The 9 Best Small Greenhouse Kits You Can Assemble Yourself

You don’t need to build a greenhouse to have a greenhouse.

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Canopia by Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse
Courtesy of Wayfair

Greenhouses provide year-round refuge for seedlings and non-native plants to soak up stored heat without being significantly impacted by the weather outside. Looking to add a plant haven to your backyard? Small greenhouse kits are a great alternative to building your own greenhouse. Instead of spending time and labor designing and building a greenhouse from scratch, a small greenhouse kit simplifies the process by including all the needed materials as well as an assembly guide. Many can be built in an afternoon.

Small greenhouse kits come in a variety of styles, sizes, and finishes. The most important things to consider when choosing a small greenhouse kit are the materials, square footage, and features.

Our top choice, the Canopia by Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse, has a charming design, is made of sturdy materials, and offers features that aren't typical in small greenhouse kits. These features include a latchable door, rain gutters, and a choice of frame colors.

Read on to learn more about the best small greenhouse kits.

Best Overall: Canopia by Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse

Best Overall: Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse Hybrid 6Ft. W x 4Ft. D Hobby Greenhouse

Palram Hyrbid 6Ft. x 4Ft. D Hobby Greenhouse
Canopia.

Wayfair

Why you should buy it: This greenhouse has several features found in greenhouse kits that cost twice as much.
Keep in mind: Shelves are sold separately.

We chose this Canopia by Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse as our best overall pick because of its aesthetically pleasing look, sturdy materials, and extra features, which aren't standard in other greenhouse kits. The greenhouse's panels are made of polycarbonate, a material that's stronger and holds heat better than glass. While glass often has a better aesthetic look than poly, this greenhouse has wall panels that are quite clear and comparable to the look of glass. Its twin-wall roof panels filter harmful UV rays and transmit a high amount of light (in this model, over 90 percent) while breaking sun rays that may otherwise burn your plants. Plus, this greenhouse kit is available in a few frame color options, including gray, green, and silver, so you can choose the best look for your backyard.

The greenhouse frame is made of aluminum, a strong material that's rust-resistant, so you won't have to worry about the frame deteriorating over time. The greenhouse also features a roof vent for air circulation, a latchable door to keep out pests, and rain gutters that you can use to capture rainwater for watering plants. If you live in a climate that experiences a lot of rain, this is the greenhouse to invest in. We found that other greenhouses with similar features can cost thousands of dollars, but you can nab this one for under $600.

Price at time of publish: $599

Product Details:

  • Size: 26 square feet, 72.75 x 51.125 x 81.875 inches
  • Panel material: Polycarbonate
  • Frame material: Aluminum

Related: Top Accessories for Your Backyard Greenhouse

Best Splurge: Exaco J-ORA 116 Square Foot Greenhouse

default image

Why you should buy it: This greenhouse features Victorian-inspired metal roof cresting. If aesthetics are a big factor for you, this is a great option.
Keep in mind: Because this greenhouse is on the larger side, it will take more time to assemble than others on this list.

If you're looking for a classic greenhouse complete with glass walls, splurge on this Exaco Junior Orangerie Greenhouse kit. The greenhouse is made in Belgium and modeled after Victorian architecture. Its tempered glass panels, which are four times stronger than regular glass, are attached to the aluminum structure by rubber seals to improve insulation. The kit comes with a sturdy aluminum frame that won't rust over time and is lightweight, making it easier to assemble.

This greenhouse kit also includes two roof vents with automatic openers that open and close the vents based on temperature. Because glass allows for a higher amount of light penetration than other common greenhouse panel materials, such as polycarbonate, ventilation can help prevent plants from overheating on sunny days. This greenhouse kit also comes with a sliding glass door to keep out critters. At 116 square feet, this greenhouse is the largest on our list. Make sure that the sunniest spot in your backyard can accommodate this size of structure.

