The best Indoor Gardening Kits for Edibles 2024- one of them is owned by President Obama! (I'll be honest, I've tested some of the gardens, including the one Obama has, but not all- yet!)
As an Asian food blogger, I often need spices, fresh herbs and vegetables in my recipes. (They're WAY more flavorful than dried.)
Some of the fresh Asian herbs I use, such as Thai basil & Holy basil, can be difficult to find, as they're not always in stock at the grocery store so I tried to grow my own.
Unfortunately, I live in a flat so dark- no direct sunlight- that I often misread the oven temperature of 250 as 150! (Resulting in a lot of burnt food.) Hence, even though I've invested thousands of dollars in my balcony garden (including TWO grow lights), it's all been for nothing, as all the herbs, without fail, get infected by pests, or wither and die!
I had given up on growing my own fresh herbs when I found Click & Grow, a self-watering system that is perfect for small spaces. If you've always wanted your own indoor garden, it's one of the best options out there!
- As the Click & Grow website says, it's set-it-and-forget-it (or at least forget it till it's time to top up the water level. No need to get your hands dirty.)
- The LED lights are timed so you don't have to do anything.
- You'll be surprised how little soil is in the seed pods!
- My friend's brother gave it to her, and her apartment is even smaller than mine (50 sqm.) Yet the plants were doing really well every time I visited. Hence, I finally decided to take the plunge and get my own indoor kit!
- The site says plants grow 30% faster and have a superior aroma and flavor.
- Almost half of my herb plant pods sprouted in 2 nights!
- Even plants that are notoriously tricky in Singapore's heat, such as coriander and kale, sprouted with no issue. (I just cooked a chicken sambal and added kale to the curry with my bounty of fresh produce!)
- Well, obviously they test better than the types of herbs in the supermarket, as those are usually shipped thousands of miles to Singapore, and my Click&Grow ones were super fresh!
- No GMOS, herbicides or pesticides.
- Very important to me, as I want to eat organic but can't afford to!
- Herbs & veg grown with C&G "contain 3x more healthy vitamins tha their store-bought counterparts."
- You can use tapwater to water.
- Works almost everywhere, "from Alaska to Singapore"
- A replacement if a pod doesn't grow!
- Out of 27 pods, only 2 did not sprout for me. (Coriander, notoriously difficult to sprout.)
Note: I'd previously tried another indoor gardening system, but it didn't quite work out for me. Maybe the LED grow light wasn't strong enough, but the plants all died. In addition, the water reservoir didn't work very well- and I had a constant fear of mosquitoes breeding in it!
Click & Grow solved all these issues for me with its amazing led lights, and I'll share more about it below.
What I Cover in this Review
The Click&Grow system was so good, I decided to write this post on the best indoor herb gardens.
I know how difficult it can be to get fresh Asian herbs- and how expensive they can be- as well as how much they can elevate the taste of your food. I've been cooking up Asian food like crazy after getting my set, from Coconut Chicken Sambal and Pad Kee Mao to Thai Basil Fried rice (even a vegetarian version!)
Now, not everyone likes what I like, so I'm including the advantages and disadvantages of each, to help you make a choice.
Some points I will cover include:
- Ease of Use (of the various systems)
- Disadvantages (no system is perfect!)
- Cost Comparison between buying herbs and growing your own (Sorry, I don't earn much as a content creator, so I am keenly interested in the economics of things!)
Note: when I was about to buy the kit, I saw that they had an affiliate program. I contacted Click & Grow and they kindly gifted me with a set. You may wonder how impartial my review is since the set was gifted- well, Click & Grow was so good, I PAID FOR ANOTHER SET LESS THAN A MONTH LATER! (Yes, using MY OWN MONEY. And the sets aren't cheap.) It's so good, I plan to buy the (most expensive) Wall Farm once I can affor it!
So I'm really putting my money where my mouth is, and not endorsing a product because I'm paid to 🙂 Basically, Click & Grow has turned my black thumb into a green thumb!
Of course, there are other options besides Click and Grow, and I'll introduce you to the best indoor herbs gardens, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each of the indoor garden systems cto help you make an informed decision.
Hydroponic vs Soil
First, you need to decide whether you want a hydroponic garden or one with soil.
A typical indoor hydroponic garden has a water reservoir tank with cover, growing cups for the plants, and grow lights above the plants.
I did some research into hydroponics, and found them quite troublesome, namely because:
- It's not really hands-off. There's a lot you will need to learn, such as the best water pH, the best water pump to use, optimal water temperature, and more. I really want to grow indoor plants in a hassle-free way!
- You need to clean and sanitize the different components of the system- and some hydroponic systems need to be cleaned quite often, every 7 to 14 days. Not very fun, in my opinion.
