Greenhouse Gardening in the Winter: 5 Important Tips

Greenhouse gardening in the winter header sml

Winter is tough. It’s hard for people, it’s tough for animals, and it’s a hard condition for plants to survive. Even with a greenhouse, a person needs to be meticulous in order to successfully care for plants during the cold season.

The first step to a positive greenhouse gardening in the winter is to be armed with the proper knowledge. So, read on and learn about winter gardening: 

Understanding Greenhouse System

A greenhouse is a structure where plants can grow in a controlled environment. 

In most cases

It is made of glass. It’s also the best material to use because it is sturdy. 

Of course, it’s also expensive, which is why others choose a different path. 

Other materials

One may also use plastic film or rigid plastic. 

The main thing is that sunlight can penetrate the material, which is why it should be transparent or something resembling it. 

It should also be sturdy enough to keep the cold out. 

Knowing the history

Growing plants in a controlled environment date back to the 8th century BC. 

Roman Emperor Tiberius wanted a specific vegetable and he wanted it in his diet every day. As a result, his people found ways to grow the said vegetable even with the season or the weather was harsh. 

On another note

The first written record about a greenhouse was linked to Korea’s Joseon Dynasty in the 1450s. 

The record notes the use of Korea’s traditional underground heating system within the greenhouse to grow plants during winter. 


The same principle is applied in today’s greenhouse. 

A greenhouse is a structure that houses plants. It’s a generic structure that anyone can use through the entire year. 

During winter, a heater is essential to keep the plants comfortable. 

Greenhouse in the winter from Pexel

Here’s the deal

The greenhouse keeps the plants warm because it is transparent. This means that the heat from the sun will penetrate the glass (or whatever transparent material you are using). 

However, since the structure is closed, the heat will not escape. 

In essence

The heat inside the greenhouse will only rise. 

To be clear

Every greenhouse needs ventilation. You have to let fresh air in once in a while. 

Ventilation is a major aspect in a greenhouse. 

Don’t worry about overheating the plants

When it’s not too cold out, then perhaps you can open a window or two. 

Do plants die during winter?

Woman Working in Greenhouse

Not necessarily

The cold just basically slows down the plant’s metabolism. It’s going to wilt, too. 

Of course, when you don’t do something about it and the plant is not really known to thrive in cold climates, then the plants will eventually die. 

That’s the purpose of a greenhouse

You want the plants to continue growing despite the harsh cold weather. 

Tips for Greenhouse Gardening
in the Winter

1. Find the right plants

You might be wondering why you need this when you have a greenhouse garden anyway. 

Think of it this way

The greenhouse may be able to protect your plants but the outside environment still matters. 

That’s why, if you are starting to garden, choose plants that would thrive in the cold. 

Here are some examples:

  • Azalea
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Freesia
  • Kale
  • Pansy
  • Primrose
  • Spinach
Primroses in bloom

Did you notice?

Those were a mixture of vegetables and flowers. 

Of course you can choose the plants that you want to grow. Don’t limit yourself to this list. 

So, what’s the list for?

At least, if you’re stumped about what to plant in a greenhouse during winter, you can start with the above list.  

But here’s an important reminder:

Always arm yourself with knowledge. 

Research the plant that you want to grow and find out how to take care of them. 

That includes

Knowing their preferred temperature to grow healthy. 

2. Place a heater (or more?)

You don’t want your plants to freeze, don’t you?

If people need heaters when they are inside the house during winter, so do plants residing in the greenhouse. 

There are many options

There are various ways to heat a greenhouse. 

In fact, there is such a thing as a greenhouse heater. 


This type of heater was created specifically for the greenhouse. It should be the best equipment. 

However, most greenhouse heaters are made for commercial use.

What does this mean?

These heaters are larger than usual. 

They are supposed to support a large greenhouse that sells plants for the entire community. 

That’s not what you need!

First of all, the kind of heater that you need is entirely dependent on the size of your greenhouse. 

So, there is no one right answer for which kind of greenhouse heater you need. 

I tell you what though

There are heating mats that you can buy for your plants.

