Keeping outdoor plants alive through winter can be a difficult task, but a portable greenhouse could be the solution. These helpful tools can keep your outdoor plants at more comfortable temperatures even when it’s cold, yet can be moved or disassembled as the weather turns warm. The best portable greenhouses for winter provide the amount of space and light needed for your specific plants, offer some ventilation, and are easy to set up and take down with the seasons. It’s worth keeping in mind that an unheated greenhouse will have limitations as to how much warmer than the outdoor temperature they can get — and it might be just a few degrees Fahrenheit. The plant hardiness zone you live in will determine if these greenhouses will be helpful in getting your outdoor plants through winter, extending your growing season, or hardening off seeds in the spring.
Many portable greenhouses have a metal or plastic frame which can be easily assembled and disassembled wherever you plan to use it, whether that’s outside, on a covered porch, or indoors. Some even have wheels, which can be helpful if you’d like to place the greenhouse on a smooth surface and roll it out of the way or into a sunnier spot when needed. Shelves are another available feature that can take advantage of vertical space within the greenhouse.
Before selecting your portable greenhouse, think about what kind of plants you’re going to be putting in it. Plants that require a lot of direct sunlight might benefit from a greenhouse covered in clear plastic that lets in lots of light. Plants that prefer indirect sunlight or shade might prefer one with green plastic, which can lessen the amount of sunlight that reaches them. Polyethylene plastic (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are commonly used for greenhouse covers — PE tends to be more budget-friendly, but PVC can be more durable. Some plastic covers are also reinforced with mesh.
Ventilating your greenhouse is important for providing fresh air to plants and reducing humidity, so look for greenhouses with windows or doors you can periodically open to provide airflow. Whether you’re opting for a mini greenhouse or a walk-in one, windows and doors will also make it easier to access and tend to your plants.
Here are some of the best portable greenhouses, which will help keep your plants kickin’ through the coldest months of the year.
1. A Mini Greenhouse For Small Plants & Herb Gardens
This mini greenhouse is a helpful tool for keeping a few potted plants, seedlings, or a small herb garden at a comfortable temperature indoors or outdoors. The frame and clear PVC cover have a pop-up design that doesn’t require assembly. The manufacturer doesn’t specify what the frame is made of, but it’s constructed with a bendable material that is sturdy when upright yet can be folded down for storage, according to reviewers. Plus, the greenhouse comes with four steel ground stakes to secure it in place for extra security. It has a roll-up window for ventilation to keep humidity at a reasonable level as well as access for watering and general plant care.
- Available sizes: 27 x 27 x 31 inches
One reviewer wrote: “I have a dwarf pomegranate and a Bougainville in pots that I didn’t want to keep in my house but didn’t want to loose to the low winter temps in my zone 7 climate. This little greenhouse is tall enough and wide enough to keep both pots one medium one smallish with room to spare. I have the house on the patio tucked between the corner of the house and fireplace facing south and west so it gets warming sun when it’s out. On a sunny 20 degree day I’ve seen some condensation on the inside just like a real green house.”
2. A Portable Greenhouse For Raised Beds & Outdoor Gardens
If you’re in need of a portable greenhouse to cover outdoor garden beds, this long, short steel frame one could be ideal for you. It doesn't require any tools for assembly — and, according to one reviewer, it “can easily be disassembled in the spring,” too. The cover is made with PE and mesh, and it comes in both green and white options so that your plants’ needs can be met whether they crave sunlight or prefer a bit of shade. Regardless of which color you choose, this greenhouse has three large zippered roll-up windows for ventilation that double as access points for you to tend to your plants.
- Available sizes: 94.5 x 31.5 x 31.5 inches
One reviewer wrote: “We love these green houses and have purchased several! When winter is over, my plants look better than before they went in - often covered with blooms! It’s so nice not to have to drag all the plants indoor for the winter.”
3. This Walk-In Greenhouse That Converts Into A Tent
With two available sizes that each offer a large open area, this walk-in greenhouse is ideal for storing and caring for larger plants during the winter. Assembly is quite easy, as it’s designed like a pop-up tent and has a one-piece accordion frame made with alloy steel. The clear PE and mesh cover should let in plenty of light, too. For ventilation, it has two large zippered roll-up doors as well as two zippered roll-up windows with mesh covers. It doesn’t come with shelving, but you could definitely add your own to configure a customized setup perfect for storing all of your plants comfortably. Lastly — but certainly not least — this versatile greenhouse is unique in that it also comes with a polyester cover that can provide shade in the summer, making it something you can use all year long.
- Available sizes: 96 x 96 inches; 120 x 120 inches
One reviewer wrote: “I have had several winter green houses to move my outdoor plants into over the years and this one by far was the easiest one to set up. Its a ‘Pop Up’ shelter and the materials its made from from the fold out subframing to the reinforced covering seem to be well made.
4. This Portable Greenhouse With Wheels & Shelves
If easy portability is the most important consideration for you, especially for keeping plants indoors, on a porch, or on a paved area, this rolling greenhouse with shelves might be the best option. It’s available in three- and four-shelf versions, including options with clear PVC, green PE and mesh, and clear PE and mesh covers, depending on your plants’ needs and the amount of sun available. There are no tools required for assembly of the powder-coated steel frame and shelves, which all rely on simple connectors. No matter the size and color greenhouse you choose, it comes with detachable wheels and a large zippered, roll-up door.
- Available sizes: 27 x 19 x 51 inches; 28 x 19 x 67 inches
One reviewer wrote: “For years we've created temporary winter protection for our patio plants (in Dallas, Texas). Finally we have a portable, convenient 'greenhouse'. Easy to enclose, and unveil as the weather changes daily. With a small plant light underneath, it maintains a comfortable temperature for the plants.”
5. A Walk-In Greenhouse That Comes With Shelves
If you have the space for a greenhouse with shelving, consider this walk-in one. It includes two shelf units on each side, in both the smaller or larger size options. There are no tools required for the steel frame assembly of the greenhouse or the shelves, which are held together with plastic connectors. The clear cover is made with a durable PVC to let in lots of light. It also features a large door that rolls up and zips closed.
- Available sizes: 77 x 56 x 29 inches; 77 x 56 x 56 inches
One reviewer wrote: “I have purchased many assembly small greenhouses in the past. This is by far, for the price, the best I have used. Good space inside, holds temperature well, easy to assemble, and very sturdy at this price point.”