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How to Build an Indoor Greenhouse the Easy Way!

The indoor greenhouse obsession all started when I moved into my new apartment, I was previously living in an awesome corner apartment with a ton of south facing windows. I then moved into an apartment, with just one small south facing window and I noticed instantly that my succulents were struggling! This lead me to think creatively about how I could make a place for my succulents and I decided to build my first greenhouse cabinet! This post is about how to build an indoor greenhouse the easy way, I will be sharing all my tips and tricks and lessons learned, enjoy!

Also quick shout out to feedspot for putting my blog on their list of the top 50 succulent blogs! check out the list to see other blogs about succulents! 🙂 https://blog.feedspot.com/succulent_blogs/


Planning

The first step would be some planning. Pictured above are my 2 indoor greenhouses. The one with the glass doors was my first one, and the second is the one on the left with the wooden doors. You should consider some things before deciding if you will have glass or wooden doors.

  1. Where is the cabinet going?
  2. Will I spend time looking at the plants through the glass doors or will I be opening the doors to look at them?
  3. Am I using a high powered light or a cheaper light option?
  4. What plants am I growing? and how tall are they?

These questions are important to determine exactly what you want, the location of your cabinet helps determine the size and weather or not yo want glass doors. For example see the picture below,

It was dark at my home when I took this photo, however these lights are BRIGHT. This cabinet went in my business/workshop area. When I decided to build a second one, I knew it was going in my living room across from my TV so I didn’t want any glares from the bright lights. This is what lead me to decide on wooden doors. Also the wooden doors are cheaper, so if you don’t think you will look at the plants through the glass doors then it might not be worth the extra cost.

The brightness of the lights is also important, if the doors are wooden (and white) they will reflect the light back into the greenhouse where a lot of the light escapes from the glass doors.

Lastly the type of plants you are growing influences the height between the shelves and the strength of the lights. The glass door cabinet has taller shelves where I can grow larger plants, the second cabinet has more shelves that are closer together, this is better for nursery trays, propagation stations, and small succulents.


Cabinet

Now that you have done your planning, the second step is to get the supplies for the cabinet! My first indoor greenhouse was a lot more involved, I used a wooden frame but nailed on the paneling and trim etc. This is building a greenhouse cabinet the ‘not easy way’ , I am still not sure if I will do a blog post on this or not. If you’re interested in building one from scratch comment below! If enough people are interested I will write a post about it!

As promised this post is about building a cabinet the easy way! I bought my cabinet from ikea, it is the PAX wardrobe, however I built the shelves myself (I was too cheap to pay $15 for each one). However there are a ton of wardrobes, or bookshelves with doors on amazon, below I’ve linked to one with wooden doors and one with glass doors.

Amazon is a great place to start looking at a wide variety of products, you can determine what you like the best and the shop around for that specific thing. If you have an Ikea local to you that is also a great option. What I love about the cabinet with glass doors is the drawer/compartment below! it would be perfect for storing extra soil, some gardening tools, etc.

If you decide to go with ikea pax wardrobe there are a couple things you can buy on amazon a little bit cheaper as well. I built my own shelves, I just bought cheap plywood from home depot. Whats great about home depot, is if you have the dimensions for the shelves ready, the will even cut them for you! This is awesome for someone who doesn’t have a table saw just sitting around. The dimensions of your shelves will depend on your cabinet, so please measure 3 times and cut 1. If you build your own shelves you will need some pins to support your shelf, I linked below an awesome variety pack of pins, this way you can test out different styles and choose the best fit for you!

Another way to save money on the Ikea cabinet is to buy hinges on amazon. The door hinges for the PAX wardrobe are sold separately, so i ended up ordering hinges and saved some money. Double check to see what size of hinges you may need and make sure the hinges are not included! Other Ikea cabinets do include hinges so just double check to be safe.


Lights

I have used 2 different lights in my cabinets, the first is the root farm hydro plant light. I HIGHLY recommend these lights, they are truly amazing. My cabinet with the glass doors is decked out with 4 of these bad boys. The are covered in plastic and look totally professional, they come with legs and a hanging apparatus but I bought some brackets on amazon so they would hang tightly to the shelf above them. See the images below to see the brackets at work , also in the picture on the far right you see the hole in the back of the cabinet I drilled to string the cord through. This was cut out easily with a hand drill and a 1 inch hole saw.

I love that they are full spectrum light so they don’t glow dark pink/purple, and i have been able to grow succulents, hydroponics, and more with these lights. They are LED lights so the don’t get overheated, and require little energy so your electric bill wont suffer. Check out the image below and see the variety of plants growing in my greenhouse!