- Mosquitoes can grow in the water tank (yes even in nutrient solution.)
- Many systems are very bulky, in comparison to Click & Grow
- Although it's relatively pest-free, diseases spread more quickly.
- Can be noisy, depending on the water pump used.
The advantages are:
- Space-saving as you can do vertical gardening (Yes compared to an outdoor garden, but not compared to Click&Grow, in my opinion)
- The growing medium is liquid, so no soil is needed
- Apparently, Higher YIeld (I have not tested this myself.)
For those interested in hydroponics, I have a section below, covering some hydroponic indoor gardening kits. However, I'll start with Click & Grow since it's my favorite!
Click & Grow
The system works like a coffee capsule machine, into which you insert biodegradable plant pods, made using C&G's unique patented "Smart Soil." (Super easy to set-up!)
The pods are made from natural materials such as peat and leftover coconut cuir, so they're very sustainable. They also contain everything that specific seed will need to grow under optimal conditions. The resulting plants are "100% clean, free of pesticides or any other harmful substances."
Types of Gardens
There are 6 types of Click & Grow Smart Gardens. These 4 are a great choice for plant lovers with a smaller space:
- Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 (i.e. 3 soil discs in the garden)
- Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 (9 in the garden)
- Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 PRO (same as the above but app controlled. However, some people feel the app doesn't do much, according to reviews. Hence, if you want to save money, just stick with the regular Smart Garden.)
- Click & Grow Smart Garden 27 (3 sets of the Smart Garden 9 along with a planter rack to stack up the plants.)
Note: I was gifted with the Click & Grow 27, and ended up buying myself another Click & Grow 9 set. My friend has the Click & Grow Smart Garden 3, and it's almost exactly like the 9, just that it fits fewer plants. So, we've tested all of the above except for the PRO version with the app.)
Then there are these 2 larger systems for those who want to grow different plants all year round:
- Click & Grow 25
- Wall Farm Indoor Vertical Garden
I would love to have these 2 sets, but I don't recommend them if you're short on space, as they're much bulkier than the Smart Gardens.
If you dont't have much space, the C&G 3 or 9 will be your best choice as they can just go on a countertop (that has access to an electrical point.) It's really sleek and compact, so can easily go on the dining table or kitchen countertop.
Keep in mind that you're paying about $140- $399 extra for the rack (depending on the promotion being run) if you go for the Click&Grow 27. The main benefits of this specific rack- as opposed to getting a cheap one from Ikea- are:
- There are grooves on the shelves to hold the gardens snugly, so you don't have to worry about accidentally pushing them off.
- You can attach it to the wall, for safety. (I had it free-standing for a few months.)
- The quality is good- the legs felt like real wood, not like Ikea which sometimes feels like compressed paper. (In tropical climates, a lot of Ikea products warp over time. I THINK the Click&Grow one should be OK, but will update as time goes by.) I was honestly surprised by how high the quality of the rack was, but it is an extra $400..
- As minimalistic in design and easy to assemble as Ikea but much more sturdy.
Note: unlike Ikea, which you sometimes have to buy nails or hooks etc separately for, everything I needed to attach my stand to the wall came in the box.
Why Buy C&G
Want to own the same garden as President Obama? The C&G 3 is so popular, it was even taken to space in George Clooney's film, "Midnight Sky."
- Suitable for any skill level: it is REALLY easy to set up and use. I even went away for a week and the plants were still doing very well when I returned!
- The Garden is basically a rectangular "box" so it really doesn't take much space. (You can get it in white, beige or grey.) It has LED lights (which really make your plants grow!) on top of the plant pods. (You'll need to plug it into an electrical point.)
- It's quite sleek and stylish in a minimalistic way, so works even for the house-proud who want their homes to look nice.
- You get enough complimentary plant pods, which are packed with seeds and nutrients, to start and fill your indoor garden. (3 basil pods if you buy the Smart 3, 3 basil/ 3 mini tomatoes/ 3 lettuce if you get the Smart 9, and 9 basil/ 9 mini tomatoes/ 9 lettuce with the Smart 27.)
- No need for plant food, as the soil pods are already pre-fertilized
- You also get a standing rack if you buy the 27.
If you want other plants, Click & Grow has a HUGE variety of both edibles and flowers, wide enough even to satisfy a person like me, who cooks mainly Asian food.
I have also transplanted my own Brazilian spinach cuttings into the pods, and they grew beautifully. I plan to try with my own seeds as well as Vietnamese Coriander and kaffir lime leaf cuttings when this round of herbs die out.
You can even buy "empty" C&G peat pots and use your own seeds in them!
What Would I Change About It?
