Portable Greenhouse ~ What to Consider Before Buying One

A portable greenhouse gives you the best of both worlds. First, it’s protected so you can grow plants in various climates. Second, you have the benefit of being able to move it around.

Before researching portable greenhouses, first you need to decide the reason you want it to be portable. Is it so you can move it frequently or once or twice a year?

Other considerations are:

  • The amount space you have
  • How many plants you want to fit inside
  • How easy it is to set up
  • Your budget
  • How long do you want it to last
  • Materials; glass will be heavier than PVC or polyethylene

A portable greenhouse needs to either be lightweight or have wheels. You don’t want to have to disassemble it every time you want to move it around.

There are generally four ways to think about portable greenhouses. These options include:

Types of portable greenhouses

  • Portable mini greenhouse
    • Smallest greenhouse
    • Can fit on a balcony
    • Usually has vertical shelves
    • Easy to lift and move
    • No wheels
  • Portable walk-in greenhouse
    • Small greenhouse you can walk in
    • You can place it directly on top of a garden, shrubs, etc. to protect from frost
    • Easy to pick up and move it with 1 – 2 people
    • No wheels
    • Also called mini walk-in greenhouse
    • Lightweight but not as sturdy as other walk-in greenhouses
  • Large portable greenhouse
    • These are also often called tunnel greenhouses
    • Walk-in greenhouse that you pick up and move
    • It does not have wheels
    • Can include venting and other features
  • Compact greenhouse
    • Made of sturdier materials
    • You can walk in
    • More features including gutters, vents, locking system, multiple doors
    • Usually 50 – 65 pounds; you can move them a few times a year but not convenient to do more often
  • Portable greenhouse with wheels
    • These are smaller walk-in units
    • Materials can be heavier or lightweight
    • Typically a DIY project

You may be able to find a greenhouse with wheels. However, usually these are DIY portable greenhouses.

Below we explain more about the types of portable greenhouses.

Tips before buying portable greenhouse

Something to be sure of before buying are the dimensions. Some advertisers describe the sizes in inches or feet while others do so in centimetres.

Another tip is to be sure you are buying the entire greenhouse and not just a greenhouse cover or greenhouse replacement cover.

Alternatively, be sure you are buying the entire greenhouse kit, not just the frame. You want to be sure it comes with the cover.

When you are ready to buy, you should also search the following terms which can also usually work as portable greenhouses:

  • Pop-up greenhouse
  • Plant house

Different companies describe portable greenhouses as pop-up greenhouses or as plant houses.

Portable mini greenhouse
Portable mini greenhouse

Portable mini greenhouses

The first to consider is a portable mini greenhouse. This is a very small greenhouse you can easily move around.

Typically, there will be three or four shelves that you can put your plants or pots on. Sometimes you can adjust the height of the shelves for taller plants; however, sometimes you don’t have that option.

Mini greenhouses can range in height from 2 – 6 feet tall.

While most of them have vertical shelves, you can find some that take up more space horizontally rather than vertically.

There is usually a zippered opening and closing that you roll up and down. The greenhouse cover lining is usually made with clear polyethylene.

The frame is often made with iron tubing to provide support and to protect from rust and corrosion.

This portable greenhouse is ideal for small spaces, including decks, patios, and balconies. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, or if you want to set it up indoors, this is a good option.

Another reason to consider mini portable greenhouses is if you just have a few plants you want to put inside them.

It will be easy to assemble. Typically, you won’t need tools to set it up. In addition, it will be low maintenance.

The lower cost and smaller size make it ideal for beginning gardeners or first-time greenhouse owners.

You may need to weigh it down during rainstorms, on windy days, or in certain seasons.

If you don’t find the size or style you are looking for, also search for “plant house” which will pull up more options.

Cost: This is generally the least expensive greenhouse type. Price range: $25 – $70
Portable walk-in greenhouse

Portable walk-in greenhouse

Another type of portable greenhouse is one that you can walk inside. Companies will describe these as mini greenhouses, small greenhouses, or portable mini walk-in greenhouses.

They are still on the smaller side but because you can walk inside, know that they are much larger than the mini greenhouse style described above.

You can grow a wide variety of seedlings, starts, and plants inside. You may even have room on a shelf to leave gardening gloves, seeds, etc.

