Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Welcome to our big balcony greenhouse test 2021. Here we present all the balcony greenhouses we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best balcony greenhouse for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a balcony greenhouse.




Summary

  • To keep your plants in your balcony greenhouse in good condition over the winter, it makes sense to install heaters. There are six different types of heaters.
  • Depending on the price range, type of material and the possibility of using the greenhouse on your balcony all year round, there are the following types: Mini balcony greenhouse, free-standing balcony greenhouse, foil greenhouse for the balcony and lean-to greenhouse for the balcony.
  • When buying a greenhouse, you should pay attention to the ventilation. Regular ventilation of your greenhouse prevents fungal infestation of your plants, for example.

The Best Balcony Greenhouse: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a balcony greenhouse

What options are available for heating the balcony greenhouse?

In order to ensure optimal heating of your balcony greenhouse, you should definitely clarify beforehand which of the following heaters is suitable for your location.

Optimal heating of the greenhouse is crucial for a high-yield harvest. If the house is not heated, the plants can freeze, especially during the winter months. (Image source: unsplash.com / Huib Scholten)

You can choose between the following types of heating for your balcony greenhouse:

  • Solar heating
  • Gas heating
  • Electric heating
  • Electric heating
  • Heating mat
  • Petroleum heater

Starting with the greenhouse heating with solar cells, which are located on the roof of the greenhouse, you can produce environmentally friendly and free energy. The cells absorb the sun's rays and convert them into heat or energy. You can use this heat optimally inside the greenhouse.

Gas heating is a very economical and efficient method of heating your greenhouse. This type of heating is often preferred to electric greenhouse heating, as the gas heating is operated via one or more propane gas cylinders and there is no need for a power socket.

All the way to heating the house with electric current. Here, the electricity is converted into heat via heating coils and then distributed throughout the greenhouse by fans. However, electric heating only works in the presence of a socket.

There are also the options of heating the greenhouse with an electrotherm heater, a heating mat or a paraffin heater. The electrotherm heater is a circulating air heater that provides efficient ventilation through the air flow circuits that form.

With a heating mat, the heating is done by burying this mat inside the greenhouse in the ground. This creates a constant and optimal air and heat ratio. Petroleum heaters are more suitable for heating smaller grow houses, as they have a much lower output than all the other heaters mentioned.

Is a warm house, cold house or heated balcony greenhouse suitable?

Warm houses, cold houses and heated balcony greenhouses have one basic difference: Their temperature.

Type Temperature
Cold house 5 - 12°C
Heated balcony greenhouse 12 - 18°C
Warm house 18 - 25°C

Depending on the type of plant and its requirements, one of the above greenhouse types can be recommended.

You should consider the warm house in case of cultivating tropical plants that come from warm, tropical regions and are therefore used to temperatures of up to 25°C. The inside of the greenhouse is tropical. Due to the tropical climate inside, it is advisable to air the house once a day.

The cold frame is particularly suitable for peppers, courgettes, chillies, tomatoes and others.

A cold house is especially useful in spring. Temperatures of up to 12°C mean that there is no need for additional heating. This greenhouse protects the plants inside particularly well from frost and bad weather.

Heated greenhouses for the balcony are mainly used in the winter months. This greenhouse is particularly suitable for growing certain plants in winter, which are then transplanted into the garden. Rapid growth of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce is thus ensured.

What conditions must be met for a rich harvest in the balcony greenhouse?

In order to achieve optimal yields from plants grown in the balcony greenhouse, sufficient sun, good ventilation, the optimal plant containers and the right soil must be selected.

Plants that grow on balconies with a south-east or south-west orientation receive sufficient sun. Depending on the season, there are different intensities of sunlight.

You should therefore make sure that your plants get the optimum light/shade ratio. Hours and days of continuous sunlight are too much of a good thing for your plants.

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It is also important that your plants do not remain in stifling air for long periods of time. This increases the risk of disease. It is recommended to ventilate the greenhouse often and sufficiently.

