Are you worried about how to save your plants from frost, cold weather, or animals? A friend of mine introduced me to one such tool known as a cloche. It is essentially a mini-greenhouse that covers your plants’ roots from harsh weather and pests.
Here are six of the best cloches I have tried and tested. I’ll also share with you some handy tips I used to choose the right cloche for my garden based on my space and other important factors.
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What is a cloche?
A cloche is a dome-shaped bell that’s used to protect plants from frost and weather. They come in a variety of sizes, and a variety of materials but most have a diameter of about 12 inches.
You can use cloches for almost any type of plant, but they’re especially useful for winter vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes.
They’re super-easy to use—you set them over your plants, and then you don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll freeze (or get too hot) during the winter months. It’s all under control with these little guys!
Why should you use a cloche?
I started using cloches when I grew my own lettuce and other salad greens in my backyard.
The problem was that most plants were not hard enough to withstand the extreme temperatures. But then I came up with the idea of using cloches over the rows of plants.
These mini greenhouses helped me extend the growing season for my lettuce and other green plants into the winter and even into early spring!
- It helps protect your plant from the elements and pests while allowing oxygen to flow through the holes in the bottom of the cloche.
- Putting a cloche over your plant will help keep the leaves dry and prevent them from sunburning. This is especially important if you live in an area with cold winters or have had a lot of rain during the growing season.
- Cloches are also used by gardeners who want to extend their growing season by protecting plants from frost and cold temperatures.
- A cloche will keep plants warm at night in areas with cold nights but warm days, so they can continue growing during these warmer periods without being damaged by frost.
- There are also more decorative uses for cloches as well. You can use them as a way to display flowers or plants that may be too tall for other containers or arrangements.
Best cloches for your garden
Cloches come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, including plastic cloches, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Here are some suggestions for the best cloches for your garden:
If you have a garden full of tiny plants, I suggest you go for this heavy-duty chicken wire, as it is the perfect way to protect young plants from plant-eaters. This cloche had this arch shape and was made of tough galvanized metal.
Because of the material used in its construction, it could stand up to even the most persistent raccoon or squirrel. Upon installation, I learned that it featured two sections – each 18 inches long and 13 inches wide, with an 8-inch height. I loved how this cloche was expandable, which allowed me to fit it indoors and outdoors.
With this wire cage, you can also protect rows of plants and set them upwards. I almost have half of my garden filled with rows of plants that I wanted to put upward, and thanks to this cloche, I could do so. It gave my plants direct sunlight and rain, which were essential for their health.
Even though this cloche seemed very lightweight upon unboxing, it still stirred deer, rabbits, birds, and other animals out of my vegetable garden. The arch shape created a broader protection area for more plants than an ordinary cage or dome would have.
Honestly, I love how easy it was to install— I just stapled some of them while I used zip ties with the others.
I didn’t like how the cloche could fit smaller plants and not the larger ones. But then again, it is a cloche for smaller plants. I had no choice but to get it again and again due to its breathable and permeable design.
If you want something more significant than this, look at the DECOHS 5-Pack Squirrel Proof Wire Cloche.
“These cloches are absolutely great! The chicken wire is small enough to keep all the pesky critters around the garden from devouring my string beans. Not only that, they are very well-made, very sturdy and they look wonderful too – I liked these so much, that I’ve ordered more of them.”
Rosemarie G. Bongiovanni
This is the best bet for you if you’re looking for a high-quality chicken wire cloche that can be helpful against animals. The highlight of this cloche was that I could fit it into big plants too, which was a plus point here.
This DECOHS 5-Pack Squirrel Proof Wire Cloche was made of high-quality metal and anti-rust paint. I like how the mesh structure was solid and heavy, and because of this reason it didn’t blow up in the wind and did not rust when I exposed it to water.
I always wanted cloches that would work for me indoors and outdoors. Fortunately, these metal cages were suitable for every kind of gardening work. It helped protect vegetables, flowers, plants, and fruits from rabbits, squirrels, chickens, and other animals.
Cloches here measured 11.8 inches in diameter and 13.7 inches in height. One thing I was happy about is that it provided the seeds and plants in my garden with just enough room to grow while protecting them from harsh weather. Besides, the appearance was also beautiful and enhanced my garden.
