Greenhouses are a haven for plant lovers during cold winters, rainy days, and any occasion that calls for some greenery. While greenhouses are best known for growing tropical plants, rare flowers, and fruits and veggies year-round, succulents are starting to make their way into the greenhouse space. For anyone looking to add some succulents to their greenhouse space or would like to get started with greenhouse growing, check out our ultimate guide to keeping your greenhouse succulents happy and healthy:
Why Use a Greenhouse?
It’s unsurprising that greenhouses are great for growing plants, especially those that prefer warm weather. Succulents, however, have some great unique benefits as greenhouse plants:
Great for Cool Temperatures
As warm-weather plants, succulents aren’t frost-hardy and will die in temperatures below 50-60 degrees. Greenhouses are a guaranteed way to keep your succulents nice and toasty year-round. This is especially great for succulent lovers that want their leafy friends to grow all year without entering dormancy. Whether through natural lighting or well-placed heaters, your greenhouse is guaranteed to stay warm 24/7, and a well-built one shouldn’t have any drafts.
A Safe Environment for Propagating
We’ve actually recommended using tiny greenhouses to help propagate your succulents before – greenhouse buildings work the same, but on a larger scale. Greenhouses are especially great for propagation because they provide a large, temperature-controlled space for sensitive baby plants to take root comfortably. Large, walk-in greenhouses are also excellent for anyone looking to start a plant nursery since you’ll have plenty of space dedicated to your baby plants!
Getting Started: Greenhouse SetupTo get started with growing succulents in your greenhouse, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when shopping around. For starters, your location plays a significant role in determining greenhouse size and how you’ll light and heat it.
Where to Get a Greenhouse
You can either buy a greenhouse or make one, but store-bought, pop-up greenhouses don’t have the same level of permanence that a fully-constructed one will have. Greenhouses from garden stores are also much smaller.
Building a greenhouse gives gardeners ultimate control over their space since they can choose how large they want the greenhouse to be. Typically, building costs range from $500 to $30,000 dollars, with average construction costs hitting about $10,000. Your costs will vary depending on your greenhouse size, shape, materials, and construction requirements. For example, you could turn your apartment deck into a greenhouse with some PVC piping, or you could build a half-cylinder greenhouse with metal rods and wood. Permanent greenhouses require laying a foundation and routing electricity to the structure. Your possibilities are limitless!
Heating and Lighting Your Space
All greenhouses will need proper heat and light to encourage growth. If you live somewhere sunny year-round, you won’t have too much to worry about regarding heat and lighting: the greenhouse will do exactly as intended and heat itself using natural light. However, it’s always good to have an alternative heat source. Depending on your budget, you could go with several different ways to heat a greenhouse: gas or electric heating throughout the building, a space heater plugged into a nearby outlet, or portable kerosene heaters are all great options to keep your plants warm. Of course, your greenhouse will need a thermometer so you can accurately control temperatures.
For lighting, we recommend using UV growing lamps. These lights are ideal for providing your plants with supplementary sunlight and are especially useful in areas where sunshine isn’t guaranteed. Regardless of your lighting choice, all light should be filtered to some extent, so the UV rays don’t give your succulents a sunburn!
The Risks: HumidityThe biggest risk to successfully growing succulents in a greenhouse is humidity. Greenhouses are great for plants that prefer higher humidity levels because greenhouse material is excellent at trapping heat and moisture. When left in areas with high humidity, your succulents may contract root rot and mold infections. So, how do we avoid this?
Controlling Humidity in Your Greenhouse
The most obvious way to eliminate the risk of high humidity in your greenhouse is to use humidity-controlling methods. A dehumidifier is the best way to lower humidity in your greenhouse since you won’t have to sacrifice temperature for humidity level. A couple dehumidifiers placed around your succulents can help keep humidity levels at that ideal 40%.
Improving Air Circulation in Your Greenhouse
Good ventilation can also help decrease humidity levels, and it’ll help keep your plants from sitting in stagnant air. Fans, ceiling ventilators, and using air filters will all help keep air moving in your greenhouse. Plus, the extra ventilation will further prevent pests and mold infections from bothering your plants.
Another way to avoid root rot when growing your succulents in a greenhouse is to water less. Typically, you should only water your succulents when the soil is completely dry to the touch, and in a greenhouse, this is no different. Succulents can tolerate higher humidity levels (around 50%), but they’ll drink more slowly as a result. When you water your succulents, always make sure to check your soil’s moisture levels!
Prioritizing good drainage is also another must for growing succulents in a greenhouse. Always make sure you use a well-draining soil mixture, and use containers that have drainage holes. Pots made from porous materials like concrete, terracotta, and unglazed ceramic are also great for further improving drainage.
See more about HOW HUMIDITY AFFECTS SUCCULENTS
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