IKEA Greenhouse Cabinet Hack – Complete IKEA Greenhouse Tutorial & Setup Instructions

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The IKEA greenhouse cabinet concept is more than a flash-in-the-pan fad: it’s an easy and customizable way to care for and display plants indoors and create a beautiful statement piece. The trend continues to grow in popularity because every plant lover finds something to live, whether it’s the solution for high-maintenance plants that are hard to keep alive indoors or the ability to show off plants in a personalized cabinet setup.

Ready to join in and see what all the fuss is about? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for the IKEA greenhouse cabinet hack to get you started.

IKEA Greenhouse Cabinet Options

The first step to setting up a greenhouse cabinet is, of course, choosing a cabinet. It doesn’t need to be an IKEA cabinet, but make sure you choose something that can stand up to the elements. Wood isn’t a good choice.

With the popularity of IKEA cabinets and supply chain issues, you may have trouble getting an actual IKEA cabinet unless you turn to the secondhand market. The most popular options include:

  • Detolf
  • Rudsta
  • Milsbo
  • Blåliden
  • Fabrikör
  • Klingsbo
  • Baggebo

These cabinets are popular because they’re contained, made from metal and won’t rust or mold, and have glass doors, sides, and/or shelves. The best model will depend on your budget, space, and preferences.

If you have trouble finding an IKEA greenhouse cabinet in stock or just want something a little different, here are some good IKEA greenhouse alternatives.

IRONMIX Enclosed Bookshelf with Acrylic Door and Adjustable Shelves, 70 Inch Tall Storage Cabinet 5 Tier, Dust Proof Display Shelf for Home, Office - White
Ryoko Glass Display Cabinet with Adjustable 3-Shelf Shelves, Lock and Door, Dust-Proof, LED Light, Curio Cabinets Lego Display Case for Living Room Bedroom Office 59.1" x 19.7" x 15.8" - Dark Gray
LFT HUIMEI2Y Glass Display Cabinet 4-Shelf with Door and Lock, Curio Cabinets Upgraded Quick-Install Style 5mm Tempered Glass Floor Standing Bookshelf for Bedroom, Living Room 64”x 17”x 14” White
Product
Ironmix Enclosed Metal Display Case
Ryoko Dark Gray Plant Cabinet (Fabrikor Look-Alike)
Four-Shelf Glass Cabinet for Plants
Price
$179.99
$319.99
$169.50
IRONMIX Enclosed Bookshelf with Acrylic Door and Adjustable Shelves, 70 Inch Tall Storage Cabinet 5 Tier, Dust Proof Display Shelf for Home, Office - White
Product
Ironmix Enclosed Metal Display Case
Price
$179.99
Ryoko Glass Display Cabinet with Adjustable 3-Shelf Shelves, Lock and Door, Dust-Proof, LED Light, Curio Cabinets Lego Display Case for Living Room Bedroom Office 59.1" x 19.7" x 15.8" - Dark Gray
Product
Ryoko Dark Gray Plant Cabinet (Fabrikor Look-Alike)
Price
$319.99
LFT HUIMEI2Y Glass Display Cabinet 4-Shelf with Door and Lock, Curio Cabinets Upgraded Quick-Install Style 5mm Tempered Glass Floor Standing Bookshelf for Bedroom, Living Room 64”x 17”x 14” White
Product
Four-Shelf Glass Cabinet for Plants
Price
$169.50

Last update on 2023-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our more in-depth guide to choosing an IKEA greenhouse cabinet makes it easy to compare options with dimensions, prices, and features. We also list plenty of IKEA cabinet alternatives!

Skip right to the list of supplies and products or keep reading for the next steps.

IKEA Greenhouse Shelving & Organization

Most people replace the glass shelves that come with their IKEA cabinet to increase space and airflow. You can get really creative when it comes to shelving and ways to display your plants. The best shelving strategy will depend on what you’re growing because you’ll want to consider airflow, light needs, and size.

Here are just some ideas. You can see plenty of examples and links to great products on our IKEA Greenhouse Shelving Ideas blog.

  • IKEA greenhouse acrylic shelves like these from UltimateAcrylics or OmniManufacturingLV (options for all cabinets including butterfly and corner shelves)
  • Magnetic shelves are perfect for prop stations and small planters
  • Magnetic hooks for hanging plants
  • Mackapär shoe rack from IKEA (fits the Rudsta cabinet)
  • Wire racks cut to size with S-hooks to hang planters
  • Gridwall panels
  • Pegboard with shelving and planters

IKEA Greenhouse Grow Lights

Grow lights are what transform your ordinary cabinet into an IKEA plant cabinet! Greenhouse cabinet lighting is one of the trickiest things to get right: you need to consider the light spectrum, PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux) or the measure of photons the light emits, distance from the plants, and the light needs of your plants.

