Do Plastic Greenhouses Really Work? (Explained)

Various materials are used to make greenhouses apart from plastic, including glass, fiberglass, double-sheet polythene films, and acrylic.

Plastic greenhouses are just as effective as glass greenhouses – maybe even better!

Here’s Why Plastic Greenhouses Work Well:

Unlike glass, plastic can be picked up and moved much more easily. Plastic greenhouses retain heat for a long through double-walled panels. Plastic greenhouses are cheaper. Plastic greenhouses are easily adaptable if you need to add fans or vents after construction is complete.

Do Plastic Greenhouses Work in the Winter?

Plastic greenhouses are just as useful in winter as they are in summer.

Because of their ventilation and winterization, plastic greenhouse plants can now grow annually without shutting down during the winter season.

Plastic greenhouse owners may prepare for winter seasons by:

Winterization:

Winterization refers to early preparation for the winter seasons by keeping your greenhouse in order.

Winterization involves a thorough cleaning (both exterior and interior) by removing organic and debris materials, stretching walls of the greenhouse, and improving drainage systems around the greenhouse to avoid flooding.

Planting the Right Crops:

When approaching the winter season, grow crops that can resist harsh climatic conditions for the winter months.

These crops should require less lighting and heat, such as vegetables and fruits with deep roots like carrots and spinach.

Installing Heat Controllers and Humidity Regulators:

Sometimes, heat from the sun may not just be enough during the winter seasons.

A supplementary heat system is therefore necessary.

A humidity regulator will also help check on humidity levels inside the greenhouse.

Effective Harvests:

When approaching winter, plant your crops at intervals in rows.

While you are harvesting the first rows during winter, the last planted rows will still be growing strong and be almost ready for harvests.

This will keep you in business all through the winter, waiting for the spring season to come.

How Hot Do They Get in the Summer?

Plastic greenhouses are designed to attract and trap heat without releasing it fast.

In the summer, the temperatures inside plastic greenhouses can get as high as 90˚F, which is harmful to most plants.

Too much heat will eventually harm the vegetable, flowers, or fruits that you have grown within.

Here are tips and solutions for keeping your greenhouse cooler in the summertime:

Ventilation:

The first solution while installing a plastic greenhouse is to provide ventilation through vents on the roof and sidewalls.

Plants will require free airflow and circulation during hot summer noons.

Greenhouse Shading:

During summer, the polythene and plastics roofs may be shaded to reduce light strength entering the greenhouse.

This is done by using shade paints, which are affordable and very effective.

Damping:

Damping of greenhouses refers to the process of wetting the ground in the interior, wetting paths, and drainage systems to increase humidity levels inside the greenhouses.

Frequent Checks:

Check for heat stress on plants, such as drying up and falling foliage, wilting, and scorching of the leaves.

Spray more water during the summertime if you find that your crops are too dry.

How Long Do Plastic Greenhouses Last Compared to Glass Greenhouses?

A major factor to consider when buying a greenhouse cover is durability.

Glass greenhouses last more than plastic greenhouses. Glass greenhouses are durable and can sustain the original shape of installation unless there are break-ins.

Glass greenhouses are permanent structures that last as long as between 40-50 years due to their stiffness and weight.

How long a plastic greenhouse can last vary depending on the plastic material, it’s made of.

A plastic greenhouse that is made of UV light-resistant plastic can last up to 4 years. Anything without UV resistance won’t last very long.

When buying a plastic greenhouse, always make sure that they are less than 5 millimeters. You should also make sure that they are equipped with UV light stabilizers.

Are They Worth the Investment?

When put under correct use and for good maintenance, plastic greenhouses are worth the investment.

This option is precious to small-scale gardeners, as plastic greenhouses are cheap and can return profits in terms of outputs quickly.

Plastic greenhouses serve various investment scales even to those growers residing in small divided plots that don’t have space for glass greenhouses.

They also provide short-term solutions for those looking forward to growing short-term crops and how much profit you make over that short period of time depends on your hard work and creativity.

Main Advantages and Disadvantages to Plastic Greenhouses

Advantages:

1. Cost-Friendly

Plastic greenhouses are pocket-friendly and available in different sizes. It is an easy option and target for small-scale and young growers. For example, building a 14 feet by 20 feet plastic greenhouse can cost up to $2500, which is quite affordable.

2. Easy Installation

Plastic greenhouses require less labor and workforce to install.

They are also very light and therefore do not require a lot of structural support.

3. Heat Retention Capabilities

They can retain heat for long hours, which best suits the winter seasons.

Generally, plastic greenhouses provide good insulation and have better heat retention capabilities that outperform glass greenhouses.

4. Light Regulation

You can regulate the amount of direct light getting into the plastic greenhouse through shade painting or double combination.

5. Moving and Relocating

Unlike glass, plastic can be picked up and moved much more easily.

Plastic panels and sheeting are more shatter-resistant and flexible. 

Disadvantages:

Most plastic greenhouses are susceptible to UV light, thus prone to fading and discoloration.

Only greenhouses of the highest quality can be able to sustain intense UV rays from the sun.

Furthermore, plastic greenhouses are prone to dust on walls, and they pollute the environment when no longer usable. They do not easily decompose.

They cannot serve long-term plans due to their short lifespan. They can only last up to a maximum of 4 years.

Because they are not fireproof, insuring such projects can be very expensive.

How Long Do Plastic Greenhouses Last?

As stated above, on average, plastic greenhouses last up to a maximum of 4 years, and those with no UV stabilizers last less than a year.

Some of the most popular plastic greenhouses brands are listed below:

1. Rion Grand Gardener 2 (~$2,500)

Rion Grand Gardener 2 Clear Greenhouse is the best manufacturer and distributor of polycarbonate plastic greenhouse.

Their products are highly rated by previous users because they are UV resistant, available in sizes of choice, and available in different polycarbonate forms.

Most people who’ve used this prefer the twin wall model, which is 4mm thick compared to the single wall model, which is .07mm thick.

It costs $2,500, which is pretty affordable.

2. Palram Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse (~$650)

HG5508PH Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse is a popular and more affordable choice for most growers, costing $650.

Their greenhouses come in different variety options, common being 4mm thick twin-walled to regulate light. It also has UV protection panels.

They have been in the market for over 40 years, and as such most people are confident with their plastic greenhouses.

Therefore, a plastic greenhouse is your best option to settle on if you are looking forward to starting a pocket-friendly and short or medium agricultural greenhouse project.

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