Everything was working fine except for the spaces between this cloche’s net. Because these spaces were wide, many snails and critters would get to my plants, which was the most frustrating thing.
I tried covering these cloches with plastic because this was the only way to protect my plants. If you want a cloche with a plastic covering for your plants, look at our next pick: the Zenport SH3212A Garden Cold Frame Greenhouse Cloche.
I’m using this product for fall crops such as spinach kale cabbage and beets it works well I attached it to my raised beds so I ended up stapling it to the wood sides in my raised beds. Easy to assemble. I would say that the zipper fabric is a little bit flimsy and the ties for the zippered openings have already started to fray. But this product was inexpensive so for the price I think it was a good value.”
If you aren’t familiar with how to set up those traditional cloches and have them fixed in one place, then I have got you another great pick. With these plant cloches, you can start your plants in the right direction from the very beginning.
I have seen a lot of plastic cloches that are expensive and highly complex to set up. However, this cloche is an exception to that and is convenient and economical at the same time. I used these cloches to propagate seeds, grow plants, and display them in my garden. The transparent cover looked amazing. It was giving my garden the effect of a tiny greenhouse.
Since it came with a waterproof transparent cover, I had no worries about the rain or snow falling over.
Upon unboxing, I found a sturdy steel tubular frame along a plastic cover. This rock solid provided the best protection for a strong base for this cloche. Additionally, I liked how the plastic cloche kept the floor warm.
Now you must think, if it is a closed plastic bag, how will it get rid of humidity? Worry not because this cloche had a zipped roll-up pane vent that allowed ventilation and humidity control.
And best of all, it was too easy to assemble! I was able to have it fixed within moments of opening my package. Even though I found the plastic a bit thin, at this price, the convenience and protection I was getting with this cloche were just impeccable.
“Clear transparent cover allows plants to be constantly observed, whilst being well protected. The bell-shaped cover provides secure protection for fragile & vulnerable plants, from inclement (wintry, wet & windy) weather. Conveniently lightweight for ease of storage, they need handling carefully with a delicate touch – so as not to distort the easily damaged shape.”
Eurwyn Pierce Jones
I have always loved those glass dome cloches but was skeptical about getting them because I was afraid they deprived my plants of nutrients. However, the Tierra Garden Victorian Bell Plant Protector proved me wrong, and I would like to say that this is a must-have for any gardener.
I am just in love with the glass dome design this cloche had. Not only did this protective dome keep my plants safe from weather, but also pests and animals.
Because I wanted my plants to get the most sunlight, I was happy with how the patented design ensures maximum light penetration and minimum reflection. This cloche also kept my soil warm for better nutrient penetration.
When I unboxed these cloches, I knew they were made of high-quality APET and packaged in three packs. I liked how the plastic was durable enough to stand still even in the harshest condition. As far as the dimensions go, each bell was 10 inches tall, 10 inches wide, and 10 inches deep.
For ventilation, this dome-shaped cloche came with a practical vent. This allowed me to control temperature during the cold months as well as the hot ones.
The plus part about these plastic cloches was that they made it easier for me to water my plants directly from above without bending down and getting dirty or wet! I believe this cloche was perfect in every aspect. Still, I hope manufacturers will improve the plastic quality in the future because it gave out a yellow tint after several weeks.
“With the unpredictable overnight temps and the fact that I needed to get my veggie seedlings into the ground, I wanted to make sure they’re protected for a couple of weeks until the temperature no longer dips into the low 40s.
I love that these protectors are in the shape of cones. Some of my tomatoes are about 5 inches tall at this point and the cones fit well. I remove them in the morning as soon as the temperature reaches 50°. Then in the evening, they go back on. I’m even able to fit them over my summer squash seedlings that have much bigger leaves already. They’re a bit squished but no worse for wear since the cones come off in the morning.”
Another fantastic and, of course, stylish cloche for your garden is the Fshow Garden Cloches. This is the perfect way to protect your plants from birds, snails, and other pests that can cause damage to your garden and, at the same time, decorate your garden.
These cloches are 19.5cm wide and 22cm high, ideal for my medium to small plants.
I loved how these plant cloches were made from high-quality PVC and were completely transparent, allowing sunlight to penetrate the cloche and reach each plant.
