This post contains affiliate links for Amazon products. I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. This is at no cost to you, and it helps me cover the costs of documenting my projects and maintaining this website.
Because a greenhouse offers a unique and protected growing environment, it can be a great place to grow fruit. Inside, the plants are better protected against early spring frosts that can damage fruit, trees, and bushes. They are protected from strong winds and heavy rains, and are more protected (although not completely) against animals that scamper up to take juicy bites.
Here are six easy, fun fruits to grow in a greenhouse.
These just have to be first on the list! They’re easy to grow whether in a greenhouse or not, and a greenhouse has some advantages. They are often grown vertically, in towers, which is perfect for a greenhouse. Since a greenhouse is protected from wind, you can use inexpensive and lightweight racks without threat of them being blown over. And growing strawberries vertically really maximizes your available growing space. Another good option is to grow them in hanging baskets inside the greenhouse. They’ll be easy to reach and easy to monitor.
2. Alpine Strawberries
Yes, I know this is still a strawberry, but I think it deserves its own spot on the list. I have three plants and the berries are truly delightful. They’re white and much smaller than other strawberries. They taste like a cross between a pineapple and a strawberry and are super flavorful. Many animals don’t notice them since they’re white and not a bright, delicious red. Mine are in a raised bed in the garden, and while all the other critters ignored them, the deer found them that one afternoon last summer when my yard became their buffet. This year I’m moving them to the greenhouse and I plan to add more because I love them.
What to watch for: Strawberry plants don’t do well in high heat. As the temperature rises in mid-summer, be sure the strawberries have adequate shade.
As with many fruits, selecting the right variety of blueberries for your climate will be important for their success. Many varieties can get 6-10 feet tall and wide. Unless you have a large greenhouse, this isn’t ideal. I’ve been growing two dwarf, container-friendly varieties in pots: Sunshine Dwarf Blueberry and Top Hat Blueberry. They are gorgeous, easy to take care of, and produce a good amount of fruit. While they aren’t in my greenhouse, I think they would do well in there if I gave them some room.
4. Fig Trees
I’ve discovered my love for fig trees over the past few years - the branches and leaves are beautiful and unique, and the fruit is tasty. They’re particularly rewarding to grow because fresh figs aren’t readily available in stores. This is becuase you can’t pick them until they’re ripe, and once picked they only last a few days. My trees are in pots in my driveway where they’ll get enough sun.
Figs trees are fairly easy to take care of and do well in a greenhouse. They need full sun during the growing season, and they go dormant during winter in cold climates. While dormant, they don’t need much heat or light, but they do need a little water every few weeks.
When selecting a fig tree, it’s important to find out how winter-hardy they are. Most varieties are hardy in zones 8-10, and some are hardy in zones 6-7 if you provide some extra protection. Here in zone 6b, I’ve been sticking with the Chicago Hardy Fig and I set the pots in a corner where the garage wall and the driveway fence meet.
5. Lemons, Limes, and Other Citrus Trees
Many of us think of beautiful lemon and lime trees when we think of greenhouses, and for good reason. They are the perfect size and do well in pots. They require sun and heat year-round, so if you live in a colder climate, you’ll need to heat your greenhouse or bring the plants indoors in the winter (near a bright window). In warmer climates, you’ll want to take extra care if you have a freezing night or two and bring them indoors.
Yes, you read that right! I know it’s not the first fruit that comes to your mind for a greenhouse. But here’s why they’re a good choice: they love heat and humidity, and can be trained to grow vertically. It makes sense, doesn’t it? I’ll be growing some small, personal size melons this next summer in my greenhouse and I can’t wait. I’ll need to plant them in the front part of the greenhouse, where they’ll get enough sun, and I’ll add a trellis for them to vine “up”. I do get bees regularly in my greenhouse, but I may manually pollinate them with a small brush just to be sure the flowers get pollinated.
Many melons are cold and frost-sensitive and a greenhouse offers the advantage of a more protected environment for the seedlings in early spring, and for the still-ripening fruit in the fall.
While you could place the plants in pots, another nice option is to place the plants in hanging grow bags. I have a feeling I’m going to get very creative with figuring out where to guide the vines around the top and sides of my greenhouse.
What else you should know
There are, of course, many more fruits that are suitable for greenhouse growing. I’ve just written about six that I found particularly easy and fun. If you’re looking for more, consider peaches, pears, bananas, mangos, pomegranates, and grapes. Trees are best in pots so you can move them as needed. In your research, I highly recommend reading Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees.
Before you go, here’s what to remember and watch for when growing fruit in a greenhouse:
With all fruit-bearing plants, it’s important to remember that they need consistent watering to stay healthy. They’ll need extra attention when in a greenhouse, since they won’t have the benefit of rainfall. Even in winter, many plants will need a small amount of water every few weeks, just as if they were outside catching rain or snow.
A fan is a necessity. Greenhouse air gets hot and stagnant which can lead to mildew, rot, gnats, and other pests. Keep the air moving and ventilated during the hot weeks of summer to help prevent these issues.
As for animals looking for a snack, you may still need netting if you have squirrels, chipmunks, and other such creatures that wander into the greenhouse (I do). The good news is that birds generally don’t fly in. I’ve found that raccoons, groundhogs, and skunks don’t wander in during the day, but they will at night if I don’t close the greenhouse doors.
Enjoy reading your seed catalogs, looking for just the right varieties for your climate. 🙂
FREE Guide: 15 Ways to Get Free or Cheap Plants