Indoor grow systems like Aerogarden’s Harvest Base use hydroponic systems that feed plants with nutrient-enriched water instead of soil, eliminating the hassle of maintaining plants indoors without getting dirt in the carpet.
Up to six plants grow from individual pods under a 20W white, red, and blue LED light. The multicolored lights give plants an artificial version of the full-spectrum sunlight they’d receive outdoors.
As your plants grow, the light hood can be adjusted for up to 12” of space—while this is perfect for small herbs, greens, and flowers, we recommend using the next indoor grow system if you plan on cultivating a diverse vegetable garden.
Aerogarden’s Farm 24 XL indoor grow system uses the same hydroponic cultivation method and multi-colored, full-spectrum lighting as the Harvest base, but its larger size allows the Aerogarden Farm to hold up to 24 plants.
The Farm has two independently adjustable 60-watt panels and three feet of growth space, making this an ideal choice for taller, more robust vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and more. Purchase of the Farm also includes two seed pod kits, so you can start your vegetable garden as soon as you set up the grow system.
Once set up, you can control the Farm via a touch screen panel and through the AeroGarden app. The app will send automatic water and plant food reminders to your phone and the grow system, taking the guesswork (and pressure) out of daily maintenance.
Digging, prodding, and turning over the soil can be some of the most meditative aspects of gardening, so if you’re not quite ready to give that up for a hydroponic system, consider a self-watering window planter.
Self-watering window planters like this one slowly distribute up to a week’s worth of water to veggies and flowers, and an easy-to-read water indicator shows you when it’s time to re-water without having to disturb the plants themselves. Go ahead and take that mini-vacay; your plants will still be well-watered and thriving when you return.
Because this indoor grow system is self-watering, not self-lit, the planter will need to be placed near a source of consistent sunlight. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a windowsill; the 16.5”x5.5” planter is compact enough to put on a coffee table, nightstand, or countertop.
The iDOO Hydroponics Growing System is a slightly more nuanced version of Aerogarden’s Harvest base. The iDOO system features three growth modes and two water circulation modes in addition to the familiar hydroponic system and multi-spectrum LED lights.
Depending on the stage of your indoor garden, the iDOO system can be set to Normal (14 hours on, 10 hours off), Grow (16 hours on, 8 hours off), or Enjoy (12 hours on, 12 hours off) mode. Not all plants grow equally under the same conditions, and these versatile functions help even the blackest of thumbs find their garden’s perfect sweet spot of light/darkness.
The water pump’s mode can also be changed from Normal to Sleep mode. In quiet Sleep mode, the water pump turns off for 12 hours before resuming for another 12 hours of Normal mode (five minutes on, 30 minutes off).
If you already have a good thing going with your potted flowers, herbs, and vegetables, don’t disrupt Mother Nature’s process by trying to transplant your garden into a hydroponic system. More often than not, your plants know what’s best for them.
Keep your indoor potted plants well-lit and happy with an adjustable multi-functional grow light like this one from Ezorkas. The red and blue LED combination imitates full-spectrum sunlight, and its nine dimmable modes and three timing modes means you can give your plant babies as much (or as little) sunlight as they want.
The grow light features four gooseneck light bars, allowing it to light tabletop and floor pots simultaneously. The powerful clip attaches to compatible surfaces up to 3” thick, and since there’s no light hood to worry about, this multi-headed light fixture can be used on tall and short plants alike.
Like the Ezorkas grow light, Mindful Design’s extra-wide LED indoor garden simulates sunlight while plants grow in whatever pots or containers they prefer. Unlike the previous clip light fixture, this indoor planter has stricter size/height requirements.
As long as your herbs, veggies, or flowers’ containers fit within the 16.5”x10”x11.4” cabinet, they should get plenty of artificial sunlight—850 Lumens-worth—to grow healthy and strong. And because too much of anything is never a good thing, this handy planter also comes with an automatic 16 hours on, 8 hours off timer to simulate natural daylight.
The planter’s eco-friendly PVC frames can be stacked on one another for more extensive indoor gardens, though the shop recommends no more than three planters stacked at one time.
Not interested in growing herbs or veggies? No problem. This minimalistic indoor LED planter from Make Lemonade is the ideal size for housing succulents, air plants, and water plants—a.k.a. the plants even the blackest of black thumbs shouldn’t be able to kill.
This indoor planter’s sleek circular shape is compact enough to fit on a desk, bookshelf, mantle, or countertop. Plus, the dimmable LED lights double as a gentle night light. (Keep in mind that the LED strip is white light only, which might not work for plants that require full-spectrum light.)
Fill the transparent basin with good ol’ dirt, sand, or moss, or take a more decorative approach with stones or glass beads.