Greenhouse shelving ideas: 10 looks for displaying your plants in style

These greenhouse shelving ideas will help you make the most of the space in your trusty garden structure

greenhouse shelving ideas
(Image credit: Alitex)

Want to get your greenhouse organized this year? These greenhouse shelving ideas are for you. Luckily, there are all sorts of ways to sort out your space, so it's not only practical but beautiful too.

Whatever greenhouse ideas you're considering, shelves are an absolute must to make them neat and tidy. They'll help you utilize the vertical space while maximizing the floor space, and as a result, will up your planting potential. They can be ornate, colorful, even suspended up high – when it comes to greenhouse shelving, there may be more options than you realize.

We've rounded up some of our favorite looks to get you inspired.

Create a clutter-free botanical haven with these 10 greenhouse shelving ideas

Make the most of your garden building with these greenhouse shelving ideas: there are all sorts of styles to choose from.

1. Stick to a color scheme

Hartley Botanic shelves in greenhouse

We love this greenhouse from Hartley Botanic

(Image credit: Hartley Botanic)

One of the big factors when deciding how to choose a greenhouse is the general look of the structure. Color can play a big part in this.

White offers a classic charm, while soft greens and browns can help it to blend into natural surroundings. We also love this cool gray shade, which contrasts beautifully with the red brick.

Extending the color scheme to the shelves – or in this case, the staging – inside will offer an instant feeling of harmony – whether that's by opting for colorful powder-coated metal designs or adding a lick of paint. Here, the hue is used across the smart gravel trays, as well as an upturned crate for a quirky additional storage solution.

2. Create an area for potting

Greenhouse shelves by Hartley Botanic

(Image credit: Hartley Botanic)

When it comes to what to plant in a greenhouse, there are so many delicious crops to grow, as well as beautiful flowers. And if you've got some exciting grow-your-own plans this year, then you will definitely need an area for sowing seeds and potting on.

A potting shoe is a very useful feature to bring to your greenhouse shelving ideas as you can store compost towards the back while you work towards the front. And then, later in the season, when everything's been potted up, you can remove it if you need more space for lining up your plants.

Here, a slatted shelf below makes a useful addition for storing watering cans, heavier bags of compost, and other tools.

3. Maximize space with wraparound styles

Alitex blue greenhouse shelving

A beautiful blue setup created with greenhouse benching from Alitex

(Image credit: Alitex)

Don't waste your corner space in your greenhouse: opt for wraparound shelving instead.

This staging setup is a vision in its soft blue shade, providing the perfect backdrop for colorful blooms as they shelter from the cold. And, there are lots of extra levels for storing tools and pots to keep the space clutter-free.

Looking for more garden tool storage ideas? You'll find plenty in our guide.

4. Make a statement with a central, freestanding design

greenhouse staging

Create a central shelving area in a larger greenhouse

(Image credit: James Talalay/Alamy Stock Photo)

A spacious greenhouse can add real value to a plot, particularly if you're looking for large garden ideas. And, what better way to create a show-stopping focal point inside your garden's structure than with a central, freestanding shelving unit?

Larger plants, such as citrus trees, can be positioned in the center for a breathtaking display, while the space surrounding can be used for smaller plants or for potting on. Or, opt for a tiered design, as seen here.

We love how the roof has been incorporated in this scene, too, for hanging extra foliage up high.

5. Choose a mini greenhouse shelving system

Ikea greenhouse mini shelves

(Image credit: Ikea)

Don't have the space for a full-sized greenhouse? Not to worry – with a shelving system like this, you can create a mini greenhouse anywhere. Ideal for balcony gardens, the zip-up enclosure will help create a sheltered environment to get your seedlings off to a good start.

More established plants can be propped along the top to add a splash of greenery to your space.

Love the look? Our best mini greenhouse buying guide has more small-space solutions.

6. Go for triple tiered shelves

Alitex tiered shelving in greenhouse

This specialist benching from Alitex provides plenty of space for plants

(Image credit: Alitex)

A tiered structure like this is 'ideal for use in prominent positions in order to show off your plants,' says Nelly Hall of Alitex. Plus, it will enable areas with lower light levels – at the back of the greenhouse, for instance – to be fully utilized. 

'They can be fitted to standard benching or on a free-standing central bench for real impact,' Nelly says.

This unit comprises three well-spaced, strong shelves, supported on long elegant legs – perfect for creating stunning plant displays along the side of your greenhouse.

7. Think vertically

Alitex strawberry boards in greenhouse

(Image credit: Alitex)

Feeling inspired by our vertical garden ideas? Extend the theme to your greenhouse with the help of strawberry boards.

'The concept of strawberry boards dates back to the Victorian heyday of glasshouse growing,' explains Nelly. 