Furthermore, your plant containers should have an optimal size of at least 10 litres, so that the plant still has enough space in the later growth stage. It is best to use a mortar bucket with drainage.

For growing vegetables, you should not use potting soil, but special plant soil. We can recommend a coconut substrate at this point. The coconut substrate allows the water to be stored much better and the soil stays moist much longer.

In addition, the loose structure of the soil ensures better aeration of the roots and consequently better growth of the plant.

What does a balcony greenhouse cost?

The costs vary depending on the type and material of the balcony greenhouse. The following table shows you how much the purchase of such a greenhouse costs on average:

Type price range
Mini balcony greenhouse approx. 100 - 290 €
Foil greenhouse for the balcony approx. 25 - 2,000 €
Lean-to greenhouse for the balcony approx. 165 - 29,000 €

Depending on the size of the balcony greenhouse, the prices also vary greatly.

This is particularly evident in the case of the film greenhouse.

However, the film greenhouse is the cheapest available option.

What alternatives are there to a balcony greenhouse?

If you decide not to buy a balcony greenhouse and are looking for alternatives, we can help you here. For example, you could use a flower staircase or a flower stand.

Type Description
Windowsill You can place your plants on a windowsill as an alternative to a balcony greenhouse. This will encourage plant growth through the sunlight hitting the window. However, there is no stability or other protection.
Garden Planting the plants in the garden is another option. The disadvantage of this is that the plants are not protected from bad weather or louse infestation, nor from the cold.

So it doesn't necessarily have to be a balcony to guarantee a variety of plants around you.

Decision: What types of balcony greenhouses are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a balcony greenhouse, there are four alternatives to choose from:

  • Mini Balcony Greenhouse
  • Freestanding balcony greenhouse
  • Lean-to greenhouse for the balcony
  • Foil greenhouse for the balcony

These four types differ not only in their price range, but also in their stability and the possibility of year-round use.

Depending on whether you only use your greenhouse seasonally or want to benefit from it all year round, you should choose a type that suits you.

What are the features of a mini balcony greenhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With a mini balcony greenhouse you can grow your own lettuce or herbs even on smaller balconies. Greenhouses of this type are particularly useful for people who live in a high-rise housing estate with a smaller balcony.

You won't be able to grow many plants at once, but it is a useful alternative if you don't have a lot of space. Furthermore, the mini-greenhouse can also be used for growing plants outdoors.

There are also automatic mini balcony greenhouses that are equipped with LEDs and built-in automatic watering pumps. The advantage of this is that your unit takes care of the watering itself, which means less work for you.

Advantages
  • Space-saving
  • Usually inexpensive
  • Compact
Disadvantages
  • No large quantities of plants can be planted
  • Greenhouse often does not have solid walls

What are the features of a free-standing balcony greenhouse and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The freestanding greenhouse is particularly suitable for you if you want to place them in a fixed location that you no longer want to change.

The advantage of this balcony greenhouse is that you can benefit from it all year round, as it does not need to be dismantled over the winter and is also very robust. Furthermore, your greenhouse is particularly durable.

In contrast to other types of balcony greenhouses, this one is rather expensive. But this pays off over the years. Other greenhouses that are not as sturdy have to be repaired or generally replaced, which also incurs costs.

A foundation is also essential. This gives your free-standing balcony greenhouse stability.

Advantages
  • Can be used all year round
  • Robust and stable
  • Particularly durable
  • Climate can be well controlled
Disadvantages
  • Later conversion not possible (location-dependent)
  • Foundation required
  • Expensive

What are the features of a lean-to greenhouse for the balcony and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A lean-to greenhouse is placed with its flat back against a wall, for example. This saves a lot of space on your balcony. However, this greenhouse is also rather larger and is only suitable if you have enough space on your balcony.

