Is a Greenhouse Better for Plants Than Direct Sunlight?

When cultivating your dream garden, it’s essential to plant your crops somewhere they will thrive. You have heard about the many benefits of growing in a greenhouse, but you may wonder if a greenhouse is better than planting in direct sunlight?

A Greenhouse is better for plants than direct sunlight because a greenhouse can increase light, humidity, and heat. Greenhouses also do a great job of keeping pests at bay, increasing carbon dioxide supply, and prolonging plants’ lives during colder months. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss why plants do so well in a greenhouse, some of the many benefits, the disadvantages, greenhouse placement, and whether your plants can get too hot. So, if you want to learn more about greenhouse gardening, let’s get started. 

The Reason Plants Do So Well in a Greenhouse

Greenhouses are unique creations, and it’s no secret that many plants thrive when grown inside one. But what exactly is their secret? Why do plants grow so well inside of a greenhouse? 

Here are some of the reasons plants grow so well in a greenhouse:

  • Constant sun: A greenhouse amplifies the sun’s rays and provides plenty of warmth and light for your plants to photosynthesize. 
  • Increased humidity: Due to the enclosed space of a greenhouse, it’s easier for moisture to become trapped and thus increase the space’s humidity; this helps most plants stay moist and happy. 
  • Controlled temperature: A greenhouse’s temperature is far easier to control than the outdoors. With a greenhouse, you can open vents to let out heat and use a heating source such as a propane heater during the winter to keep your plants from freezing.
  • Better soil quality: It’s easier to monitor your soil’s quality, to contain the soil, and for that soil to keep its moisture. Moist nutrient-rich soil grows happier, healthier plants.
  • Fewer pests: Because of the enclosed nature of greenhouses, you will have few bugs and other pests to deter from harming your plants. 

So as you can see, there are quite a few benefits to using a greenhouse to grow your plants. Plus, greenhouses are a fantastic way to keep your plants producing fruits, veggies, and flowers throughout the year. 

How a Greenhouse Works

Now that you know some of the reasons why plants grow so well in greenhouses, it’s time to understand the mechanics of greenhouses. What greenhouses are capable of is impressive, but how exactly do they work?

A greenhouse works by plants taking the light that enters through the greenhouse’s paneling and converting it into heat energy. 

Plants and other organic material will then store some of that heat and release it slowly over time, and the heat will rise to the top of the structure, where it becomes trapped. This trapped air causes the temperature of the entire greenhouse to increase along with its humidity. 

Greenhouses are amazing inventions and can significantly increase your plants’ health and lifespan. They also do a great job of providing your shelter as you garden. All you have to do is water and tend your plants; your greenhouse will do the rest. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of moist earth that greenhouses generally give off? 

Benefits of Growing Plants in a Greenhouse

I briefly went over some of the pros of using a greenhouse to grow your plants, but there are quite a few other benefits you should consider: 

Benefits of growing in a greenhouse:

  • Increased growing seasons: Being able to grow plants all year long is a huge plus, especially if you are doing your best to be more self-sufficient. 
  • Plant diversity: The ability to grow plants that normally wouldn’t thrive in your climate is exciting and practically impossible without using a greenhouse. 
  • Easy gardening: You can garden in any weather, rain, sun, or snow without being exposed to the harsh elements. 
  • Fewer pesticides: You can use fewer pesticides to protect your plants from unwanted pests. This benefit will allow you and your family to limit how many chemicals are on your produce. 

These are just a few of the added benefits you will experience when gardening inside a greenhouse. 

Disadvantages of Growing Plants in a Greenhouse

Greenhouses are pretty awesome, but they also have a list of drawbacks. So before you invest in a greenhouse, there are a few disadvantages you should consider. 

Disadvantages of growing in a greenhouse include the following :

  • Cost: The start-up costs for building or buying a greenhouse can be high. Greenhouses typically range from $7,380-$35,000. However, you can significantly reduce these costs by doing most of the work and collecting cheap or free building materials. 
  • Heating: Heating a greenhouse can be complicated and expensive. However, there are many different options, such as using compost to heat your greenhouse naturally.
  • Maintenance: Greenhouses require regular maintenance, or they will fall into disrepair. Your greenhouse’s upkeep will depend on the size, age, and materials used.

So as you can see, there are a few drawbacks to this kind of gardening, but there are certainly ways you can combat these cons, especially the start-up costs. 

Where Should You Place a Greenhouse?

If you are seriously considering purchasing a greenhouse, you should consider the importance of proper placement for your greenhouse. Unfortunately, not all spaces in your yard will be adequate to ensure that your greenhouse functions to the best of its ability. 

You should place a greenhouse in a location that gets at LEAST 6 hours of sun each day. Typically you should place greenhouses on the south side of your property. However, if you live with harsh heat, you may set your greenhouse somewhere with partial shade throughout the day. 

If you have a shady yard, do your best to position your greenhouse in the spot that will give it the most sun. Of course, many plants will still grow in partial shade, but it’s important to note that they may be smaller, and not all plants will do well without plenty of light. 

More sun is generally better unless you live in a harsh desert climate. If you live somewhere with sweltering temperatures, it’s always a good idea to try to place your greenhouse somewhere that can get a little shade throughout the hot day. 

Can Plants Get Too Hot in a Greenhouse?

A greenhouse’s primary job is to lock in heat and moisture but do they ever do their jobs a little too well? Can you end up with fried plants because of your greenhouse? 

Plants can get too hot in a greenhouse. However, you can combat this by installing proper ventilation in your greenhouse. Typically when it is too hot, it’s a good idea to open the vents that run along the top of a greenhouse to allow some of the heat to escape. 

So, yes, you can end up burning your greenhouse plants. However, there are always steps you can take to prevent this. 

Such as:

  • Moving your greenhouse into partial shade.
  • Putting up shading.
  • Open your greenhouse’s vents to allow the hot air to escape. 
  • Planting plants outside the greenhouse to provide shade as they grow. 

Just like plants can get too cold, they can also get too warm. Plant sensitivity to heat is why most greenhouses come with ventilation panels that you can open easily along the top and side of the structure. Proper ventilation is a huge part of properly managing the heat and humidity in your greenhouse. 


Greenhouses are much better for plants than growing them in direct sunlight. This advantage is due to your greenhouse’s ability to amplify the sun’s rays and increase moisture in the air. These actions result in a warm, humid environment for your plants to grow and thrive. 

So long as you keep up on your plant’s maintenance and your greenhouse gets at least 6 hours of sun, your plants should do fantastic in the enclosed greenhouse space.

Ultimately your greenhouse gives you control over your plant’s conditions rather than be at the mercy of external elements such as scorching direct sunlight.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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