They didn’t reflect light as traditional glass cloches do! That was the most amazing part for me.
Not only did this help me protect my plants from the sun’s rays, but it also kept them cool during hot days. As a result, I had no wilted leaves or drooping flowers.
I liked how the construction of these cloches was chemical free and 100% recyclable. I purchased the box with about 20 pairs of cloches, which is great for keeping most of your pants safe while they are growing.
These cloches were sturdy enough to remain in one direction for a long time, even under harsh conditions. However, there were times when they were blown away by the strong wind, and because of this reason, I had some issues with this one. But then they looked cool, so I had them in less windy areas of my garden.
“I use these on indoor plants and they like the added humidity in the winter.
I was unhappy when first ordered these because up tape was used inside the dome to hold packages of sticks and rods. I found a way to remove the tape without ruining the plastic dome. Don’t remove the tape right away, soak the dome in warm water with packages attached, until the tape is totally moistened. This removes tape much easier and without leaving glue on the dome. Hope this helps others.”
If you’re looking for a way to grow plants in your garden, but don’t want to spend money on heating your greenhouse all winter, then SYITCUN Plant Covers Winter 6 Pack Dome Plant Mini Greenhouse is the answer!
The area where I live has harsh cold temperatures almost all year round. But with this dome-shaped cloche, I could protect my plants from harsh weather. Additionally, the rotating adjustable air vents on top allowed me to control the temperature inside in no time.
When I received the parcel, I was assured that the texture of the plastic was safe to use for my plants. I was glad the cloche was made of durable, reusable, UV and weather-resistant PVC greenhouse plastic. Because of its reusable property, I am hoping that I will be able to use it for many years to come.
As these domes were unpacked, they had a diameter of 10 inches and a height of 7.5 inches, as well as 18 pins to secure them to the ground.
I liked how the clear material allowed the light to penetrate the greenhouse while I could see the inside and assess how my plants were doing.
Overall this ventilated garden cloche was eco-friendly, and because of this reason, it will remain among one of my favorite picks. And this is why I will purchase these cloches again and again.
It also helped me save money as the package it arrived in contained 6 plant cloches in one pack and also on the cost of failed planting attempts by keeping your plants safe and warm all winter long.
These plant cloches were among my favorites; however, there were many occasions when these were blown away by the wind. Even though I firmly secured it to the ground, it still couldn’t hold the air pressure.
Types of cloches
Cloches can be classified into the following types:
A bell cloche is a bell-shaped dome with a hole at its center so that light can penetrate through it. Bell cloches are usually made of plastic, copper, aluminum, and glass. They come in different sizes and colors.
The size depends on the purpose for which they are being used. Larger bell cloches are used to cover larger areas while smaller ones cover only one plant at a time.
The material used also plays an important role in determining the cost of bell cloches as plastic ones are cheaper than those made from metals like copper or aluminum.
Tunnel cloches are similar to bell cloches, but they have a long stem attached to a stand, allowing the gardener to move it around easily without bending over too much.
These covers do not allow light through them so they are used primarily for protecting fruits and vegetables from cold temperatures and moisture loss during the winter months when there isn’t enough sunlight available for these plants to grow properly without protection from inclement weather conditions.
A pop-up cloche is a “garden tent” that you place over your seedlings or young plants to protect them from cold weather, pests, and diseases.
It’s just a clear plastic cover that fits over your plants, but it has air vents at the bottom so it doesn’t suffocate them. It also provides shade on top of tall plants such as tomatoes and squash.
Pop-up cloches are available at most garden centers or hardware stores during the spring planting season, but they’re usually sold out quickly, so make sure to order yours early!
Cold Frame Cloche
A cold frame is similar to a pop-up cloche in that it protects plants from cold temperatures and pests, but it’s made from wood instead of plastic and has no vents at the bottom (unless it’s an old-fashioned wooden box with no lid).
Greenhouse cloches are usually made from glass or plastic and provide protection for individual plants or small groups of plants.
These cloches have different shapes (rectangular, oval, or round) and sizes vary from 4 inches wide to 24 inches wide.
They’re often used with cold frames, which extend their growing season even further by creating an indoor microclimate similar to what’s found outdoors during springtime.