The root farm hydro lights are amazing, however are pricey as well. I knew i would need 6 lights for my second greenhouse and i could justify the cost. I searched amazon and found the ACKE LED grow lights. I really love these lights as well. Still no dark purple glow, they are not covered in plastic and look less professional however, they are much flatter and have holes in the 4 corners that make them incredibly easy to hang up. I just used some screws and screwed them directly into the wooden shelves! I have been extremely happy with these lights

Below there are three images, I originally started with one ACKE LED grow light in the center of each shelf, I noticed my plants on the edges were leaning inwards so I decided to add some white LED light strips. These are fairly straightforward to assemble, I do intend on doing a separate post entirely on how to make your own LED plant lights using these strips so stay tuned. The photo on the far left is without the light strips, the center photo shows the arrangement on the lights and light strips and the picture on the right is after adding the light strips. The cabinet is significantly brighter after adding the strips and my plants have been growing noticeable better. In hindsight it probably would have been better to put 2 ACKE LED plant lights on each shelf from the beginning. If your shelves aren’t so large or deep then you wont have this problem!

Assembly

Assembly should be pretty straightforward after purchasing the cabinets and lights! Follow the instructions on the cabinet you choose, and attach the lights in the best way depending on the light purchased, then relax, garden and enjoy! I added a wifi smart plug to my cabinets so that I could set the lights to turn on and off at certain times, I plugged all the lights into a single power strip and then plugged the power strip into the wifi plug and it works perfectly!

Please comment any questions below and share if you have also built a greenhouse cabinet! I would love it if you could share photos with me! Thanks for reading and good luck! Check out my blog post on propagating succulents and put your indoor greenhouse to good use 🙂

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

22 Comments

  • Buayifa

    Your indoor greenhouse is beautiful. I love the plants in the cans. Just curious, at what point does the can or jar become too small for the plant roots?
    Thanks for sharing all this information on how to build an indoor greenhouse.

    • skyssucculents

      It usually depends on the plant, for the can I found that its great for lettuce and herbs, however tomatoes and larger plants need the Mason jar or even larger containers in some cases! With hydroponics you also have to fill the water more often with the smaller containers so that’s something to keep in mind as well! Thanks for reading!

  • Morgan Tyner

    Omgosh I’m nerding out over this!! I’ve always wanted to have a greenhouse but never thought it was feasible! This has given me a whole new motivation! 🙌🏽 Thank you for sharing this!
    Xx, Morgs*

  • Lyn

    What a fantastic idea, so innovative. Love succulents, not a great Gardiner but succulents are a success for me in the past. Thank you.

  • Jodi

    Hello,

    I love the idea of building your own greenhouse. My plan is to re purpose a curio cabinet and maybe you can answer a couple questions. If I have glass shelves, how many lights would you suggest I place in the cabinet? My cabinet is 6 feet tall and about 18 inches deep and wide. There are glass doors that open on the side. Thank you and I appreciate your advice.

    Jodi

    • skyssucculents

      It likely depends on how much of the shelf is full with plants, although the shelf is glass and clear, the plants will still block the light from the ones below. I would suggest 1 light on each shelf, however I know this can be pricey! You could also alternate high light and low light plants and do every other shelf. Sounds like an amazing cabinet tho! Let me know how it works, good luck! 🙂

      • Briana Licata

        I was wondering if you needed to weather proof this at all as it’s wood! I’m looking to use the Billy bookshelf as an indoor greenhouse and when i posted in a plant group i got bombarded with how i can’t because it’s wood and the humidity but i really love yours!

        • skyssucculents

          I did paint the cabinet with the glass doors with outdoor paint that protects the wood from mold. The other cabinet i painted the shelves that i made with the same paint, however I left the doors and cabinet with the original ikea finishing. My cabinets don’t seem to get too humid, and I haven’t had any issues. I am unsure of how the Billy book case would work, but if the humidity became an issue you could always open the doors to vent. Also i am growing primarily succulents in the cabinet without the outdoor paint, so that could explain why i haven’t had issues.

    • skyssucculents

      Thank you so much! It has honestly been the best decision for my succulents, they are the healthiest they have ever been 🙂

  • Justin

    Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t
    mind me asking what theme you’re using? (and don’t mind if I steal it?
    :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but
    the theme slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

    • skyssucculents

      im using the bard pro theme! thanks for the compliments, it means a lot. Sorry for the late reply, i hope you and your loved ones are in good health!

  • .io games

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  • William Park

    How will high humidity affect the wood? I’d be looking to keep it between 65%-75%. Would the plants themselves keep it high just by being in the enclosure, or could a humidifier/misting be used inside?

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