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Mini Greenhouses

Buying A Mini Greenhouse

A wood frames mini greenhouse

Mini greenhouses are an attractive, space saving way to protect your plants

A mini greenhouse can be a great way to save space in your main greenhouse. They're also ideal if you want to protect your plants from the cold without the expense of buying a full sized greenhouse.

Mini greenhouses come in various styles and can range in price from about £20 to £150 depending on the materials and structure. This guide takes you through some of the pros and cons of mini greenhouses and what you should consider when buying one for your garden.

Depending on the design and where you're looking, mini greenhouses can also be called “compact greenhouses”, “Grow houses” and “Plant houses” so don't let the different terms confuse you, they're essentially the same thing.

Why buy a mini greenhouse?

Mini greenhouses do exactly what their name suggests: They protect your plants from the winter chill and spring frosts like a normal greenhouse – they're just smaller. When buying a mini greenhouse, remember that you will be reaching in to look after your plants. Bending down to the very bottom shelf may be difficult if you've limited mobility.

Their small size gives mini greenhouses the obvious advantage that they don't take up as much space as a full sized greenhouse would. They're also easily moved (when they're not jammed full with your seedlings) so if you only want to protect plants and seedlings over winter, a mini greenhouse can be easily stored out of the way in the summer months.

Mini greenhouses are also a lot cheaper than their full sized siblings so they're ideal if you're not quite ready to shell out the hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds you'd need to spend on a full sized greenhouse.

Types of mini greenhouse

A polythene covered mini greenhouse

Polythene covered mini greenhouses are the cheapest option

Polythene Mini Greenhouse
The cheapest mini greenhouses are made of a metal frame containing shelves , this frame then has a polythene cover over it with a zip door for access. They're available in different sizes, usually specified by the number of tiers (shelves) they can accommodate and range from 2 tiers up to 5. Most let you move shelves around or remove them completely which comes in handy for housing taller plants such as tomatoes in the summer.

If you want to try out a mini greenhouse these are a great way to experiment cheaply but their affordability does come with some drawbacks.

The single layer of plastic sheet which acts as insulation does not afford the same protection from cold as other materials such as polycarbonate sheet. However, the insulation can be improved by purchasing additional fleece covers for under £10.

The light weight construction of the polythene covered mini greenhouses makes them easy to move around but also means they're susceptible to strong winds. You might want to place them in an area sheltered from the wind, or check the model as some are sold with guy ropes (like a tent) that give them extra stability. Browse mini greenhouses.

A wood frames mini greenhouse

Wooden mini greenhouses are more stable and warmer

Wood Mini Greenhouse
One of the things that appeals about wood framed mini greenhouses is their appearance; the wood structure gives them a much more organic, rustic look which may fit better with the style of your garden. There are other benefits over the polythene covered type but you'll pay a bit more for a wood frame one, we've found them starting at £80 but they go up to around £150.

Most wooden mini greenhouses will have variable shelving in the same way the polythene type do but their sturdier construction solves the weaknesses in the cheaper versions. Both the frame and the glazing are heavier which makes them much less susceptible to strong winds.

The windows are normally twin walled polycarbonate which offers much better insulation than polythene sheet, is stronger than traditional horticultural glass and does not shatter. Polycarbonate sheet is now used as a preferred shatter-proof alternative to glass.

A lean-to mini greenhouse

Lean-to mini greenhouses benefit from the wall's heat

Lean-to Mini Greenhouse
Lean to mini greenhouses are designed specifically to be put against a wall. By Positioning your mini greenhouse next to a wall you'll help to shelter it, but also keep in warmer during the night. Throughout the day walls will absorb and store heat from the sun, as the air gets colder than the wall at night the stored heat is radiated back out again. The nearer your mini greenhouse to the wall, the more of this heat will be transferred to it. Browse lean to greenhouses.

Alternatives to mini greenhouses

If you've got the space in your garden and the money, you could buy a greenhouse. For plant protection in a similar price range, check out our guide on buying a cold frame. Cold frames perform a similar job to mini greenhouses but have a different design.

If you need to protect a plant which is already planted up in your garden, fleece protection is effective and cheap. You might also consider buying a garden cloche which offers protection and a nice design.

You can also compare products and prices from other websites in our shop section, see fleece & polythene protection and cold frames & cloches.

Where to buy mini greenhouses

Websites selling mini greenhouses online
What we think

Crocus have a nice selection of mini greenhouses and alternatives such as cold frames. Their delivery charge is £5.95 on all orders.

Make sure they deliver to your area using their map and postcode selector to check your address.

Visit Crocus

Greenfingers also stock a wide range of mini greenhouses and delivery is free if you spend over £45. Orders less than that have a £4.95 delivery charge.

Visit Greenfingers
Gardening Direct

Gardening Direct list several mini greenhouses in their propagation section and charge a flat £3.95 delivery on all orders.

Visit Harrod Horticultural
Harrod Horticultural

Harrod Horticultural have a single hardwood plant house but have received good feedback from our members and offer some nice alternatives such as cold frames and cloches.

Visit Harrod Horticultural

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