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Last updated on May 11th, 2021
Consider buying a mini greenhouse if you prefer to raise your own plants from seedlings but you don’t have much room for a greenhouse in your garden. We review the best stand-alone mini greenhouses, pointing out their pros and cons and explaining their features. Our Buyer’s Guide helps you decide which features are important to your plan to grow plants under glass.
Our Best Pick is the Plantpak 70200425 Grow House. This wooden greenhouse has many of the features you need to successfully grow plants under glass. It’s available at a mid-range price and is a good combination of quality and price.
Our Runner-up is the Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse. This tall and wide greenhouse has plenty of headspace for your climbing or extra tall plants.
Looking for more pop-up type greenhouses? – Read my review here on the best pop up greenhouses
6 Best mini greenhouses to buy
- Plantpak 132 x 70.5 x 41 cm Grow House – BEST PICK
- Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse – RUNNER-UP
- Rowlinson HWGROWST2 Hardwood Mini Greenhouse
- Grow It Gardman 57 x 76 x 110 cm Wooden House
- Christow Walk In 6ft 4in x 4ft 7in x 4ft 7in Greenhouse With Shelves
- Christow 5ft 2in x 2ft 2in x 1ft 6in Mini Greenhouse
Best Mini Greenhouse reviews
1. Plantpak 70200425 Grow House
The Plantpak 70200425 Grow House is a solid wood greenhouse that comes in a gentle dove grey colour. This greenhouse will be an unobtrusive addition to your garden structures. This is a freestanding mini greenhouse that doesn’t need to be near your house walls or garden fences. The manufacturer doesn’t identify the species of wood on the package but online users say that it’s lightweight and soft.
The lightweight wood is a bit of a problem for some online reviewers. It’s soft so some users predrilled the holes for the screws as they worried that putting them in might split the wood. The frame came with just a thin coat of paint on it. If you receive one in this condition, make sure that you either paint the frame or use a wood preservative on it before you put the greenhouse together, this is not essential but would ensure its properly protected for the British winter weather. The lightweight of this greenhouse is an advantage if you want to move it around your garden throughout the growing season but a disadvantage if you live in an area with high winds so is best positioned somewhere that is a little sheltered or put a weight of some kind (bricks, paving slabs) on the bottom shelf to improve the greenhouse’s stability.
The walls and roof of this Plantpak Grow House are made of 5mm polycarbonate that’s been UV-treated. This keeps the harsh rays away from your plants while letting the sunlight through. The roof/lid is split into two independent parts and you tilt each one to catch the breeze from different directions. The locking mechanism keeps the roof in whatever position you place it; just remember to close the lid in the evening or if bad weather is forecast. The French doors open from the centre making it easy to move plants in and out of.
This mini greenhouse comes with three wooden shelves that are all adjustable. Different sizes of your plant pots, trays and containers can fit onto the shelves. In addition, the shelves are removable to make space for your rapidly growing tomatoes. If you do remove some shelves, the greenhouse has a board on the bottom to preserve its stability.
- Solid wood mini greenhouse in a dove grey colour that matches any house or garden colour scheme.
- Freestanding so you don’t have to place it against the house or a fence
- Windows are glazed 5mm polycarbonate that has been UV-treated to ensure it doesn’t deteriorate.
- The hinged design has locking stays to keep the split roof tilted when it’s open for optimum ventilation.
- Three adjustable wooden shelves to fit whatever size pots you put on them.
- Dimensions are 132cm (height), 70.5cm (width) and 41cm (depth).
- Lightweight wood with a thin coat of paint.
The Plantpak 70200425 Grow House is priced at the mid-range of the mini greenhouses in our review. It’s made of solid wood (unspecified species) and comes with all the features you need for successful under glass growing. The lid is in two parts which you can tilt independently of each other to catch the wind to ventilate the greenhouse. The double doors open outwards so you can access all your plants at the same time. The adjustable and removable shelves (included) give you plenty of space to grow your seedlings and we especially like they can be removed for growing tomatoes.
We’ve made the Plantpak 70200425 Grow House our Best Pick of mini greenhouses for all its features and better than average build quality even though it’s not perfect.
