Hot House Vs. Greenhouse

Updated November 21, 2016

Greenhouses and hot houses are used for growing fruits, vegetables and other plants. Choosing between the two is entirely dependent upon the area and climate in which you live. For example, a greenhouse would be ineffective in northern climates during the winter, while a hothouse would function perfectly in those same conditions. Therefore, knowing the differences and similarities of the two is important so as to make an educated decision.


A greenhouse is a building, often made of glass or clear plastic, which heats up and remains warm, so you can use it to grow plants. You can use a greenhouse to start seedlings during the season or for growing plants during the off season. Originally, the greenhouse was known as an orangery or a pinery, as they were used to grow fruits like oranges and pineapples for the wealthy.


A hothouse is an artificially heated structure in which you can grow plants out of season, such as during the dead of winter. You can make this buildings out of nearly any material, including glass, brick, plastic or wood, as they are artificially heated. Furthermore, hot houses can also use artificial lights, so during the winter months when there may not be enough sunlight, you can still initiate proper growth and development in the plants.


Both hot houses and greenhouses are used to grow plants. They can both be used to start seedlings prior to the beginning of the season and grow fruits, vegetables, flowering and nonflowering plants. You can also make both hot houses and greenhouses out of plastic or glass panels to allow sunlight in during the growing season. Furthermore, in the right climate, installing a basic hothouse or greenhouse for use is affordable.


Though both options are readily affordable and available, not everyone can use either option in their area. This is because greenhouses can only be used around the growing season, whereas the term "hot house" can even refer to a single room in a person's home that is specially heated with an individual heater and artificial lights that are used to promote plant growth even in the dead of winter. Greenhouses tend to be separate structures, though window or door attachments are options.

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