Price at time of publish: $11,597

Product Details:

  • Size: 116 square feet, 123 x 150 x 98 inches
  • Panel material: Tempered glass
  • Frame material: Aluminum

Best Affordable: Ohuhu Large Walk-in Plant Greenhouse

walk-in greenhouse

Ohuhu

Why you should get it: This greenhouse comes with 12 shelving units for holding your plants.
Keep in mind: The polyethylene covering may not hold up well in windy climates.

Walk-in greenhouse kits can get really expensive, with many costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The Ohuhu Walk-In Plant Greenhouse rings in at just over $100 and boasts many features seen in higher-priced greenhouse kits, including ventilation windows, a metal frame, and 23 square feet of space. Some of the cheaper greenhouse kits on the market are too small for you to move around inside. Even with six shelves on either side, this greenhouse has enough room for you to walk up and down your greenhouse to tend to your plants. The zippered roll-up door allows for extra airflow, and the two ventilation windows include screens to keep out bugs. The kit also comes with 12 shelves to hold your plants and gardening tools.

The trade-off for this kit's low price, however, is its polyethylene covering. While the covering is water-resistant and protects against UV rays, its weakness is strong winds, and it's less stable than more permanent greenhouse structures. To help with stability, the covering is extra long so you can weigh it down with stones, and there are also rings on the covering where you can attach ropes to anchor the greenhouse with the included stakes. This is a great purchase if you live in a climate that doesn't typically have strong winds or if you plan to place your greenhouse in a sheltered location. It's also a smart choice if you plan to reposition your greenhouse throughout the seasons since it's lightweight and can be easily disassembled.

Price at time of publish: $130

Product Details:

  • Size: 23 square feet, 58.8 x 56.4 x 76.8 inches
  • Panel material: Polyethylene
  • Frame material: Metal

Best for Small Outdoor Spaces: Home-Complete 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse

Home-Complete 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse

Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should buy it: This greenhouse's wheels make it easy to reposition on your patio or to transport it inside during unfavorable weather conditions.
Keep in mind: Because of its stacked shelving, this product won't work well for plants that require unobstructed light, such as seedlings and vegetables.

People with small outdoor spaces often can't get in on the fun that is owning a greenhouse. The Home-Complete Mini Greenhouse has a footprint of only 3.6 square feet, so it can fit on most balconies and porches as well as in a sunroom. The kit includes a tiered shelving unit; a polyvinyl (PVC) covering, which is thicker and more waterproof than the polythene coverings often found in other kits, and a durable steel frame to help keep the unit upright during unfavorable weather conditions.

Although it has a sturdy structure, this greenhouse can avoid bad weather altogether thanks to its four locking caster wheels. When a windstorm hits, simply wheel the greenhouse into a garage or shed and wait for the storm to pass. If you don't need the wheels, they can be removed. Leslie F. Halleck, a horticulturalist and horticulture instructor at UCLA, says that small greenhouses such as this one can actually thrive indoors. "You can also use many of the smaller plastic-covered greenhouse kits indoors to grow your more sensitive, high-humidity tropical houseplants," Halleck says.

Price at time of publish: $45

Product Details:

  • Size: 3.6 square feet, 27.1 x 19.3 x 63.3 inches
  • Panel material: Polyvinyl (PVC)
  • Frame material: Steel

Best for Large Outdoor Spaces: ShelterLogic 10ft. W x 10ft. D x 8ft. H GrowIt Greenhouse-In-A-Box

ShelterLogic 10ft. W x 10ft. D x 8ft. H GrowIt Greenhouse
ShelterLogic H GrowIt Greenhouse.

Why you should buy it: Unlike other large greenhouses, this one has a short assembly time.
Keep in mind: The greenhouse is not load-rated and may collapse if snow piles up on its cover.

