Best Greenhouse Kits for Southern Gardens

Now that Florida is facing its annual cold season, it’s time to think about frost protection. Even here in Zone 10a, the temperatures can drop overnight, even to freezing and below. For Southern gardeners whose passion is tropical gardening, temperatures below just 50°F can be devasting. So, what ARE the best greenhouse kits for Southern gardens and our unique needs?

Between blistering sunlight in summer, torrential downpours, and sudden sharp frosty nights, gardening in Florida — or anywhere along the Gulf Coast — can be quite a challenge. The best greenhouse kits for Southern gardens will provide protection from frosts, hot sun, and torrential downpours.

Currently, we’re enjoying a freak winter downpour. Since it’s following a long drought, I’m not going to complain. But so far, my fall tomato plants have already been fried, drowned, and tipped with cold damage. Granted, I have a love-hate relationship with tomatoes.

A few years ago, my husband promised to build me a greenhouse. He even described his elaborate plans to reuse some PVC pipe. That was in 2020, after we had already spent four months rushing outside during the rare bitter cold snap, teeth chattering, covering tomato plants with every spare sheet or blanket we could find.

Then, we “enjoyed” the freak three-night freeze of 2022, and I knew it was time to invest in a real greenhouse, even if I didn’t have much of a budget.

What was the best greenhouse I could find without breaking the bank?

Easy-peasy — The King Bird extended polytunnel with sprinkler system.

A quick tour of my favorite new greenhouse

Why Do You Need a Greenhouse in the South?

While I have three growing seasons here, it seems that my fall garden plants just get started producing in the winter when we suddenly get a cold snap.

It’s the same with the spring — they just get established and start to bloom when a blistering hot day puts an end to progress.

I knew that I really COULD grow fool all year round if I had the right infrastructure. It’s entirely possible to grow all year long, if you have one of the best greenhouse kits for extending the season.

For example, it’s still too hot and humid in September to grow large tomato varieties, and they don’t really get going until October. That leaves them vulnerable in late December and January.

And while most people use their greenhouse in the winter, I decided that I could also use a greenhouse kit in the summer by adding a shade cloth to keep out the worst of the afternoon sun.

I lucked into the best buy I could make when I discovered the King Bird greenhouse that included a sprinkler kit for cooling off during the hot summer.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a shade house in place to save time (and sunburn)?

Most gardeners in the South just take the summer off. But the best greenhouse kit could be quickly modified with some shade cloth.

The best greenhouse kits make the most of your garden all year round.

Best Greenhouse Kits to Consider

I’m sold on my new King Bird greenhouse, but you may have other needs, less space, or even more budget. Here’s a shortlist to work from. I’ve also added a few others that look like likely options for a wide range of gardeners.

And of course, my top recommendation is:

1. KING BIRD Upgraded 15×6.6×6.6FT Large Walk-in Greenhouse

Sale
KING BIRD Upgraded 15×6.6×6.6FT Large Walk-in Greenhouse Heavy Duty Galvanized Steel Frame 2…
  • 【Watering Greenhouse】comes with a 15-ft water hose and irrigation kit that lets you water your plants easily and efficiently. You can adjust the water mist size and direction to suit your needs…
  • 【Steady Greenhouse】Less worry about strong winds or heavy snow damaging your greenhouse. KING BIRD greenhouse is built with galvanized steel, 3 top crossbars, 10 vertical bottom poles, and 2…
  • 【Ventilated Greenhouse】Enjoy two entrances with PE and zippered screen doors that allow you to access your plants from both sides. You can also roll up the screen windows and use the water…
  • 【Warm Greenhouse】The PE grid cover of KING BIRD greenhouse is specially designed to resist UV rays and extend its lifespan. It is also waterproof, odorless, and fits snugly over the frame to keep…
  • 【Trustful Greenhouse】KING BIRD always values customers’ experience the most. All KING BIRD greenhouse kits are provided with a 1-year warranty or more. Feel free to contact KING BIRD Team when you…

This greenhouse is GINORMOUS, and the durable white PE cover keeps it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

This model has stood up to two named Florida storms as well as some freakishly late rain and windstorms over this winter.

