In any ornamental or mixed greenhouse staging is important as here plants are placed to waist height and watering and care are made easier. Staging is also necessary for propagating and growing on young plants. The staging can be removed for summer crops if necessary.
Positioning the staging is important especially in a small or mixed greenhouse. The most satisfactory arrangement is to have a central path with staging along the sides and if possibly across one end, removing half of it for border crops when necessary and retaining the permanent staging for displaying the ornamental plants. Place the permanent staging on the side where it will cast the least shade on the border crops.
In larger, ornamental greenhouses, that are primarily design as show houses, the staging may be placed in the center with path around the edge. Put two staging benches placed back-to-back, preferably with tiered staging in the centre to enhance the display of plants.
The staging size and height may vary but most staging benches are 45-60 cm wide and 75-90 cm height. Wider benches are useful in a large greenhouse but they may be difficult to reach across. Most amateur greenhouses also serve as a potting shed, so the height of the staging should be at reach as they are also used as working surface. They should be lower than 75 cm if a sitting working position is required.
All staging, used for displaying plants or as working surface, needs to be of sturdy construction to support the considerable weight of plants, containers and compost. Make sure you always leave a generous gap between the back of any staging and the sides of the greenhouse to allow air to circulate freely.
Besides the permanent staging you might find it useful to have staging that can be dismantled and stored away. This can be brought into the greenhouse for short periods of time, for instance when raising seedlings in spring. These free-standing staging may not fit the greenhouse as well as the built-in staging and may not look as attractive but is more flexible in use. When you buy a free-standing staging make sure it is easy to assemble and sturdy since you will be using it for many years.
If you use the greenhouse for growing border crops for most of the year, open-mesh staging which folds back neatly against the side of the greenhouse is a convenient choice for short periods. Free-standing modular staging systems can be built up in tiers and provide an attractive way of displaying plants. Slatted, mesh or solid modular systems are available.
When adding permanent, built-in staging and shelves into the greenhouse make sure they are specially designed for the type of your greenhouse as they put a strain on the framework of the greenhouse, especially light, aluminium alloy structures. If using gravel or sand, they will add extra weight to the staging, particularly when it is wet.
If you are growing alpines or cacti and succulents in pots in your greenhouse, it is preferable to use slatted or mesh benches. These will allow a freer flow of air than solid staging. However, slatted and mesh staging are not suitable for capillary watering systems.
For a timber greenhouse, choose wooden slatted benches. For an aluminium alloy or galvanized steel greenhouse use metal or plastic-mesh benches. Solid staging allow more pots to be placed on than slatted staging but they may require more ventilation. If you need to use a capillary watering system, choose solid aluminium staging that has a level surface for matting or sand. There are some specially designed staging for capillary watering system. They have reversible sections that produce raised flat surface for mats if placed one way and dish-like sections for sand or gravel if reversed.
Shelves may be used in the greenhouse for both storage and display. Permanent shelves often cast shade on the plants below, so it is preferable to install fold-away shelves, which may be used in the spring when space is short and then put away for the rest of the year. In small greenhouses you can use shelves for displaying trailing plants where there is not enough head-room for hanging baskets.