If you’re looking for a mini greenhouse that will last throughout your plant growing ambitions and gives you all the features you need, the Plantpak 70200425 Grow House is our recommendation but we recommend at least giving it a coat of paint.
Read next: Best space saving lean to greenhouses
2. Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse
The Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse is similar to the Christow Mini Greenhouse in our review but it’s larger. This Grow It model is a stand-alone greenhouse that is not a walk-in structure but provides plenty of growing space, especially with its arched roof.
The steel frame is powered coated in a suitably horticultural green colour that blends in with the green reinforced polythene cover. This greenhouse is lightweight and you can move it around easily. This is also a downside as some online reviewers complain that this model blows over in medium to strong winds, even if it’s placed in sheltered spots.
These same reviewers also state that they weigh down the structure by putting rocks and other ballast in the outside pockets of the cover, being careful not to put in too heavy a weight and stretch the polythene. However, we cannot see any pockets in the photos of the greenhouse on the sales web page.
The zippered door to the greenhouse is on the long front wall and rolls-up easily. Secure the door at the top by tying the ties. The door usefully gives you access to the entire width of the interior and to the four metal mesh shelves (included) within. There’s no reaching across or behind delicate growing stems to get to anything. You also don’t have to worry about your pots sitting in pools of water as any excess water drains away through the metal grid to the ground below.
Any or all of the shelves are removable, making extra headroom for your extra-tall or climbing plants. The arched roof also provides additional vertical growing space above the top shelf.
But be careful about removing too many shelves as they give needed stability to the structure. Some online reviews discuss how the design of this greenhouse has changed and that now the shelves use prongs to connect to the frame, making both the shelves and the structure a bit wobbly.
Assembling this greenhouse is quite straightforward though some owners recommend that you put it together on its side as it’s easier that way to ensure that all parts fit properly together.
- Steel powder coated frame is extra wide, strong and weather resistant for a long service life.
- Roll up zipped door in front wall gives you access to the full width of the interior.
- Plastic cover is held on to the arched frame by Velcro fastenings so you can keep it tightly in place.
- Assembly is quick and easy as no tools are required as you ‘push and fit it’ together.
- Frame has four metal grid shelves for your pots and equipment.
- Dimensions: 105cm (width); 45cm (depth); and 160cm (height).
- Shelves don’t fit into frame securely.
- Blows over relatively easily.
The Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse is a stand-alone greenhouse with a significant amount of growing space, especially for tall plants. It’s easily assembled by clicking the frame together and using Velcro to aattch the cover. The powder-coated green steel frame and the matching green cover let this structure blend into your garden landscape and offset the riot of colour within.
The Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse is the Runner-up selection in our review. It’s a convenient and affordable mini greenhouse with a significant amount of growing space that’s all reachable without having to move from the front door.
Have you considered a grow house, easier to move and takedown than a greenhouse. Read my guide on whether you should buy a mini grow house and see me put one together step by step
3. Rowlinson HWGROWST2 Hardwood Mini Greenhouse
The Rowlinson HWGROWST2 Hardwood Mini Greenhouse is made from eucalyptus wood and overall is a lovely greenhouse. It’s intended for year-round use to raise seedlings in early spring through to growing vegetables in the summer and then over-wintering plants when the weather turns cold. The windows are of ridged plastic but you can still see through them to the plants inside.
This Rowlinson greenhouse comes with two slatted shelves to put your pots and trays on. The shelves are not adjustable so you’re limited in what pots you use and what plants you grow. There may not be enough room for older tomato plants. The roof/lid is split into two independent sections. Both sections can be opened for ventilation so your plants don’t become too warm. This mini greenhouse doesn’t have a base so you have to stand it on directly on your patio or another solid base. Be aware that the base you use may absorb heat and increase the temperature in the greenhouse.
Online reviewers complain that the wood frame splits and cracks in the summer. The door may warp and stick. However, the manufacturer address this problem by saying that this doesn’t affect the integrity of the structure. They recommend spraying the wood with water when the weather is hot. We saw this problem with most wood greenhouses and they usually return to normal once the weather cools and the wood absorbs moisture again so we don’t see this as an issue.