'It is well known that the closer the plant and foliage are positioned to the glass, the more it will benefit from the sun's rays and solar energy, particularly during periods of lower light in spring and autumn.

'By mounting the shelves along the eaves, on the gable or rear wall, the plants are closer to the glass and will receive the most out of the sun, making them less likely to become 'leggy'.

'These boards are not just for strawberries, they make the perfect place for starting things off in early spring. They also provide valuable extra space in the busy growing season as well as a lovely display shelf all year round.'

8. Pick shelves that allow easy drainage

garden shelves from String Furniture

(Image credit: String Furniture)

These shelves are perfect for obtaining a modern look in your greenhouse. The design is super durable thanks to the galvanized shelves and panels, and can be configured to match your exact needs.

Holes in the bottom are useful for easy watering and drainage. And, they will help to increase airflow around the plants, too – essential for keeping gray mold and powdery mildew at bay. Plus, you can also attach metal hooks to them for hanging tools – handy, right? 

All in all, they're a great design if you're looking for low-maintenance garden ideas for your greenhouse.

9. Opt for ornate details

Hartley Botanic greenhouse shelves

(Image credit: Hartley Botanic)

Add a bit of flair to your greenhouse shelving by opting for ornate details. Even just a hint of intricacy can take the aesthetics of your space up a notch – take the Victorian-inspired design on this staging, for instance.

Finished in a glossy black hue, it's a look that would suit both classic and modern garden ideas.

10. Pair with a chair for taking in the surroundings

pelargoniums on greenhouse shelves

A relaxing retreat filled with blooms in an Alitex greenhouse

(Image credit: Alitex)

Once your greenhouse has been properly organized, it will instantly feel more welcoming. In fact, you may well be tempted to treat it as a cozy retreat to relax in as well as a practical space. 

Pop your favorite chair in the center of your shelves and you can enjoy the view of all the surrounding flowers and foliage, even if it's raining outdoors.

Looking for more inspiration? You'll find lots of lovely garden room ideas in our feature.

What shelves do you need for your greenhouse?

'It is a good idea to have a mix of bench and shelving levels in your greenhouse to suit different plant species,' says the experts at Hartley Botanic, one of the oldest and most respected glasshouse and greenhouse manufacturers in the UK. 

'Lower benches are useful for plants that are "resting", such as corms like cyclamen and tubers like achimenes (hot water plants). 

'Close-to-ground-level shelves are also useful for watering cans, sticks for plant supports, and spare pots,' they continue. 'Top shelf staging is ideal for orchids as this can mimic their natural environment well, as they grow in trees.' You can learn more about how to grow orchids with our guide.

'High-level shelving will also add more storage room and is effective at displaying low-hanging plants,' they add.

In terms of the depth of your shelves, you'll want them to provide the optimum growing area – 'Your greenhouse designer will advise you on the ideal depth for your space,' says Nelly of Alitex. You'll also want shelves or staging that can be used for practical jobs, or can double up as a potting bench – this will need to be ergonomically designed to be waist height.

In terms of materials, metal tends to be the most durable and low-maintenance, and can be easy to move too, should you wish. You can choose wooden or plastic designs, however, if you prefer the look.

wooden greenhouse with shelves

Wooden shelving suits this structure beautifully

(Image credit: Peter Lopeman/Alamy Stock Photo)

Should you put gravel on greenhouse shelves?

Nelly explains how their greenhouse benching at Alitex is designed with deep sides so that it can be filled with Hydroleca; 'a moisture-retaining material which we provide.

'Alternatively, you can use shingle, sand, or decorative stone to finish the bench,' Nelly says.

But why should you add this material to your greenhouse shelving ideas? Well, there are two reasons. Firstly, it will provide drainage, thus reducing the chance of your plants sitting in water which results in water logging. And secondly, it can help up the humidity levels, which most greenhouse plants love.

Deeper trays filled with gravel or sand can also be used to bury pots in. This stops them from drying out and is particularly useful if growing alpine plants which like their roots to be kept cool.

alitex greenhouse shelving

Fill shelves with gravel to up the humidity

(Image credit: Alitex)

What is a budget-friendly option for greenhouse shelves?

If you’re looking for garden storage ideas on a budget, 'consider reusing materials like wooden pallets to create shelving in your greenhouse,' suggests The Greenhouse People

'Pallets are generally quite sturdy and can be configured to create a bench. While these may not be the best long-term solution, they are ideal to use while deciding what shelving options are best for you.'

Alternatively, 'consider looking for second-hand shelves that you can reuse in your greenhouse,' they suggest. 'Thrifting these shelves is great for sustainability and your wallet.'

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.