Indoor greenhouses are – as you might expect – mini greenhouse fixtures that you can set up inside your home. You may choose to set up a greenhouse for your windowsill, or one that you can carefully keep an eye on in your conservatory.
A range of indoor greenhouses are on sale in garden centres, specialist shops and online. But, will a tabletop greenhouse or indoor greenhouse be the right choice for your growing needs? Let’s take a look.
Which indoor greenhouse is right for me?
Generally, you’ll find that indoor greenhouses are split into window boxes, mini terrariums, and larger models that can house several plants on multiple shelves.
However, there are actually four types of indoor greenhouse that these can further split down into – and it’s all about the build and material used.
Let’s take a look at the common indoor greenhouse builds available, as well as the pros and cons attached.
Lightweight Metal Indoor Greenhouses
These simple, straightforward indoor greenhouses come flat packed with instructions. They’re easy to carry and have up to eight shelves with a base. They are usually rectangular in shape with a horizontal or arched shaped top. Usually the colour frames and zips match, in either white, green, black or grey. You’ll normally find that these units come with soft plastic that cover over the top.
This style of greenhouse is less robust than others. The materials may not stand up well in a boisterous or busy household with curious pets and energetic children! Pets with claws can rip plastic, for example! On a hot sunny windowsill, too, soft plastic can become flimsy and start to sag.
That said, they are very easy to manage, and will readily stand on the floor or on a windowsill.
Metal and Plastic Indoor Greenhouses
If softer plastic doesn’t appeal to you, there are indoor greenhouses available that arrive built in hard plastic and metal. These have all of the advantages of the above – but they also do not rip!
Usually more expensive to buy than soft plastic indoor greenhouses, these options may have greater visual appeal – and they may last longer, too. That’s better value all around. You can stand these models on the floor or raised on a flat surface.
Wood and Hard Plastic Indoor Greenhouses
Want something a little more stylish? Choose a wooden option! These come in some very simple shapes through to being very ornate. They usually have sharper angles and are often heavier than those listed above.
Some frames may be built from natural wood, though some are clever fakes! Check if they are made of chipboard if you can. You may choose to paint your wood framed indoor greenhouse to match your decor – or let kids go wild with the paintbox!
These models are usually supplied with hard PVC windows, and you can stand them on the floor or a raised surface.
Wood and Glass Indoor Greenhouses
These options are less common nowadays, but many old models of indoor greenhouses were supplied with glass. Today, however, if you do come across them, they are usually built with safety glass.
They often have a good quality, solid appearance, and attractive windows which sparkle! They’re sturdy and usually pet-proof. You’ll be able to keep these models as floor standing or on a raised surface. Caution, though – if glass panels are at knee or ground level, be wary of any kids or pets wandering around.
Even on a table or windowsill, caution with any form of glass is advised. What’s more, older wood may splinter or succumb to rot if water leaks inside.
Why should I invest in an indoor greenhouse?
Investing in your own indoor greenhouse – whether a tabletop greenhouse or a freestanding option – is a great idea if you want to start growing plants and veggies, but don’t necessarily want to or have access to outdoor growing.
They’re super for elderly folk who may not want to go outdoors in a chilly spring to set seeds or cuttings, too. Indoor greenhouses are also perfect for physically impaired people who can water and plants from a wheelchair, or whilst seated at a table. Partially sighted people may find it easier to view plants closer to hand at eye level, too.
What’s more, indoor greenhouses reduce the risk of people tumbling on uneven or wet ground. They won’t need to lift heavy items or carry things far.
Finally watering is easier because it’s on a smaller scale and likely to be sourced from a shorter distance. All in all – investing in a mini greenhouse terrarium is a fantastic idea.
What can I grow in an indoor greenhouse?
You can use your indoor greenhouse to grow all kinds of interesting greens! From vegetables to feature plants, you’ll be surprised at what you can cultivate indoors.
Indoor greenhouses are great for tomato lovers who enjoy easy access to harvest fruit. Indoor gardeners can also plan ahead to give seedlings an early start – the same goes for avocado plants, peppers and even strawberries!
Of course, flowering plants and even tender small shrubs can be started off in these handy greenhouses, too. They can be used to prepare plants before taking them outdoors to a larger greenhouse, potted for a verandah or prior to giving a permanent home in the ground.
For those who enjoy giving plants as gifts, indoor greenhouses can be used to grow some stunning display plants. By selecting some pots or more interesting containers, indoor gardeners can enjoy nurturing gifts. They can plan ahead and even grow from bulbs and seeds!
How to control pests and diseases in indoor greenhouses
Indoor greenhouses are protected in the home, meaning that any pests or diseases found inside are usually those which have arrived on leaves or roots. Soil can contain problems too – so plan ahead.
Treat pests by separating and treating plants individually – or, bring in the best pest controllers from your garden! If you spot ladybirds outside, for example, bring them in! They devour all kinds of common pests, including aphids, greenfly and more.
You can also use well-diluted washing up liquid in cold water. As always, be wary when using chemical sprays indoors, too.
Indoor greenhouse keeping can be a lot of fun! Take your time and look for an option that suits your needs and tastes the most – and start planning your own indoor jungle.