Keeping succulents in a greenhouse over winter

Keeping succulents in a greenhouse over winterLiving in Ireland and having a succulent collection that is far too large to over winter in my house(well, unless I was to kick out my husband and kids and go full on mad plant lady) a greenhouse is the obvious choice to allow me to grow a large range of succulents in our climate. When the weather is warm it is a fantastic easy way to grow succulents in Ireland but once the weather cools off you need to start thinking about how you are going to keep your plants warm. It isn't just the temperature that I need to keep an eye on here it is also the humidity. Ireland is wet, very wet(well Galway is anyway) and without warmer temperatures this can lead to lots of condensation in your greenhouse which in turn can lead to mould or fungus or even rot setting in on your succulents. So between the coolness and the damp winter can be a bit of a mine field!

First things first the cold, how do you keep your succulents warm when temperature dip to below 0C? Insulating your green house is a good first step. Use bubble wrap as an insulator, make sure it is UV stabilised so it will last for years and has large bubbles for best insulating properties.You can get greenhouse clips for easy installation or what lots of people do is simply cut the bubble wrap to size, wet the glass and stick the bubble wrap to it.

Bubble wrap for insulating greenhouse

I don't use heat in my greenhouse yet, in the average winter in Ireland it doesn't get that cold, there are only a few nights where it will drop below zero so I haven't splashed out just yet. Instead what I do is check the forecast and whenever it is due to drop below zero I cover my plants in horticultural fleece for extra insulation, then take it off during the day so they can get sunlight. My kids laugh at me for 'tucking my plants in at night' but it really does work. This probably won't be the best option for you though if you live in a climate that is very cold. Heating will be the way forward.

So what type of heaters can you use in a greenhouse? The best type are electric, they emit dry heat so reduces condensation although depending on energy prices where you live it could be quite pricey to keep them running over winter and you have to have somewhere to plug them in. Then there are propane gas heaters, this is what I am thinking I am going to go for when I take the plunge. Gas heaters seem relatively cheap to both buy and run, they are easy to set up, Just make sure that for safeties sake you get one that has a flame failure device and a CO2 sensor with auto shut off. You will also need to make sure you have some kind of ventilation. The next option is paraffin heaters but these are smelly, need refilling often and can be quite a messy option so not something I have looked too closely at.

Care of succulents in a greenhouse over winter

Now on to the condensation problem. Ventilation is a must! If you live somewhere like me where the weather isn't actually that cold(average winter temp is 5C ) keeping your greenhouse sealed up isn't necessary, I have the doors open all day, pretty much every day. Irelands breeziness ensures the greenhouse house is aired out and gets rid of any condensation that may have formed over night. Another good option if you a power point in your greenhouse is a dehumidifier, these are a great option and can really reduce the amount of condensation you get keeping your plants mould free and happy all winter long.

I hope you have found this useful. I'd love to hear about your winter set ups in the comments or you can find me on various social media, links are in the sidebar.

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