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Indoor growing systems, LED lights… don’t worry, we’re not starting a marijuana farm! In this article, I’ll be talking about the rather more wholesome act of growing your own herbs and veggies.

Yep, this is your definitive guide to everything there is to know about the best indoor smart gardens currently available in the UK – including the pros, cons, FAQs, and everything in between!

Harvesting your own produce doesn’t get much more seasonal or local, so it’s a great way to shop more ethically, bringing you in tune with nature and ensuring that the food you eat is the freshest and most nutritious there is! Aromatic herbs are also a fantastic way to impart flavour into your dishes, especially if you follow a plant-based vegan diet like me. But really, they’re going to benefit any kitchen.

Another reason to consider an indoor smart garden is if you live in an urban area or don’t have the luxury of outdoor space. Oh, and if you aren’t particularly green-thumbed (I’ve been known to kill many a supposedly ‘unkillable’ house plant in my time) or you simply don’t have the time or inclination to do any serious gardening, then a smart garden will put your microgreens on autopilot. Let’s take a look!

My Top Picks

Click & Grow Smart 9 Pro

AeroGarden Bounty Elite

Veritable Connect

Here are the 5 best indoor smart gardens in the UK

I’ve scoured high and low for the best indoor growing kits that are available to purchase and suitable for UK sockets. And even better? I’ve made sure that all of my recommendations come with app-control as standard.

This way, if you’re a bit of a control freak like me (but still want to automate your life as much as possible), then you have all of your indoor herb garden settings accessible at your fingertips. Adjust your light schedule, get alerted when the water is low, or go full-on nerd and keep a daily plant diary (I mean, you know, only if you want to…). You can even make changes from a different country if you’re away on holiday!

#1 Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 Pro

Style
Functionality
Value
  • Specs: W60.4 x D18.4 x H39.6cm | 2.4kg | 13W | Bluetooth
  • Capacity: Up to 9 plants | Soil-based
  • Materials: ABS plastic
  • Colours: White

Pros

  • Sleek, minimalist design
  • Easy app control & Bluetooth connectivity
  • 9 complimentary plant capsules (3x tomato, 3x basil, 3x lettuce)

Cons

  • Takes up space on countertops
  • Harder to grow taller plants

Click & Grow’s sleek white designs are basically the Apple of smart gardens. The Garden Pro 9 is as beautiful as it is functional.

Featuring a slim row of LED lights (rather than the traditional clunky lighting of other indoor growers), the Pro 9 uses cutting-edge CPI technology to control moisture in the soil and add nutrients at optimal intervals. Set-up is super straightforward, and the app allows you to set a custom lights schedule, track your plant’s progress, as well as order new pods.

Bear in mind that the unit is fairly big compared to others, so may not be as suitable for smaller spaces (if so, check out their 3-pod here). Annoyingly, the extension arm is sold separately, meaning that you can’t adjust the height of the light bar as standard. You’re also restricted to buying pods directly from Click & Grow (although with 75+ pre-seeded pots, this shouldn’t be too much of a hassle!).

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#2 AeroGarden Bounty Elite

Style
Functionality
Value
  • Specs: W40.6 x D15.2 x H20.3-86.4cm | 5.4kg | 50W | WiFi
  • Capacity: Up to 9 plants | Hydroponic
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Colours: Silver

Pros

  • Easy app control & full-colour touchscreen
  • Holiday mode
  • Extremely adjustable
  • Durable stainless steel finish
  • Comes with a starter herb seed pod kit

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • LEDs are very bright
  • More energy-intensive than other machines

If Click & Grow were the Apple of indoor smart gardens, then AeroGarden are the Rolls Royce! For best in class, look no further than the AeroGarden Bounty Elite (if your pennies will stretch to it!).

With its colour touchscreen and Alexa connectivity, it’s got all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a machine at the pricier end of the spectrum. That said, you get what you pay for – it’s no surprise that it regularly comes out number 1 in smart garden reviews.