These mats are usually for seedlings. You want to heat the soil so that it will prompt faster growth for the seedlings. 

For bigger plants

You can have an electric heater for the entire greenhouse. 

You can situate the heater near the plants that need it the most. If you have a large greenhouse, you can put another heater in. 

Of course

Sunlight is another passive source of warmth for the plants. 

The sun shines even when it’s winter. With the greenhouse, at least you will be protecting the plants from frost. 

3. Light it up!

Winter is characterized by longer nights and shorter days. 

You won’t see too much sun. 

In essence

The region is generally bleak.

Don’t let that bleakness creep into the greenhouse. 

Rows of plants in greenhouse

Here’s the solution:

Light your greenhouse well. 

Light is essential for the plants’ photosynthesis. 

What kind of light?

  • High-pressure sodium lights
  • LED
  • Ceramic metal halide lamps
  • T5 lights

4. Ventilation

As mentioned earlier, ventilation is necessary. 

You might want to protect the plants from the cold, but they also need fresh air. 

It’s quite simple

Make sure you have windows in your glass greenhouse. 

For other types of greenhouse, just make sure you can have a window-like opening. 

5. Monitor the temperature inside the greenhouse

The interior of the greenhouse should be between 80 and 85 degrees fahrenheit. 

You already have the means to control it. 


There is the heater and ventilation. 

When it becomes too hot, you can turn off the heater and open the means of ventilation. 

Of course

Even with the above-mentioned tips, you still have to do the things you need to grow plants. 

You need to water them and apply fertilizer, too. 

What if you don’t have a heater?

Okay, an electric heater is an added expense. But it’s really good for the plants. 

But just in case you don’t have the money for it–yet–then it’s not really the end of your gardening dreams. 

There is something you can do

First, you should grow crops that can thrive in colder climates. 

That was mentioned earlier, but this is more strict. If you don’t have a heater, then you absolutely should only pick out plants that could survive in colder climates. 

Greenhouse Worker Trimming Plant

Important note

This doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything to alleviate the cold. 

You should still make sure that the plants will not go dormant from the cold. 

Here are a couple of ways:

  • Cover the pots with bubble wrap
  • Put horticultural fleece over the plants

You can then remove these when the sun is out. 

Why You Should Garden
in the Winter

Have you heard of the winter blues?

That’s real!

But if you have a hobby, it’s something that will keep you inspired.

Looking at your plants will also have therapeutic effects. 


There is increasing evidence that gardening is good for your mental health.

So why should you stop during winter? 

Just imagine

It may be cold and dreary, but when you walk into your greenhouse, you’ll find that there is so much life in it.

Portrait of confident gardener holding flower pot in greenhouse

If you are growing flowers then the place is going to be filled with colors and sweet odor. 

And if you’re growing fruits or vegetables

Then you’ll never be hungry during the winter again. 

You know what else?

It’s quite fun to harvest in the winter when you have a greenhouse. 

If you don’t have a greenhouse, that means that you will have to spend time in the cold when you harvest. 

Nobody wants that!

But if you have a greenhouse, then harvesting it’s quite comfortable. 

Winter gardening just got better, didn’t it? 


Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean that you should stop gardening. That’s exactly what a greenhouse is for. Greenhouse gardening in winter isn’t hard at all. It’s more meticulous, though. 

You will need to be armed with the knowledge and the appropriate tools in order to successfully grow plants in the winter, even if they are in a greenhouse. 

The most important thing is that you control the temperature inside the greenhouse. Since it’s cold out, you need to make the inside warm with a heater. If it becomes too hot inside, then you should open the vents. Knowledge can really take you a long way.

Useful Resources

Since we’ve mentioned greenhouse heaters here, you should know more about it. The other resources also let you know more about greenhouses especially during winter.

  • Best Small Greenhouse Heaters 2020 – Suave Yards
  • A Winter Greenhouse: A Productive Way to Harvest Vegetables All Winter – Savvy Gardening
  • Greenhouse Gardening in Winter: What Plants to Grow in the Cold Season – Greenhouse Emporium

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