The 10 Best Plants to Grow in a Greenhouse

These plants and flowers thrive in the controlled environment of a greenhouse garden

Lennie Larkin
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With even the tiniest greenhouse filled with potted citrus, you can turn your backyard into a Southern California oasis. Not only will citrus thrive in the sheltered environment, but also the scent of the blooms exploding out of the greenhouse doors in the morning never fails to impress.

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The beauty of a greenhouse is that it turns a mild climate into a tropical one. If you’ve never tasted fresh ginger, you’re in for a thrill, and you can grow it right at home in a greenhouse bed. In just a few years after planting you’ll have yourself a bounty.

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Lemon Verbena

While lemon verbena can thrive outdoors in many climates, we suggest growing it in a greenhouse for year-round production. If grown outside, it prefers a heavy pruning in winter. Indoors, simply snip off small branches and leaves as you need them.

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Scented Geranium

For the flower lovers among us, there’s nothing better than walking into a greenhouse full of scented geranium. We love ‘Ginger’, ‘Lemon’, and ‘Lady Plymouth’ varieties for super-fragrant foliage that you can trim off and add to flower bouquets or in a DIY body scrub.

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The trick to getting insanely big and beautiful ranunculus blooms is to grow them indoors. For example, Sonoma’s B-Side Farm grows their ranunculus in DIY low caterpillar greenhouses to protect them from the elements, producing Pinterest-worthy flowers that are twice as big and tall as the same flowers grown out in the field.

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Hot Peppers

We know that the key to hot peppers is environmental heat (think Arizona and New Mexico chiles!). With a greenhouse, even chillier climates can produce the perfect jalapeño to keep you sweating all summer long.

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Greenhouse-grown tulips can be brought to flower weeks earlier than the same tulips growing outside in the ground. For the longest possible season, do both! Pro tip: To get extra-long tulip stems, plant them a little deeper than recommended, and when harvesting, pull, don’t cut.

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Lots of backyard gardeners give up on eggplant after watching their plants grow all season long, only to produce one or two measly, undersized fruit. A greenhouse can add just the right amount of heat to production, speeding up growth to get full-sized eggplant for the grill.

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What could be more classic than a greenhouse full of bright orchids? Favoring strong light and high humidity, orchids are a great candidate for a standalone greenhouse where the gardener can fully control the conditions inside. Remember to always allow for proper airflow.

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Depending on where you live, you may find better conditions for your potted cactus collection inside your greenhouse, as long as you’re able to keep the humidity down. We think it’s worth devoting a whole structure just to cacti and succulents. A step inside is guaranteed to brighten the grayest day.