Over the past couple of years, a new generation of plant parents has blossomed, including apartment dwellers without much outdoor space for gardening. Instead, the new plant parents have turned their indoor spaces into plant havens, amassing collections of succulents, cacti and other potted plants.
Some of the most coveted houseplants are tropical ones that require a warm, humid environment—like those in the Alocasia family, orchids and anthuriums—that can be real divas to care for. One way to ensure they thrive indoors is to keep them in a greenhouse, which does a couple key things for the plants. It lets light in, keeps frost and cold air out and increases humidity. The greenhouse also offers a way to keep toxic plants away from your pets and children without having to make any structural changes to your home. And if you ever move, you can take the entire thing with you.
Thanks in part to the pandemic and a growing interest in rare plants, indoor greenhouses are growing in popularity—and becoming easier to make yourself. One DIY hack in particular, featuring glass cabinets from Ikea, has taken over social media feeds. The total cost of it varies, depending on which cabinet you go with and how much you customize it, but you can build your own indoor greenhouse for anywhere between $200 and $300. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Acquire an Ikea glass cabinet
Ikea offers several kinds of glass cabinets that you can transform into a greenhouse. The Detolf, Fabrikör, Milsbo and Rudsta are all suitable options, and they are available in various sizes and colors. Find the one that fits your space best and get building. (Good luck.)
Step 2: Install grow light
Once you tackle the task of assembling your Ikea furniture, you’ll want to add grow lights to the cabinet. This is especially important if your cabinet is in a dark or shaded corner. You can find grow lights and strips (yes, like the ones used to grow marijuana) at stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. This will create the ideal climate for your houseplants to thrive all year long.
Step 3: Perfect the air environment
You can grow any plant you’d like in your greenhouse, but they’re especially useful for tropical plants, which require high humidity. For this, you’ll want to add a small humidifier or tray filled with water. Include a mini fan to help circulate the air and prevent mold from growing. To monitor the climate, keep a temperature and humidity gauge (like this digital one) on one of the shelves inside.
Step 4: Customize to your liking
Some people add a pegboard or wire rack to the back of the cabinet to clip stems and vines as the plants grow. Others go further by adding heat mats, weatherstripping and replacing glass shelves with wire or acrylic ones. But none of that is necessary. Beyond their main function for housing plants, these indoor greenhouses are meant to please the eye. Arrange your plants as you wish, and keep monitoring the conditions to ensure their success!
For more inspiration or further advice, turn to the @ikeagreenhousecabinet account on Instagram.