2. King Bird Upgraded 10×6.6×6.6 Walk-in Greenhouse

Sale
KING BIRD Upgraded 10×6.6×6.6FT Large Walk-in Greenhouse Heavy Duty Galvanized Steel Frame 2…
  • 【Watering Greenhouse】comes with a 15-ft water hose and irrigation kit that lets you water your plants easily and…
  • 【Steady Greenhouse】Less worry about strong winds or heavy snow damaging your greenhouse. KING BIRD greenhouse is…
  • 【Ventilated Greenhouse】Enjoy two entrances with PE and zippered screen doors that allow you to access your plants…
  • 【Warm Greenhouse】The PE grid cover of KING BIRD greenhouse is specially designed to resist UV rays and extend its…
  • 【Trustful Greenhouse】KING BIRD always values customers’ experience the most. All KING BIRD greenhouse kits are…

If you don’t have 15 feet to spare, don’t hesitate to check out this smaller version, with the same high quality and special features as the larger version.

3. GoSunny Deluxe Greenhouse Kit

Deluxe Green House 56″ W x 56″ D x 77″ H,Walk in Outdoor Plant Gardening Greenhouse 2 Tiers 8…
  • Constructed with 12 wired shelves – 6 on each side, and measures 56″W x 56″D x 77″H, which makes space for all your…
  • Strong frame – built with heavy-duty powder coated steel. Include 4 ropes and 4 stakes to secure the greenhouse and…
  • Place the greenhouse indoor inside your garage during the cold winter or outside with no PVC cover during the hot…

This GoSunny model is one of the first portable greenhouse kits I’ve used in my current location, and it’s pretty darn good for the price.

This greenhouse is 56 inches wide by 56 inches deep, and it stands 77 inches tall. This means you have plenty of room to move around inside.

The powder-coated metal tubing frame is 16mm and the reinforced polyurethane cover is 0.4mm thick, so it’s durable and offers excellent protection from any cold spells.

It features straps to hold the zippered door open to allow ventilation, as well as two side windows with mesh.

This greenhouse kit comes with nail stakes and tie-downs to keep your greenhouse in place under windy conditions.

Inside, it offers 12 built-in wire shelves. You can also adjust them to your collection. And the whole assembly offers additional headroom for heat lamps or fans.

Unfortunately, it may not stand long against the Florida heat and humidity, but it’s a bargain for protecting plants against harsh sun, cold nights, and sudden downpours.

4. Eagle Peak 8×6 Portable Pop-Up Greenhouse

Sale
EAGLE PEAK 8×6 Portable Walk-in Greenhouse Instant Pop-up Indoor Outdoor Plant Gardening Green…
  • EASY SETUP: Innovative easy setup technology allows ONE PERSON to set up this greenhouse in seconds. EAGLE PEAK pop-up greenhouse is ready straight…
  • STABLE AND STURDY: With a steel-ceiling roof, the construction of this greenhouse is rigid and durable enough to endure most outdoor conditions with…
  • SPACE TO WORK: Enjoy freedom of movement with the spacious walk-in 8×6 ft greenhouse. Shelving fits comfortably in it (Please search ASIN: B08ZJ8H558…

When I purchased my King Bird, I also purchased two of these pop-up greenhouses for emergency use. They were on sale at the time, and I couldn’t resist the price.

These are especially useful for covering in-ground climbing plants like cordoned tomatoes or cucumbers. I purchased them for hanging houseplants and in the hope that they would be easy to put up by myself when I sold plants at local farmer’s markets.

It turned out they were a bit too heavy for the purpose, but one has made a most excellent shade house. The structure is easily sturdy enough to hold many hanging plants for display. And it’s shady enough for Monstera and pothos on poles, too.

5. Gardman 7600 Extra Wide 4-Tier Greenhouse 

Gardman USA 7600 Greenhouse, 4 tier, Green
  • Extra wide mini greenhouse
  • Easy to use
  • This product is manufactured in China
  • Quality construction and materials to last many seasons
  • Heavy duty reinforced polyethylene cover

If you don’t have much space and are looking for apartment patio greenhouse kits, this Gardman model provides roomy shelves and protection from the co

This is the perfect size for planting a few starts for spring.

It measures 63 inches high and is tall enough for four shelves of seed trays. It’s 18 inches deep and also extra wide, at 47 inches.

It has a sturdy, modular steel tubing frame that will hold up to the elements. You can also snap it together without any tools.

The reinforced polyurethane cover has a zipper front and each shelf is about 14 inches high. So, you can even add a heat lamp for extra warmth.