- Eucalyptus wood mini greenhouse for year-round use.
- Comes with two slatted wooden shelves that drain the water away if you give your plants too much.
- Roof is split into two independent halves with roof stays to keep them open for the best ventilation.
- The windows are made of ridged plastic for durability and safety.
- Dimensions are 133cm (height), 102cm (width) and 54cm (depth) – all interior measurements.
- Assembly is best done by two people with a screwdriver.
- Shelves aren’t adjustable.
- Comes without a base.
The Rowlinson HWGROWST2 Hardwood Mini Greenhouse is a eucalyptus wood greenhouse that you use year-round and is well worth considering. Propagate seedlings in the spring to fill up your flower and vegetable beds and then over-winter your delicate plants in warm comfort. Two hinged lids that open independently let you decide how much ventilation your greenhouse receives at any time.
If your garden or house design style is rustic or natural, the Rowlinson HWGROWST2 Hardwood Mini Greenhouse will fit right in.
4. Grow It Gardman Wooden House
The Grow It Gardman Wooden House is a stand-alone mini greenhouse for anywhere in your garden. The (unknown to us) wood is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council to be both environmentally and economically beneficial. Consider protecting the wood frame by painting or using a wood preservative before you build the greenhouse, we recommend doing this with most wooden greenhouses.
The twin walls are of polycarbonate that is ridged horizontally. Some reviewers suggest sealing the walls with silicone as you build the structure to ensure a tight fit. The hinged roof is in one piece and opens up from the front. It has roof locks – when you open the roof it stays where you place it. The roof is slanted forward. Online reviewers report that the degree of slant of the roof lets rain run down it and pool at the base of the roof.
The two-hinged doors (French style) are held closed by a wooden latch. This ‘wooden house” come with two shelves that have slats in them to let any moisture run through them to the bottom of the greenhouse. This mini greenhouse doesn’t have a base so the type of ground you place it on becomes part of the structure.
- Wood stand-alone mini greenhouse for vegetables and ornamental plants that you want to protect.
- Wood is certified as environmentally friendly and economically sustainable by the Forestry Stewardship Council.
- The walls have two layers of polycarbonate glazing for extra insulation.
- Two slatted shelves that let any water run down to the bottom of the greenhouse.
- Hinged roof locks in place so you don’t have to worry about propping it open for ventilation.
- Two hinged doors are secured by a wooden latch for easy access.
- Dimensions are 76cm (height), 100cm (width) and 57cm (depth).
- Lightweight and softwood of unspecified species.
- Shelves are removable but the structure becomes wobbly so not recommended unless you build something to strengthen the frame.
The Grow It Gardman Wooden House is one of the smaller mini greenhouses in our review. Its (unspecified) wood frame holds the walls of two layers of polycarbonate. Your plants are well insulated. The single piece roof opens up to ventilate the greenhouse so condensation doesn’t form. Use the two shelves and the bottom of the greenhouse to grow your seeds and to place your garden tools.
If you really don’t have much space or want to grow only a few plants, this could be the mini greenhouse for you.
5. Christow Walk-In Greenhouse With Shelves
The CHRISTOW Walk in Greenhouse With Shelves is another stand-alone mini greenhouse. Unlike all the rectangular greenhouses we review, this one is square. It’s also different as the walls and roof are actually a cover made of polyethylene. This is a one-piece soft cover that you pull over the frame. Another unique feature of this structure is that it’s a walk-in greenhouse. The roof is high enough for most people to potter about inside. This greenhouse is light enough to easily move it around your garden for the best placement each season.
The frame of the CHRISTOW Walk In Greenhouse With Shelves is made of powder-coated steel – the best kind for resisting rust and for lasting a long time. As we’ve said, the walls and roof are one piece that’s constructed of an internal grid placed between two layers of white polyethylene. This is not only UV resistant but has extra thickness for increased insulation. Plus the white colour lets more sunlight into the greenhouse than darker colours do.
