The Plastic Greenhouse

Greenhouse Clear Plastic Film Polyethylene Covering Gt4 Year 6 Mil 12f...

only $56.90

Greenhouse Clear Polyethylene Covering 4 Year, 6 Mil, 12ft. X 55ft.

only $128.00

Sun Selector 24x24' Anti-Drip, Infrared Greenhouse Poly Film

only $126.72

Sun-Selector 28x28ft Anti-Drip, Infrared Greenhouse Poly Film

only $119.68

Greenhouse Clear Plastic Film Polyethylene Covering Gt4 Year 6 Mil 20f...

only $74.00

Plastic Poly Sheeting 20 Feet X 100 Feet, True 10 Mil, Transparent/Whi...

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The Plastic Greenhouse

Attempts to control our environment in order to extend our capacity to grow more for longer date back to Roman times and perhaps even further into the past. According to Pliny the Elder Romans to grew cucumbers for the emperor Tiberius under sheets of selenite gypsum crystal. It was a natural advance in agriculture.

Selenite Crystal

Over the centuries, as technology advanced, so did the sophistication of structures used to protect plants from the elements. 

The first major greenhouse-like buildings were built in Italy during the 13th C. to house the large variety of exotic flora being discovered by explorers traveling in the tropics.  These were referred to as botanical gardens.

Selenite Crystal 

Botanical Gardens ItalyBy the 17th C. glass greenhouses became more common in Northern Europe, especially in Holland and England.  It was in Leiden, Holland that the first modern practical greenhouse for growing vegetables and flowers was built by the French botanist Charles Bonaparte. 

As a result of the widespread interest in botany and advances in glass technology these greenhouses continued to grow in size and proliferate in use. Amongst the most elaborate and magnificent of these structures was Kew Gardens in England.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

 The era of strictly glass greenhouses began to shift to plastic in the 1960s as the plastics industry developed wider and better more long lasting sheets of polyethylene film coverings.  Within a decade polycarbonate panels became available and the quality of the poly film also continued to improve.  This led to a huge proliferation of smaller domestic garden and larger commercial farm greenhouses as the quality went up and the costs went down.  Now just about anyone can easily install a greenhouse on their property to grow just about anything.

Tunnel House 

There is no question that the oil-based plastics revolution has been a huge benefit to humankind and this can be seen most clearly in the amount of food now being grown under plastic in greenhouses that cover vast acreage. 


Polyethylene sheeting is now stronger and longer lasting and packed with additional features.  No longer just a simply sheet of plastic, today’s ‘poly’ transmits more light in a safer more diffuse way. It can prevent dripping from condensation and reflect infra-red light to prevent heat loss. Most of the high end ‘poly’ is also self-extinguishing so now less of a fire hazard.


While poly film covering is cheaper and easier to install on simpler structures, it has its limits.  The advent of twin and multi-wall polycarbonate panels allowed for larger structures to be built for far less than what it would cost using glass as in the past.  Shatterproof, lightweight and easy to install, polycarbonate greenhouses can last for many years longer than polyethylene film covered greenhouses.


Palram Greenhouse Kit
Like poly film, polycarbonate panels also prevent dripping due to condensation and are highly effective at retaining heat with R ratings as high as 1.6. 

Fire resistant and virtually unbreakable these panels have themselves revolutionized commercial greenhouse construction and made solid, dependable greenhouses available at a very reasonable cost to urban and suburban growers.


PC Greenhouse Wall