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Garden cloches

Buying a cloche for you garden

A tunnel cloche

Cloches protect plants from
frost and cold.

Cloches come in a variety of designs and are used for protecting plants from the cold and frosts. A garden cloche differs from greenhouses and cold frames in that cloches are placed over plants in their existing position, unlike cold frames and greenhouses which require the plants to be potted up and placed inside.

When choosing your cloche you should think about the size of the area you want to protect and the size of the plants inside. Expense is (as always) a consideration; the cheapest are available for around £15 but you can spend up to £100 on others.

Cloches are often used on vegetable patches where appearance is not always key but if you're using them to protect individual ornamentals the design of a cloche may be a factor for you.

Cloche styles

Cloches can be divided into two categories, those for individual plants and those that will protect multiple plants from the frost. If you're protecting rows of vegetables cloches for multiple plants are much more practical and cost effective. If you want a cloche that adds a bit of style to your garden, individual cloches come in much nicer designs.

A Victorian cloche

Victorian cloches are
attractive and practical.

Victorian Cloche

Victorian cloches are an attractive addition to a garden and give a traditional feel. They're square rather than long like the tunnel cloches, and are better suited to protecting individual plants.

They can be constructed of wood or cast iron and are glazed with glass. These are the more expensive cloches and the ones we've found cost between £80 and £100.

Bell Cloche

A bell cloche

Bell cloches allow plenty of light

Bell cloches (sometimes dome cloches) are also attractive individual cloches for the garden and the curved walls also prevent condensation from dripping on the plants.

Made from either stiff plastic or glass they allow light in from all angles. The plastic ones are much cheaper, and can be found for as little as £10. However, the glass versions are not so economical and you can expect to pay around £25.

Tunnel Cloche

Tunnel cloches are ideal for protecting rows of plants and can be made from plastic, fleece or flexible polythene sheet. The polythene and fleece tunnel cloches use a set of metal hoops which are inserted into the ground. The protective covering is then supported above the plants by the hoops.

A tunnel cloche

Tunnel cloches are great for vegetables.

Rigid plastic tunnel cloches are more expensive than the fleece and polythene versions but come with the benefit that they are much easier to move around and provide hassle free acess to the protected plants for weeding and watering.

If you choose a tunnel cloche, check the ends of the tunnel. The ends should be able to allow air to circulate through the cloche but also seal them to avoid strong winds blowing straight through. Some will have removable end pieces while others will have air vents to allow this.

Where to buy cloches

Crocus stock attractive versions of both the glass bell cloche and traditional Victorian cloche as well as the cheaper tunnel cloches. They have a delivery charge of £5.95 regardless of your order size and value.

Green Fingers have a nice selection of both bell and tunnel cloches. Their delivery charge is £4.95 on orders below £45 and free on orders above.

Alternatives to cloches

If you want to protect plants in the ground, a cheap alternative to cloches is to cut the tops of plastic bottles and and place the bottle upside down over your plants. It's not as attractive and and you'd need to drink a lot of squash to protect a whole veg patch.

If you don't have a greenhouse then both cold frames and mini greenhouses are low cost alternatives. You'll need to put your plants into pots, put if it's seedlings you want to protect you can plant them in seed trays first and plant them out once the weather's milder.


Top products

These products have been popular with our community. If you are the thorough type, browse and compare all Cloches from loads of different merchants.

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