Extend your vegetable harvest into fall or get a jump on spring planting with a compact home greenhouse. The protective environment in a greenhouse shields tender plants from temperature swings, harmful pests, and high winds while offering diffused sunlight for optimum plant growth.
You don’t need a large backyard to take advantage of the benefits a greenhouse offers; don’t let the small size of these compact greenhouses fool you. Each one offers plenty of protection for seedlings and tender plants. We’ve rounded up some of the best compact greenhouse options that won’t take up too much room but offer the benefits of a larger structure.
- BEST OVERALL: Nova Mini Walk-In Greenhouse
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ShelterLogic GrowIT Small Garden House
- BEST POP-UP: Ahome Mini Pop up Greenhouse
- BEST WALK-IN: Nova Mini 6-Shelf Walk-in Greenhouse
- BEST VERTICAL: Ohuhu 4-Tier Indoor and Outdoor Mini Greenhouse
- BEST TABLETOP: Palm Springs 2-Tier Mini Greenhouse
- BEST CLEAR: Quictent Mini Walk-in 3-Tier 6-Shelf Greenhouse
- ALSO CONSIDER: Eagle Peak Mini Garden Portable Greenhouse
How We Chose the Best Compact Greenhouses
We researched the most sought-after small greenhouses in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their design, size, materials, shelving and storage, and other special features included by top brands.
While searching for the best small greenhouses on the market, the most popular types among users were the walk-in, pop-up, vertical, and horizontal models with PVC plastic covers, steel frames, and wire shelving. Not only do these models provide ample durability as well as water and UV resistance, but most also come with 4 to 8 shelves with high weight capacities of up to 27 pounds.
While many of these small greenhouses can stand on their own without needing support, select brands provide rope and metal pegs to ensure the unit stays in place. Plus, most of these units have tool-free assembly and are small enough to fit on a porch, in a backyard, or even inside a home.
Our Top Picks
The following are the top picks for the best compact greenhouses for the garden. These recommendations for the best small greenhouses deliver quality construction, great size options, portability, and other helpful features. Whether shoppers are looking for a walk-in, tabletop, or pop-up greenhouse, there’s sure to be a good solution here for any garden.
Whether you want to sprout seeds or pamper hothouse orchids, the Nova Mini Walk-In Greenhouse provides all the benefits of a larger backyard greenhouse. It includes eight sturdy shelves and a roll-up door for ample ventilation and easy access to the plants.
In the place of traditional glass panels, the walk-in vertical space in this greenhouse features a durable polyethylene covering that diffuses harsh sunlight and protects tender plants from light freezes. Its strong frame, made from anti-rust steel tubing, is easy to set up and take down. The structure measures 57 inches long, 57 inches wide, and 77 inches high.
- Type: Walk-in
- Size: 57 inches long by 57 inches wide by 77 inches high
- Materials: Polyethylene and steel tubing
- Shelving: Yes
- Rust-resistant, durable construction is suitable for use in all types of weather
- Roll-up door can be secured; allows users to walk into the greenhouse for watering and pruning
- 8 shelves for ample storage space; suitable for potted herbs, flowers, and vegetables
- Easy to assemble or transport; can be deconstructed for storing in winter months
- Some users report difficulty reading the instructions while assembling; may be tricky the first time
Get the Nova Mini greenhouse at Amazon.
The ShelterLogic GrowIT small garden greenhouse measures 8 feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high and comes with three roll-up panels built into the top to give the plants some air or water. Made with a clear PVC fabric cover, this ShelterLogic small greenhouse has a tubular steel quick-snap system that assembles in 15 minutes and is durable enough to hold it in place due to its powder-coated construction.
This easy-to-assemble cheap greenhouse is perfect for growing small vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and other plants, and it can stay outdoors in colder months to shield the seedlings from snow, rain, and winds.
- Type: Horizontal
- Size: 8 feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high
- Materials: Steel and PVC
- Shelving: No
- 3 roll-down zipper door panels for watering or allowing for aeration and pruning
- Tubular steel powder-coated construction snaps into place in just 15 minutes
- Suitable for small gardens; perfect for growing herbs, small vegetable plants, and flowers
- No tie-downs included with purchase; may not be able to withstand heavy weather conditions
Get the ShelterLogic compact greenhouse at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.