Gardman is a UK company that sources its materials responsibly. They have a 27-year history and specialize in garden décor, lighting, and bird feeders.

6. Strong Camel Large Walk-in Wall Greenhouse

Strong Camel Large Walk-in Wall Greenhouse 10x5x7’H w 3 Tiers/6 Shelves Gardening with Two Door…
  • Suitable Size:The new Walk-in greenhouse size: 10ft x 5ft x 7ft. 6 shelves height 15.7”, width 11”; net size…
  • Excellent Quanlity:The cover is water resistant, UV protected thick polyethylene (PE) which is non toxic and odorless,…
  • Useful design: Our greenhouse has 3 levels, and 6 shelves. Roll up zip doors at both ends for easy access, ventilation…

If you’re looking for lean-to greenhouse kits, check out this affordable and durable Strong Camel model. You can place it against any exterior wall for stability and reflected heat.

The CO-Z greenhouse is 10 feet long, 5 feet deep, and a generous 7 feet tall. It creates a warm little nest for your delicate plants on cold winter nights.

You can also protect your delicate seedlings from being washed out. The UV protection and green checking also prevent scorching in the dry spring heat.

The door zips open and rolls up to stay out of the way when you’re working and to allow in plenty of fresh air on warm days.

It also comes with wire shelving to make the most of the space.

It boasts a tubular steel frame and UV-protected polyethylene cover. You’ll also get guy lines, ground nails, and a screw kit for securing it to your exterior wall.

7. Outsunny 15′ x 7′ x 7′ Walk-in Tunnel Hoop Greenhouse

Sale
Outsunny 14.6′ x 6.6′ x 6.6′ Walk-in Tunnel Hoop Greenhouse with Mesh Door & 8 Windows, Large Green…
  • Walk-In Hoop Greenhouse Kit: This walk-in greenhouse gives you a personal plant nursery for your garden. Control heat,…
  • Look in or Let Air Out: Control the heat and humidity in your outdoor greenhouse by making use of the eight…
  • Heavy-Duty, Outdoor Ready: Our backyard greenhouse protects plants from wind, rain, and cold with a 140 GSM PE cover, a…

For those focused on high production, Outsunny offers an affordable tunnel greenhouse that offers professional size protection for the backyard grower.

This hoop house is great for year-round growing and urban farming. It’s 15 feet long by 7 feet wide and stands 7 feet tall when assembled. So, you can add heaters or fans for year-round use.

The reinforced galvanized steel tube frame is rust-resistant, and the 140 GSM polyethylene cover is reinforced with mesh. This also diffuses harsh sunlight in the summer season and allows 85% of sunlight in.

This makes it the perfect greenhouse for Florida, where the sun can defy even the chill of winter. It also provides much needed shade for spring and summer growing.

8. Quictent Large Portable Walk-in Greenhouse

Sale
Quictent 12×6.6×6.6 FT Greenhouse for Outdoors, Heavy Duty Large Garden High Tunnel Walk-in Green…
  • Mesh Zipper Door & 6 Vents – The front door of the greenhouse is equipped with 1 screen door to keep small unwanted…
  • Powder-Coated Steel Frame – Made of reinforced powder-coated steel, there’s less worry about rust which makes the whole…
  • Extended Cover – The extra skirt part of the cover at the bottom of the greenhouse makes it more airtight and secure:…

If you have a long and narrow yard, this Quictent model might be the best greenhouse kit for your garden.

It’s 12 feet long and 7 feet wide and measures 7 feet high.

The powder-coated steel frame offers extra support from middle rails and the polyethylene cover is extra long for attachment to the ground for stability.

It’s easy to assemble with Velcro straps and plenty of stakes to hold it down. There are doors on either end as well as six screened vents on the side for superior ventilation.

Quictent is also a Texas manufacturer with an A+ BBB rating, and they offer camping tents as well.

