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What are the Best Greenhouse Plants?

By Donn Saylor
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best greenhouse plants are varieties that possess the same or similar temperature requirements. By selecting plants with comparable environmental needs, gardeners can have a level of assurance that the flowers, fruits, or vegetables in their greenhouses will grow and flourish together. Tropical, sub-tropical, succulent, and edible plants are just a few of the different plant types that can be grown successfully in a greenhouse when matched with plants of the same type.

Ideal greenhouse plants for gardeners looking to grow a vegetable garden include beets, carrots, cucumbers, green onions, lettuce, peas, peppers, and tomatoes. While the temperature requirements for these vegetables are similar, each possesses its own set of conditions for proper planting. Beets and carrots, for instance, are root vegetables and are usually grown in boxes or tubs placed in shaded areas. Tomatoes can be cultivated in tubs as well, but they require more light than root vegetables and may need some type of support to ensure their growth. Corn can also be grown in a greenhouse, and many gardeners have found the best results come from planting the corn directly into a specially made bed in the greenhouse floor.

Flowers make for trusty greenhouse plants. Surprisingly, orchids are one of the most popular plants for a greenhouse, despite perceptions that they are sensitive and difficult to grow. There are several orchid varieties that have been cultivated by greenhouse growers with great success; these include calanthe, dendrobium, laelia, and phalaenopsis. Other flower types that grow well together are daffodils, snapdragons, and tulips.

Orchids are not the only easy-to-grow greenhouse plants of the tropical type. Begonias, cyclamens, ferns, fuchsias, and gladiolas all relish humidity and grow well together in a greenhouse environment. Tropical fruits also prosper as greenhouse plants; these include bananas, lychee, mangoes, persimmons, and star fruit.

Growing plants in a greenhouse allows gardeners a high level of control over the elements. While temperature and light exposure can be regulated, however, the size of a greenhouse cannot. Most greenhouses are limited in space, and gardeners find the best course of action is selecting greenhouse plants that produce the optimum amount of output in relation to the plant's size. For instance, a gardener may not find it beneficial to purchase a large fruit tree that produces five or six pieces of fruit, no matter how novel or delicious the crop might be. Instead, he or she will utilize every bit of space in the greenhouse to plant as many vegetables, fruits, and flowers as possible.

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Discussion Comments
By muhidin — On Nov 08, 2018

Before the great flood, the world was different, and the plants grew comfortably, no wind,no rain and snow, and a very large moon every night. Plants will need to create such conditions. We'll have to read the Bibles...

By clintflint — On Aug 11, 2013

It can be tough to fit all the plants you want into a small greenhouse. My stepfather sometimes tries to grow too many of them and ends up with a bit of die off. But one of the tricks he uses is to string up the cucumbers so that they grow like vines along the struts of the roof.

You might not be able to do this with a cheap greenhouse but it works quite well in one that has solid foundations. It also makes it easier to pick the cucumbers and keeps them off the ground, so they are less likely to develop mildew.

You do have to make sure that they aren't going to block out the sunlight for all the other plants though. Cucumbers can get surprisingly large when they are given excellent growing conditions and most of the plants in a greenhouse need a lot of light.

By bythewell — On Aug 10, 2013

@browncoat - It does depend on what kind of plant you're growing, and also on the humidity. Generally, if your greenhouse maintains a good humidity, the plants are going to be fine at a higher temperature.

But greenhouses made from kits are probably not going to be able to keep the water from evaporating, especially if it's windy. You just have to know your greenhouse and know the plants well.

By browncoat — On Aug 10, 2013

One thing to bear in mind is that there can definitely be too much of a good thing for some plants. They might be happier in the heat, but that doesn't mean that they want to be roasted alive and some greenhouses can become extremely hot over the summer, particularly if they are always in direct sunlight.

It's a good idea to make sure that you have a thermometer in your greenhouse for plants that need to be at a steady, warm temperature, so that you can open a window or a skylight in order to let a bit of the heat out.

And, if you know you're going to be away during the day, I would just do that in the morning anyway. I've lost a few plants by being careless about this.

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