IKEA greenhouse cabinets: Houses for your plants!

IKEA Detolf cabinet filled with plants

Houseplants are more popular than ever, and we’ve noticed a trend for plant parents: IKEA greenhouse cabinets!

They’re exactly what they sound like … greenhouses made out of IKEA display cabinets. Let’s have a look at the three most popular cabinet options.

MILSBO

The MILSBO cabinet comes in tall and wide varieties, each available in anthracite (black) and white.

FABRIKOR

Also in tall and wide, the FABRIKOR cabinet comes in punchy colors and neutrals.

DETOLF

With glass on all sides, the DETOLF cabinet comes with a black-brown or white top and base.

Other cabinets to consider include RUDSTA in tall and wide (seen below), and KLINGSBO.

Choosing plants for your greenhouse cabinet

When making decisions about which plants get to live in your cabinet, consider which plants naturally exist in more humid climates, such as African violets, ferns, alocasias, calatheas, orchids, and begonias. Think, too, about which plants might benefit from extra light, such as succulents, ponytail palms, jade, and crotons. If you propagate plants or grow from seeds, a cabinet is a great option for your youngest plants.

You can’t really make a mistake with what you put in your cabinet, and it’s likely that you’ll make adjustments as you notice which plants seem to be thriving the most (or just which ones look the most amazing on display!). 

What else to think about before you get a greenhouse cabinet

  • Lighting. Many people add lighting strips to their cabinets to extend or enhance the “daylight” available to their plants, with the bonus that lights make plants look like art. Look for versions that connect so you can use multiple strips with only one plug. The lights don’t need to be marketed as grow lights; under-cabinet lights work and any full-spectrum LED at about 10 watts is a good choice.
  • Humidity. One of the reasons to put plants in a cabinet is to give them the humidity that makes them happy. Bloomscape says most plants like humidity at 40-60%, and The Spruce says some plants prefer as high as 80%. A hygrometer in your cabinet helps you measure the water vapor in the environment, and many of these gadgets also measure temperature. Some people add small humidifiers to their cabinets to increase humidity. Fountains and pebble trays are also popular. Others find, however, that the humidity in their cabinet stays high enough for their plants with only the moisture evaporating from the plants’ soil. It’s also a fairly common practice to add weather stripping to seal your cabinet for humidity.
  • Airflow. Seeing as your cabinet will be a humid microclimate, you’ll want to prevent mold in the cabinet and root rot for your plants. A lot of IKEA greenhouse cabinet owners use small fans to keep air circulating, though some prefer to simply open the cabinet doors regularly to allow air to flow in and out. Consider your shelves, too. Each of the IKEA display cabinets comes with glass shelving and some people swap it out for wire shelving from a hardware or organization store, or custom-made acrylic shelves with vents.
  • Heat. Especially if you’re using your cabinet for propagation or seed starting, you may want to add a heat mat or another heat source to keep your cabinet’s temperature up. Many people seek out products designed for amphibian tanks. Note that plenty of houseplants don’t need temperatures warmer than your home to thrive. This Better Homes & Gardens article offers guidance for the types of plants that may do better in higher temperatures.
  • Power. Between lights, a humidifier or fountain, fans, and a heater, your cabinet will need an intentional power source. Some styles of cabinet, like MILSBO, can be drilled at the base to create a cord management path. Most have enough gap in a corner to slip cords through if drilling isn’t your thing. When thinking about plugging in, consider a smart power strip so you can set an on/off routine that you don’t have to think about every day. Note that smart plugs don’t work with items that have built-in timers (as some lights do) or with products require a button push to power on and off (the timer will be able to turn them off but not on).
  • Pegboard and accessories. To maximize the usable space in their greenhouse cabinets, many plant parents attach a pegboard such as the popular IKEA SKADIS with accessories like small shelves and clips to the back and/or sides for holding small plants. Creating a moss wall is also a popular way to use that vertical cabinet space. 

Resources

Warning: once you start looking at IKEA greenhouse cabinets, you’re likely to go down a rabbit hole of social media inspiration … and it goes deep! Start with @ikeagreenhousecabinet, created by @robinschoutenart, on Instagram. Then check out tutorials and cabinet tours on YouTube, like this one from Your Babylon Plants and this one from Planterior Decorator. 

If you’re feeling inspired to make your own IKEA greenhouse cabinet, keep an eye on your closest store’s stock on the IKEA site. If you see your favorite in stock, order it for pickup. These cabinets are so loved, they often sell out!

We chose these products ourselves, and we aren’t compensated for link clicks or purchases. 


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