With that said, you’ll most likely want a full-spectrum LED light. LED is a better choice than fluorescent, especially for a plant cabinet, because it produces less heat and has lower operating costs. Many grow lights allow you to adjust the light spectrum too if needed.

Most people set up their IKEA greenhouse cabinet with T5 or T8 grow lights from Barrina or Monios. They’re both easy to install, can be linked together in a chain, and come in sizes that fit the cabinets very well – even the narrow cabinets!

The 1’ lights fit in the Rudsta tall cabinet and even the Baggebo (although it’s a bit tight). As far as I know, 1-foot T5 and T8 grow lights are only available from Barrina, not Monios. Remember that the connections add a bit to the length of the light. Here are the most commonly used IKEA greenhouse cabinet grow lights in the one-foot and two-foot sizes.

Barrina 12

Barrina T5 Grow Lights – 1’ (4-Pack)

$31.99
Barrina 24” T5 Grow Lights

Barrina T5 Grow Lights – 2’ (8-Pack)

$59.99
Barrina 24” T8 Grow Lights

Barrina T8 Grow Lights – 2’ (6-Pack)

$74.36
Monios T5 LED Grow Light 2-Foot

Monios-L T5 LED Grow Light – 2’ (6-Pack)

$42.99
Monios T8 LED Grow Light 2-Foot

Monios-L T8 LED Grow Light – 2’ (6-Pack)

$74.99

Because plants can suffer leaf burn if the grow light is too strong (or rather, they’re too close and getting too much light), go easy at first. Start your plants off further away from the lights and slowly move them closer, watching for any signs of leaf burn. T8 grow lights are generally stronger than T5 grow lights – be careful adding too many or placing plants that don’t LOVE sun too close. My Lovecraft & Death IKEA Greenhouse has nothing but succulents, almost all of which have high light needs. I only use Barrina T5 grow lights and my plants are growing and even flowering.

Coming soon: we’ll have a post going into much more detail about setting up plant cabinet grow lights with a guide to PPF, PPFD, light needs by plant, and more.

Improving Humidity in a Plant Cabinet

Depending on your climate and what you’re going to grow in your IKEA indoor greenhouse, this step may be unnecessary – or critical.

Even most common houseplants do not do well with the typical indoor relative humidity level, and tropical plants may have a death sentence if you don’t provide an environment with enough humidity.

That’s the beauty of a glass plant cabinet: you can create the perfect environment for your plants and adjust everything from light, temperature, humidity, and ventilation – all while being able to admire your beauties inside your home.

Our guide to IKEA greenhouse humidity and ventilation goes into much more detail about increasing plant cabinet humidity, but here are the basics.

Start by figuring out the ideal relative humidity range for the types of plants you will grow and compare it to your indoor relative humidity level. Use a hygrometer for this!

Govee Smart Hygrometer and Thermometer

I recommend the Govee Smart Hygrometer & Thermometer – it’s affordable, displays humidity and temperature at a glance, and works with Govee products and Alexa.

If you want to grow plants that require higher humidity, you will need to take steps to boost humidity in your IKEA greenhouse. You can achieve a modest increase in humidity simply by adding a lot of plants and keeping them fairly close together. This might be enough for plants with pretty modest humidity needs, but humidity-loving plants like alocasias and anthuriums will need more.

There are a few good ways to increase plant cabinet humidity.

Start with IKEA greenhouse cabinet weather stripping. Weather stripping the gaps and along the doors helps lock in humidity from watering, but the humidity will quickly be lost when the doors are open. Below are the two types of weather stripping that work well for DIY indoor greenhouse cabinet sealing.

Last update on 2023-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2023-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pebble trays and mini water fountains are both options that add a bit of humidity but only work well in a weather-stripped cabinet.

With most setups and climates, humidity-loving plants will require a combination of weather stripping and a humidifier. You can use an automated humidifier to maintain a consistent humidity within the targeted range. There are interior humidifiers that can sit inside the cabinet or you can opt for an exterior humidifier – but this does require drilling a hole in the cabinet and using tubing and a coupler. If you install an exterior humidifier without a built-in hygrometer (humidity sensor), you’ll also need a humidistat, which senses humidity and controls the humidifier. The Inkbird humidistat is the most popular. You can even get the Inkbird humidity and temperature controller combination to separately monitor and automatically control separate humidity and temperature devices.

