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What is a Pop-Up Greenhouse?

Angie Bates
Angie Bates

A pop-up greenhouse is a type of portable greenhouse used for small home gardens. These greenhouses come in a variety of sizes and are generally lightweight, waterproof, and made of UV-resistant material. The term pop-up greenhouse may to used to mean a specific type of temporary greenhouse or be used interchangeably with the term collapsible greenhouse.

Frequently used in small gardens to place over delicate plants in non-growing seasons or when gardeners want to plant spring seeds early, cold frame greenhouses are sometimes also referred to as pop-up greenhouses. Designed to cover plants directly in the ground, these greenhouses are generally small, so most cannot hold plants taller than several inches, though larger version may be available. A cold frame is one of the most inexpensive options for a non-traditional greenhouse.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Similar to pup tents, the most common pop-up greenhouse is opened and set up with relative ease because of attached springs. This type of greenhouse may also be called a quick-assembly greenhouse. Generally, quick-assembly greenhouses can be set up and taken down in about half an hour. However, they blow over easily if not anchored well and have a short lifespan, usually a few years. Prices for quick assembly greenhouses vary with size and style and may be moderate to expensive.

Pop-up greenhouses serve as basic protection against frost, winds, and extreme cold, but they are not as well ventilated or easy to heat as traditional greenhouses. For this reason, they are not appropriate for especially delicate plants, such as orchids. They are, however, usually easy to store when they are not needed and easy to move if their original location does not provide plants with enough sunlight.

For temporary greenhouses, pop-up greenhouses are fairly spacious. Most models are designed as walk-ins and can be placed on grassy areas or on firmer foundations. These greenhouses need to be anchored well, however, to prevent blowing over. Many manufacturers will sell stakes and rope with the pop-up greenhouse to allow the customer to firmly secure the greenhouse to its location.

Though they normally come with ventilation systems, these systems are not always adequate, so additional ventilation made be needed. When using a pop-up greenhouse in colder temperatures, external heating sources may be needed to keep the interior at a desired temperature. Passive heat sources, such as milk jugs filled with water and warmed in the sun, can usually keep internal temperatures above freezing even when outside temperatures reach 15°F (–9.4°C).

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