Factors to consider when buying cloche
Here are some factors that you should consider before buying a cloche for your garden:
The size of the cloche
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the cloche or what kind of space it will take up in your garden. If you have a large area to plant, you might want to choose an oversized cloche so that it can cover all areas at once.
On the other hand, if you have limited space, then it would be better to choose smaller cloches to ensure that they fit properly without taking up too much of area.
The materials used in making the cloche
There are different kinds of materials that can be used for making a cloche. The most common materials include plastic, metal, and glass.
The material used to make the cloche will determine the durability and cost of the cloche. Most people prefer using plastic because it is cheap, durable, and easy to maintain.
The construction of the cloche
The construction of the cloche determines its durability and strength when exposed to harsh weather conditions such as rain or snow.
Cloches are usually made either from solid material or wire mesh. Cloches made with solid material are more expensive, but they are also more durable than those made with wire mesh because they do not allow water droplets to enter through their holes.
The price of the cloche
The cost of a cloche depends on its size, design, features, and materials used in making it among others factors available in the market today.
Therefore, you need to consider how much you want to spend before buying one so that you do not spend too much money.
How Did I Test the Products?
I started with my lawn to test all cloches on my list of the best cloches for the garden. Thankfully my garden is big enough to have different sections. I first divided my lawn into six significant portions to check every cloche under different conditions.
First, I wanted to start with metallic cloches and test how easy they were to install. I began around small plants and then gradually moved toward the larger ones. I ensured every cloche I had on this list could fit into small and slightly larger plants.
After the size test, I proceed with the corrosion and rust test. I had every metallic cloche placed in the garden for about weeks and had them during rain and even while watering the plants. This way, I could assess which cloche would last through harsh weather conditions and which didn’t.
Next, I ensured these cloches were sturdy enough to withstand strong wind or pressure. Because I live in a bit colder region where strong wind blows, I never wanted to invest in something that could be easily blown away by the wind every other day.
After I was done with the metallic cloches, I proceeded with the plastic ones. Now every one of these plastic cloches that I purchased here was tested even before purchasing safety health standards. Because these cloches were for my plants, I didn’t want to use anything made of harmful plastic or PVC.
Next, I check every cloche in terms of installation. I tested how the installation process goes on and how I could fix it in the ground. After getting it fixed, I checked whether they were convenient to use for watering plants and whether they were able to receive sunlight or not.
I also looked for the vents on the top of these cloches. Because I didn’t want to deprive my plants of essential nutrients, I ensured the vents were on the top of the cloche. also checked whether their compartments were easy to open for zipper cloches and whether the plants were wilting inside them.
How to put water in a garden cloche
Fill up the reservoir at least once weekly with water from your hose or a watering can. The water should be warm but not cold — you don’t want to shock the plants inside. If you’re using seeds, ensure they’re soaked before planting them in their final spot outside!
How do you cloche a garden?
Plant your seedlings or cuttings in pots or trays filled with compost, then put them in the center of the cloche so they’re protected from all sides. Water them regularly while inside the cloche — this helps prevent the compost from drying out quickly — but don’t let water build-up at the bottom, where it may freeze during cold weather.
What can you grow in a garden cloche?
Vegetables that need protection from pests: Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, and spinach. Vegetables that need protection from frost: Lettuces (romaine, iceberg), spinach, and radishes.
Will a cloche protect from frost?
A cloche is designed to protect plants from frost and other extreme weather conditions. Cloches protect tender plants from wind, hail, and frost by covering them with large bell-shaped glass or plastic containers, so yes, cloches will protect your plants from frost.
Do cloches need holes?
Cloches need holes for air circulation, so the plants don’t get too hot when it’s sunny. Various types of cloches are available with and without holes. The cloches without holes on top can be placed a little higher from the ground for proper ventilation.
There is a wide range of cloche options available today. Your best material choices will depend on your local growing conditions and the types of plants you intend to protect in your garden. Hopefully, this guide has given you insight into what factors to consider when purchasing. If you haven’t decided which cloche for your garden would work the best for you, let me share my favorite ones with you:
- Best Pick: Gardeners Supply Company Chicken Wire Cloche
- Budget-Friendly Pick: DECOHS 5 Pack Squirrel Proof Wire Cloche
- Beginner-Friendly Pick: Zenport SH3212A Garden Cold Frame Greenhouse Cloche