In a previous article, we wrote about why some areas in Florida may need a greenhouse for year-round growing.
But if you’re using a greenhouse all year in Florida, there’s another temperature concern: getting too hot. Just like dips in temperature can kill plants, so can prolonged thermal highs.
That’s when your greenhouse, which is designed to keep warm, can become a sort of death trap for your plants in the warmer seasons. So, how do you cool a greenhouse in Florida?
Luckily, there are many methods you can use to ensure your plants are kept within the ideal temperature range year-round. We’ll dive into six different ways you can keep your greenhouse cool throughout a hot Floridian summer.
Why It’s Critical for You to Beat the Heat
Each plant has a range of temperatures that are ideal for it. This range usually has to do with its native environment, which you have to mimic to foster healthy growth.
You likely already know it can get too cool for plants. The opposite can also be a problem, though.
It’s an even bigger problem with a greenhouse in a warm climate like Florida’s. Greenhouses are specifically designed to create a hot environment for plants when it’s cold outside.
Combine that with a summer that’s already hot in Florida, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. That’s why, if you’re going to utilize your greenhouse all year, you’ll need to plan how you’re going to stop the heat in its tracks.
Your first step will be to put a thermostat or thermometer in your greenhouse. That way, you’ll be able to read the temperature at a glance rather than playing guessing games.
6 Ways to Cool a Greenhouse in Florida
One of the easiest tricks in the book for cooling your greenhouse is called “damping down.” What is it, and how does it work?
It’s actually really simple, and won’t cost you very much, if anything at all. You start by moistening the hardest parts of your greenhouse, such as the floor, with something like a hose.
While the water evaporates, it raises the humidity of your greenhouse. The moisture in the air as a result of the evaporation works to protect your plants from the heat while simultaneously making the conditions more hostile to annoying plant pests.
If you’re going to try damping down, don’t worry that you’re doing it too often. The hotter it is outside, the less likely you are at risk of damping down too much.
At the very minimum, consider giving the floor in your greenhouse a spritz at least two times a day.
When you’re outside and you’re starting to overheat, one of the first things you probably do is seek out some shade. You can provide this same coverage to your plants in a greenhouse.
There’s a few different ways you can do it. Perhaps the easiest one is to put your greenhouse in a location that has some natural coverage on those sunny afternoons. The issue with this, though, is that you don’t have control over how much shade your greenhouse is getting.
One way to give yourself that kind of control is by using a shade cloth. You can put it above the greenhouse and remove it whenever you need to.
The last option is to install blinds inside the greenhouse itself. There are a couple caveats with this method, though: it can be expensive, and it’s not as efficient as stopping the sunlight outside the structure.
With blinds, the sunlight is still able to penetrate your greenhouse, even if it’s stopped not far inside. External shade methods prevent too much light from getting in at all.
With adequate ventilation, any hot air trapped in your greenhouse is able to escape. There are various designs you can use to ventilate your own greenhouse.
Roll-up sides are common with greenhouses made from fabric or plastic. These can be bundled up like the openings of a tent, allowing cool air to blow in and hot air to flow out easily.
Vents are a great option in greenhouses made from wood, glass, or plastic panes. Since the sides can’t roll up, opening a vent just like you’d open a window in your house is perfect.
Circulating the air with fans.
You can give your ventilation a bit of a boost with fans. Positioned correctly, your fans can take the warm air in your greenhouse and push it outside.
Air is sucked in the back of the fan and blown out the front. Take advantage of this design by having your fans pointing out a window or side of your greenhouse.
You can achieve this effect with outdoor fans like this one.
Watering your plants.
This seems like a no-brainer, because you’ll need to water your plants to keep them healthy, anyway. But in addition to helping your plants grow, watering them can keep them cool.
It works in a manner like how our sweat cools us down. With plants, that process is called transpiration.
After watering, your plants transfer the moisture from their roots up to their leaves. The moisture then becomes a vapor that escapes into the air around the plant.
But while the moisture gathers in the leaves, it helps cool the plant down. That means watering your plants is a multi-purpose method that you can use to keep them healthy and cool.
Best of all, it won’t cost you very much to do it.
Install a cooling system.
While the methods we described above could all work together to keep your greenhouse cool, you might need to break out something more heavy-duty for extremely hot days.
In that kind of scenario, we suggest considering a cooling system. Some people use geothermal heating and cooling systems to maintain an ideal temperature.
If this isn’t an option for you, though, you can always consider buying a much smaller cooling system.
This will give your careful design an extra helping hand if you find yourself struggling to beat the heat in your greenhouse.
Caring for a garden indoors and outdoors can get a bit tricky…But raising plants in a greenhouse is a struggle all its own.
Plants naturally grow outside. When you put them in a building, you have to find a way to perfectly mimic their native environment, otherwise they might die.
That means you need to create the ideal temperature range – it can’t be too cold, and it can’t be too hot. With a greenhouse in Florida, avoiding excessive heat can be a unique challenge.
But using the methods we listed in this guide, you’ll have created the best settings for growing a beautiful greenhouse garden.