If you want a large greenhouse that gives you adequate room to move around in, the ShelterLogic GrowIT Greenhouse is a great option. This greenhouse is one of the largest on our list, measuring 100 square feet. The size gives you enough horizontal space for multiple shelves and, at eight feet tall, enough vertical space for extra-tall plants. You'll find plenty of ventilation features for temperature control and airflow throughout this greenhouse, including a rollup door and side panels as well as a half-moon window on the gable.

The greenhouse is supported by a steel frame and features a translucent plastic covering made of ripstop fabric, a woven material that prevents tearing. The fabric is resistant to water, offers UV protection, and captures heat so that warmth stays inside the greenhouse even when the sun starts to go down. Plus, unlike other large greenhouse kits, this kit's assembly time is relatively short, clocking in at a little more than two hours (other kits can take four to eight hours to put together). However, like other greenhouses with plastic coverings, this kit may not hold up as well when strong winds or heavy snow comes through. To make it more wind resistant, secure the greenhouse with the included anchors and consider adding additional ones as needed.

Price at time of publish: $380

Product Details:

  • Size: 100 square feet, 120 x 120 x 96 inches
  • Panel material: Ripstop fabric
  • Frame material: Powder-coated steel

Best Wood-Framed : Outdoor Living Today 8ft. W x 8ft. D Cedar Wood Greenhouse

Outdoor Living Today 8ft. W x 8ft. D Cedar Wood Greenhouse
Outdoor Living Today Cedar Wood Greenhouse.

Why you should buy it: The automated roof vent opens and closes to keep the greenhouse at a constant temperature.
Keep in mind: The lumber of this greenhouse will fade to gray over time unless you stain it.

For a more natural look, go for a wood-framed greenhouse. The Outdoor Living Today Western Red Cedar Greenhouse is made of durable western red cedar, which is naturally resistant to rot and insects. This type of wood also needs very little maintenance and doesn't require treatment or staining unless you desire a particular stain color. (Untreated cedar will eventually fade to gray over time.) Western red cedar is strong but not too heavy, making it easy to assemble. Plus, it won't crack or warp.

The greenhouse wall and roof panels are made of polycarbonate, which will filter out UV light so your plants won't be scorched by the sun. And, unlike some other small greenhouse kits, this Outdoor Living Today model comes with a 16-foot, L-shaped workbench to hold your plants and gardening tools. But one of our favorite features of this greenhouse is the roof vent, which automatically opens and closes to ensure that the interior temperature is kept constant. Gone are the days of having to visit your greenhouse and manually assess if it needs ventilation.

Price at time of publish: $5,341

Product Details:

  • Size: 64 square feet, 96 x 96 x 104 inches
  • Panel material: Polycarbonate
  • Frame material: Western red cedar

Best for Raised Garden Beds: Outdoor Living Today 8ft. W x 8ft. D Cedar Garden in a Box with Greenhouse Covering

Outdoor Living Today 8ft. W x 8ft. D Cedar Garden in a Box with Greenhouse Covering
Outdoor Living Today Cedar Garden with Greenhouse Covering.

Why you should buy it: This kit includes a raised garden bed, a feature that is uncommon in other small greenhouse kits.
Keep in mind: This greenhouse isn't meant to be used with shelving.

We love that this Outdoor Living greenhouse comes with a raised garden bed. Raised beds offer several advantages over planting directly in the ground, including better drainage and easier maintenance. This greenhouse is a great option if you enjoy working with raised garden beds but want to extend the growing season. Pop the greenhouse cover on during cooler weather in the spring and fall, and remove it when the weather is nice.

This kit's garden bed is made of cedar, which is resistant to insect infestation, and measures 28 inches wide and 20 inches tall, with an additional 13.5-inch wire perimeter fence on top to keep out critters. It has a wide gate and a 30 x 63-inch walkway so that you can easily access your flowers and veggies. The greenhouse frame is metal and the plastic covering is made of polyethylene, a material that is anti-fog and protects plants against UV rays. There are multiple options for venting, including a flap on the roof, a window in the back, and several vents along the perimeter fencing of the bed. All of the vents include netting to keep out bugs. One inconvenience about this product is that the door isn't a traditional door but rather split up by a small wood gate attached to the raised beds and a zip-up door attached to the plastic covering. This setup wouldn't be ideal for someone who has trouble bending down.