- The cost: It's obviously much cheaper to just grow plants outside in pots of soil! I wanted to get another 27 kit, but can't afford it at the moment. (Hopefully, once Q4 is over, I will be able to, as blogging pays better in Q4.) Hint to friends and family on the page: these are great gifts to spoil friends who enjoy gardening or cooking, as many people are usually more willing to spend on friends than themselves!
- Not sure if it would work with taller plants: I'm not sure if taller plants can grow in the kit, due to size constraints? For example, the Click&Grow website shows a pineapple on its "Grown Anything" pods page. I would be SUPER impressed if a pineapple could grow in it!
- Small space: well, I was looking for a compact system, but the downside is there's not much space in between the plants. Herbs are always terrific but when it comes to leafy vegetables, the space can get a bit crowded. I would recommend alternating herbs and veggies in a kit. (I put all the herbs in 1 planter, and all the veggies in another.)
- Cover up the small hole by the side: there's a long, small hole in the side. I would prefer if that was closed up, due to my concerns about mosquito breeding. Other than that, it's much less mosquito-attracting than the other indoor systems I've tried. (Also, to be fair, my friend has been using it over a year without sealing up any of the holes and had no issue with mosquitoes.)
Note: the Click & Grow site says that you only need to top up the water every 2-3 weeks, but I find it depends on the plants. Some plants are a bit thirstier!
Is it cheaper to grow or buy?
This would vary depending on how much the herb or veggie costs in your supermarket.
In Singapore, I paid about $9 for a TINY pot of organic basil and it was good for only 1 small harvest, before it withered and died. So, for me, an indoor gardening kit like C&G is more than worth it!
I will update this section once this cycle of plants dies, so I know exactly how much produce I got from it, and how much that would have cost in the supermarket.
To be honest, I suspect that homegrown is more expensive (that was by far the case when I was attempting a balcony garden)- unless you grow pricier edibles- but there's simply no comparison when it comes to flavor and freshness!
Other Indoor Gardens
AeroGarden is my 2nd favorite indoor garden.
- Advanced hydroponic system for efficient plant growth (Claims to be 5x faster than the outdoors.)
- A variety of herb, vegetable, and flower seed pod options.
- Offers a wide range of models and sizes to fit different needs: you can grow 1 plant, 3 plants, 9 plants etc. (To be frank, they have so many options, I find it a bit overwhelming.)
- Higher initial cost: at the time of writing, the AeroGarden Bounty Elite (9 pods) was $259.95 vs Click&Grow 9's $249.95. At full price, it's $429.95 vs C&G's $309.95. (They both run frequent promotions.)
- Requires more hands-on maintenance
- To be frank, I prefer the look of the Click&Grow but everyone has different taste!
Whether Click&Grow or AeroGarden is better for you depends on:
- How much work do you want to do?
- You need to top up the nutrient solution for Aerogarden but not Click&Grow.
- Both have a water reservoir than will need topping up.)
- How high tech/ complicated do you want your system to be?
- Ideal for those with limited space.
- Traditional planters can be used to grow herbs, small vegetables, and microgreens.
- Limited capacity
- Not suitable for all plants
- Requires a good source of sunlight and regular watering.
- I also find it much more difficult to grow plants in small pots than in the actual ground. (I've done both.) When you use small pots or planters, you need to fertilize regularly and pests are often a huge issue.
- Aesthetic and decorative way to grow small plants.
- Low maintenance and minimal space requirements.
- Limited to small plants and succulents.
- Not suitable for growing herbs for culinary use.
IKEA Växer Series
The Ikea set allows you to grow your own vegetables indoors, without soil or sunlight.
- Affordable and stylish indoor gardening option. As with most IKEA products, it looks nice in your living room!
- Includes hydroponic systems, plant stands, and LED grow lights
- Limited selection compared to other brands
- I personally find it quite troublesome: it has 2 systems (so you'll need more space.) Seeds are first placed in moisten stone wool starter plugs. After sprouting, they have to be transplanted into Krydda pots. For busy people, this is a bit too much effort.
DIY Hydroponic Systems
- Customizable and cost-effective if you build it yourself.
- Allows for more extensive and flexible setups.
- Requires more effort and knowledge to set up and maintain
Ultimately, your choice of indoor gardening method will depend on your individual preferences, available space, budget, and gardening experience!
For someone who enjoys cooking, like me, Click & Grow was a GAME CHANGER. I was finally able to grow my own herbs and veggies, which really helped elevate my recipes, reduced my grocery bill, and decreased my carbon footprint. (C&G emits "2.6x fewer CO2 emissions than traditional ways of growing and consuming greens.")
If you live in a small place, want something stylish and hassle-free, that grows plants fast, without GMOS, pesticides or herbicides, I highly recommend the Click&Grow. (Make sure you are happy with their plant offering before you get a set.)
P.S. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the best indoor garden kits! Happy gardening!