One of the advantages is that the wall against which you place your greenhouse for the balcony stores the heat coming from the sun throughout the day. This is then passed on to the grow house. This means that your plants can grow and thrive even later in the day.

Lean-to greenhouses are much more solid and durable than foil greenhouses.

Advantages
  • Year-round use possible
  • Lower energy costs due to heat storage when placed against a house wall
  • Solid and durable
  • Usually cheaper than free-standing greenhouses
  • Use as a winter garden replacement
Disadvantages
  • Large balcony required
  • Less light

What are the characteristics of a film greenhouse for the balcony and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The foil greenhouse is the most convenient method for you when choosing a greenhouse for your balcony. A pole frame is simply covered with a film.

Foil greenhouses are especially suitable for you if you are a beginner in the field of plant cultivation.

It is important to pay attention to the material of your film. Thermal films are recommended, as they store and absorb the energy of the sun's rays better and then conduct it into the interior of the greenhouse.

Foil greenhouses for the balcony cannot be used all year round and must therefore be dismantled at the end of the season. On the plus side, this assembly and disassembly is particularly quick and easy. The space-saving storage after dismantling also makes this type very popular.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Particularly easy to set up and dismantle
  • Space-saving stowage
  • Ideal for beginners
  • No foundation required
Disadvantages
  • Cannot be used all year round
  • Not particularly attractive
  • Foils need to be replaced from time to time

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate balcony greenhouses

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many existing balcony greenhouses.

The criteria you can use to compare the balcony greenhouses with each other include:

  • Size
  • Number of tiers
  • Material
  • Heating
  • Ventilation options
  • Scope of delivery

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Size

The size of your greenhouse is a decisive purchase criterion. It is important to choose individually, depending on how much space you have available, how high the price of the greenhouse may be and how many plants should be accommodated in the greenhouse.

A mini balcony greenhouse, for example, costs less than a greenhouse with a foundation. However, if you want to grow a large amount of vegetables in it and also have the space to do so, you should definitely go for a slightly larger production piece.

The mini balcony greenhouse is particularly suitable for people who do not have a large balcony. You can grow herbs and other plants in a small but elegant way. The space-saving variant has become very popular. (Image source: unsplash.com / Thomas Verbruggen)

Number of storeys

Two criteria are important: the maximum available width and height of the space.

If you have a slightly smaller but higher balcony, you should go for a model that has four to five tiers. On the other hand, if your balcony is wide anyway and you have a lot of space for your greenhouse, you can choose a house for your plants that is a little lower but wider.

Keep in mind that greenhouses with several floors are more space-saving, but they are disadvantageous for smaller people. You will always need a small ladder or other means of access to reach the upper levels.

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Material

Basically, both the covers and the basic frames of the greenhouses are made of different materials. Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages.

In addition to the classic glass greenhouse, there are also covers made of plastic, wood or foil. On the other hand, the base frame is either made of metal, wood, aluminium or plastic.

In summary, you can differentiate between the following types of material:

  • Glass
  • Foil
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Aluminium

A glass greenhouse is made of high-quality and scratch-resistant material. However, it is expensive to purchase and is by no means shatterproof.

Although the film greenhouse is very practical for transport and handling - and can be purchased at comparatively low prices - it is not very stable. Compared to a glass greenhouse, a greenhouse made of film does not look particularly beautiful or of high quality.

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If you decide to buy a wooden greenhouse for your balcony, you should primarily make sure that it is made of impregnated wood. Your wood is exposed to heat, cold, dryness and moisture around the clock and therefore needs protection to prevent it from becoming unstable or rotting. The material of this type is also not particularly easy to care for.

You do not pay a very high price for the plastic greenhouse. This is also shatterproof, but less translucent than a glass greenhouse.

The last type of material - the aluminium greenhouse - is long-lasting and also resistant. The disadvantage is that it requires a lot of energy.

Heating

When it comes to heating, you distinguish between cold houses, warm houses and heated greenhouses. All three have different temperatures inside and are therefore suitable for different plants and seasons.

