IKEA Greenhouse cabinet build & thoughts

Converting IKEA cabinets into “greenhouses” has become a pretty prominent trend in the houseplant community. In mid-January, I climbed on the bandwagon. It’s a great and (relatively) affordable way to provide a high-light, high-humidity growing space that’s aesthetically pleasing. To be able to sit at my dining table every morning, drink my coffee, and see my plants all nicely lit up has been such a pleasure.

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Conditions: the cabinet has been consistently around 25-27 degrees during the daytime, cooling to around 20-22 at night, with 65-80% humidity depending on how recently the plants inside have been watered.

Details:

(I’m not going to add prices for everything, just some of the more relevant big items. Maybe when I’m not on my phone I’ll add in links)

The cabinet itself is an IKEA MILSBO tall ($229). I drilled a hole in the bottom to snake cords through. The cabinet comes with three glass shelves, but based on my plants’ sizes and lighting requirements I decided to only use one shelf to divide the cabinet into two compartments.
Each compartment has a computer fan (AC infinity Multifan - comes with two attached already so it was only one thing to plug in), a Monios-L T5 light fixture from Amazon ($42.99 each https://www.amazon.ca/Monios-L-Spectrum-Replacement-Integrated-Hydroponics/dp/B07QJXK6XD) hung using neodymium magnets, and a “rose gold” wire grid. These grids and accessories are great for hanging plants along the back wall. As these plants are closer to the lights, I picked higher-light plants like Hoya and Nepenthes to stay up there, getting around 500-800 foot candles while more sensitive Aroids stay at the bottom, getting 300-400 at first but more as they grow. I know foot candles aren’t perfectly accurate, but I do not have a PAR meter at my disposal. I did specifically choose these lights based on my plant placement plans and the manufacturer’s PPFD diagram. I do think my Nepenthes ‘Viking’ miiiiiight be getting a bit too much, though.

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To maintain humidity inside the cabinet, I applied weatherstripping foam to the doors. I don’t want the air inside to get stagnant, even with the fans, so I make sure to open the cabinet multiple times per day. I want to look at the plants anyways!
I run the lights on a manual switch timer from 6am to 11pm. Maybe a bit much? It’s not distracting when around at night, though. I did take one of the reflectors from the top light and secure it to the front to double up to further shield the LED from view while seated on the couch nearby. I’m using a manual timer because getting a smart timer to work with my “smart wifi” is a pain and sometimes I *don’t* want to use apps for everything.


As it’s only been a month, I can’t say too much about the results of the cabinet, but all of the plants inside are putting out new growth. Larger growth, too. I’m pretty happy with how things are now, though I could probably try to hide the cables for aesthetic reasons. I might try using extra strong suction cup hooks or magnetic hooks to hang more small Nepenthes on the sides of the cabinet.

Labelled plants:
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That’s it, I think! I had a lot of fun making this and hope to do more projects like this in the future, probably with a used cabinet from Facebook Marketplace or something.
 

Apoplast

Carnivorous Plant Addict
IKEA makes greenhouse cabinets?! Amazing!

Also, awesome Hoya plants!

I see you have a few Philodendron plants. I too have some. Interesting genus.
 
Well, they make display cabinets - but they can be easily converted to greenhouses :) Popular choices are the MILSBO, DETOLF, FABRIKOR, KLINGSBO, and RUDSTA cabinets. A local plant friend has made a few YouTube videos showing how she’s put together various cabinet greenhouses. Some of the wider, shorter cabinets have a lot of potential with some really strong LEDs on top and higher-light carnivorous plants on upper shelves/hanging/raised somehow. A friend does this with Cephalotus above and Nepenthes below.

Thank you! Definitely a cool genus - what are some of your favourites? Some have the potential to get way larger than I have the room for... but they’re still fun for now!
 

Chen

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I really like your setup. The build looks very clean. Good choice on adding fans and using weatherstripping to seal in the humidity. I use weatherstripping but to create a seal around my apartment door so less noise comes in from the hallways haha. Does the interior material of the cabinets seem water and humidity proof?
 
Thank you! Very clever. I honestly hadn’t heard of weatherstripping before this (I guess I don’t have a lot of experience in home improvement projects etc) so now it’s opened up a whole new world. The neodymium magnets, too - so cool and allowed me to use other metal shelving in new ways.

Yes, it’s all glass and coated metal. There are people who fully put actual humidifiers in the cabinet and still don’t experience rust issues, so I think it’s fine in that respect.
 

Apoplast

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I quite like my Philodendron patriciae. However if you still count it in the Philodendron genus, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum. I grew up with those in my parents' yard and they are still evocative of great childhood memories.
 
Thanks!

Haha, I definitely have an “aesthetically challenged” grow tent too and plan on getting another. But that’s in my office and it’s getting cramped. My non-plant-inclined fiancé much prefers the look of pretty cabinet if it’s going to be in our general living space.
 
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