How to Create an Orchid Mini Greenhouse


Orchids have the undeserved reputation of being difficult to grow, when in fact they are no more temperamental than any other plant as long as you meet their basic requirements. While they prefer a humid environment, they cannot tolerate soggy soil. Orchids don't like variances in temperatures such as a cold breeze from a window or the blast from central heating. A mini greenhouse is an ideal location for them.

Short Orchid Plants

Step 1

Prepare the charcoal. Wash the charcoal to remove any dust by running water over it for a few minutes. Let drain on paper towels to remove excess water. Blot dry.

Step 2

Lay a 2-inch-thick layer of charcoal on the bottom of the aquarium.

Step 3

Place the orchids on the charcoal still in their pots. Orchid pots have slots for drainage. Most orchids grow in a bark medium and not potting soil since potting soil retains too much water. Fill in between and around the pots with the orchid growing medium.

Step 4

Replace the lights in the aquarium lid with grow lights.

Tall Orchid Plants

Step 1

Cut the plexiglass panels slightly smaller than the dimensions of the sides of the aquarium, but taller. For example, if the aquarium is 20 inches wide on two sides and 15 inches on the remaining sides, cut the panels to 19 15/16 inches and 14 15/16 inches wide and about 6 inches taller than the tallest orchid plant.

Step 2

Place the panels inside the aquarium. With three of the panels, tape the outside of the panel to the outside of the aquarium at the edge where the aquarium ends. If you wish, tape the sides of the panels together as well. This will stabilize the panels. The fourth untaped panel is easily removable to access the plants and interior of the mini greenhouse.

Step 3

Locate the mini greenhouse by a window where it will receive indirect bright light.

Tips and Warnings

  • When displaying the orchids in a room, acclimate them by removing from the greenhouse for several hours the first day, 6 to 8 hours the second day and then 12 hours the third day. The plants won't be as shocked as when you remove them for the full 24-hour period right off the bat.

Things You'll Need

  • Activated charcoal
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • 20-gallon fish aquarium with lid
  • Orchid plants in slotted containers
  • Orchid bark or growing medium
  • Grow lights
  • Plexiglass panels (clear)
  • Knife or scissors
  • Clear packing tape
  • Plastic wrap


  • "Great Ideas for Your Garden;" Courtier et al; 2003
  • "At Home in the Garden;" Becke Davis; 2001

Who Can Help

  • West Virginia University Extension: Building a Greenhouse
Keywords: greenhouse for orchids, mini greenhouse to grow orchids, growing orchids

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for