The 5 Best Indoor Gardening Kits to Bring the Outdoors Into Your Home
Indoor gardening is growing in popularity. When you're ready to give it a try, these systems make it beginner-level easy.
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The popularity of indoor gardening has grown (get it?) significantly in recent years. Maybe it’s due to the pandemic, or perhaps because many of us want to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Whatever the motivation, if you live in an urban environment or an area that experiences harsh winters, indoor gardening kits keep the green alive no matter the season.
These kits offer a lot more than simple pots do. Many come with indoor grow lights to help your plants thrive, meaning even low-light households can grow plants indoors. You can use them to start seedlings to transfer to your outdoor garden, or use them to feed your family. Indoor herb gardens let you add a little something special to your cooking and, believe it or not, you can even grow vegetables indoors. Keep your green thumb busy throughout the winter and beyond with one of these top-performing indoor gardening kits.
Best Overall Indoor Gardening Kit
AeroGarden Bounty Elite
The AeroGarden Bounty Elite sets up like a charm and grows plants like a monster. Made of tough stainless steel, this indoor gardening kit comes equipped with a 50-watt (W) adjustable LED grow light to provide plants with a full spectrum of sunlight to grow fast—up to five times quicker than if they were outdoors. Included with the machine are nine pods (gourmet herbs, heirloom salad, red heirloom cherry tomatoes or cascading petunias). It also comes with liquid plant food, a power adapter and a 6-inch attachable trellis.
- Touchscreen monitors plants’ vital statistics
- Wi-Fi compatible with Alexa
- Sends reminders to add water and plant food
- Can be controlled from the app or Amazon Echo
- Water sensor may get blocked by roots
Best Budget Indoor Gardening Kit
iDoo Hydroponics Growing System
With no soil necessary and no pests to worry about, the iDoo hydroponics growing system is the ultimate DIY hydroponic indoor garden greenhouse. Simple to set up, it has three different LED modes—germination, vegetable (blue/red light) and fruit/flower mode (red/white light)—with a built-in upper fan that simulates the outdoor breeze to spread pollen as bees would. It’s got everything you need (sans water and seeds), but is still very affordable.
Five-star reviewer CamD writes that the iDoo works well for lettuce, basil and spinach. “Growing your own food is so satisfying… especially in the winter! I love this unit and will keep utilizing it…having my seventh bowl of salad today. It’s easy to maintain, no sound or smell and was not expensive.”
- Won’t break the bank
- Includes 12 smart soil sponge pods
- Quiet self-watering planter
- Low-tech option
Best Starter Indoor Gardening Kit
Super Sprouter Deluxe Propagation Kit
“If you are starting your own vegetable seedlings indoors this winter,” says Leslie F. Halleck, a certified professional horticulturist and author of Gardening Under Lights, “skip the windowsill and invest in several quality LED bars in the 18- to 42-watt range.”
The Super Sprouter deluxe propagation kit fits this criteria. Its high-output, 18-inch T5 fluorescent grow light with patented NanoTech reflector shines down on the clear humidity dome over a heavy-duty tray that holds the soil and seeds. Use this kit to start flower or vegetable seedlings, propagate fresh cuttings or cultivate salad greens.
- Includes a booklet with expert advice
- Has an affordable price point
- Creates the environment needed for germinating seeds and cuttings
- Works with a variety of growing media
- Heat mat must be ordered separately
Best Compact Indoor Gardening Kit
Click & Grow Smart Garden
Grow fresh herbs and greens in a tight space with the small, yet prolific, Click & Grow indoor garden. Set it on a counter or shelf, and the calibrated, self-watering, energy-efficiency LED light and nutrient system lets you produce homegrown, organic, pesticide-free food and plants.
This indoor gardening kit contains two lamp extension arms, three basil seed pods and a quick-start guide with lots of tips from pro gardeners. Choose from more than 50 pre-seeded plant pods (sold separately). Or, if you prefer, use your own seeds. It’s the ideal indoor garden for apartments or dorms.
“Taking up counter space comparable to a loaf of bread, this is a cool, zero-hassle product that quickly grows three small, healthy organic plants at a time,” writes Amazon reviewer, Amazon Customer. My basil seeds (that came with the smart garden) started sprouting in less than three days.”
- Sleek and portable table-top design
- Available in three colors: white, beige and gray
- Has a built-in timer
- Holds enough water to grow plants for a month
- The light bar doesn’t extend all the way across the planter
Best Indoor Gardening Kit for Salad Greens
AeroGarden Farm 12XL
Another standout to grow strong, healthy greens, AeroGarden’s farm 12XL is for serious salad lovers. It comes with a salad bar seed pod kit, featuring nine lettuce and three herb pods. The unit has a growing height of 36 inches, which translates to the ability to cultivate up to 24 seed pods simultaneously. (Note: It comes with 12 pods to get you started). Yes, it’s big, but because it sits flat against the wall, it makes the most of your home’s floor space.
- Produces bigger, taller yields
- Has a large water reservoir
- Can stack with other AeroGarden Farm models
- Includes liquid plant food, a power adapter and a trellis
What to Consider When Buying an Indoor Garden
An indoor gardening kit or system is one that’s set up inside a home or greenhouse. It utilizes nature’s sunshine, artificial lighting or both. When looking to buy an indoor garden, consider what sort of plants you’d like to grow and how much room you can devote to your plants. You also need to factor in lighting. It’s convenient if you have a big, sunny window for your garden to grow beneath, but if not, you’ll need a kit featuring grow lights.
Types of Indoor Gardens
- Soil: These indoor gardens grow plants just like your outdoor garden does—in nutritious topsoil. Soil gardens are good for starting seeds that will be eventually replanted outside.
- Hydroponic: Hydroponic gardens grow plants in water, not soil. Don’t forget to check out the best hydroponic garden kits.
- Natural light: These indoor gardens need to be set by a window or door that lets large amounts of light stream into your house.
- Artificial light: Kits with grow lights are smart for rooms with limited sunlights, or for persnickety plants that like spending some time in the dark.
How We Found the Indoor Gardening Kits
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
What plants are best for indoor gardening?
Even if the temperature is low outside, you don’t have to stop gardening. Here are the best (and easiest) vegetables to grow in your indoor garden:
- Leafy lettuce and salad greens
- Green onions/scallions
What plants should be avoided in an indoor garden?
Root plants, like carrots and potatoes, don’t transplant well. Plants in the squash family, as well as beans and peas, grow quickly, and will get too big for most indoor gardening kits to manage.
Where do you buy plants for an indoor gardening kit?
If the manufacturer of your indoor garden kit sells seeds or pods, you can buy them directly from their website or on Amazon. You can also buy seeds and seedlings at garden centers, nurseries, hardware stores and even some grocery stores.
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