In particular, with its adjustable height, it’s the machine best suited for growing taller veggies. There’s also a handy ‘vacation mode’, low water and nutrient reminders, plus dimmable lights (note: the auto lights are very bright). AeroGarden also have a ‘Germination Guarantee’, are part of the ‘Safe Seed Initiative’, and have loads of helpful articles for new smart gardeners!

#3 Veritable Connect Smart Home Garden

Style
Functionality
Value
  • Specs: W33 x D18.5 x H38-45cm | 1.5kg | 12W | Bluetooth
  • Capacity: Up to 4 plants | Hydroponic
  • Materials: ABS and PP plastics
  • Colours: White/Gold or White/Silver

Pros

  • Easy app control
  • Good size for small spaces
  • Independently adjustable lighting poles
  • Eco-friendly materials & packaging
  • 4 complimentary lingots (sweet basil, curly parsley, chives & thyme)

Cons

  • Limited growing space
  • Hit-and-miss germination & yield rates

A leader in indoor urban agriculture, the French-made Veritable Smart Garden is another beautiful piece of kit that will look the part on your kitchen countertops.

This 4-slot garden is a little smaller than others on this list – but perfect for kitchens that are tight on space. The lingots are composed of organic seeds, organic soil, and essential nutrients for each plant. Everything has been carefully considered for the optimum harvest, so it’s pretty much zero maintenance once set up and plugged in!

Packaging is eco and recyclable, with 100% compostable and biodegradable refills that contain no pesticides or GMOs. However, a fair few reviews point out that germination can be unpredictable. Fortunately, Veritable will replace any seedpods that don’t produce healthy sprouts – still, it’s something to bear in mind.

#4 Vahaa Smart Garden

Style
Functionality
Value
  • Specs: W41 x D15 x H18+cm | 2.1kg | WiFi
  • Capacity: Up to 6 plants | Hydroponic
  • Materials: ABS plastic
  • Colours: Pearl White, Silver or Black

Pros

  • Easy app control
  • 3 light growing modes
  • Environmental detection system
  • Adjustable height
  • Complimentary Italian herb starter kit

Cons

  • New release so not a lot of reviews yet
  • Less seedpod variety compared to other brands

Vahaa’s new release – the Vahaa Smart Garden – allows you to grow your own produce all year round with its hydroponic technique, IoT technology, and supporting app. This includes zero pesticides, plus reduced water consumption and carbon footprint.

Backed by biotech research, smart lighting and watering features, you can get notifications when the water tank needs refilling, use different light spectrums (germination, growing or fruit), as well as follow the growth stages on your phone! Environmental sensors will even monitor the optimum temperature and humidity of the environment.

The refill pod system is 100% organic and biodegradable, plus their plant nutrients are pesticide and hormone-free. There isn’t a huge variety of seeds just yet – but hopefully, as this is a new release, there are more on the horizon!

#5 LetPot Senior WiFi Indoor Garden

Style
Functionality
Value
  • Specs: W44 x D19 x H68.5cm | 2.7kg | 24W | WiFi
  • Capacity: Up to 12 plants | Hydroponic
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Colours: Silver/Grey

Pros

  • Remote control with LetPot app
  • Adjustable height
  • Large water tank
  • 12-pod starter seed kit
  • Great value

Cons

  • More functional than stylish
  • Slightly more in-depth set-up – instructions could be clearer

LetPot’s mission is to make gardening more accessible, sustainable and efficient. Amen! And this is a brand with some serious credentials. Their technology was initially widely used in agriculture, but they have since adapted to cater to the needs of individual indoor households.

This Senior Wifi 12-pod hydroponic system is best if you’re looking for a bit more growing room – it’s the largest capacity of all the machines featured in this list. With an adjustable height panel and huge 5.5L water tank, you can easily grow your favourite herbs and veggies all year round.

Made from classic stainless steel, it won’t draw too much attention to itself in any kitchen. My only niggle is that it’s definitely more functional than beautiful. That said, if you’re on a budget, it’s still an excellent choice that gives you plenty of smart features and growing space for the low price tag.

Is It Worth Getting an Indoor Smart Garden?

Overall Verdict

A smart garden is a great choice for those who like the idea of growing their own food, but don’t have a lot of time or space to do so. Plus, well… it’s pretty fun!

