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A greenhouse is a man-made structure where plants are grown. Greenhouses come in all sizes, and they may be used for domestic or commercial purposes. Homeowners who have their own, compact greenhouses sometimes refer to them as “cold frames”. These structures are used to keep plants warmer than they would be outdoors, thereby helping them to grow healthy and strong.

Since the sun warms the glass and solar panels of these structures (thereby heating up the interiors), they offer the perfect climate for growing plants which would likely not survive in certain climates. For example, through the power of greenhouse technology, tropical blooms may flourish, even when temperatures outside are below freezing.

Greenhouses are buildings with thermal features. Once air is heated, it will be retained within the structures’ roofs and walls. Plants grown in glasshouses of this nature will also retain heat. When a greenhouse is carefully constructed, it will offer a convection process that maximizes heat conservation. Warmth will be trapped inside, in order to give plants the correct environment for healthy growth.

Range of Materials

Glass greenhouses are not the only options available. Today, there are also greenhouses created from plastics. These plastics are typically of the polyethylene variety. Sometimes, greenhouses are crafted using panels of acrylic glass. Commercial greenhouses will usually cost more, as they are high-performance structures with a host of practical, heat-trapping features.

For example, greenhouses used to grow hothouse tomatoes and tropical flowers for commercial sale will often come with a range of sophisticated equipment, including screening installations, lighting systems, and digital temperature control systems. Obviously, these types of high-tech greenhouses are generally out of the financial reach of home gardeners. However, there are affordable glasshouses and greenhouses that are intended for home use.

Since it’s possible to maintain a high level of control over the way plants are grown, greenhouses add consistency to the process of growing plants, flowers and vegetable indoors. In addition to heat level control, other factors that will contribute to good growth include perfect balances of light and shade, proper watering techniques, application of soil conditioners, and carefully controlled humidity levels. By making it possible for those in inhospitable climates to grow what they need, no matter what conditions are like outside, greenhouses offer plenty of possibilities.

These structures house a variety of plant life, including flowers, vegetables, fruit and plants. Some people begin growing plants, vegetables and blossoms during the cold-weather months, and then transfer them to outdoor gardens when temperatures rise to optimum levels. Greenhouses need insect life to support good growth, so honeybees are often added into the mix, for their pollination abilities. Modern plant-growing technology, such as hydroponics, may also be utilized in greenhouses, in order to maximum growth within a confined space.


Like any other growing environment, greenhouses are subject to problems that may affect the health and size of plant life. Typical issues that may need to be addressed include too-high levels of heat or atmospheric moisture, insects that devour plants, and plant diseases that may wipe out crops. Usually outfitted with irrigation systems that deliver water directly to the root areas of plants, greenhouses need proper maintenance to function effectively.

Types of Greenhouses

For home usage, a greenhouse may be added to an existing house or garage, by creating a “lean- to” design. Of course, stand-alone greenhouses may also be constructed. Deciding which type of structure is best for domestic purposes will depend on a range of variables, not least of which is the budget that is available to build and outfit the greenhouse.

Commercial greenhouses are rarely lean-to structures. Since commercial companies require more square footage and more technology for their glasshouses, they will usually opt for stand-alone greenhouses that have excellent structural integrity.

Greenhouses may be customized for each client, or bought ready-made. Prices for greenhouses will range from hundreds of dollars for basic, ‘cold frame” models, to hundreds of thousands of dollars for state-of-the-art, planet-friendly buildings with all of the bells and whistles.

As you can see, greenhouses perform a vital service, by allowing us to grow food, plants and flowers, no matter where we are or how cold it is outside.