9. Palram Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Palram Canopia Greenhouse Kit 6′ x 4′ Hobby Walk-In Polycarbonate Heavy Duty Aluminum Frame…
  • TWO PANEL TYPES PROVIDE ULTIMATE BALANCED GROWING CONDITIONS – Virtually unbreakable twin-wall polycarbonate roof panels…
  • STURDY THOUGHTFUL CONSTRUCTION WILL LAST A LIFETIME – Chosen by Better Homes and Gardens as the Best Overall Greenhouse…
  • STEP-BY-STEP DIY INSTRUCTIONS DESIGNED FOR HOMEOWNER INSTALLATION – Easy installation accomplished with sliding panels’…

If you’re in the market for a more permanent solution, Palram offers one of the highest reputations with buyers for greenhouse kits. While only measuring 6×4 feet, it’s a gorgeous specimen that will surely become the shining centerpiece in an ornamental garden.

It features twin-wall polycarbonate roof panels to protect plants from strong sunlight and an aluminum frame. The wall and ceiling panels are 4mm transparent polycarbonate.

10. Lovtimber 6×10 FT Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Lovtimber 6×10 FT Polycarbonate Greenhouse, Heavy Duty Walk-in Garden Plants Green House, Adjustable…
  • 【Walk-in Spacious Greenhouse】The ideal growing environment is large enough for you to plant numbers of plants,…
  • 【Heavy-duty & Durable Frame】The 4mm thick polycarbonate board can withstand outdoor temperature from -20℃ to 70…
  • 【Great Vents & Slide Doors】The greenhouse have 1 window vents are designed with 5 adjustable angles for proper air…

If you need more space for less money and are willing to give a newcomer a go, this 6×8 polycarbonate greenhouse has all the features of more established brands without the price tag.

It offers adjustable vents for reducing summer heat build-up and protects from cold with 4mm polycarbonate panels.

11. HOWE 8x14x7.5 FT Polycarbonate Greenhouse

HOWE 8x14x7.5 FT Polycarbonate Greenhouse 2 Sliding Doors 4 Vent Window Walk-in Premium Greenhouse…
  • 8x14x7.5 Professional Grade & Weather-resistant Backyard Greenhouse: Engineered with heavy duty and rust resistant…
  • Get a Storage Shed or Sunroom: 480 cu. ft. storage capacity provides space to store your garden tools, lawn mowers,…
  • 4 Vents & Double Slide Doors: Ensure your plants get all the fresh air they need, while stay cool and comfortable when…

Add a professional-grade polycarbonate greenhouse for about half the cost by doing your own installation.

Protect a whole season’s worth of starter plants and store your garden equipment securely out of the elements.

Features double sliding doors and four vents for temperature control. The 6mm polycarbonate panels do double duty protecting your delicate plants from the cold, heat, and heavy rains.

Get a high-quality greenhouse and outdoor living space in one.

Using a Greenhouse in Florida and Other Hot Climate Zones

A Jump on Spring

I normally start my spring seeds in December. But quite frankly, I don’t have enough room for everything if we get a cold night. Last year, I moved dozens of seedlings inside when the temperatures plummeted. I lost a few trays because I foolishly stacked them and they crushed each other.

But a greenhouse means I’ll have plenty of room to keep my starts toasty and safe all winter long. I may even get some spring tomatoes this year.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Speaking of tomatoes, because I live in an area of the country that suffers from terrible heat and humidity, I have trouble growing big tomato varieties. They just suffer under the sun long before they produce.

So, I’ve been focusing on early maturing varieties and cherry tomatoes – which means I don’t get to enjoy the wide variety of heirloom vegetables I want to grow.

Choosing the Best Greenhouse for Winter

Too often, I’ll jump into buying something for my garden on a whim. Just ask me about all those soaker hoses I bought last month.

But in this case, I’m doing my research and due diligence before making a big purchase that will take up a lot of yard space.

Here are some things to think about before choosing a greenhouse.

Code Violations

In some neighborhoods or towns, you may need to get a permit. Usually, this will be for a permanent structure, perhaps with an electrical line or water access. You probably won’t need one for a small portable greenhouse or hoop house.

But do check with your local planning commission about what type of structures require a permit.

And don’t forget to check with your HOA or neighborhood association to make sure it doesn’t violate their requirements.

Allocating Space

Do you have enough room on your property for a greenhouse? Sometimes, you’ll find that the best place to put it for maximum efficiency is smack-dab in the middle of your back yard.

You’ll want it in the sunshine for the winter, but remember that placement under a tree canopy can help protect plants from a hard freeze, too.

Make the most of any southern exposure available to help keep your greenhouse warm. Also, placing your greenhouse near a light-painted wall with southern exposure can be the warmest spot in the yard. Buildings can reflect sunlight onto nearby plants as well as absorb heat during the day and release it over the night.

