of an affordable greenhouse which still displays a high level of quality and design.
It has a heavy-duty, rust-resistant green aluminium frame, that’s sturdy and durable. The frame is covered in clear polycarbonate panels, which are described as ‘virtually unbreakable’, and are 100% UV-protected, to prevent them from yellowing in the sun. The panels provide over 90% light transmission, so your plants will get plenty of sunlight for growth.
All this gives the greenhouse a superior aesthetic, compared to many budget greenhouses. The structure comes with a built-in vent to stabilise humidity, and a gutter, to channel away rain water. There’s also a galvanised steel base, and a hinged lockable door with a magnetic catch, to keep your greenhouse both secure and easily accessible.
It comes with full assembly instructions, and is relatively easy for 2 people to install. The slide and lock system makes it easy to secure the panels in place, and holds them firmly from all sides.
Measuring 247 x 185 x 208cm, with a growing area of 4.4 square metres, this polycarbonate greenhouse is spacious enough to grow multiple plants, whilst being compact enough to fit in most gardens. It is high enough in the middle to stand up in, making tending to your plants a more comfortable experience.
This is the most expensive greenhouse on our list, but it’s still very reasonably-priced, considering the quality of the design on offer. We also think this is the one that’s going to look best in your garden.
- High-quality greenhouse, made from rust-resistant aluminium.
- Covered in durable, 100% UV resistant polycarbonate panels.
- Includes vent, gutters, steel base and additional accessories.
- Magnetic hinged door for easy access.
- Easy to assemble.
- 5-year limited warranty.
- Priciest greenhouse on our list.
- Some reports of it being damaged by strong winds – need to choose a sheltered area, and fix it to the ground.
Our best value greenhouse offers a small and stable space for growing, at an unbelievably low price
If you’re looking for something substantially cheaper than the Palram Harmony, this OGrow Portable Walk-In Greenhouse might be of interest.
At 195.6 x 142.3 x 73.7cm, this one is considerably smaller than the previous option, which means you won’t be able to fit as much in it – although, the built-in shelves are helpful in allowing you to stack plants on top of each other, so you can still grow a reasonable amount. Each shelf can hold up to 34kg in weight.
The mini size means this one will fit in even the smallest of gardens or patios, and also enables it to be easily re-positioned. To keep it in place, the greenhouse comes includes an anchoring system, with 8 anchors and 4 ropes – and these are necessary, as the light weight means it’s vulnerable to moving in the wind.
It has a heavy-duty, powder-coated steel frame, and a durable, clear PVC cover (although this is a little thin). The door can be rolled up for easy access, and to provide ventilation for the greenhouse. The structure is easy to assemble, and requires no tools – the pieces are held together with plastic connectors.
The main draw of this greenhouse is the incredible price tag, which is one of the lowest on the market, and significantly less than any of the other greenhouses on our list. If you’re looking for a small, budget greenhouse to get you started growing your own plants, this might just be perfect for you.
- Powder-coated steel frame.
- Durable clear PVC cover.
- Built-in shelves allow you to stack plants.
- Small size is convenient and portable.
- Roll-up door offers easy access and ventilation.
- Includes anchoring system, with 8 anchors and 4 ropes.
- Tool-free assembly.
- Highly affordable – our cheapest greenhouse.
- Small size means you won’t be able to fit as many plants in.
- Plastic cover is thin, and prone to tearing.
This large, tunnel-shaped greenhouse is ideal for those who need more space to grow
Cost: Price not available
For our third option, we’ve chosen this Garden Point Polytunnel Greenhouse, which features a tunnel design, different to the previous two models. At 3 x 2 x 2m in size, this our largest greenhouse yet, and perfect if you have lots of plants.
The frame is made from 25mm anti-rust steel poles, whilst the cover is a PE material, reinforced with polypropylene. Despite the green colour, the cover is transparent and allows sunlight through.
The cover feels strong and durable, although some users report experiencing tears at the point where it touches the fastenings. If this happens to you, tears can be repaired using clear duct tape (the same goes for most of these portable greenhouses).
There is redundant cover at the bottom, to provide storm protection, and you can also place sand bags on this, to help anchor it to the ground. To access your plants, the greenhouse has roll-up doors with YKK zips and latches at either end, which can also be used to air the interior.
Ventilation is clearly an important consideration in the design of this greenhouse – as well as the door, there are 6 roll-up windows with breathable mesh, to improve circulation and the growing climate, whilst keeping flies and birds out.
The assembly instructions are clear, and the structure is relatively easy for 2 adults to put together. Overall, despite the potential issue with the cover tearing in wind, we think this is an excellent, affordable greenhouse, that’s ideal for those with larger gardens.
- Strong, galvanised steel frame.
- UV-protected PE material cover (140 g/m2).
- Roll-up zippered door for easy opening.
