What Does A Greenhouse Do For Plants

by | Jun 19, 2024 | News

Greenhouses have become, and should we even add, a rather healthy trend in households all over the world over the past few years. What was once more of a method utilized by the farming industry, has now become a hobby or means for an end in gardens and farms alike all over the Earth.

Greenhouses have helped grow plants and fruits that were unthinkable to grow in colder regions. All of a sudden you have tropical fruits being grown in Canada, just to give an example.

As the trend grows, more people are interested in understanding what does a greenhouse do for plants, therefore, we’ve decided to answer a few questions and help you understand.

Greenhouse Explained

A greenhouse is essentially a structure which normally sits in an outdoors space (although some are used even in garages or underground), and it works for growing and cultivating plants inside of it. Normally, a green house is made of a transparent exterior to get sunlight in it, trapping it as thermal energy and thus produce a stable and warm environment to grow plants inside of it.

Thanks to this stable environment, which you can help regulate with other technologies, tools and temperature regulators, you will find yourself growing all sorts of crops or combinations of plants. You could be growing bananas during winter, or just grow the most beautiful plants and flowers you can think of anywhere in the world.

On top of that, greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes. As we mentioned before, they can be almost as big as you want, as long as you have the materials to build one. Typically, greenhouses are made of glass or plastic PVC panels, attached to a steel or even wooden structure. Therefore, you can build a greenhouse that’s hundreds of meters or feet long and wide, or stick to smaller dimensions that can fit a small garden. Yes, greenhouses can be as big or small as you want, you can build your own, or buy one you just assemble.

greenhouse explained

That said, let’s get a bit more into detail on how they exactly work and what they do.

Absolutely, I’d love to help with that! Here’s a friendly yet expertly-worded explanation of how a greenhouse works.

The Greenhouse Effect: Trapping Heat

Just like we mentioned in the introduction, a greenhouse receives light through the transparent walls and roof, and traps the heat inside of it. But how?

When sunlight enters the greenhouse, it warms up the soil, plants, and other surfaces inside. These warm surfaces then release heat in the form of infrared radiation.

However, the transparent walls of the greenhouse, while allowing sunlight in, do not let this infrared radiation escape as easily. This phenomenon, known as the greenhouse effect, which is what also happens inside the Earth’s atmosphere, results in the retention of heat, creating that stable and warm environment we also mentioned before, which allows plants of all types to grow inside of it during any time of the year.

Regulating Temperature

We also mentioned temperature regulation. You’ve learned by now that the infrared heat is trapped inside the green house and it won’t be let out by the panels. Again, but how?

During the day, the trapped heat keeps the interior warm, even if it’s chilly outside. At night, when temperatures drop, the heat stored in the greenhouse helps maintain a cozy environment for the plants. This happens thanks to insulation. First of all, advanced greenhouses are made of insulated panels, some made of two panels with a small space between them that creates the right form of insulation. Other systems have water inside of them, whether that’s in black barrels or even just a pond. The water heats up, stays warm, and then releases that warmth during the night, regulating the temperature.

Some advanced greenhouses even come equipped with heating and cooling systems, fans, and vents to further control the internal climate, ensuring that the plants enjoy optimal conditions year-round.

Humidity Control: The Perfect Moisture Balance

Plants not only need the right temperature but also the right amount of moisture. Greenhouses are great at maintaining the ideal humidity levels. The enclosed environment prevents moisture from escaping, which is especially beneficial in dry climates. You might see the panels looking like a mirror inside a bathroom after a hot shower, they can get cloudy. Additionally, the consistent watering schedule inside a greenhouse helps sustain the perfect balance of humidity, keeping plants hydrated and happy.

Protection From The Elements

Another significant advantage of a greenhouse is the protection it offers from harsh weather conditions, such as rain, wind, or creatures and pests. Greenhouses offer a safe haven for the plants, in much better conditions than the “wild”. This protective barrier allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants that might not otherwise survive in the local climate.

Extending the Growing Season

One of the most exciting benefits of a greenhouse is the extended growing season, which allows farmers, home gardeners or even companies to grow more crops all year round. By creating a controlled and safer environment for the flora, greenhouses enable the growth of plants well beyond their typical outdoor growing period. This means fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter or vibrant flowers blooming out of season, making gardening a year-round delight.

How Does A Greenhouse Help Plants Grow?

Essentially, a greenhouse is a carefully balanced ecosystem where temperature, humidity, and light are meticulously managed to create the perfect growing conditions. This controlled environment helps plant grow, as well as extending the periods of growth throughout the year. It’s essentially giving the plants the perfect conditions to grow, but for longer periods of time, with less “risks” or “harmful” factors such as pests, bugs, or weather conditions. Think of it like a cheat code. On top of that, you can grow them all year rounds, where seasonality isn’t a factor anymore.

greenhouses are great for growing crops

On top of that, photosynthesis, which already takes place naturally inside the greenhouse, can also be created with artificial light. Thus allowing the plants to continue rowing even at night or during hours where there is less daylight. This same process is what happens in greenhouses that are either kept underground or in enclosed spaces.

How Much Faster Do Plants Grow In A Greenhouse?

Faster, but it will depend on a few factors. The plants can grow faster and for longer periods of time inside a greenhouse than outside. However, the speed of growth depends on how well controlled the environment is, as well as what extra things you add to it.

If it has perfect controlled temperature and humidity, as well as you giving the soils the right nutrients, you will see faster growth as the greenhouse itself already protects the plants from any hazards. Plus, if you are adding artificial light, you can even extend the growth through photosynthesis for longer hours. Therefore, faster growth, but it’s not easy to pinpoint how much faster.

How Is Earth’s Atmosphere Similar To A Greenhouse

The Earth’s atmosphere is a greenhouse. You need to see the ozone layer as the literal transparent panels that cover the greenhouse, or surround it. UV rays and sunlight goes through the ozone layer, heats the planet, trapping that heat as energy, and then gases that try to evaporate flow upwards, heating the planet, allowing photosynthesis and staying trapped inside the atmosphere.

plants grow better inside a greenhouse

Therefore, the Earth’s atmosphere allows the heat to go through, then be absorbed by the soil, water, and so on. Later on, the Earth’s surface emits infrared radiation. Gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor, trap some of this radiation, preventing it from escaping back into space.

After that, we have the temperature regulation. The atmosphere regulates temperature fluctuations between day and night, keeping the planet warm even when the sun isn’t shining. This regulates temperature and humidity, creating the perfect conditions to sustain life.

Do Plants Grow Better In A Greenhouse?

Yes, and no. Plants can grow faster and if kept under the right conditions, one might even think they grow better. However, one can also argue they don’t. Why? There is no natural pollination, unless you were to create an enormous ecosystem inside them. However, pollination doesn’t really need to be natural and you can take care of it.

If the question is more related to the speed of growth, or the crop quality, then you will see faster growing plants and crops, of great quality.

However, that also means spending quite a bit of money to maintain the greenhouse structure and temperature regulation. It can be quite expensive, meaning it might not be a hobby or business for everyone. It requires more effort and more dedication than naturally growing plants or crops in a garden or field.


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