Price at time of publish: $2,732

Product Details:

  • Size: 61 square feet, 95 x 92 x 91 inches
  • Panel material: Polyethylene
  • Frame material: Metal

Best to Easily Assemble: Outsunny 9' x 3' x 3' Portable Mini Greenhouse

Outsunny 9' x 3' x 3' Portable Mini Greenhouse
Outsunny Portable Mini Greenhouse.

Why you should buy it: This small greenhouse weighs less than 11 pounds and packs down for easy storage.
Keep in mind: You will have to be on your hands and knees to work in this greenhouse.

Some greenhouse kits can take upwards of eight hours to assemble. If you don't want to dedicate that amount of time to building a greenhouse, consider the Outsunny Portable Tunnel Greenhouse. It doesn't require any tools, nails, or screws to put it together; all you have to do is insert the rods into fasteners, secure the polyethylene covering to the frame via fabric ties, and, voila, you have a greenhouse. The rods are made of powder-coated steel, which is a durable and rust-resistant material. Although polyethylene covers can catch in the wind, this greenhouse's low-profile design makes it less vulnerable to gusts. The extra-long cover can also be grounded by rocks for extra stability.

Unlike other small greenhouse kits on the market, this greenhouse is not tall, measuring only three feet in height. Despite its squat size, the greenhouse is relatively easy to access once you're on your hands and knees thanks to the side doors that can be rolled up to the peak of the roof and secured with ties. At under $100, this kit is a great choice for those beginning their greenhouse journey as well as people who have raised garden beds that need a cover. Seedlings are especially compatible with this type of shelf-less greenhouse because they get the unobstructed light they need to grow properly. When you're done gardening for the season, the greenhouse can easily pack away in a storage bin.

Price at time of publish: $65

Product Details:

  • Size: 27 square feet, 108 x 36 x 36 inches
  • Panel material: Polyethylene
  • Frame material: Powder-coated steel

Best for Winter Use: Exaco Riga 7ft. 8in. W x 7ft. L 2S Greenhouse

Exaco Riga 7ft. 8in. W x 7ft. L 2S Greenhouse
Exaco Riga 2S Greenhouse.

Why you should buy it: This greenhouse's sloped roof helps it shed snow, preventing a potential collapse.
Keep in mind: Unlike other small greenhouse kits, this one only comes with one roof vent.

If you want to garden year-round, the Exaco Riga 2S Greenhouse has several features that make it ideal for winter use. Its sloped roof encourages snow to melt and slide off the structure, preventing snow buildup that could cause a collapse. The shape also encourages winds to pass over the greenhouse. The thick twin-wall polycarbonate panels retain heat better than glass while offering UV protection to avoid burning your plants. This means that not only will your plants get the light they need without overheating, but during colder months, the panels will also capture heat to protect plants from the outside elements. You can add a small heater during the winter for additional warmth. This greenhouse is supported by a thick aluminum frame for extra strength and also comes with two removable polycarbonate shelves to support your plants.

For ventilation, the greenhouse has a rear casement window and a latching Dutch door, which allows for airflow while keeping out small animals. The greenhouse also includes a large 40 x 24-inch roof vent that has a heat-activated automatic opener to help the structure maintain a consistent temperature. Plus, the brand offers warranties: 10 years for the polycarbonate panels and 15 years for the aluminum frame.

Price at time of publish: $5,029

Product Details:

  • Size: 54 square feet, 92 x 84 x 85 inches
  • Panel material: Polycarbonate
  • Frame material: Aluminum

The Bottom Line

Canopia by Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse is our best overall pick for its charming look, high-quality materials, and non-standard features, including rain gutters and a latchable front door.