For protecting an individual plant from late spring or early fall frosts, you’ll love the Ahome Mini pop-up greenhouse. The structure stands just 31 inches tall when open and measures 27 inches in both width and depth. It comes with four steel spikes to secure it firmly to the ground, a clear PVC cover, and a zip-open window that offers ventilation on sunny days when the temperature rises. This mini greenhouse pops open with a single movement, and when you’re done, just fold it up. It stores flat in a garage or basement until you need to use it again.
- Type: Pop-up
- Size: 27 inches long by 27 inches wide by by 31 inches high
- Materials: PVC plastic and steel
- Shelving: No
- Pops open right out of the box; no assembly required
- Zip-open window built-in for watering, pruning, and aeration
- 4 steel spikes to keep this outdoor greenhouse in place in inclement weather
- Stores flat; will not take up space while being stored in the off-season
- No shelving built-in; compact size can only protect 1 plant or a few small ones
Get the Ahome compact greenhouse at Amazon.
Get a jump on your summer gardening with the Nova Mini Walk-In. A durable, waterproof polyethylene cover sits atop a powder-coated metal frame. The fabric on this walk-in greenhouse provides soft, diffuse light for starting seedlings and growing tender plants. Six shelves, three on each side that each measure 11.22 inches by 28.34 inches are just the right size to hold seedling flats or other plants.
This compact Nova Mini Walk-In greenhouse measures 55.9 inches wide, 28.3 inches deep, and 75.6 inches high at its peak. This large greenhouse assembles quickly without the need for tools and comes with a storage bag, a roll-up zippered door, rope, and metal pegs for securing the cover.
- Type: Walk-in
- Size: 55.9 inches long by 28.3 inches wide by 75.6 inches high
- Materials: Metal and polyethylene
- Shelving: Yes
- The waterproof cover diffuses light; prevents burning and overheating any plants
- Tool-free assembly can be deconstructed to fit into a convenient storage bag
- 6 shelves included for ample storage of small potted plants
- Roll-up zippered door can be secured for easy entry for watering and pruning
- Some users report that the shelves have poor durability; may not be suitable for long-term use
Get the Nova 6-shelf compact greenhouse at Amazon.
Maximize your floor space with a vertical greenhouse like this one from Ohuhu. It squeezes four shelves into these compact dimensions: 27 inches long by 18 inches wide by 63 inches high. The ventilated mesh plastic cover ties to the frame and provides ideal air circulation. A zippered roll-up door offers easy access.
The sturdy metal frame with plastic connectors supports up to 23.4 pounds distributed across the four steel-wire shelves. Quick tool-free assembly and takedown make this model easy to pack up at the end of the growing season. However, the steel rings for ropes and pegs are not included.
- Type: Vertical
- Size: 27 inches long by 18 inches wide by 63 inches high
- Materials: Mesh plastic, metal, and wire
- Shelving: Yes
- 4 steel wire shelves are durable and have enough room for small potted plants
- Ventilated cover is perfect for plants that need ample aeration
- Plastic connectors made with thick plastic ensure the unit stays upwards and stable
- Zippered roll-up door can be secured and allows the user to enter for watering and pruning
- Tool-free assembly can be disassembled for storage in off-season months
- Steel ring/tie-downs not included; may not stay in place during inclement weather
Get the Ohuhu compact greenhouse at Amazon.
With enough room for two full-size seedling flats or multiple potted plants, the Palm Springs two-tier greenhouse holds more plants in a small package. It comes with a rust-resistant metal frame and two wire shelves that measure 19 inches long by 27 inches wide. The flexible, clear PVC cover features a roll-up zippered door for ventilation and access to the plants inside.
Quick to assemble, the Palm Springs compact greenhouse is a great solution for protecting tender plants. The small structure stands 37.5 inches at its peak, which makes it a nice fit for patio tables, small backyards, decks, or balconies. Plus, this model comes in 3- and 4-tier options.
- Type: Vertical
- Size: 19 inches long by 27 inches wide by 37.5 inches high
- Materials: Metal, wire, and PVC plastic
- Shelving: Yes
- Rust-resistant construction can be left outdoors in the rain without deteriorating
- 2 large steel wire shelves allow for ample storage and durability
- Roll-up zippered door allows users to enter the unit for pruning and watering
- Comes in multiple sizes depending on the user’s needs; 3-tier and 4-tier greenhouses available
- May not diffuse UV rays as well as comparable options; may burn or overheat plants
- Some users report poor zipper quality; may get stuck from time to time
Get the Palm Springs compact greenhouse at Amazon.
