Greenhouse Staging


Staging is an important greenhouse accessory that will allow you to use all the space in your greenhouse, conservatory or polytunnel efficiently. Staging also encourages healthier plant growth as it brings the plants closer to the light. You may want to consider fold-away staging; this will allow it to be used to propagate and grow on young plants in the spring, after which it may be removed to grow summer border crops.


Staging should be study enough to support the often considerable weight of plants, pots, compost and watering systems. Wood staging can be an attractive choice, and works especially well in wooden greenhouses or conservatories. Aluminium staging is long lasting, maintenance-free and will not rust, and so is ideal for use in the damp atmospheres of a greenhouse.


The majority of staging benches are a standard 45-60 cm (18-24 in) width from the back to the front, although wider models are available. However, do bear in mind that it will be very difficult to reach to the back of very deep staging. Make sure that you choose a staging with an appropriate working height for you; 75-90 cm (30-36in) is usually the most convenient. Lower versions are also available, which may be useful if you intend to sit down whilst working at your staging.


Staging is usually positioned along the sides (and possibly one end) of a greenhouse, leaving a central pathway between them, although large greenhouses may place the staging in the centre, with a pathway around the edges. If the greenhouse is arranged so that one side houses the staging whilst the other contains an area for border crops, the staging should be positioned on the side that will cast the least shade on the border area.

When placing staging against the sides, always ensure that you leave a generous gap between the staging and the greenhouse to allow air to circulate freely.

Free Standing Systems

Free standing staging provides the greenhouse with a flexible system of extra space that may be dismantled or assembled whenever necessary. This can be particularly useful if you need additional space to grow seeds and bring on plants in the spring. However, free standing staging should also be sturdy enough to provide a permanent area to grow and display plants.

You may want to consider buying a system that may be added to easily in the future; for example by adding extra sections to increase the staging length, additional shelves below the staging surface or even extra tiers above the existing staging.

Integral Systems

If staging is required for only part of the year, you might want to consider installing an integral system. This is an open mesh staging that anchors onto the greenhouse wall using a number of study hinges bolted into the glazing bars, and is supported by two legs that clip onto the front edge of the staging. By simply removing the legs, the hinges allow the staging to be folded flat against the sides of the greenhouse.

Permanent Staging

Permanent staging is built into the greenhouse, usually at the time of construction. It is generally made from the same materials as the greenhouse or conservatory itself. If you decide to install permanent staging after the greenhouse has been built, you must bear in mind that the extra weight of the staging, plants, gravel, sand, water, containers and compost can put a considerable stain onto the framework, especially in light, aluminium alloy structures. Always check with the greenhouse manufacturer before fitting any non-standard permanent staging.

Staging Shelves

Staging shelves may be solid or consist of a system of slats or mesh. For maximum versatility, you may want to look for staging that offers you both options.

1. Mesh and Slats

Mesh and slatted staging allow a good flow of air around the plants, and are especially useful for growing alpines, orchids or cacti and succulents that require maximum air circulation around their roots. Slats are also useful during the winter when plants are dormant and require less water but more ventilation to prevent 'damp-off' and disease. Look for an adjustable system that will allow you to alter the spacing of the slats so that pots of all sizes stay firmly in place. However, slats or mesh shelving is not suitable for capillary watering systems unless the pots are placed in trays on the bench.

2. Solid Shelving

As it is often difficult (especially in non-adjustable systems) to keep pots upright between slats, you may prefer to use solid staging if you have a large number of plants to accommodate. Solid staging is also useful for capillary watering systems, especially solid aluminium staging that has a level surface for the matting or sand.

Some solid staging is formed using reversible trays that sit in the supporting framework. One side may be used a gravel or sand tray, or the tray may be turned over to provide a flat level surface ideal for capillary matting. Alternatively, trays (or slats) may be removed to allow tall plants to grow up through the framework, which they can use for support.