What to Know About Small Greenhouse Kits Before Buying

Size

"I think that space is a really important first consideration," Halleck says. "Those new to greenhouses often underestimate the amount of space they really want or need when buying a greenhouse kit. Too often, new greenhouse gardeners quickly outgrow their first kit much faster than anticipated. Give thought to all the types of activities you want to prioritize in your greenhouse."

Before you buy, consider the number of plants, their light needs (for instance, can a plant be on a shaded lower shelf, or does it need maximum light exposure?), and the height of your plants. If your primary purpose is to grow seedlings, get a greenhouse that doesn't have shelving, as seedlings need a lot of light and warmth to grow and shelves can create too much shade. If you are overwintering plants or growing vegetables, a large greenhouse with polycarbonate or glass panels would be best, as they retain heat better than greenhouse kits with polyethylene coverings.

If your outdoor space is small, opt for a greenhouse with a tiered shelving unit to maximize vertical space. This option would also work well for people with plants that do well with indirect light. If you have ample space in your backyard, you need to identify the spot that gets the most sunlight. A greenhouse should be placed in the sunniest spot of your outdoor space so that it can soak up enough heat to benefit your plants. Once you've identified the best location, measure the area to see how much space is available for a greenhouse.

Panel material

Like sizing, the material you should choose for your greenhouse should be dependent on what you'd like to grow. Another important factor to consider is your local climate. While the very purpose of a greenhouse is to protect your plants from the outdoor elements, some materials excel at this better than others.

Greenhouses with polyethylene coverings will not hold up as well during inclement weather as greenhouses with solid polycarbonate and glass panels. Polyethylene coverings are also more vulnerable to gusts of wind, although many can be anchored to the ground. Greenhouses with plastic coverings are best for people on a budget (glass and polycarbonate structures tend to be more expensive), those who don't mind moving their greenhouses inside during harsh weather conditions (greenhouses with plastic coverings are usually portable or a lot easier to disassemble), and those who live in mild climates that don't experience harsh winters, lots of precipitation, or strong winds.

Both polycarbonate and glass are strong, durable materials that can withstand all kinds of weather. Glass heats up a greenhouse quickly and lets in more sunlight. The upside to this is that your plants get the heat as soon as the sun comes up. The downside is that glass greenhouses can get too hot and will require good ventilation and shade cloths to protect plants from burning or overheating. In fact, if you live in a warm climate that experiences high summer temperatures, glass may not be the best option for you. "It's important to know that growing inside a greenhouse in the summer months in hot climates can be very challenging due to heat build-up; you'll typically be forced to shade or cool the greenhouse, or move plants outdoors for the summer months," Halleck says.

Polycarbonate panels filter sunlight better than glass and retain heat longer, but they're slightly less visually appealing when compared to glass. According to Halleck, the type of polycarbonate walls you choose should be based on what you are planning to grow. "If you are mostly starting seedlings you'll want clear transparent glazing, but if you're overwintering or growing houseplants and other ornamentals, then opaque (diffuse) glazing can work very well," Halleck says. Polycarbonate is a good choice if you want to garden during the colder months, especially if you are growing vegetables, since it retains heat better than glass.

Regardless of what type of panel material you choose, it's important to know that all greenhouses need ventilation. In fact, Halleck says that a greenhouse kit without any kind of ventilation is a red flag. She also recommends looking at wind and snow load ratings if the destination you live in experiences that kind of weather.

Frame material

The most common materials used for framing the best small greenhouse kits are aluminum and steel. Both of these materials are rust-resistant and hold up well outdoors, even through bouts of inclement weather. Having this kind of frame material is especially important in places that experience harsh weather conditions. "If you grow in very cold or windy climates, you need a solidly built structure that can both hold enough heat and be safely secured to its foundation," Halleck says. "Aluminum and galvanized steel frames are the next step up and are best when you need something a little bigger, taller, and stable."

