Greenhouses and shadehouses: what is the difference and what can be grown

Chelsea O'Shea

Greenhouse / Glasshouse

Contrary to popular belief, ‘Greenhouses’ are not green. Although some versions have portions of shade-cloth attached to provide some areas of shade, typically greenhouses are constructed using clear plastic or glass (known as a ‘glasshouse’). They are fully enclosed to retain and raise the internal temperature and moisture levels and offer greater protection against the elements and pests.


A shadehouse is a unit covered in shade-cloth or mesh, that can either be enclosed or open. Particularly useful in warmer climates, shade-houses help generate a cooler environment by allowing air and rain to permeate into the structure but provide stronger protection from the sun – best suitable for fragile or shade-loving plants. And also aids in retaining moisture though not as well as greenhouses.

What can be grown in a greenhouse / shadehouse?

Greenhouses and shadehouses both provide protection against the elements, making them extremely useful in propagating a range of plant species that would otherwise be very challenging or impossible to achieve in the Australian climate. Below is a list of tables that show some common herb, vegetables, flowers, and fruits that can be cultivated, including a brief generalization of their needs.


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