Do Plants Really Grow Better in Greenhouses?
Written by Matt W (Greenhousestores) on 21st Mar 2019.
Whether you’re interested in just extending the growing season in your local climate or want to shift towards growing indoors all year round makes no difference, learning – and mastering – the secrets of the greenhouse will change the way you look at gardening from here on out!
Greenhouses used to be the exclusive purview of well-heeled gardeners with the kind of budget necessary to dedicate a decent chunk of real estate and a sizable construction budget to the creation of these beautiful and functional additions.
But thanks to modern technology and innovation anyone can have a backyard greenhouse built (faster than you think possible, at that) according to the space they have available in the budget they feel comfortable working with.
The real secret of success in greenhouse growing today is not building a greenhouse at all, but instead learning how to make the most of its unique conditions – conditions that when perfectly dialed in give you the ability to not only grow your favorite plants all year round, but grown the kinds of plants in your climate that never would have survived otherwise.
Interested in learning a little bit more?
Let’s dive right in!
How Exactly Does a Greenhouse Work, Anyway?
Even a child could tell you that plants need light, air, water, and the right mixture of nutrients to not only survive but thrive – and that they also need the right temperatures to grow and develop.
And while different approaches can give you more complete control over the water and the mixture of nutrients you give your plants nothing gives you as much control over the light, the air, and the temperature those plants are exposed to the way that a greenhouse will.
Manufactured out of translucent materials (either in the form of glass or plastics), greenhouses are designed to give plants indoors the most amount of light exposure possible. The plants then use that high volume of light for increased photosynthesis, combining carbon dioxide from the air with the energy provided by the sunlight to produce the simple sugars they need to thrive.
Greenhouses also work to keep plants warm when the mercury outside starts to drop in a way that wouldn’t be possible without door gardening.
Designed in a way to allow for sunlight to come in through nearly every surface, the panels that these buildings or additions are created out of work to absorb some of the energy from the sun to convert it into infrared energy (what we recognize as heat) so that the plants can soak up the sun, so to speak.
Because they are highly insulated, the trapped hot air inside the greenhouse maintains consistent temperatures all year round regardless of what the weather, the temperature, or the climate outside may be. This is why you’re able to grow even the most delicate citrus fruits indoors in a legitimate greenhouse while there are piles of snow outside!
The beautiful thing about greenhouses is that they can also be outfitted with artificial grow lights and artificial heat sources to supplement Mother Nature. Again, this gives you more control over the overall growing environment, really dialing in the kind of climate factors your plants need to succeed.
What are the Biggest Benefits of a Dedicated Greenhouse?
There are a myriad of benefits you’ll enjoy when you start growing in a dedicated greenhouse, but the most significant benefits have to be:
- A Longer Growing Season – Because temperatures aren’t going to vary all that much inside a greenhouse, and because the radiation of the sun is trapped inside of this enclosure, you can sustain growing temperatures all year long without any trouble at all
- The Ability to Garden in Any Weather – Trying to tend a garden when the rain is pouring down, when the wind is whipping, or when there is snow is always a challenge. By moving your garden indoors you obviously eliminate those issues altogether and have an opportunity to really enjoy the time you spend with this passion.
- Grow Almost Any Plant Imaginable – The biggest benefit of growing with a greenhouse has to be the ability to grow practically any plant, any fruit, and any vegetable you can imagine as long as you are able to control those climate conditions indoors. Having fresh picked and home grown citrus fruits in the dead of winter is an experience only those with their own greenhouse get to enjoy!
What are the Ideal Conditions in a Greenhouse to Promote Plant Growth?
The ideal conditions inside of a greenhouse to promote consistent plant growth are going to vary depending on the plants you are growing, but the factors you want to focus on most are relatively simple and straightforward.
Lighting is obviously going to be the most important condition to control, as it drives photosynthesis – the life force of these plants. Greenhouses are naturally taken plenty of light all on their own but as we highlighted above can also be retrofitted to take advantage of artificial lighting sources so that you have even more control to exert over your growing conditions.
Shading is another priority you’ll be able to exercise control over, has some plans are going to really excel when they are shielded from direct sunlight at least some of the time. You can set up shaded areas in your greenhouse to protect these kinds of plants in specific rather than exposing all of your plants to a shaded area, just another feature traditional gardening won’t bring to the table.
Heat and ventilation controls give you the ability to dictate exactly how your plants grow, how they develop, and how they move through their own natural process from seed to fruit/flower. This can all be controlled with louvers, thermostats, and external heat sources – or a combination of all three – in a way that is possible when growing outdoors.
Greenhouse Plants That Love These Conditions
You will certainly find no shortage of plants that love the conditions you have control over in a greenhouse, and best of all you will be able to change those conditions as you see fit – or as you need to – to match the growing conditions the plants you are looking to develop require.
Plants like mushrooms, ginseng, bamboo, all kinds of herbs, leafy greens and micro greens, spinach, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, squash, lemons and oranges, grapes and strawberries, peaches and raspberries, and chilis or okra are just some of the plants that really take off when they are grown and developed inside of a greenhouse.
These are the kinds of plants that you will be able to tend to all year round in your greenhouse, are the kinds of plants that aren’t just beautiful and exciting to grow but are also edible and fun to share with others, and are the kinds of plants that would have a really tough time growing outdoors in most other climates.
Again, however, it’s important to remember that the reason to move forward with greenhouse growing in the first place is because you will be able to really tailor the overall experience to your interests and your needs.
If there’s a specific type of gardening you’d like to do, and you find it challenging because of your local climate (or a variety of other issues) you be happy to know that with a greenhouse you get to eliminate those hurdles entirely and instead can create the perfect climate to make your dream garden a reality.
It just doesn’t get much better than that, now does it?