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Polytunnel or greenhouse? Which should I choose?

Polytunnel or greenhouse? Which should I choose?

30th Nov 2019

Are you struggling to decide between a polytunnel or greenhouse? Or a little confused about the difference between the two? Or maybe you’re just not sure which is the best solution for the plants and crops you want to grow? There are some basic differences between the two structures. Polytunnels are great value for money, easy to put up and are very flexible. Greenhouses on the other hand look nice, have toughened glass but require a lot of site preparation.

Polytunnel or greenhouse - the pros and cons

Polytunnels and greenhouses have one fundamental thing in common. They both help create the best possible growing conditions for your plants. On that score they can’t really be separated. But as we’ve already mentioned there are differences between them in other respects.

The biggest is cost. Polytunnels are so much better value than greenhouses. And the bigger the planting area the more money you’ll save by opting for a polytunnel. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

The exception here is if you only have a small space. An 8x6’ greenhouse for example will look great in a small garden. A polytunnel in such a space wouldn’t be practical. But if you have a bigger area a polytunnel will be more cost effective than a greenhouse.

Polytunnels are more versatile in that they can be customised quite easily and provide more space. Greenhouses on the other hand can’t really be modified once they’ve been put into position.

Where greenhouses do score over polytunnels is they are more weather resistant and easier to repair. A broken pane of glass can be easily replaced but repairs to a polytunnel are tricky. They can be done though a full replacement cover would probably be needed. However, modern polytunnels are manufactured to withstand storms so the advantage greenhouses hold in this area is shrinking. Which brings us nicely onto the question of durability.

Both structures can last for many years. Although you may think greenhouses would naturally last longer it isn’t the case. Polytunnel frames will last for decades. Yes, you’ll have to replace the cover every five to ten years but you’ll also have to replace greenhouse glass too. When it comes to durability, there's nothing to choose between the two structures.

However, there is a big difference in how easy it is to put them in place. When it comes to deciding between polytunnel or greenhouse this (as well as cost) could be the deciding factor for you.

Greenhouses need a completely flat base. And that isn’t always straightforward to achieve. Levelling ground can take a long time and actually putting a greenhouse together isn’t a walk in the park either. By comparison polytunnels are easier to erect. They don’t need a level base and two people can put a polytunnel up in a reasonable amount of time. This is partly why polytunnels are more practical than greenhouses.

Once in situ a greenhouse can’t really be moved. But, if necessary, a polytunnel can be dismantled and moved to a different area. Although whenever you do build a polytunnel the most important thing is to make sure it’s fully secured.

Which is best for growing plants and crops - polytunnel or greenhouse?

Both structures are great for growing all kinds of crops. It’s what they’re built to do and really there’s no difference between the two as both provide the ventilation and growing conditions needed for all kinds of plants and crops to thrive.

Which structure is best for me?

It very much depends on circumstances. If you only have a small space a greenhouse may be best for you. If only for aesthetic reasons. But if you have a larger planting area in your garden, are a commercial grower or small holder a polytunnel provides much more growing space for a smaller financial outlay.

If budgets are a consideration you should opt for a polytunnel. They’re far more cost effective. But at the end of the day you pay your money and you make your choice.

Of course, we have our own opinions. But there’s a reason why we sell polytunnels rather than greenhouses…

The polytunnels we sell here at Direct Plants are the ones we use in our own nursery. In fact, we make them right here in our Norfolk workshops. We know how good they are and if you buy a polytunnel from us you’ll be receiving the exact same kits used by ourselves and all the professional growers we supply.

Great value domestic or commercial polytunnel kits

We have a range of domestic and commercial polytunnels available in all sizes from 10x12’ to 18x90’. Whatever you plan to plant we have the polytunnel for you.

If you need any information or advice on which polytunnel to choose or whether you should go for a polytunnel or greenhouse don't hesitate to call us on 01485 601143 and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have.

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