The beauty of greenhouses lies in their ability to create a curated biosphere that meets the ideal conditions for your plants. The greenhouse plastic sheeting cover is an essential element of a greenhouse and it is much more complex than just buying a piece of clear plastic to lay over a greenhouse frame. There are many factors to consider such as mil thickness, UV resistance, light transmission, and light diffusion.
Should you use white or clear greenhouse plastic sheeting? Clear greenhouse plastic sheeting allows for maximum light transmission but it also retains high heat. White greenhouse plastic sheeting diffuses light and reduces heat. These factors can be a pros or cons depending on the needs of the plant and the environment the greenhouse is in.
How White and Clear Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting Impacts Light Transmission
Direct sunlight allows the full light spectrum to reach plants, while diffused light is scattered and evenly distributed. Light transmission is measured by how much light can pass through a material.
For example, most clear greenhouse plastic sheeting has a light transmission rate between 80 – 99%, while white greenhouse plastic has a rate of 55% or less.
“Light transmission is the amount of light that comes through a cover that a plant can access,” says Jason Trieger, Account Manager at Americover – a leading plastic sheeting supplier in the US. “Light deprivation, on the other hand, is taking a plant and fooling it into thinking it’s a different time of year by changing the light cycle of the plant itself.”
When should I use Clear Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting?
Direct sunlight is typically best for seeds during germination. Seeds require extremely warm soil to sprout. Direct sunlight is especially necessary for starter plants that will ultimately be transplanted outside of the greenhouse or into the natural ground. In the same way that light goes directly through glass, clear greenhouse plastic sheeting is the best choice for crops needing direct sunlight.
When Should I use White Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting?
Diffused sunlight is best for plants that will live their entire life within the greenhouse. Diffused light spreads sunlight more evenly throughout the greenhouse. Using a translucent or white greenhouse cover ensures that light spreads evenly from the top of the plant all the way down to the bottom.
Generally, if you can use either a clear or opaque cover for your particular plants, you should opt for the opaque choice.
Related Article: How Long Does Greenhouse Plastic Sheeting Last?
Best Clear Greenhouse Covers
Below is our list of the top recommended clear greenhouse covers to support your growing season.
A 10 mil reinforced greenhouse cover with up to 4 years of UV resistance.
A 12 mil reinforced greenhouse cover with up to 4 years of UV resistance.
This non-reinforced greenhouse film is available in a 6 mil. It is also available with infrared and anti-condensate with up to 4 years of UV resistance.
This woven coated poly greenhouse fabric is available in a 9 mil or 12 mil and offers up to 5 years of UV resistance.
Best White Greenhouse Plastic Covers
Here are our top recommendations for white greenhouse covers to support your current growing season and beyond.
A heavy-duty reinforced greenhouse cover is also used as a liner for aquaponics and other environmental containment applications with up to 5 years of UV resistance.
This non-reinforced overwintering film is available in white or clear, and in mil thicknesses ranging from 3 mil – 5 mil. It offers seasonal UV resistance.
A high-strength sheeting option that offers 4-6 years of UV resistance depending on exposure.
Trusted by Growers, Builders, and Distributors
Americover is the smart source for plastic and polyethylene sheeting. Trusted by contractors and distributors across the construction and agriculture industries, our American-made products combine reliability with quality and innovation.
As an Americover customer, you will receive the personalized support of a dedicated account manager to simplify the ordering process and ensure the best solution for every one of your projects. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here to answer your questions and fulfill orders Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. If you would like to speak with a representative, call us at 760-388-6294 or contact us.