Place your greenhouse so it gets at least six hours of sunshine during the day. And remember, it’s also a good time to trim trees and bushes during their dormant periods.

Accessibility

You’ll also want to place your greenhouse where it’s easy to access from your home. Especially if it gets cold, you’re more likely to keep an eye on things if you don’t have to freeze to do so.

You may also want access to the outdoor hose bibb or GFCI outlet. Adding a portable electric heater turns even a cheap model into one of the best greenhouse kits for growing vegetables in the winter.

Knowing where you’re going to place it will help you narrow down all the possible choices to one that will work best in your garden.

Lovely greenhouse in a back yard.

Features to Look for in the Best Greenhouse Kit

Greenhouse kits come in a wide range of price points and durability options. You can find inexpensive models that hold a few shelves of seedlings for very little money. You can also find models the size of a small family bungalow, with sturdy metal frames.

So, think of what features you might need to get started.

How Big?

Last year, I only set up a few seed trays to get my spring garden started. So, I really only needed an economy model.

If you’re just getting a jump on spring starters for early vegetables, a smaller indoor/outdoor model will probably be one of the best greenhouse kits for you.

However, if you’re growing a significant number of plants and rely on them to feed your family, you may want to look at a more sizeable model. You’ll find hoop houses provide plenty of room for low cost.

If you need to overwinter delicate full-grown plants, you may want to look for height in a greenhouse as well as square footage. Check out models that offer shelving systems and hanging hooks.

And if you want to make a statement in your landscape design, take a look at some of the best greenhouse kits from makers like Grandio and Palram. While they do require some DIY skills to assemble, they’re much less expensive than hiring a contractor to build one.

Construction Materials

Portable greenhouses use plastic sheeting to protect your plants from the elements. The thickness can vary, but most provide adequate protection from winter chills in Zones 8 to 11.

More durable greenhouse kits use polycarbonate sheets, which are clear plastic, but sturdy like acrylic sheeting.

Poly-Sheeting Greenhouses

Most portable and economy greenhouse kits include polyethylene plastic sheeting and a frame made of aluminum, steel, or PVC piping.

The polyethylene plastic sheeting in kits usually runs between 2 to 6 mils thick. Although it may not last more than two or three years, you can also patch or even replace it should it be required.

Polycarbonate Greenhouses

The best greenhouse kits feature polycarbonate plastic panels in an aluminum frame. While they’re more expensive, they’re suitable for permanent installation.

However, they’re also harder to assemble. Especially if you’re planning on adding electricity and water to your greenhouse.

But if you have the DIY skills, they can really make a statement in your landscaping. Many are quite charming and attractive.

Commercial Greenhouse Kits

At one point in my budding horticultural career, I considered starting a hobbyist nursery. Then I discovered that you needed an inspection to sell plants to other gardeners. The good news was that I didn’t need one to sell produce.

A commercial size hoop house is just the thing if you have the room or are thinking of expanding into an urban farm.

Remember to check with your local extension office about any laws or regulations in place for your state. But who knows, you may have discovered the side gig that opens up a whole new career.

Greenhouse DIY

If you’re looking for a build your own greenhouse kit, you’ll find plenty of plans available online. All it takes is a few DIY skills and access to your local home improvement center.

And depending on your needs and ambition, you can build something as simple a hoop house or something as intricate and challenging as a solar-heated grow hut.

Walden Labs offers free plans online. I’ve been saving soda bottles for their Recycled Model for about a year now.

And if you’re looking for a fun craft, this small greenhouse DIY uses CD cases to create a cloche for a treasured favorite.

Gimme Shelter

I’m still not sure which one I’m going to opt for, but something tells me that I’m picking out my own Christmas present this year.

Either way, the best greenhouse kits are the ones you can afford and the ones you can use.

It may seem odd to get a greenhouse when you live in Florida and only get a few cold nights a year. But it will be nice knowing that I won’t have to stumble around in the dark, covering up whatever I can manage to see with whatever I can manage to find.

Do you have a greenhouse or hoop house? How did you finally settle on what kind to buy? Share your greenhouse tips in the comments.

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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2 thoughts on “Best Greenhouse Kits for Southern Gardens”

    1. Those look awesome, Eric. And the delivery and setup is a big selling point.

      Fawn

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