If someone from the sunny state of Florida were to ask you whether or not they should have a greenhouse, your first response might be to laugh. After all, Florida is famous for being fairly temperate year-round, right?
How harsh can their winters be?
However, the answer to whether or not you need a greenhouse in Florida is actually a bit more nuanced than that. Yes, there are reasons why you’d get a greenhouse there, but it depends on particular circumstances.
Let’s take a look at the reasons you’d want a greenhouse if you lived in Florida.
Why Should You Have a Greenhouse in Florida?
One of the main reasons you’d have a greenhouse in Florida is your location.
Yes, it’s true that Florida tends to stay pretty warm in the winter. But there are still parts of it that drop to as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit in their coldest months.
Many plants can’t withstand temperatures like these, so if you live in northern or central Florida, a greenhouse could be perfectly reasonable. This is especially true if you intend to grow things year-round in those areas.
Another reason you may want to consider a greenhouse is if you grow rare or tropical plants. These types of gardens tend to demand a much more stable temperature and environment, which a greenhouse can provide.
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Finally, severe weather conditions could another deciding factor in your decision to get a greenhouse in Florida. There are tons of greenhouses made from extra-tough materials like polycarbonate that can protect your garden from hail and winds up to 100 mph.
Remember, though, that greenhouses themselves are still susceptible to hail and storms, and you may find that some of their panels crack or break from severe weather.
Florida Greenhouse Considerations
If you do decide to get a greenhouse for your Florida home, let’s look at what other things you should consider. Deciding to get a greenhouse isn’t your only step.
You’ll need to think about the following things throughout the process of getting your greenhouse set up:
- Materials and type
- The plants you’re going to grow
- Climate control
Location, location, location.
We bet you’ve heard the phrase, “location, location, location” when it comes to real estate. Well, it applies to your greenhouse, too.
The main reason you get a greenhouse is to keep plants adequately sheltered and warm all year. If you put it in the wrong spot, it won’t get enough sunlight, defeating its entire purpose.
Since Florida is in the northern hemisphere, greenhouses there will get the most sunlight if they’re put in the southern side of your property. For the best results, place your greenhouse so it goes from north to south, rather than facing east and west.
You know not getting enough sunlight is an issue, but getting too much sunlight can also be problematic. Your garden should be kept warm, of course, but you don’t want your plants to be absolutely blasted with heat.
In addition to making sure your greenhouse is put on the south side of your yard facing north and south, think about picking a spot that gets shady in the afternoon. This will keep the inside from overheating and baking your garden.
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If you don’t have a spot that gets shady, you can try installing a shade cloth like this one over it.
Materials and type.
There are two main types of greenhouse: freestanding and attached. A freestanding greenhouse is one that stands on its own, while an attached one comes off of your house.
There are benefits to either one. An attached greenhouse will already have one wall made, which will be part of your house.
A freestanding greenhouse, on the other hand, is more flexible when it comes to placement because it doesn’t have to be attached to your home.
Another thing to consider is what your greenhouse is made out of. Glass looks great, but it’s expensive and fragile.
Polycarbonate is more affordable than glass and it’s more durable. However, sunlight doesn’t come through it as easily and it’s not as attractive as glass.
PVC fabric is another popular pick for greenhouse builds. These fabrics are tough, and they also hold heat well in cold temperatures. Another benefit to them is that they’re easier to install than glass or polycarbonate panes.
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Which type of plants you’re going to keep inside.
Your plants are the stars of the show, and each one will have its own ideal growing conditions. Naturally, you should start by thinking about what you’re going to keep in your greenhouse.
With that in mind, do some research on what your plants need. Study the humidity and temperatures your plants grow best in.
These conditions will give you a better idea of what you need to do, whether it’s figuring out how to heat your greenhouse or even how to keep it cooler during warmer months. You’ll also have a good understanding of how much space each plant needs, which can help you plan out how to best use the space in your greenhouse.
This part goes hand in hand with knowing which plants you’re going to grow. Once you’ve picked your plants, you need to plan what you’ll need to do to foster the ideal climate for them.
Greenhouses have a tendency to get extremely humid, which promotes the growth of fungus. Ventilation is something crucial to consider. Some greenhouses already have this factored in, with vents that you can open when it gets too humid inside.
Temperature is also critical. If you’re planning on using your greenhouse all year, you’ll not only have to pay attention to keeping it warm in the winter, but you’ll need to learn how to keep it cool during the summer.
Placing your greenhouse in a shady spot can help with the heat, while using a heater can warm it up when it’s freezing outside.
Pests and diseases are things you should also prepare for. You can learn more about the various pests gardens are susceptible to here.
At first, you might assume that warmer climates like Florida have no use for greenhouses. But the truth is, even places like Florida have periods of cold during the year.
Because of that, the northern and central parts of Florida have a very real need for greenhouses.
Furthermore, aside from the heat they provide, greenhouses can offer much-needed shelter to your more delicate plants. It doesn’t hurt that many greenhouses can make a beautiful addition to your yard, either.
If you’d like to see some of our favorite greenhouses, you can take a look at our list of the best greenhouses for central Florida.