With a walk-in design and dimensions of 29 inches long by 56 inches wide by 77 inches high, this compact greenhouse kit provides gardeners easy access to several plants and seedlings.
A completely waterproof PVC cover sits atop a heavy-duty powder-coated tubular steel frame. Each shelf holds up to 17 pounds of plants, pots, and seedling trays. A mesh door and a PVC door give gardeners added control over ventilation. Each side features a mesh-screen window to let fresh air in and keep hungry critters out.
As a bonus, this greenhouse kit includes 50 plant-identification tags, 30 zip ties to provide additional support to the frame, an air circulation window, a metal frame, 10 S-shaped hanging hooks, and it comes in a clear or green colorway.
- Type: Vertical
- Size: 29 inches long by 56 inches wide by 77 inches high
- Materials: PVC plastic and steel
- Shelving: Yes
- Waterproof construction is perfect for all-season use and inclement weather
- 6 steel wire shelves; 17-pound weight capacity per shelf
- 50 plant-identification tags included with purchase for added convenience
- Comes with 30 zip ties and 10 S-shaped hanging hooks
- Some users report poor construction and quality; may need additional supports or tie-downs
Get the Quictent compact greenhouse kit at Amazon or Quictents.
This low-lying horizontal greenhouse fits right over plants in the ground or pots sitting on a patio. Multiple zippered roll-up doors allow gardeners to adjust heat and ventilation and access plants with ease. The water-resistant translucent plastic cover offers protection from potentially harmful UV rays.
This greenhouse kit includes ropes to secure the heavy-duty powder-coated steel frame and stakes to anchor the greenhouse to the ground. This mini greenhouse measures 71 inches long by 36 inches wide by 36 inches high and works best for growing plants out of raised beds or the ground.
- Type: Horizontal
- Size: 71 inches long by 36 inches wide by 36 inches high
- Materials: Polyethylene and steel
- Shelving: No
- Multiple zippered roll-up doors for watering plants or pruning
- Water- and UV-resistant construction prevents plants from burning, overheating, or being overwatered
- Built-in rope; allows the unit to stay in place during inclement weather
- No shelving included; may not be suitable for potted plants or herbs
- Less durable than comparable options; may not hold up in all-season weather
Get the Eagle Peak compact greenhouse kit at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Eagle Peak.
What to Consider When Choosing a Compact Greenhouse
Choosing a compact greenhouse might seem like a simple decision, but there are several considerations to weigh. The best compact greenhouses come with a durable frame that will last many growing seasons, a means of ventilation, and easy assembly. Here are some of the most important features to look for when shopping for mini greenhouse kits.
There are several different mini greenhouse styles, each of which has its advantages and benefits. Some types may work better for your garden than others. The best choice for you depends on your available space, your budget, and whether you’re looking for a permanent or portable option.
- Walk-in greenhouses come in both permanent and portable models. They are large enough to allow gardeners to walk inside to tend to their plants. They may also have enough room to store gardening supplies.
- Pop-up greenhouses refer to portable greenhouses that offer easy assembly, takedown, and transport.
- Year-round mini greenhouses are small, permanent structures that stay in place all year with no need to dismantle after the growing season.
- Tabletop greenhouses sit on a table or other flat surfaces indoors or out. They make a great choice for novice gardeners who want to transfer small quantities of seedlings outdoors in the spring after germinating them indoors.
- Vertical mini greenhouses make a great choice for small yards or balconies because they feature shelving, which takes advantage of the available vertical space without taking up much floor space.
- Horizontal mini greenhouses can cover plants that are planted directly in the ground or low-lying raised beds.
Wheeled greenhouses allow you to move your plants around the available outdoor space without disassembling the structure.
The first factor to consider when shopping for a compact greenhouse is how much available space you have. Luckily, there are plenty of options available, whether your garden consists of a suburban backyard, a city patio, or a tiny balcony. Consider, too, whether you plan to bring your mini greenhouse indoors when temperatures drop to a certain level.
Generally speaking, a compact greenhouse is any model that takes up 10 square feet of floor space or less. They are typically less than 6 feet tall. Sizes vary greatly, however, with models ranging from tabletop versions that take up just a single square foot to walk-in versions more suitable for larger outdoor spaces. Be sure to measure the space you have before making a purchase.
Compact greenhouses typically come with either wooden or metal frames, each of which has both advantages and disadvantages. Consider the following factors when choosing between metal and timber.
