When choosing a greenhouse you need to consider if it is going to be right for the uses you have in mind. If you mainly want to grow tall plants like Tomatoes and Cucumbers, you need to go for a structure with vertical sides. However, plants that you want to grow not only determine the type of greenhouse structure but indicate how much sun it will need.
Plants are divided into sun-loving and shade-loving. To thrive sun-loving plants need from 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. However, there are plant varieties that prefer to grow in a shade. Some like to grow in a full shade while others prefer a partial shade.
So, if you consider to grow shade-loving plants like Impatiens, Hosta, Astilbe or Ferns, shade gardening might be an option for you. Does it mean that you can have a greenhouse in shade? To answer this question we need to understand what is shade and what types of shade are there.
According to Collins Dictionary shade is an area of darkness created by an object like a tree where the sunlight cannot reach. So, shading is the blocking of sunlight by an object and the shadow that this object creates. Moreover, there are different types of shade.
Types of Garden Shade
Light Shade – plants are exposed to 5 to 10 hours direct sun but they are shield from direct sunlight by a high wall or trees. Trees shade 25% of foliage.
Partial Shade – plants receive from 3 to 6 hours of direct sun daily. In partial shade plants are in shade for at least half the day. Example of partial shade are open woods and small clearings that shade 50% of foliage.
Full Shade – plants get from 2 to 3 hours of direct sun every day. It naturally occurs in forests and woodlands. However, they can still receive diffused light throughout all or part of the day.
Deep Shade – plants are exposed to an hour or less than an hour of direct sun daily. In deep shade sun rarely reaches the ground. The most common examples of deep shade are coniferous forests, beech forests or overgrown shrubberies.
Now that you know what shade is and what types of shade can plants get, you might be wondering if setting up a greenhouse in shade is a good idea.
Can I put a greenhouse in the shade?
Even though you can grow shade-loving fruits and vegetables, you can’t put a greenhouse in the shade. It has to be in full sun because not only the amount of sunlight matters but the heat it produces. It is easier to provide shade rather than extra direct sun.
So, if you are building a free-standing greenhouse, you can position it North to South. Also, you can set it so that the ridge runs from East to West. However, if you can only have a lean-to structure, it can be tricky to choose a location.
If you build it against a south wall it will be a sun trap in summer. Although it can work well in winter, the temperatures will be too hot for most of the plants in summer. That is why the best location for a lean-to greenhouse is a west facing wall.
Can I put a greenhouse in partial shade?
Although plants can be exposed from 3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight in partial shade, don’t put a greenhouse in partial shade. It is vital to maximize direct sunlight for seedlings and young plants in spring and fall. You can easily shade it with shade cloth in summer.
Shade cloth reduces sunlight and cools down the structure as well. If you planning to grow mainly Tomatoes and Cucumbers then East West orientation is the best option. However, a bit of light shade is acceptable. Some shade would actually benefit plants in hot summer months.
Can I put a greenhouse under trees?
Never put a greenhouse under trees! An overhanging tree branch casts shade, drops dirt on the glass or polycarbonate panels. Moreover, a tree branch can break off in high wind and damage your structure. Leaves falling from the trees can block guttering.
Also, insects on the trees can secrete honeydew which makes the greenhouse glazing sticky and dirty. It is very hard to clean. So, when building a greenhouse you should put it at least 30 ft away from trees. Also, put it away from buildings and fences that can shade out winter sun.
What can I grow in a shaded greenhouse?
Some plants cam benefit from growing in light and partial shade. You can grow light shade tolerating fruits and vegetables in a shaded greenhouse as well as annual and perennial plants.
Fruits: Redcurrants, Whitecurrants, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Blackcurrants and Rhubarb. They grow in woodland edges in nature, so they will produce in light or partial shade.
Vegetables: Beetroot, Baby carrots, Chard, Kale, Kohl rabi, Lettuce, Peas, Runner beans and Spinach. Sow seeds in full light and then they can be transplanted into light and partial shade with some direct sun in midsummer.
Annuals: Impatiens, Fuchsia, Coleus, Lobelia, Torenia.
Perennials: Hostas, Ligularia, Aconitum, Heuchera, Asarum canadense, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Spiderwort, Viola, Astilbe, Ferns, Epimedium, Hakonechloa, Hellebore, Lamium, Tiarella, Caladium, Foxglove.
A location for a greenhouse and its orientation play an important role in plant growth. It directly influences how much sunlight plants are going to get in summer and winter months. Although some plants thrive in partial shade, you need to put a greenhouse in full sun.
That is going to ensure that sun also heats the structure. If you need to provide shade for plants, use a shade cloth or other shading options. Keep in mind plants lighting requirements when organizing a greenhouse. So, pair sun-loving plants and dedicate a shaded area for shade-loving plants like Hostas, Impatiens, Violas and Lobelias.
What shade-loving plants are you growing in your greenhouse? Let us know in the comments section down below!
Happy Growing 🙂