These are usually designed to be indoors or outdoors.

The bottom of these are unfinished, meaning there isn’t a bottom to these types of portable greenhouses. If you set it on grass, you will walk on grass. This will make it easy to stake down which is important.

If you set it on concrete, you will be standing on concrete when you are in your greenhouse. You will need a way to keep it from blowing away in strong winds.

Depending on the size of your balcony, deck, or patio, you may be able to set this up.

These small portable greenhouses are also easy to assemble. Many you can set up without tools. Most of them you snap together plastic pieces.

This type of greenhouse come with stakes to help weigh it down.

When you want to move it, simply take your pots and planters out and move it to wherever you want.

While this type of greenhouse doesn’t have wheels, it’s lightweight making it easy to move.

Good to use for frost protection

This is a good option to cover gardens, small trees and bushes from frost. You can simply put the greenhouse on top of it.

You should be able to get a year out of these types without having to maintain the cover. It really depends on the weather and your climate zone.

Cost: This is the second least expensive greenhouse type. Price range: $45 – $100.

Large portable greenhouse

If you are looking for a large greenhouse that’s also portable, one to consider is a portable tunnel greenhouse.

This is a greenhouse shaped like a tunnel. You can walk inside. It does not have wheels nor does it have a solid floor.

In colder months you can set this on top of your garden to protect plants from frost.

Portable tunnel greenhouses are more heavy duty than mini greenhouses and small greenhouses.

There can be one or two doors. Two doors will provide better ventilation. Some include exhaust vents. They are typically 100% waterproof.

In order to weigh it down, it comes with stakes.

This type of portable greenhouse can be 12 – 20 feet long. They can be 7 – 12 feet wide. Usually, they are 6 – 7 feet tall.

Tunnel greenhouses are fairly easy to set up though it may be helpful to have more than one person when you set up the cover. The frame is often made with heavy-duty power coated steel.

These portable greenhouses are ideal for experienced gardeners. There’s a lot you can do inside. They are easy to move around once you empty them.

In time, you may need a replacement cover because of the climate and weather conditions so factor that into the price.

Price range: $125 – $300

portable greenhouses

Compact greenhouse

A compact greenhouse is much sturdier than the above models. You can move them but they aren’t necessarily designed to be moved often.

These can weigh 45 – 75 pounds. This means that you can relocate them on your property to take advantage of the conditions; however, it won’t be as convenient as moving the other greenhouses which are designed to be more portable.

The advantage to these types of greenhouses is that they are sturdy and compact.

These may come with vents, a door latch, a locking feature, and gutters.

Instead of plastic sheeting for the covering, these usually are made with UV-resistant polycarbonate sheets to keep your plants safe.

The frame is often made with lightweight aluminum.

This type of greenhouse may have a rooftop vent for proper ventilation. In addition, it may have rain gutters.

Compact greenhouses like this are typically wind resistant to 12 miles per hour.

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, etc, you will still want to stake it down but generally, they are heavier and require little maintenance.

Like the models above, compact greenhouses don’t have a solid floor.

The overall advantage to this type of portable greenhouse is that it’s much sturdier than the others. In addition, you may be able to control the conditions inside better.

They are designed to be more permanent and overall long-lasting but still convenient to move a few times a year.

Price range: $375 – $600

Portable greenhouse on wheels

You may be able to find a portable greenhouse with wheels. This can be ideal because you will simply need to roll it along.

It can be made with sturdier, heavier materials because you won’t have to lift it.

For this type, you will likely need more room. It will be larger, and you will rely on the wheels to help move it.

As a DIY alternative to buying a portable greenhouse with wheels, you can buy a greenhouse and install a floor on it. Then you can add wheels so that it’s mobile.

Cost: Depends on size, quality of materials, and if you are buying an existing or doing it yourself. Price range: $45 – $225

Advantages of a portable greenhouse

There are many advantages to owning a greenhouse for gardening in general… when it’s portable, it’s even more convenient.

Whether you choose small or large portable greenhouse, there are many benefits.