You’ll probably want to invest in a humidifier and weather stripping if you want to grow:

  • Alocasias
  • Anthuriums
  • Calatheas
  • Monsteras
  • Orchids
  • Philodendrons
  • Pothos
  • Venus fly traps

Here are some humidifier setup recommendations that work well with an indoor greenhouse cabinet.

Breezome top fill humidifier 4L

Breezome Top Fill Humidifier – 4L

No built-in hygrometer

$39.97
Levoit humidifier and smart hygrometer

Levoit Humidifier (3L) + Levoit Smart Hygrometer

Includes Levoit smart hygrometer

$59.98
Govee Smart Humidifier 3L

GoveeLife Smart Humidifier – 3L

Works with Govee smart hygrometer (not included)

$39.99
Govee Smart Hygrometer Thermometer

Govee Smart Hygrometer Thermometer

Works with Govee products or separately

$11.19
Inkbird humidistat IHC200

Inkbird Humidistat IHC200

Humidity sensor and humidifier controller

$42.99

Indoor Greenhouse Ventilation

Ensuring good airflow throughout your IKEA cabinet greenhouse is critical – especially if you’re trying to increase humidity or adding weather stripping. Without good airflow and ventilation, your plants will suffocate and the cabinet will become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, pests, and rot.

You can add small, cheap fans that are directed to blow air downwards toward plants but not directly on foliage. Leave at least 1” of open space behind the fan so air intake isn’t hampered. You will probably need one fan placed at each level of the cabinet.

Some people leave their IKEA greenhouse fans running 24/7 but running them just during the day should also work.

AC Infinity S7 120mm USB Fans

These AC Infinity fans are popular with IKEA greenhouse cabinet owners. They’re small, affordable, designed for continuous use, and have speed settings.

Increasing IKEA Greenhouse Temperature

Maintaining the right balance of temperature and humidity can be challenging. One of the most common issues indoor greenhouse cabinet owners face is a cabinet that’s too cold in the winter for tropical plants. Here are a few good options for increasing the temperature of an IKEA plant cabinet.

Plant heat mats are a good option, especially if you want targeted heat for a section of plants.

You can also look for products designed for reptiles. A vivarium or reptile heat cable gives off heat and can be wound throughout the cabinet. A ceramic heat emitter can also work. These heat emitters are very efficient but they’re bulbs that need to be plugged into an E26 bulb base. These simple desktop bulb bases are a good choice: you can sit the base and ceramic heat emitter near the bottom of the cabinet to increase the cabinet’s temperature.

No matter which option you choose, it’s a very good idea to put your heat source on a timer so it isn’t running 24/7. If you’re also running a humidifier, it may be worth investing in the Inkbird IHC-200 + ITH-10 combo: it measures temperature and humidity and controls both a temperature device and humidifier. Otherwise, something like these Govee smart plugs works.

Plant heat mats

10”x20” Plant Heat Mat – 2 Pack

$19.99
Reptile heat cable

Zoo Med Reptile Heat Cable, 50W – 23 Feet

$22.99
Ceramic heat emitter

Repti Home 50W Ceramic Heat Emitter – 2 Pack

$16.99
Desktop Lamp Base

Polished Black Metal Desktop E26 Lamp Base

$12.68
Inkbird humidity and temperature controller

Inkbird Humidity & Temperature Controller

$52.99
Govee smart plugs

Govee Smart Plugs – 4 Pack

$21.28

Plant Cabinet Cable Management

Before setting everything up, decide how you will run and organize the cords for your fans and lights. Depending on the cabinet and whether you add weatherstripping, you might be able to run cords through a gap between panels. Otherwise, the best solution is to drill a hole in the bottom or back panel.

Use a 2” hole saw to slowly drill a hole in the cabinet. Make sure you use something like Rustoleum Rust Stopper spray paint to keep the metal from rusting afterward! Plug the hole with a rubber grommet hole plug so you can easily run cables into the cabinet while maintaining the humidity you want and disguising the opening.

To keep everything tidy, you can use zip ties and even a cable management box which can fit inside or outside your plant cabinet.

Last update on 2023-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2023-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to Grow in an IKEA Greenhouse

The beauty of IKEA plant cabinets is they can be whatever you want: a striking terrarium, a collection of tropical plants, or a display of your favorite succulents and cacti. Still, the concept of an indoor plant cabinet makes it most useful for certain types of plants.

