Monty Don says bubble wrap will save your plants – and save you money – this winter

According to the garden expert, creating a ‘hot box’ out of this handy household staple will help your tender plants survive a cold snap

seedlings growing in a greenhouse insulated with bubble wrap to keep it warm in winter
(Image credit: Alan Lyall/Alamy Stock Photo)

Favorite garden expert Monty Don has been busy in his own backyard recently, preparing his garden for the onset of winter and the colder temperatures that come with it. 

One of his top tips for protecting plants from winter without breaking the bank is to use inexpensive bubble cushioning wrap as a way of insulating your greenhouse. 

His recommendation is to cloak it in a protective covering of bubble wrap, which will keep tender plants safe from plunging temperatures, meaning they will survive even the harshest winter.

adding bubble wrap to the inside of a greenhouse

(Image credit: Dorling Kindersley ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)

Monty Don's tips for insulating a greenhouse with bubble wrap

You may be wondering how best to use a greenhouse in wintertime but in an episode of Gardeners' World, Monty says that if you take the correct steps, you’ll reap the benefits in the springtime. 

'Wrapping it internally in bubble wrap does two things. Obviously, it protects the plants, but also it dramatically reduces the cost of heating the greenhouse too.'

With the rising cost of energy bills, this is likely to be music to your ears if you've been trying to think of inexpensive ways to heat a greenhouse during the colder winter months. 

greenhouse insulated with bubble wrap in winter

(Image credit: Future)

It's simple to fit and fix in place

For anyone concerned about the environmental impact of using large amounts of bubble cushioning wrap, Monty says that he’s used the same wrap for his own greenhouse 'for about six or seven years. It comes out every year and it’s held in place simply by bamboo canes. We’ve found this is actually the most effective method, it is very simple, but it works.'

And don't forget, insulating your greenhouse in this way means you might not have to resort to using electric heaters to keep your greenhouse warm either. 

If you don’t have bubble cushioning wrap already, you can buy it in bulk online at Amazon and do as Monty suggests. After the winter has passed, simply remove it from your greenhouse, pack it all up and reuse your materials year after year.

a greenhouse insulated with bubble wrap to protect plants in cold weather

(Image credit: Stock Photo)

Creating a mini hot box for plants

If you find yourself short of this insulating material, or have a huge greenhouse that would be too challenging to entirely cover inside, Monty has the great idea of creating a mini ‘hot box’ to protect plants from frost

He builds this using horticultural fleece, bubble wrap and clothes pegs, incorporating a small area of glass which is lined with the bubble wrap so that light can get in to benefit the plants inside.

'This will just raise the temperature up a few degrees and that means that plants like the salvias, like citrus, if you want to, maybe even bananas can go in there,' he says. 'They'll be nice and snug in the winter. And if you do have to heat this particular area, you're doing it from a higher base and that will save you a lot of money.'

Will you be giving this cheap garden idea a try this winter?

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.