  • Keeps out insects, wildlife
  • Control the temperature
  • Protect plants from cold, sun, rain
  • Grow a variety of plants, including non-native plants
  • Extends the growing season
  • Grow year round
  • Can keep plants in pots instead of a garden or garden bed

If you are learning about buying your first greenhouse, you may consider making sure it’s portable for these reasons:

Move it to a sunny area

A big advantage to owning a greenhouse is that you can control the environment. In this way, you can grow non-native plants. Another benefit is you can likely grow year round.

When your greenhouse is portable, you can comfortably move it to sunny areas throughout the colder season to give your crops maximum exposure to sunlight.

Move it to a shaded area

Depending on your hardiness zone, you may find it convenient to be able to relocate the greenhouse to a cooler area. As an example, if you live in hardiness zone 9, with long hot and dry summers, you will want it out of the direct afternoon sun.

With a portable greenhouse, you can move the greenhouse to an area that gets morning sun but not afternoon sun.

Protect plants from frost

Instead of draping frost cloths over your plants or protecting them from frost in other ways, you can enclose the plants in a greenhouse.

Most portable greenhouses don’t have solid flooring. This means you can pick it up and put it on top of whatever plants you want to protect.

Move it out of the way

If you have a smaller space, the advantage of being able to move a greenhouse is you can move it out of the way when necessary.

Take it with you

Another advantage to owning a portable greenhouse is that if you move, you can take it with you. This should be a consideration if you are someone who may move for a job, family, health, etc.

If you are someone who has to relocate often due to job requirements, then a great alternative to setting up new gardens wherever you go is buying a portable greenhouse.

While maintaining a garden is a wonderful hobby, when relocating to a new place, you would have to let go of all the efforts put into the garden and greenhouse.

But with a portable greenhouse, you can bring it with you.

Lightweight

Another benefit to choosing a small portable greenhouse is that it’s lightweight. They are typically under 30 pounds.

Small size

The smallest greenhouses are usually vertical. They often have several racks or tiers you set the plants on. They typically have a roll-up plastic door you zip and unzip.

Because of the smaller size, you won’t need a large area for it. It’s ideal for individuals without property. This type of portable greenhouse will fit on a deck, balcony or patio. You will be able to move it around when you need to.

So while mini greenhouses are tall, they are lightweight and made to be portable. In addition, they are usually easy to assemble. Often you can assemble them without any tools.

Smaller than a permanent structure, a mini greenhouse for home gardening will be less expensive.

They are the perfect size for beginner gardeners and will be easier to maintain. You will not need heavy and expensive materials to a little greenhouse.

Large portable greenhouse

A large portable greenhouse will either be in the shape of a tunnel or on wheels.

These structures are made with lightweight materials like plastic for the roof and walls, and sturdier materials like wood or metal for the frames.

A large portable greenhouse will likely be more expensive than a mini greenhouse.

Benefits to owning a greenhouse

You can grow plants that are off season and enjoy tasty produce throughout the year. In addition, you can protect plants from early and late frost.

A lot of gardeners don’t realize they have the alternative of setting up a portable greenhouse structure in their yard or home.

All you need for a portable greenhouse is a bit of space and an easy-to-assemble greenhouse kit. Many models don’t require tools to set up.

Best portable greenhouse

Portable greenhouses are perfect for growing sensitive plants all throughout the year. These plants are grown in container gardening methods in milder climates.

With a portable greenhouse, the cultivation can be easily moved according to weather and season.

You can also change the positioning of the greenhouse in accordance to the sun rays in areas of limited sunlight.

If you want to extend your growing season, then these greenhouse structures are perfect for you.

A portable greenhouse is very advantageous in gardening.

Best Greenhouse Kits

Why a portable greenhouse is good for sensitive plants

Sensitive plants like orchids get affected by changes in the weather very quickly. They grow perfectly in milder climates where the temperatures do not go below 0°C in the colder season.

Also, humidity needs to maintained at an optimum.

You might have to recreate a tropical environment inside your structure. This is where a portable greenhouse can work wonders.

In a portable greenhouse, you can plant seeds in trays inside the greenhouse and move the entire structure indoors.

Later, when the sun is out in its full summer glory, you can move your greenhouse outside and replant the seedlings into bigger pots.

Once the harvest is done, you can close up the greenhouse and store it in any indoor storage area easily.

Portable greenhouse types and models

There are numerous different types and styles of portable greenhouse structures available for gardeners.

