What Type Of Greenhouse Structures Is Best Suited For Winter Growing?

If you’re a gardening enthusiast looking to extend your growing season into the winter months, you’re probably wondering which type of greenhouse structure is the most suitable for this endeavor. It’s no secret that not all greenhouses are created equal when it comes to withstanding the challenges that winter brings. In this article, we’ll explore the various greenhouse structures available and determine which ones are most ideal for successful winter growing. From insulated polycarbonate to hoop houses with frost blankets, we’ve got you covered with the best options for keeping your plants thriving even in the coldest temperatures.

Features to Consider for Winter Growing

When it comes to winter growing, there are several important features to consider for your greenhouse. These features will help create the ideal environment for your plants to thrive even in the colder months.


Insulation is a crucial aspect to consider when setting up a greenhouse for winter growing. Good insulation will help keep the cold air out and retain heat within the structure. This is particularly important during the nighttime when temperatures drop significantly. Proper insulation will not only protect your plants from frost and extreme cold but also conserve energy by reducing the need for excessive heating.

Heating Systems

Having a reliable heating system is essential for winter growing in a greenhouse. There are several options to choose from, including electric heaters, gas heaters, radiant heating, and geothermal heating. The choice of heating system will depend on the size of your greenhouse, the type of plants you’re growing, and your budget. It’s important to ensure that the heating system you choose is efficient and can maintain a consistent temperature throughout the greenhouse.

Air Circulation

Proper air circulation is key to maintaining a healthy and thriving environment for your plants. In a greenhouse, stagnant air can lead to disease and mold growth. Installing fans or ventilation systems will help circulate air and prevent the buildup of moisture and condensation. This is especially important during the winter when air tends to be more stagnant due to closed windows and doors. Good air circulation will also help distribute heat evenly throughout the greenhouse, ensuring that all plants receive adequate warmth.


During the winter months, sunlight may be scarce, especially in regions with shorter daylight hours. Providing adequate lighting is crucial to compensate for the lack of natural sunlight. There are different lighting options available, including LED grow lights, fluorescent lights, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. LED grow lights are energy-efficient and can provide full-spectrum light, closely resembling natural sunlight. It’s important to choose lighting options that suit the specific needs of your plants and ensure they receive the appropriate amount and quality of light for healthy growth.

See also  What Temperature Do Tomatoes Like In A Greenhouse?

Freestanding Greenhouses

Freestanding greenhouses are standalone structures that can be placed anywhere on your property. They offer flexibility and easy accessibility. There are two main types of freestanding greenhouses to consider for winter growing: glass freestanding greenhouses and plastic freestanding greenhouses.

Glass Freestanding Greenhouses

Glass freestanding greenhouses are classic and aesthetically pleasing. They provide excellent light transmission, allowing plants to receive ample sunlight even during the winter months. Glass is also an excellent insulator, helping to retain heat within the greenhouse. However, it’s important to ensure that the glass is properly insulated to prevent heat loss and cold drafts. Glass greenhouses may require additional heating systems to maintain the desired temperature in colder climates.

Plastic Freestanding Greenhouses

Plastic freestanding greenhouses, also known as polyethylene or poly greenhouses, are a cost-effective option for winter growing. They are lightweight, making them easy to install and move if necessary. Plastic greenhouses provide good insulation properties and can be fitted with additional insulation materials for better heat retention. While they may not have the same aesthetic appeal as glass greenhouses, they are a practical option for those on a budget or those who need a greenhouse that can be easily expanded or modified.

What Type Of Greenhouse Structures Is Best Suited For Winter Growing?

Attached Greenhouses

Attached greenhouses are structures that are directly connected to an existing building, such as a house or a barn. These types of greenhouses offer convenient access to utilities and are more space-efficient compared to freestanding greenhouses. There are two main types of attached greenhouses to consider for winter growing: lean-to greenhouses and solariums.

Lean-To Greenhouses

Lean-to greenhouses are attached to a wall or structure, using the existing building as one of its walls. This type of greenhouse can be a cost-effective option as it utilizes an existing wall for support and insulation. Lean-to greenhouses can benefit from the heat generated by the building, reducing the need for additional heating systems. However, it’s important to ensure proper insulation and temperature control, especially if the attached building doesn’t provide sufficient heat during the winter months.


Solariums, sometimes referred to as sunrooms or conservatories, are attached greenhouses designed primarily for recreational purposes. They are typically made of glass or translucent panels and offer a comfortable space to relax and enjoy plants while being protected from the harsh winter weather. Solariums are an excellent option for those who want to create a year-round living space that brings the benefits of a greenhouse into their home. However, they may require additional heating and ventilation systems to maintain suitable conditions for plant growth.

Gothic-Style Greenhouses

Gothic-style greenhouses are known for their distinctive curved roof structures. These structures provide several advantages for winter growing, making them a popular choice among gardeners.

Curved Roof Structures

The curved roof design of gothic-style greenhouses helps optimize snow shedding during the winter. The angle of the roof allows snow to slide off more easily, reducing the risk of heavy snow accumulation that can damage or collapse the structure. The curved shape also provides additional headspace, allowing for taller plants to be grown and maximizing vertical growing space.

See also  Can You Put Any Plant In A Greenhouse?

Enhanced Insulation Options

Gothic-style greenhouses can be equipped with enhanced insulation options to improve their energy efficiency during the winter months. This can include double-layered glazing, insulated sidewalls, and specialized insulation materials. By reducing heat loss and improving heat retention, these insulation measures help create a stable and optimal growing environment for plants in colder climates.

What Type Of Greenhouse Structures Is Best Suited For Winter Growing?

Quonset Greenhouses

Quonset greenhouses are characterized by their unique curved shape, resembling half of a cylindrical tube. They are versatile and affordable structures that are suitable for winter growing.

