How to Use a Greenhouse in the Winter


Greenhouses provide you with a place to keep your plants alive and blooming all winter if you want to. They can also just be a place to allow your plants to sleep without worrying about frost, snow or ice killing them. Greenhouses offer lots of options for people who want to protect their plants through harsh weather. The right preparation allows you to ensure your plants stay healthy and strong, even in blizzard conditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Soapy water insecticide spray
  • 2- to 3-inch-thick styrofoam sheets
  • Spray adhesive
  • Bubble wrap
  • Caulk
  • Weather stripping
  • Black 55-gallon drums
  • Water
  • Heater
  • Clean your greenhouse. Remove and destroy any diseased plants. Use an organic insecticide, like a water with dish soap spray, to take care of any pests on the plants in the greenhouse. Scrub the frame and the glazing. Remove any shading you used on the greenhouse during the summer.

  • Insulate your greenhouse. Use standard insulation on any wood walls. Attach two- to three-inch-thick styrofoam to the outside of the foundation all the way around the building. Use spray adhesive to attach bubble wrap to the inside of the glazing.

  • Seal any cracks inside the greenhouse. Use caulk along any cracks between the frame and glazing and over any gaps around vents. Weather strip the doors.

  • Place black 55-gallon drums along the north wall in the greenhouse, and fill them with water. This helps keep the building warm passively.

  • Install a heat source in the greenhouse. Even if your only goal is to keep your plants from having to cope with the frost and you plan to maintain what is known as a cold greenhouse, you want a heater to make sure the temperature stays above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want your plants to continue to fruit or bear vegetables, you need to keep it warmer, depending on the needs of your plants.

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  • Photo Credit Metal greenhouse in summer with open door image by Scott Latham from
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