Some are small in size while others are large enough to hold many plants with shelving.

The average size of the structure is about 10 to 6 feet and about 7 feet high, unless it is specifically mentioned to be a mini greenhouse.

Common types and models of portable greenhouses

Pop up portable greenhouse designs are those that can be simply opened and placed over fragile vegetables and plants.

Some portable greenhouse structures consist of shelving, glazed in protective plastic.

In others, you have to roll up the front panel and unzip it to gain access to the vegetables and plants inside.

Mini portable structures made of vinyl, plastic, or glass with a carrying handle for transportation are also seen in gardens these days.

Window greenhouses made from old windows are another type of portable greenhouse.

Other types of portable structures consist of a plastic or metal frame. Others use lightweight vinyl and plastic panels that slide into the area along a frame.

Portable designs are available at prices that suit nearly every budget.

High-end fully functional designs can cost upwards from $500. But overall, they are more affordable than permanent greenhouse structures. Quality also differs according to price range. Consider your needs, and read the reviews thoroughly before purchase.

Most portable structures can be installed directly over a patch of yard to protect vegetables or plants.

When choosing a portable greenhouse, some features to consider are the doors, ventilation, benches, and shelving along with wind resistance.

Portable greenhouse kit

A portable greenhouse kit is a high-quality greenhouse kit, ideal for small flowers, native and non-native plants, seed starts, and sensitive plants.

It is great for starting a nursery or gardening hobby because you can grow in less than ideal conditions.

Portable greenhouses are lightweight and with a compact design. Many greenhouses are similar to a tent and made up of  flexible rods.

Oftentimes the roof is made up of a PVC canopy which is waterproof. This protects the plants during heavy rains, hail and snowfall.

The covering which surrounds the greenhouse frame protects the plants inside from insects and rodents.

All the components needed for the installation of a portable greenhouse is available in the form of a portable greenhouse kit.

These kits comprise of steel or aluminum frames, plastic sheets for the wall and the other pieces of equipment like well-ventilated shelves.

You can assemble portable greenhouses quickly due to their lightweight materials and easy design plans.

Most of them are made of high-quality durable materials.

Key features of a portable greenhouse kit:

  • Ventilated shelves to provide plenty of space for plants and allow water to drain.
  • A transparent plastic cover reinforced with green robust webbing.
  • Zippered door that provides easy access and is also good for ventilation.

Remember that portable greenhouses can be toppled over in high wind areas. In such places, they will need to be held down by rods and clamps.

A portable greenhouse kit is extremely beneficial for a beginner level gardening enthusiast. It’s a nice addition to a backyard.

Greenhouse designs and other mini greenhouses

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80 Acres Farms Indoor Farm of the Future
Mini Garden on the Balcony – Fresh Vegetables Every Day

Portable greenhouse for limited space

A smaller mini greenhouse is an excellent option for those who are always on the move or have limited space for gardening.

You can erect portable greenhouses in places with minimal space, indoors, on balconies, and sometimes on windowsills.

Sometimes they come with wheels. This makes them convenient to move when the weather changes.

These buildings are also great for growing sensitive plants as their small sizes allow for climate and humidity control.

Plants, whether they are native or non-native, often need special care and a portable greenhouse can provide just that. They can also be great for seed starting and raising baby plants.

Many portable greenhouses come in beautiful designs that can enhance your landscape and outdoor decor, lending a nice look to your outdoors and garden.

Portable greenhouse

Remember that portable greenhouses can be large or small. Depending on your needs, you may consider a mini greenhouse, a small walk-in greenhouse, a tunnel greenhouse or one on wheels.

Most portable greenhouse options are freestanding units rather than being an attached lean-to or attached window-mounted.

It’s important to consider ways in which you will use the greenhouse and if you plan to grow in it year round.

If you don’t use it to grow plants during the cold season, you can move a portable greenhouse to cover plants from frost. You can simply put the greenhouse on top of the plants. This is ideal for plants in containers, small trees, and shrubs.

Another way to use a portable greenhouse to protect plants from frost is to put susceptible plants inside the greenhouse to protect them.

There are many options when it comes to choosing the best portable greenhouse. You can buy one in a kit or DIY your own with lightweight materials or by adding wheels.

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