With the click-together frame, assembly is easy. Just put the steel poles together with the (included) plastic clips. Then use the ground pegs and the guy lines to anchor the greenhouse to the ground. As you need to put the pegs in the ground, this greenhouse won’t work on a concrete or paving slab surface to easily but something could be fashioned to hold it in place such as buying some paving slabs (12”) x 8, and lay them inside along the bottom. you could also insert rings into the hard surface to attach the guy lines to.
The door into this greenhouse is part of the cover. It has double zippers – one on each side of the door – and rolls up to the top of the structure. Ties are there to keep the rolled-up door out of the way. Another useful feature of this greenhouse is that it comes with eight mesh shelves. These are removable to create space for your tallest plants. Online users recommend that you use cable ties to attach the shelves to the frame for stability as the shelves are a bit flimsy.
- Walk-in stand-alone greenhouse is made of steel and polyethylene so you can move it easily.
- Dimensions are 143cm (length), 195cm (height to point of roof) and 143cm (depth).
- Walls and roof have an internal grid placed between two layers of UV-resistant polyethylene for extra insulation.
- Frame is made of powder-coated steel for rust-resistance and a long life.
- Door is double zippered and you roll it up to get into the mini greenhouse.
- Comes with eight removable mesh shelves that allows pots to drain away water easily.
- Easy assembly with click-together frame, and ground pegs and guy lines to hold it in place.
- Mesh shelves are lightweight and flimsy.
- Doesn’t have a base.
- Not easily constructed on a solid service with somehow fixing to the ground as previously mentioned.
The Christow Walk In Greenhouse With Shelves is one of the least expensive mini greenhouses we review here. It’s also one of the lightest and the biggest. Easily place the two-layer polyethylene cover over the powder-coated steel frame and you’re ready to start planting in your seed trays. This is the only walk-in greenhouse we looked at, with mesh shelves (included) down each side of the structure.
If you’re an avid gardener who grows many plants from seeds and wants a walk-in greenhouse with a lot of room, check out this Christow greenhouse. Just remember its much easier to construct on a sold surface like a lawn.
6. Christow Mini Greenhouse
The Christow Mini Greenhouse is almost the same as the Christow Greenhouse with shelves that we review above. It’s just smaller and costs less. However, it still has a larger area than some of the hard-sided mini greenhouses here
The frame of this mini greenhouse is made from powder-coated steel that lasts a long time and won’t rust (unless the coating is rubbed off). The greenhouse is stand-alone and of a light weight so it’s easily portable. The click-together design of the frame means that you don’t need any tools to assemble it.
The greenhouse’s cover is two layers of white polyethylene with a strengthening grid between them. The light colour of the cover lets the maximum amount of light through while reflecting some of the heat. Plus it’s UV resistant to stop any sun degradation including fading.
The door in the cover is at the front of the greenhouse. It’s part of the cover and has zips at either side for easy access to the plants. Once you roll up the door, keep it in place with the ties at the top. This Christow greenhouse comes with four mesh shelves, one of which is at the base of the frame and gives extra stability. However, the shelves aren’t adjustable but they are removable. You don’t have to limit the sizes of your growing containers and the size of the plants according to the spacing between the shelves.
Online reviewers report that the light weight of this mini greenhouse is both a pro and a con. You can move it easily but so can any strong wind. They suggest anchoring the greenhouse with a bag of compost or some bricks or paving stones or anything else that’s heavy. You may want to have different places in your garden to move this mini greenhouse to depending on the time of year and the position of the sun.
- Stand-alone mini greenhouse made from steel with a heavy-duty polyethylene cover.
- Cover is two layers of white polyethylene with a mesh between them to reinforce it.
- Frame is powder-coated steel and resists rust and UV rays.
- Roll up door has zippers on both sides so it’s easy to open.
- Door keeps in place with ties at the top so you can leave it open for ventilation on warm days.
- Comes with four heavy-duty mesh shelves that let the water run away if you over-water your plants.
- Click-together design doesn’t require any tools so non-DIY people can easily set the greenhouse up.
- Dimensions are 69cm (length), 143.5cm (height inside) and 49cm (depth).