Steel is the strongest of the two, though because of its heft, you'll need a bit more muscle when assembling. Aluminum is more lightweight but still holds up well to the elements. Regardless of your climate, a steel frame is always a good choice if you're buying a greenhouse with a plastic covering, which is less stable than more permanent greenhouse structures that feature glass or polycarbonate panels.

Some small greenhouse kits have wood frames. Wood offers a natural look along with stability. However, according to Helleck, you can't use just any wood for a greenhouse. "If you choose a wood frame, make sure it's a rot-resistant lumber, such as cedar, and a ground-rated contact wood for the foundation, or you'll end up with wood rot."

Your Questions, Answered

What can I expect with assembly?

Assembly varies drastically based on the type of small greenhouse kit you purchase. If you have a greenhouse kit that includes glass or polycarbonate panels, you can expect assembly to take a half day or full day to complete. Those kits use tools and hardware to assemble and will also require at least two people to complete the job. Small greenhouse kits with plastic coverings, on the other hand, can take between 30 minutes and a few hours to complete, with some able to be successfully assembled by just one person. Some kits may come with hardware and tools, while others just require you to fit part A into part B. All kits include detailed instructions to help you assemble your greenhouse.

What upkeep is needed for a greenhouse?

Greenhouses generally don't require special upkeep to stay in tip-top shape. Unless your instruction manual has specific suggestions for maintaining your greenhouse, the best way to maintain the quality of your greenhouse is to keep it clean and free of debris. You can do this by wiping down the frame and walls, both inside and out, when they get dirty. Remove any buildup of sticks, leaves, and snow to maximize the amount of light streaming into your greenhouse and to prevent collapse. For wood-framed greenhouses, wash the wood using an oxygen bleach solution, then brush it with a horticultural oil that is vegetable based. Doing these two things will kill any bugs that are living inside the nooks and crannies as well as prevent rotting. Cedar greenhouses need little maintenance since they are naturally resistant to rot and insects, but you'll want to stain the wood if you don't want it to fade to gray over time.

Is it cheaper to build a greenhouse or buy a kit?

This depends on a few different factors. First, assess your construction skills and tools. Are you able to design your own greenhouse plan with adequate ventilation? Do you feel confident selecting materials, cutting them to size, and assembling them? Do you have the necessary tools on hand to build a greenhouse, or would you need to make several purchases? If you have construction experience and won't need to hire a professional for help, building your own greenhouse may be cheaper. This is especially true if you would need to make a lot of modifications to a standard greenhouse kit to achieve your vision, as most kit manufacturers charge extra for changes while others don't even offer the option for modifications. Keep in mind that you may need a building permit to build your own greenhouse, whereas most small greenhouse kits don't require a permit.

If you do decide that you want to build your own greenhouse, and are looking to hire help, Helleck cautions to only hire a contractor that has built greenhouses before. "Make sure they have extensive experience doing so, as greenhouse foundations and installations come with unique needs and potential complications," Helleck says.

If you want a standard greenhouse design or don't have the skills or time to design and build a greenhouse from scratch, buying a greenhouse kit will be more affordable. Plus, manufacturers have the advantage of being able to purchase materials in bulk and can often get them cheaper—and charge you less—than the prices you'll find at your local home improvement store. Manufacturers have also tested their greenhouse kit designs, making sure they hold up to various weather conditions, and offer warranties to protect your investment.

Who We Are

We chose these greenhouse kits by looking at the best small greenhouse kits on the market and narrowing down our picks based on key specifications, including material type, square footage, features, and customer reviews and ratings. Rachel Center, a long-time houseplant mom and a product reviews home writer at Dotdash Meredith, spent weeks researching all the components that make up the best small greenhouse kits. We also consulted with Leslie F. Halleck, a certified professional horticulturist, UCLA horticulture instructor, and author of "Gardening Under Lights", "Plant Parenting", and "Tiny Plants."

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