Plants that need a humid, warm environment you can’t otherwise create in your home are perfect for your greenhouse cabinet. This includes:

  • Warm-growing orchids like jewel orchids
  • Carnivorous plants like pitcher plants and Venus flytraps
  • Alocasias
  • Calatheas
  • Anthuriums
  • Monsteras
  • Philodendrons
  • Nerve plants
  • Ferns
  • Crotons
  • Bromeliads

An IKEA terrarium is another option. A cabinet terrarium involves the most work to waterproof and seal the plant cabinet so it’s mostly self-sustaining, but it delivers the most impressive results. Some people have even converted their IKEA cabinets into vivariums, or habitats for snakes, lizards, and frogs.

Many people use an IKEA grow cabinet to speed propagation. A basic propagation box like a storage container works, but if you want something more decorative, an indoor greenhouse cabinet is perfect. Some people use a plant cabinet dedicated entirely to propagation, but you can also just set aside space in your cabinet for a mini prop station.

If you want something basic, you can use an IKEA greenhouse cabinet to grow herbs. We did this with our pineapple greenhouse! It works well if you don’t have good natural light in your home or patio, or you don’t want to clutter up your window ledges and kitchen countertop space.

You can even use an indoor greenhouse cabinet to grow and display cacti and succulents. This is even easier to set up than a plant cabinet for tropical plants: you’ll want plenty of airflow without humidity so there’s no need to seal the cabinet or add a humidifier. Our Lovecraft & Death greenhouse is entirely succulents and cacti! The lighting and conditions are good enough that we even get succulents flowering and developing deeper colors from sun stress.

IKEA Greenhouse Cabinet Product List

Here’s a list of our recommended products with notes.

Plant Cabinet Grow Lights & Accessories

These 1-foot T5 grow lights fit more narrow cabinets like the tall Rudsta and Baggebo.

$31.99

These are 2-foot T8 grow lights - stronger than T5 lights.

$74.36

2-foot T5 grow lights from Monios.

$42.99

These are the stronger T8 2-foot grow lights from Monios.

$74.99

These smart plugs (or a power strip with a timer) make it easy to automatically turn your grow lights on and off on a schedule.

$21.28

A light meter isn’t required, but it’s helpful for setting up grow lights and making sure you meet but don’t exceed your plants’ light requirements.

$21.28

Humidity, Heat & Ventilation

This is the weather stripping you want to apply to the vertical edge of a single door.

$9.89

This weather stripping can be used to seal gaps between panels. 

$8.91

Can be used inside the cabinet or placed outside the cabinet. It works with the Govee smart hygrometer & thermometer.

$39.99

Works with the Govee humidifier or used as a standalone humidity & temperature sensor.

$11.19

If you use another type of humidifier outside the cabinet, this humidistat placed inside the cabinet works to sense humidity and control the humidifier.

$42.99

This combination can automatically monitor and control a humidifier and a separate temperature device like a heat mat or ceramic heat emitter.

$52.99

These quiet USB fans are used to cool electronics and work well to improve airflow in a plant cabinet.

$19.99

Heat mats can increase the temperature of your cabinet and provide extra heat for specific plants.

$19.99

Organization, Shelving & Other Supplies

Zip ties can be helpful for organizing cables and attaching accessories in your plant cabinet.

$7.88

This cable management box comes in two sizes and black or white to organize and hide power strips and cables for grow lights, humidifiers, and other accessories.

$19.99

You’ll need one of these if you want to drill a hole in your plant cabinet to run cables.

$8.98

After drilling a hole for cables, these rubber grommets help minimize humidity loss and camouflage the opening.

$12.59

These are helpful for adding hanging planters or even hanging grow lights.

$6.99

These magnetic shelves are really popular for IKEA greenhouse cabinets. They’re strong, hold small planters, come in many colors, and have a small ledge to collect water.

$26.95
Acrylic IKEA cabinet shelves (Onewoodthink)

Onewoodthink offers acrylic Skadis pegboards and shelves for Detolf, Milsbo, Rudsta, and Fabrikor cabinets with many design and style options.

Price varies

Acrylic IKEA cabinet shelves (OmniManufacturingCA)

OmniManufacturingCA sells acrylic IKEA greenhouse shelves in many styles and designs for the Milsbo, Rudsta, Fabrikor, Blaliden, Detolf, and Klingsbo cabinets plus Milsbo pegboard kits.

Price varies

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