- Shelves aren’t adjustable.
- No base.
The Christow Mini Greenhouse is the least expensive greenhouse we look at in this review but it has enough growing space to compete with more expensive mini greenhouses. The polyethylene doesn’t weigh too much and the powder-coated steel frame holds up in all weathers. You don’t need any DIY skills to put this mini greenhouse together as it has a click-together system. This Christow greenhouse comes with four mesh shelves so you don’t have to buy anything for your greenhouse.
If you have a small space (even a balcony) but you still want to grow plants from scratch, this lightweight Christow Mini Greenhouse is a good choice.
Greenhouses of any size provide protection and optimal light conditions for the plants that you grow in them. Delicate plants that can’t normally prosper in cooler outdoors conditions are good candidates for growing under glass. These may be tender plants that need overwinter with a little protection or seeds that you start before the outdoors growing season.
Before you read this Buyer’s Guide to discover the features of greenhouses, ask yourself two questions to start your research:
- Where are you going to place the greenhouse?
- What direction is it going to face?
Your first answer guides you to the size of greenhouse you need and the second answer identifies how much sun the plants in the greenhouse will receive.
Mini greenhouses are a smaller version of full-size greenhouses, but perform the same functions. They can be short and wide, tall and narrow and even walk-in structures. Generally, mini-greenhouses cover about 1m2 of floor space. In this review we look at standard mini greenhouses that you purchase in a kit; custom mini greenhouses are also available so you can design your own but are usually expensive.
Why you need a mini greenhouse
If you’re an avid horticulturist you probably start growing your flowers and vegetables from seed before spring even arrives. Doing this in a mini greenhouse ensures that the climate remains warm for the plants and that they receive the right degree of ventilation. Consider a mini greenhouse as a larger and more controllable cold frame.
Mini greenhouses are also great for growing plants from cuttings and seedling. If you have favourite plants in your garden, take a cutting and put it in the greenhouse until it’s hardy and sturdy enough to return to the garden bed.
Mini greenhouses come in two basic styles. We review stand-alone or freestanding mini greenhouses in this review. These greenhouses stand up on their own and you can place them anywhere in your garden. Lean-to greenhouses need to be attached to a wall or fence that forms the back wall.
Construction and materials
Mini greenhouses that come in kits usually have frames made of aluminium, steel or wood.
Aluminium frames are either bare metal or are powder-coated for extra protection. They’re lightweight and durable and don’t conduct heat well. With these frames, check frequently that your plants are at the right temperature. Steel frames, which also may be powder coated, are heavier but very durable but there are more prone to rust, unlike aluminium.
Wood frames give a natural and traditional look to mini greenhouses. Most wooden frames arrive with all the panels attached. Maintaining wood frames involves painting or staining them before you put the greenhouse together and doing this regularly through their service life.
The glazed walls and lid of mini greenhouses are usually one of these materials
Standard horticultural glass is clear and practical. The contents of your greenhouse are on display to the outside world. This type of glass does shatter into large shards if it’s broken which is not ideal.
Polycarbonate safety glazing is a plastic that’s difficult to break and is the most popular choice. It’s usually opaque, though you can see your plants faintly through it. Two sheets of polycarbonate often are a grid sandwiched between them to add to its strength.
Reinforced high quality polyethylene is another plastic used as glazing. This is a soft plastic that’s used for soft covers for greenhouses. These are the type of greenhouses in which just one cover goes over the sides and the lids. The cover also has a roll-up door in it and is completely removable. Use you mini greenhouse as a plant stand when you’ve finished growing plants inside it.
Toughened safety glass is the safest form of glazing and is usually used in high end greenhouses like that of our Runner-up. It’s a clear and strong glass that disintegrates into hundreds of small pieces if it’s broken. It’s not easy to cut yourself on the glass bits.
Most mini greenhouses kits provide shelves that attach to the side walls or from front to back in larger structure. The shelves might be made of wood to match the frame or aluminium or another metal. Many of the mini greenhouses come with shelves made of slats. This enables water to run through them, in case you overwater your plants. Look for shelves that are adjustable or are at least removable. The problem with some models is the greenhouse removes less rigid when the shelves are removed and requires some extra braces DIY style to strengthen the structure. This is especially true for cheaper models.