The coolest temperatures of up to 12°C can be found in the cold house. In contrast, you will find temperatures of up to 25°C in the warm house.

You can read the exact description of these houses and the exact temperature ranges in the guide.

We have already explained the various heating options in detail in the guidebook. We distinguish between solar heating, gas heating, electric heating, electrothermal heating, a heating mat and paraffin heating.

Ventilation options

A decisive purchase criterion is the possibility of ventilating your balcony greenhouse. Due to massive solar radiation, a lot of heat accumulates in your greenhouse on hot summer days.

This stagnant air can cause fungi and pests to attack your plants. To avoid diseases of your plants, you need to ventilate your greenhouse regularly and well.

For small greenhouses, it is sufficient to ventilate by opening the door for a longer period of time. Foil greenhouses can be optimally freed from heat accumulation by pulling off the foil. However, if you are planning to buy a larger greenhouse, you should make sure that there are windows or ventilation slits. In addition, if the window is too high up, an automatic window opener can be installed.

Scope of delivery

Before you complete your purchase, you should check, especially when buying online, whether all the parts you need to build your house are included in the order, or whether you have to get certain screws yourself, for example.

Foils, foundations, window openers, heating mats or other equipment often have to be purchased externally. It is best to take care of this before you buy, because then you can start using your balcony greenhouse directly on the day of delivery and do not have to worry about the missing parts afterwards.

Facts worth knowing about balcony greenhouses

How do I overwinter my balcony greenhouse?

Frost-proofing is particularly important for plants that come from warmer regions. In order to bring them over the cold season unscathed, it is particularly suitable to cover the entire greenhouse with plastic sheets.

Strictly speaking, you use twin-wall sheets. Your greenhouse can thus be perfectly insulated for the winter months. These are made of polycarbonate, are impact-resistant and UV-resistant. Furthermore, you can purchase them in different thicknesses.

Polycarbonate sheets have a frost resistance of up to -25°C.

Instructions:

  1. Cut the twin-wall sheets to the optimum size for your greenhouse
  2. Then mount them on a wooden frame with hinges

When temperatures are a little milder, you can also use your greenhouse insulation open as ventilation.

What are the dangers of a balcony greenhouse?

In order to get high-yield crops and good yields, there are a few things you need to keep in mind about your balcony greenhouse.

In summary, these are the most important points:

  • The wrong location
  • Cold nights and frost
  • Greenhouse pests

The choice of location is particularly important for plant growth because of the sunlight required. Your greenhouse must never be in the shade.

Greenhouses must be located in the sun. Plants need the warmth of UV light to grow optimally. (Image source: unsplash.com / Artur Aleksian)

Cold nights and frost can damage your plants. You can prevent this damage by installing a greenhouse heater. You can read about the different types of heaters and how they work in the advice section.

It is also not uncommon for growing plants to be infested with lice or slugs. These eat the fruits of the plant. It is not always necessary to use herbicides and other chemicals to suppress the infestation.

How do I build a balcony greenhouse myself?

If you are good with your hands, there is nothing to stop you from building your own greenhouse. This is of course the cheapest option. The materials for this are all available in a DIY store.

You will need the following materials for your self-built balcony greenhouse:

  • Greenhouse film (3 m2)
  • Wooden roof battens (thin battens)
  • Wood glue
  • Some nails and screws
  • Cordless drill
  • Staples
  • Aluminium lath

Instructions:

  1. Cut your battens to the right size
  2. Now glue all the prefabricated parts together and attach some nails to strengthen them
  3. Then cut your foil to size
  4. Fix the foil to the battens with staples
  5. Finally, attach an aluminium strip to the front so that you can close your greenhouse

When gluing your wooden strips together, make sure that your strips are at right angles to each other.

We have selected the following video to show you exactly how to build your own greenhouse:

Image source: pexels.com / Kaboompics

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