- 6 roll-up breathable windows increase air circulation, whilst keeping flies out.
- Large size means more space for plants.
- Comparatively low priced.
- Cover is prone to tearing at the fixing bolts.
- Zips on the doors are a little small and flimsy.
A small greenhouse with a durable and decorative PVC cover
Cost: Price not available
Our next greenhouse is this compact PVC offering from Greenstell. This one features a similar design to our value pick, although it’s not quite as affordable.
This might be justified by the larger size, as this one measures 195.6 x 142.2 x 142.2 cm, which means it’s almost twice as deep as the OGrow, and you should, therefore, be able to grow double the amount. The 8 built-in shelves offer you easy access to your plants.
The cover of this greenhouse is made from durable PVC, with polyester mesh reinforcement. It’s cloudy in appearance, and has decorative yellow flowers on the front, giving the structure a unique aesthetic, which may or may not be to your taste. Access is through a zippered roll-up door, which also serves to ventilate the greenhouse.
Assembly is tool-free, and relatively straightforward – although the instructions could be clearer. The buttoned connectors help to keep it all together, but as with most greenhouses of this size, it’s also lightweight, and will need to be fixed to the ground. This can be done with the included nails and guide ropes.
Ultimately, this is another small-yet-functional greenhouse, that offers you a convenient place to grow veggies, flowers and other plants, sheltered from the elements.
- Frame made from thick and durable steel tubing.
- Thickened PVC cover.
- 8 built-in shelves for displaying plants.
- Zippered roll-up door for access and air circulation.
- Buttoned connectors make the frame sturdier in extreme weather conditions.
- Includes nails and ropes to fix the greenhouse to the ground.
- Tool-free assembly.
- Assembly instructions lacking in detail.
- Can be difficult to get the cover to fit over the frame.
Our largest greenhouse is strong and sturdy, with UV-resistant polycarbonate panels
Cost: Price not available
Our final choice, this Outsunny Polycarbonate Greenhouse, is another 6 x 8ft model. Total dimensions of 190 x 252 x 201 cm make this one of the largest greenhouses on our list, and mean you’ll have plenty of space for all your plants.
The frame on this model is made from powder-coated aluminium alloy, and it has a galvanised base for stability. The panels are polycarbonate, which is UV-resistant to 30u, and helps to protect your plants, while allowing plenty of essential sunlight in.
Impressively, the structure can withstand winds of up to 6m/s (force 6). Whilst you should still try to choose a sheltered area for your greenhouse, this undoubtedly offers some reassurance.
To access this greenhouse, you won’t need to worry about unzipping or rolling up material – instead, simply slide the polycarbonate door. The door can also be used to allow air to circulate the greenhouse, as can the built-in hinged roof vent.
There’s little doubt that polycarbonate greenhouses such as this and our top pick are more attractive than PVC versions – but they are also more expensive, and will still need to be well-anchored, in order to withstand extreme weather.
- Sturdy powder-coated aluminium alloy frame.
- UV-resistant polycarbonate panels.
- Can withstand winds of up to 6m/s (force 6).
- Rooftop vent provides air circulation.
- Sliding door offers easy access.
- Rain gutters help to collect and drain rainwater.
- Polycarbonate panels are thin and lightweight – they may need reinforcing to withstand strong winds.
How To Build A Greenhouse
To build one of the pre-made greenhouses as featured here, you should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. As a general overview, you will need to do the following:
- Choose a south-facing location, free from the shadows of nearby trees or buildings. This will ensure your greenhouse receives plenty of sunlight.
- Make sure you have enough space for your greenhouse, and that the ground is flat, by filling in any holes. You may need to lay a gravel or concrete base if the ground is uneven.
- Erect your greenhouse, according to the instructions. This will usually involve sliding and locking the panels into place, and securing everything with bolts. You might need a ratchet or similar to tighten the bolts.
- Set up any fans, cooling systems, CO2 generators or heaters that you want in your greenhouse, to create the perfect climate for your plants. A thermometer is also useful to monitor the internal temperature. Add benches and shelving, if required.
What To Grow In A Greenhouse
There are many plants which will grow happily in a greenhouse, from tender edibles, to tropical flowers. Some of the most popular choices in the UK are tender vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, courgettes, peppers, French beans, salad greens and herbs.
Citrus trees, such as orange and lemon, can thrive in a warm greenhouse environment. If you want to grow more fruit, try strawberries, raspberries and melons (melons will require a trellis to grow on).
Greenhouses can also be used to start hardier plants, ready to be planted outside later in the season. Such plants include onions, cabbage, leeks, Brussel sprouts and peas.
If you want to grow flowers, try geraniums, petunias, impatiens and chrysanthemums. To successfully grow more tropical varieties, you will probably need to heat your greenhouse.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.