What not to grow in a greenhouse

on November 14, 2023

Greenhouses offer an excellent opportunity to extend the growing season, cultivate exotic plants, and create an optimal environment for a variety of crops. However, not all plants thrive within the confines of a greenhouse. Understanding what not to grow is just as crucial as knowing what to plant. In this guide, we delve into the types of plants that may not be the best fit for a controlled environment.

1. Giant Trees and Shrubs:

Greenhouses have limited vertical space, and cultivating giant trees or expansive shrubs can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare. These plants not only outgrow their designated spaces but also require extensive pruning to prevent them from overshadowing other crops. The confined space can hinder their natural growth patterns, leading to an unsightly and unmanageable jungle.

2. Invasive Species:

Introducing invasive plant species to a greenhouse can result in ecological disasters. These plants have a knack for spreading rapidly and outcompeting native species. Containing their growth within the confines of a greenhouse can be challenging, and if they escape, they may wreak havoc on the surrounding environment. It's crucial to research and choose non-invasive alternatives to preserve the delicate balance of local ecosystems.

3. Aggressive Vines:

While some vines can be stunning additions to a greenhouse, certain varieties are overly aggressive and can quickly take over the space. Plants like kudzu or bindweed may seem manageable at first, but their rapid growth and invasive nature can turn your greenhouse into a tangled mess. Opt for less aggressive climbing plants or provide proper support and pruning to keep them in check.

4. Water-Hungry Crops in Excess:

Greenhouses allow for precise control over environmental factors, but water management is still a critical consideration. Plants that demand excessive watering can strain your resources and lead to issues like mold and root rot. While certain crops thrive in consistently moist conditions, it's essential to strike a balance and avoid overloading your greenhouse with water-dependent plants.

5. Plants with Extreme Temperature Requirements:

While greenhouses provide a controlled climate, extreme temperature requirements can still pose challenges. Some plants, especially those with specific chilling or heat requirements, may struggle to adapt to the consistent but not always optimal conditions within a greenhouse. Researching the temperature preferences of your chosen crops is crucial to ensure they flourish rather than wither.

6. Highly Sensitive Varieties:

Certain plants are highly sensitive to changes in light, humidity, or air circulation. In a greenhouse, maintaining ideal conditions can be tricky, and growing overly sensitive varieties may lead to disappointing results. If a plant requires highly specific conditions that are difficult to replicate, it's worth reconsidering whether the controlled environment of a greenhouse is the right fit.

7. Crops with Pests and Diseases:

Introducing plants prone to pests and diseases can turn your greenhouse into a breeding ground for unwanted guests. While a controlled environment can limit some infestations, it's advisable to avoid crops known for attracting pests or susceptible to common diseases. Prevention is key, and selecting disease-resistant varieties can help maintain a healthy and thriving greenhouse ecosystem.

8. Plants with Excessive Maintenance Needs:

While greenhouses offer an environment conducive to plant growth, some plants require meticulous care that may be impractical for the average gardener. High-maintenance plants, whether due to complex nutritional needs or delicate pruning requirements, can become overwhelming in a greenhouse setting. Choose plants that align with your available time and expertise to ensure a successful and enjoyable gardening experience.


While the allure of a greenhouse is undeniable, selecting the right plants is crucial for a successful and sustainable gardening venture. Avoiding giant trees, invasive species, aggressive vines, water-hungry crops, plants with extreme temperature requirements, highly sensitive varieties, crops prone to pests and diseases, and those with excessive maintenance needs will set you on the path to a thriving and manageable greenhouse garden. Remember, thoughtful planning and research are the keys to turning your greenhouse into a flourishing oasis of greenery.