DIY IKEA Greenhouse Cabinet Hack - Milsbo Tall


I love the Barrina T5 lights. They are good quality, cover the full spectrum and have a low PPFD so I can put my shelves close together without giving too much light to my plants.

They are also very lightweight, don't get hot, take up little room and are easy to install.

I've read that white are to produce better leaves and yellow are to produce better flowers. I haven't been able to verify if this is true. The white make a pink/purple tint and the yellow make a yellow tint.

Learn more about PPFD and lights here (you will need to join the awesome group first).

If your shelves are going to be more than 15" apart then you will need longer cords than come with the Barrina. It was really hard to find longer cords but after returning some and reading reviews I have found these work great.

To attach the lights to the shelves I've found the easiest thing is to just use zip ties. You can buy them on Amazon here or at any home improvement store.

Here is a good explanation on attaching magnets to Barrinas so they will stay on the underside of the top of the cabinet and light the top shelf -

Here is a very generic list of how I do the lighting and shelf spacing for each species of aroid I have -

Anthurium - generally shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf. As they get larger I have to space them farther apart.

Pothos - I don't put in my cabinets since they don't like too much light and generally aren't valuable enough.

Hoya - Shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf. If you want them to sun-stress, move them to a 15" shelf for a week or two but I have found that sun-stressed hoyas don't grow as fast and if they get too sun-stressed they will stop growing.

Variegated Monstera - They can be as close as 1" to double Barrinas.

Non-Variegated Monstera - Shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf.

PPP - Shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf.

Other Variegated Climbing Philodendron - Shelves 20" apart with two lights per shelf.

Hanging Philodendron - Shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf.

Gloriosum, Glorious, Melano, Campo, and other delicate Philodendron - Shelves 30" apart with one light per shelf.

Scindapsus - Shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf.

Syngonium - Shelves 20" apart with one light per shelf for the babies and Shelves 25" apart with one light per shelf for the larger ones.

Drilling a hole in the bottom for cords

This post explains how to do this really well. This is the hole saw I bought and the grommet I bought.


I looked for way too long for shelving but what ended up being the easiest and cheapest by far was just to go to Home Depot and buy the longest shelves of these that are in stock and ask them to cut them for you into 26" lengths.

If that's not an option then these will work great but cost quite a bit more.

Unfortunately, you can't just set these shelves over the existing IKEA brackets so what you have to do is buy these brackets and put them in each corner using the screws that came with your IKEA cabinet brackets. Then you can just place the shelves right on top of the brackets.


For a month or so I thought I could get away without fans but then I started having a lot of issues with the soil not drying out, fungus and large humidity swings so I bought two of these for each cabinet.

They have a USB plug so you need to plug it into a regular USB outlet. I ended up using this one so I could use one for every two cabinets.

Sometimes my cords weren't long enough so I used these extensions.

What I ended up doing is putting one fan hung from these magnet hooks in one of the top corners angled down onto the plants. Then I put my second fan over the drilled opening on the bottom shelf so it will pull in "outside" air regularly.


You can learn more about VPD in my post about growing houseplants faster, but in summary - your plants will do much better if your humidity and heat are in good ratios compared to each other.

This means you are very likely going to need to heat your cabinet.


I have found that using my watering system is mostly all I need to do to get the humidity up plenty high. I don't like the idea of using a humidifier or weather stripping because a humidifier takes up room and gets really complicated because it makes it too humid so then you need a way to detect the humidity levels and turn it off, etc.

I don't like the idea of weather stripping because the plants need fresh air to breathe. And just moving stale air around with a fan doesn't work and opening the doors a few times a day is not something I have time for.

My humidity is usually around 65-80% and that seems about right for most plants. A few things effect humidity -

  • When the temperature goes down, the humidity goes up.
  • When I'm not running fans, the humidity goes up.
  • The more plants, the higher the humidity.
  • When my watering trays and plants get dry, the humidity goes down.

I personally think it is good for the humidity to fluctuate a bit. It's more natural and gives the plants some time when they are really happy and some time to toughen up, spread their roots and for disease and bugs to die off.

I do have some little containers with LECA in them on each shelf over the heat mat that I just fill with filtered water every few days so when the plants mats are dried out, the humidity doesn't go too low.


My plants are right by a window, my front door and in one of the coldest rooms in my house. The temperature in the winter wasn't so bad in the day but at night it would go down to 65 or lower and my plants generally need the heat to be around 79-82 to match the humidity.

I also don't want them to think it is winter and go dormant or grow slower so I try to keep the heat, humidity and lights the same all year round.

I researched a lot of different ways to heat the cabinet and experimented a bunch. What I ended up settling on are plant heat mats. They are waterproof, relatively affordable and don't burn the plants.

Unfortunately, you need quite a few in order to have the control you need over the heat. Otherwise, the temperature just can't ever get high enough. This way I can get the temperature up to where it needs to be quickly. The downside is it isn't super pretty.

How I set them up is I start by buying one 10" x 20.75" heat mat for each shelf and one 48" x 20.75" heat mat to attach to the back of the cabinet. And one thermostat per cabinet with one power strip per thermostat.

Then I put all the small heat mats on a shelf and attach the large mat to the back with VHB tape. Then put the cords through the hole at the bottom, plug the outlet into the thermostat, fish the temperature probe up through the hole at the bottom and put it on top of one my pots on the middle shelf, plug the cords into the outlet and then set the thermostat to my desired temperature.

I plug the thermostat into an extension cord that is always on (same one I use for my fans). I use a separate extension cord plugged into a timer for my lights so they come on for 12 hours then turn off for 12 hours.

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