Curved Shape

The curved shape of Quonset greenhouses offers several advantages for winter growing. The shape provides better snow shedding capabilities, reducing the risk of snow accumulation on the roof. This helps maintain the structural integrity and prevents damage caused by heavy snow loads. The curved design also facilitates efficient air circulation within the greenhouse, ensuring uniform heat distribution and preventing stagnation of air.

Versatile and Affordable

Quonset greenhouses are known for their versatility and affordability. Their simple design allows for easy installation and adaptation to different environments. They can be customized with various features such as ventilation systems, heating options, and different glazing materials. With their affordability, Quonset greenhouses are an accessible option for gardeners looking to grow plants during the winter while staying within budget.

Multi-Span Greenhouses

Multi-span greenhouses are large structures that consist of multiple connected bays or spans. These greenhouses offer significant advantages for winter growing, making them a popular choice among commercial growers and those with larger gardening needs.

Strong and Durable

Multi-span greenhouses are built to withstand harsh weather conditions, including strong winds, heavy snow loads, and freezing temperatures. The wider support span and strong framework make them highly durable and reliable structures. This is particularly important during winter when the greenhouse needs to withstand external pressures and maintain a safe environment for plants.

Efficient Space Utilization

The multi-span design allows for efficient space utilization within the greenhouse. With the ability to span large areas, these greenhouses provide ample room for a variety of crops and growing methods. This is especially useful for farmers or gardeners who require a larger growing area for their winter crops. The multiple bays also offer flexibility in terms of crop rotation and zoning, optimizing productivity and ensuring a constant supply of fresh produce throughout the winter season.

What Type Of Greenhouse Structures Is Best Suited For Winter Growing?

Polyethylene Greenhouses

Polyethylene greenhouses, also known as poly greenhouses, are constructed using a lightweight plastic material. They offer several advantages for winter growing.

Lightweight and Cost-Effective

Polyethylene greenhouses are lightweight and easy to install, making them a cost-effective option for winter growing. The lightweight nature of the material allows for easy transportation and assembly, saving time and effort. Additionally, polyethylene is a relatively inexpensive material, making it a budget-friendly choice for those looking to set up a greenhouse without breaking the bank.

Good Insulation Properties

While polyethylene may not provide the same level of insulation as glass or polycarbonate, it still offers decent insulation properties for winter growing. The plastic material helps retain heat within the greenhouse, minimizing heat loss during colder days and nights. Additional insulation measures, such as double-layered polyethylene or the use of insulating curtains, can further enhance the insulation capabilities of poly greenhouses.

See also  What Is The Ideal Humidity For Starting Seedlings In A Greenhouse?

Polycarbonate Greenhouses

Polycarbonate greenhouses are constructed using a durable and lightweight material called polycarbonate. They offer several advantages for winter growing.

Excellent Insulation

Polycarbonate has excellent insulation properties, making it an ideal material for winter growing. It helps retain heat within the greenhouse, reducing energy consumption and providing a stable environment for plant growth. The insulation properties of polycarbonate make it possible to maintain consistent temperatures even when outside conditions are extreme.

Transmits More Light than Glass

Polycarbonate transmits more light than traditional glass, making it an excellent choice for winter growing when sunlight may be limited. The increased light transmission allows plants to receive the necessary amount of light for photosynthesis, promoting healthy growth even in low light conditions. The diffused light provided by polycarbonate also reduces the risk of plant burn or heat stress, ensuring optimal growth throughout the winter months.

What Type Of Greenhouse Structures Is Best Suited For Winter Growing?

Glass Greenhouses

Glass greenhouses have long been the traditional and aesthetic choice for winter growing. They offer several advantages that make them a popular option among gardeners.

Traditional and Aesthetic

Glass greenhouses have a timeless appeal that adds elegance and charm to any garden or landscape. They create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere, making them a favorite choice for those who value aesthetics. Glass greenhouses can become a showpiece in your garden, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of your plants even during the winter months.

Superior Light Transmission

Glass provides superior light transmission compared to other greenhouse materials. This means that plants can receive ample sunlight, even during the winter when daylight hours are shorter. The availability of natural light is essential for photosynthesis and the overall health and productivity of plants. Glass greenhouses provide optimal conditions for plant growth and can even allow for a wider range of plant species to be cultivated during winter.

Hybrid Greenhouses

Hybrid greenhouses combine different materials and features to create a versatile and customizable growing environment. They offer several advantages for winter growing.

Combination of Materials

Hybrid greenhouses allow for a combination of different materials such as glass, polycarbonate, and even wood or metal frames. This provides flexibility in terms of insulation, light transmission, and durability. By combining materials, you can create a greenhouse that suits your specific needs and preferences. For example, using glass panels for maximum light transmission and polycarbonate panels for enhanced insulation.

Customizable Features

Hybrid greenhouses offer the opportunity to customize features to cater to your specific requirements. You can add additional insulation, heating systems, ventilation, and lighting options based on the demands of your plants and the climate in your area. This customizability ensures that you can create an optimal growing environment for winter crops and adjust to changes as needed.

In conclusion, choosing the right greenhouse structure for winter growing is essential for creating an ideal environment for plants to thrive. Consider the features such as insulation, heating systems, air circulation, and lighting options to ensure the best possible conditions for your plants. Freestanding greenhouses, attached greenhouses, gothic-style greenhouses, Quonset greenhouses, multi-span greenhouses, polyethylene greenhouses, polycarbonate greenhouses, glass greenhouses, and hybrid greenhouses all offer unique benefits that suit different preferences and budgets. By selecting the most suitable greenhouse structure, you can enjoy year-round gardening success even in the coldest months of winter.

What Type Of Greenhouse Structures Is Best Suited For Winter Growing?