A few mini greenhouses come with a built-in floor. This ensures that the greenhouse is completely sealed. Many greenhouses, however, have an open floor so you need to place it on a surface that doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Try grass, gravel, concrete, wooden decking or paving stones. Also look for ready-made bases to purchase.
Roofs (also known as lids) are important in ventilating the greenhouse. Your plants won’t become too hot and dried out if you have a controlled air flow into the greenhouse. Some mini greenhouses have a single lid that opens and others have split lids that open independently of each other. The lids are made of the same material as the greenhouse walls. Some models also have separate vents as pictured above.
Many mini greenhouses have double doors that open from the centre. This gives you access to all of the plants at once. One greenhouse in our review has sliding glass doors. These are elegant and minimalistic but you can only get to one half of the greenhouse at a time.
Once you have the basic and workable mini greenhouse you may want to add optional, nice to have, accessories. These include:
- A heater for the cooler nights in spring and autumn to keep it above freezing.
- A thermometer to tell you how warm the inside of the greenhouse is or how low it has been.
- Potting benches to replace the shelves for a sturdier place to put your plants.
- Shading screens to protect your plants from the middle of the day harsh sunlight.
Check out the following articles that may be useful
How many months a year can I use a mini greenhouse?
Growing plants in a mini greenhouse extends the growing season, at both ends. With careful planning, you can have plants in your greenhouse all year long.
Spring is when you start your seeds or small seedlings off in the greenhouse, before it’s too cold to plant anything outside.
When you’ve transplanted your seedlings outside in summer, there’s room in your mini greenhouse for crops that sometimes need protection, such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
In autumn, take cuttings from geraniums and flowers and put them in the greenhouse to provide new plants for next year. You can also sow lettuce to maintain your salad green crop throughout the winter.
In the winter, use the greenhouse to overwinter your more delicate plants. And start your winter and spring bulbs here for early-year colour.
Can I put a mini greenhouse against a wall?
You can place a mini greenhouse against a wall but know that the wall will retain heat and transmit it to the greenhouse interior.
If you intend on keeping your greenhouse against the wall, consider a lean-to greenhouse. This is a greenhouse that doesn’t have a back wall as it’s specially designed to fit up against a garden wall or an outside wall of your house. During the day the wall absorbs warmth which it radiates out at night, heating up the interior of the greenhouse.
What are the top three things I need to have with my mini greenhouse?
If we can choose only three items, then we pick:
An accurate thermometer so you know what the temperature of the interior is
A way of cooling down the inside if it’s too hot. We suggest sun shades or a fan. These offer more delicate control over the temperature than just opening the door.
A way of heating up the interior if it’s too cold. We suggest a heater designed for greenhouse use.
You’ll notice that we didn’t include a watering system in our list. Mini greenhouses are usually too small to warrant an irrigation system and a watering can will often be enough. And we’re assuming that shelves come with your greenhouse purchase.
From growing seedlings from scratch in spring to picking ripe tomatoes in the summer, mini greenhouses give your plants the warmth and shelter that they need. Although their footprint is small, these greenhouses provide a significant amount of growing space.
The mini greenhouses in this review are of a variety of styles, sized and materials. Before you select your mini greenhouse, the two key questions to answer are what you want to grow in the greenhouse and where you’re going to place it. The answers will help you narrow down your selection.
The Best Pick in our review is the Plantpak 70200425 Grow House. This wood greenhouse is still light enough to move easily. The split roof lets you control how much air to let in for ventilation.
Our Runner-up choice is the Grow It Gardman 4 Tier Extra Wide Arc Mini Greenhouse. This is a tall and wide greenhouse that you don’t have to step into but that provides a significant amount of growing space, especially for taller plants.
If you now think that a mini greenhouse is too small for all your plant growing ambitions, read our Best Greenhouses article for reviews and buying advice for larger greenhouses.
Last update on 2021-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API