8 Best Portable Greenhouses to Conveniently Protect Plant Life
Harvest plump tomatoes in winter and enjoy beets all summer long with the best portable greenhouses that expand the growing season.
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A portable greenhouse—like any greenhouse—creates a relatively warm environment that protects your plants and keeps them thriving year-round. Typically, the walls are made of transparent materials, which allow light in and help facilitate a regulated climate that’s ideal for cultivating a variety of plants.
Gardener and writer Niki Jabbour advises that before you purchase a greenhouse option, consider carefully how you want to use it. Will it be temporary frost protection overtop a garden bed? Or are you planning to start seedlings inside it in spring?
Maybe you’re looking to create a microclimate around heat-loving summer vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Or perhaps you’re hoping to extend the harvest season into the autumn and winter months. Here are our favorite portable greenhouses to help you achieve your gardening goals.
Best Overall Portable Greenhouse
Koksry Walk-In Greenhouse
When winter comes calling, the Koksry Portable Walk-In Greenhouse swoops in to save the day…and your plants! The three-tier portable greenhouse has eight shelves to save all your plants and herbs from getting covered in frost. Plus, the structure prevents pests from snacking during your harvest season, which you’ll be able to extend thanks to the greenhouse.
Its waterproof transparent plastic cover protects plants from harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause them to burn. Mesh screen windows on both sides regulate internal and external airflow as well. It also has a steel pipe and ground nails to stabilize the structure and prevent it from being knocked over by strong winds.
Verified Amazon purchaser, Gabrielle Pierce, is a fan of this greenhouse. She writes, “I just love this little greenhouse! It tucks into the end of my covered porch and it is just the perfect size, small but with plenty of room for numerous plants. And for me to be in there with them!”
- Waterproof, UV plastic cover
- Mesh screen windows on each side
- Ground nails and rope for stabilization
- Heat and humidity levels can increase rapidly in smaller structures
- Shelves aren’t especially sturdy
Best Budget Portable Greenhouse
Eagle Peak Mini Greenhouse
Say goodbye to the back-breaking work of moving plants, pots, soil and equipment around your property. This four-tier greenhouse features a set of removable casters to roll it from the garage to the patio to the flower beds. When you get to where you’re going, lock the brakes on two of the wheels and you’re done. This mini greenhouse is simple to put together and disassemble without tools.
“This was a breeze to put together,” writes Frances Thompson in a five-star review. “This is on a covered deck holding succulents in warm weather and overwintering other plants in cold. Kudos to the engineer who thought to make the wire shelves in two pieces per shelf! I often have plants to overwinter that I have to carefully bend because they are taller than the shelf. I can now just leave one side out and the plant can stay tall. Ingenious.”
- Includes removable casters
- Four shelves
- One-year warranty
- Wire shelves can sag under the weight of heavy pots
Best Lean-To Portable Greenhouse
Eagle Peak Outdoor Lean-To Greenhouse
When there’s not enough land for a freestanding greenhouse, the Outdoor Lean-To Walk-In Greenhouse is an efficient side-of-structure option. It saves space while offering a decent amount of room for caring for plants. The three-shelf rack makes a handy staging/potting station.
We also love the zippered doors on this unconventional greenhouse that let you enter from either side. Floorless and lightweight, it assembles in minutes and sets up on hard surfaces or over soil. Customers love its sturdiness, with one five-star reviewer mentioning that it stood up to days of 20 mph wind gusts.
- Designed to set up next to a door, garage or shed for more space
- Made of durable powdered-coated steel frame
- Two roll-up zipper doors
- Shelf staging included
- Needs additional weights to keep it from blowing over
Best Collapsible Portable Greenhouse
Outsunny Arc Door Greenhouse
For fans of no-brainer setups, the Outsunny Pop-Up Greenhouse comes out on top. Along with a tear-proof polyethylene cover over a flexible steel frame for sturdiness, the Outsunny ships with four wind ropes to tie firmly to the included ground nails. This lightweight greenhouse is ideal for extending your growing season. Carry and store it in the handy bag.
- Easy to assemble pop-up design
- Sturdy, PV cover
- Includes guy ropes for extra stability
- Excellent for high-humidity plants
- Some reviewers suggest buying sturdier tent posts to secure the guy ropes to the ground
Best Dome-Shaped Portable Greenhouse
Tierra Garde Haxnicks Greenhouse
The Tierra Garde Haxnicks Greenhouse is a “sun bubble” that warms up quicker than most traditional greenhouses. That’s due to its innovative curved dome surface, which made our list of the best greenhouse kits. It faces the sun at a 90-degree angle all day long, allowing maximum penetration of light for a boosted growing environment. Made of UV-stabilized PVC and flexible fiberglass rods, the patented one-piece folding design sets up in minutes.
“Love this bubble greenhouse!” writes five-star reviewer Sheri. “We had a bunch of windy weather shortly after I set it up so I anchored it from the center handle at the top as suggested except I tied it to a picnic table. Was easy and worked great. No issues. Held up great! Like that, I can fold it up and put it away like a tent when I want to.”