- Metal frames, typically made from aluminum or powder-coated steel, are low maintenance and easy to assemble. They’re generally constructed of metals that won’t rust when exposed to moisture. Many metal frames snap into place with plastic connecting pieces, which eliminates the need for tools.
- Wooden frames, also called cold frames, provide added stability. They are ideal for year-round use in more temperate climates. They do, however, have higher maintenance requirements because they may rot over time in damp conditions. They may need periodic sanding and a new coat of stain.
Standard greenhouses and some high-end mini greenhouses may feature glass-paneled walls. Glass withstands harsh weather conditions and lets in direct sunlight—ideal conditions for growing seedlings. It can, however, crack or break, so some greenhouses use polycarbonate panels as a cheaper and more durable alternative. The problem with these is that they don’t let in as much light as traditional glass panels.
The most affordable mini greenhouses use plastic siding. While this makes them easier to disassemble and move, it also means that their interiors can easily overheat, which may hurt some plants. Gardeners using this style of greenhouse have to take care to avoid high temperatures and humidity levels. It’s crucial to control ventilation using roll-up windows or doors. Another downside to greenhouses with plastic siding is that they may not be able to withstand extremely high winds.
Tiers and Shelving
Larger compact greenhouses often feature tiers or shelving to allow you to maximize the vertical space within the structure. This shelving may be made of wood, plastic, or metal and generally matches the frame of the structure. While greenhouse shelving is sometimes fixed in place, some models feature adjustable shelves to accommodate plants of various sizes.
While shelving is handy for allowing you to house more plants, it’s not ideal when you’re starting seedlings. Upper shelves create too much shade and prevent seedlings on lower shelves from getting the sunlight they need.
Before choosing a mini greenhouse, consider how you intend to use it. Consider a portable option if you intend to move your mini greenhouse around your indoor or outdoor space. Lightweight metal frames and plastic siding make for the most portable options.
Mini greenhouses with wooden frames or glass-paneled walls look great and last long, but these are not your most portable options, especially the larger models.
While most mini greenhouses on the market feature simply a frame, cover, and shelving, some greenhouses may come with the following additional features:
- Roll-up doors or windows: When outdoor temperatures are high, heat can build up inside the structure and reach levels that are intolerable for some plants. Roll-ups maximize airflow on hot days.
- Indoor lighting: Found in some higher-end mini greenhouses, this feature facilitates early-morning or evening plant care.
- Temperature/humidity control: Some units can accommodate a heater, fan, or misting system, sold separately, to help control interior climate and humidity.
The Advantages of Owning a Compact Greenhouse
Mini greenhouses allow gardeners with limited outdoor space to protect their plants from cold weather and overexposure to the sun. The best compact greenhouses serve the same purposes as standard greenhouses within the confines of a small yard, patio, or even a balcony. Standard greenhouses tend to be large and permanent, while mini greenhouses are often portable and offer easy setup, takedown, and storage.
- Protect plants from pests and critters;
- Extend the growing season and let you start seedlings earlier;
- Shelter plants from the elements;
- Allow gardeners to create a controlled microclimate; and
- Prevent your potting soil from erosion and overwatering by preventing precipitation from reaching your plants.
You may still have some additional questions about the best compact greenhouses. This section aims to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about mini greenhouses to help you decide if purchasing one is right for you.
Q. What is a mini greenhouse for?
A mini greenhouse is used for protecting plants from harsh temperatures, wind, pests, and other critters. It’s a handy addition to smaller gardens or patios for extending the growing season and growing seeds, seedlings, or mature plants in cooler temperatures.
Q. What is the smallest size greenhouse?
Greenhouses vary widely in size and can have footprints of less than 1 square foot for germinating seeds in a small indoor space.
Q. Should a greenhouse be clear or opaque?
Clear and opaque greenhouse siding provides different types of light. Clear siding gives plants access to direct sunlight, which is ideal for germinating seeds and starting seedlings. On the other hand, opaque siding provides diffuse light, which is the better choice for growing plants to maturity because it prevents hot spots.
Q. How thick does the plastic need to be for a greenhouse?
For optimal quality and durability, look for a greenhouse with a plastic cover that’s at least 6 mils (or 0.006 inches) thick.
Q. Can I put a greenhouse in the shade?
No, you can’t put a greenhouse in the shade. Both full-size and miniature greenhouses rely on sunlight, so they should be placed in a location that receives full sun—6 to 8 hours of sunlight—throughout the day.
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