heating a greenhouse in winter without using electricity.

The cost of heating a greenhouse in winter can sometimes be greater than the savings and advantages of using one.


On this page some cheap ways to heat-up a greenhouse without using electricity; 

  • Decomposing hay or straw bales, dust bin or old oil drum filled with water, even a rabbit hutch complete with rabbit will warm a greenhouse up. 
  • Greenhouses are poorly insulated. Making a few simple improvements to insulation explained on this page will reduce the cost of heating a greenhouse in winter. 
  • Materials you can use to insulate your greenhouse include, Straw, Cardboard and Bubble wrap.
Read how to keep a greenhouse warm in winter
how to keep a greenhouse warm in winter

Cheap ways to heat a greenhouse without using electricity.

  • Mini plastic greenhouse. If you can't be bothered to bubble wrap your greenhouse. However, still want to grow plants in winter, try placing a cheap mini plastic greenhouses inside the glass greenhouse.

  • Placing a Rabbit hutch in your greenhouse will help heat it up. A cheap way to heat your greenhouse, if you have a pet rabbit, is to place the hutch complete with rabbit, inside the greenhouse. The heat it radiates will take the chill of the air. The rabbit might like it too.
  • Composting Hay or Straw bales will heat up a greenhouse in winter. If you have enough floor space, try composting a bale, a composting bale gives off heat. You can also plant and grow stuff in the bale, so space may not be a problem for you. More information on this page hay bale garden. 
  • Dust bin or an old oil drum filled with water saves greenhouse heating costs. Place a dust bin or old oil drum, inside your greenhouse and fill it with water. Water has a high specific heat (amount of energy needed to raise the temperature by one degree) and will absorb excess heat keeping the temperature down in the summer. The high specific heat of water will also allow it to hold on to the heat in winter and keep your greenhouse a few degrees warmer in the winter. Haven't tried this, but it sounds as if it should work.
  • Paraffin heaters are simple to use and providing the greenhouse is less than 8ft long and well insulated, not too expensive to run.
  • Bubble wrap.  Insulating a small greenhouse with bubble wrap is cheap and easy and it will only take about an hour to wrap-up a small greenhouse.
  • Screening off part of the greenhouse with polythene and battens will limit the area to be heated.
  • Just a few plants. If you are not planting and growing through the winter. Just heating the whole greenhouse for a few less hardy plants. You might want to think about moving them into your house for the winter months.
  • Paraffin heater, Straw, Cardboard, Bubble wrap, Decomposing Hay or Straw bales, Dust bin or old oil drum filled with water, even a Rabbit hutch complete with rabbit will warm it up. Read how to use them here.

Ways to Insulate a greenhouse to keep the heat in

The main loss of heat from greenhouses is from draughts and through the structure so these five simple maintenance and insulation tips will help keep your greenhouse warm.

  1. Keeping your greenhouse glass or plastic clean, especially the overlaps and siting your greenhouse in a bright spot that gets sun all day allows more sunlight in.
  2. lean-to greenhouses benefit from the heat lost through the walls of your house so make the most of free greenhouse heating.
  3. Greenhouses built on a brick or wood base hold on to heat better and all glass greenhouses can be insulated by leaning cardboard or straw bales against the bottom panes.
  4. Sealing gaps around loose panes and doors will help stop heat escaping. Check and Renew (if necessary) leaky worn seals on doors and ventilators. 
  5. insulating your greenhouse with bubble wrap will reduce the loss of heat through the glass and frame. It's easy and cheap to insulating a small greenhouse with bubble wrap and only takes about an hour. This bubble wrap kit includes the plastic clips to hold the wrap in place, or try using clothes pegs, remember to fasten the bubble wrap around windows, doors and vents in a way that they can still be opened.

Greenhouse Paraffin heater for winter.


Paraffin heaters are the simplest way to heat a greenhouse up to about a maximum length of 8ft in winter.

If heating demand is not too high through winter and outside temperature does not fall below -6C and the required greenhouse temperature is not more than +5C, this paraffin heater will keep your greenhouse free of frost.

If you use a greenhouse heater you can help keep greenhouse heating costs down. And still grow plants through late Autumn and winter months by adding a layer of bubble wrap to insulate your greenhouse. See the amazon advert.


I found this Idea for a small greenhouse heater using a nightlight, a saucer and a terra-cotta pot on a forum. Usually a night light lasts eight hours so I’m going to experiment with these in saucers beneath a metal bucket and on a saucer in an old watering can.