- Curved shape warms up quicker than a traditional greenhouse
- Ventilation included
- UV Resistant
- Light diffusing panels
- Pricier than other options on our list
- Requires more than one person to set up
Most Versatile Portable Greenhouse
Quictent Mini Cloche Greenhouse
The floorless, uncomplicated design of the Quictent Greenhouse protects plants and vegetables that are already planted or sit low to the ground. It’s also great for covering garden beds. Easy to move and store, this greenhouse can be used both inside and outside. One large U-shaped and two smaller zippered side windows are lined with layers of mesh to allow air in and keep birds and bugs out. It can even be a backyard chicken coop!
“We have deer that love to eat the plants from my container garden; this worked perfectly to stop them,” Tasha writes in her five-star review. “Staked it down so it doesn’t blow away. Veggies and herbs are growing like crazy. Works great!”
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
- Elevated bottom for more interior space
- Very affordable
- Durable connector for more stability
- Meshed windows for easy access and more ventilation
- Needs to be weighted down to prevent it from blowing away
What to Consider When Buying a Portable Greenhouse
Consider the following for your portable backyard greenhouse:
- Size: Carefully measure the available space and select a portable greenhouse to fit it. “This is particularly important in urban areas where garden space for a large structure can be hard to find,” says Jabbour.
- Placement: A sunny spot, sheltered from gusty winds, is ideal. Never place a greenhouse under trees or in the shade of nearby buildings.
- Durability: “In Northern areas like mine, where we get a lot of snow in winter, it’s essential to have a greenhouse—portable or permanent—that can withstand snow load,” Jabbour says. Materials like powder-coated aluminum and steel tend to be stronger and more stable than cheap plastic. “There are a lot of options available online and at garden supply stores and an inexpensive structure made from polyethylene won’t be as durable as one made from polycarbonate or glass,” she adds.
- Design: Floorless models protect plants already growing and offer good drainage. A-framed or arched (walk-ins) let you cultivate tall plants.
- Budget: The old adage, “you get what you pay for..”, is also true for portable greenhouses. If you want a portable greenhouse to last for years, don’t go cheap. You can justify the expense when you consider the money you’ll save on your grocery bill.
Types of Greenhouses
- Pop-Up Greenhouses: These lightweight, easy-to-assemble portable greenhouses typically feature a collapsible frame made of lightweight materials like fiberglass or metal. The frame supports a transparent or translucent cover made of plastic or polyethylene to let light in and trap heat inside. Available in multiple sizes and shapes, pop-up greenhouses provide temporary growing space that can be easily assembled when it’s time to sprout your seedlings, then put into storage once your plants are in the ground.
- Miniature or Mini Greenhouses: The frames of these small structures are often made of PVC or metal tubing, with a plastic or polycarbonate cover to create a greenhouse effect. Mini greenhouses are ideal for starting seedlings or growing a limited number of plants in a restricted space.
- Grow Tents: Grow tents are portable indoor greenhouses meant to create optimal growing conditions for your houseplants. On the inside, they’re covered with reflective material which optimizes light distribution and build-it venting systems provide air circulation. Grow tents can be equipped with indoor grow lights and other accessories that will customize the environment to your plants’ exact needs.
- Dome or Geodesic Greenhouses: Dome-shaped portable greenhouses have a curved design that maximizes sunlight exposure. Made of metal or PVC frames with durable covers of polycarbonate or plastic greenhouse film, these greenhouses offer good air circulation, stability and plenty of space for growing pots and containers.
- Portable Cold Frames: These simple, compact structures have transparent covers that protect plants from cold weather and can help extend the growing season. Portable cold frames are typically made with a wooden frame with a hinged or removable cover, and are light enough to easily move to wherever they’ll catch the light best.
How We Found the Best Portable Greenhouse
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Will a portable greenhouse keep plants from freezing?
Depending on where you live, how much sunlight you get and how it’s positioned, it’s possible for a portable greenhouse to keep your plants from freezing. However, there are plenty of variables that can affect the level of protection, such as the greenhouse’s design, construction materials and the severity of frigid weather.
If you live in an especially cold climate, you may want to consider adding additional heat sources to your portable greenhouse to prevent your plants from freezing. Electric heaters and heat mats do a great job of keeping things warm, as long as you have an outlet nearby. For greenhouses without a power supply, thermal blankets or frost protection fabrics can provide additional insulation.
Do small greenhouses work in winter?
Small greenhouses can work in winter, but again, their effectiveness depends on the climate they’re being used in. Look for greenhouses with insulated or double-layered covers, such as those made of polycarbonate or greenhouse film with air pockets, which provide excellent insulation against the elements.
Supplement the sun’s heat with electric heaters, radiant heat systems or heating mats if you live in an especially cold region, or if you’re experiencing frequent winter storms. It’s important to remember that the intensity and duration of sunlight decrease during the winter, so make sure you position your small greenhouse in a place where the sun will be beating down on it from dawn until dusk.