Pros

Year-round organic produce for you and your family

With an indoor herb garden, you can take control of exactly what you’re putting in your body. Growing your own herbs and veggies means no GMOs, pesticides, fertilisers or other chemical nasties. It’s truly organic, nutritious and safe.

Plus, we are so disconnected from our food these days – it appears perfectly packaged on supermarket shelves with tons of air miles and out-of-sight supply chains. Growing your own food is a great way to reconnect with the life cycles of nature. Local produce doesn’t get much more local than this!

Greenery is good for your mental health

As I’ve discussed in my post on plant bedroom decor, science has proven that there are numerous health benefits to bringing the outdoors in.

Studies show that plants in your environment can significantly reduce stress and help you to feel calmer. In fact, the act of nurturing plants can even go as far as to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can also incredibly improve brain function, increase creativity and boost your mood!

So it makes complete sense to add some greenery to your space and reap the positive rewards.

Perfect for urban dwellers & those with limited garden space

When 1 in 8 UK households currently don’t have access to a garden, an indoor smart garden looks even more appealing!

Growing veggies and flowers in your apartment can help you connect with nature on a daily basis, bringing much-needed life into urban spaces. So just because you don’t have the outdoor space, don’t let that stop you from getting green-fingered!

Indoor smart gardens require very little maintenance

You don’t need to have bags of time or even a green thumb to get started with an indoor herb garden. Once you’ve completed the initial set-up (which generally takes no more than 10 minutes), the beauty of it is that your plants will largely take care of themselves on autopilot.

With smart watering and lighting systems you can manage from your phone, you can even pop it on ‘holiday mode’ on some devices for a truly hands-free approach!

Basically, you have the option to give your gardening project as much or as little time as you’re able to. So if you want to read up on the best time to prune your lettuce or keep a plant diary – knock yourself out! But there’s also no need to worry too much. If you’d prefer, just sit back, relax, and munch on some fresh basil.

You'll save money in the long run

A bit like a plant milk maker, a smart herb garden is an initial investment upfront – but it will pay for itself in the long run. This is because you won’t have to worry about buying expensive fresh herbs from the supermarket anymore (you know, the ones wrapped in plastic that go off before you’ve even had chance to use them).

This has the added benefit of less food waste, meaning more herbs that end up in your dinner than in the bin. Result!

A kitchen planter growing herbs

Cons

It's an initial investment upfront

As we’ve just mentioned, an indoor smart garden is an initial investment upfront – and it can be a significant one, depending on the model you’ve got your eye on.

Realistically, a good hydroponic growing system will likely set you back a couple of hundred pounds at the very least. So it might be something you need to save up for or add to your Christmas list!

There is still some work involved

An indoor growing kit is relatively low maintenance – especially a smart, app-controlled machine. But I should mention that it is still more effort than simply picking up pre-cut herbs or loose veggies on your weekly grocery shop.

What with the initial set-up, ensuring the lights are scheduled correctly, and knowing when to prune and harvest your greens, there are various aspects to bear in mind if you want the best chance of healthy shoots. Plus, you’ll want to ensure you periodically clean and properly maintain your machine to prevent problems like algae or rot.

It takes up kitchen countertop space

Let’s face it – in a small kitchen, countertop space is valuable real estate!

If your minimalist home is your sanctuary, then you’re likely quite fussy about what makes it onto your work surfaces. And I’ll level with you – a smart herb garden is not the smallest piece of kit.

That said, a well-designed indoor smart garden can add the perfect touch of natural greenery to any room. It becomes an intentional choice rather than mindless clutter. Make sure to double-check the dimensions if this is something you’re concerned about.

Your growing space is limited

Even with the biggest pieces of kit, don’t expect harvests that will replace all of your weekly fruit and veg. If truth be told, I think that smart gardens are more suited as herb gardens, because you don’t get huge amounts of growing space for larger produce.

Whilst it’s entirely possible to grow tomatoes or bell peppers, you’re going to need to go for dwarf varieties. You’ll also want to monitor the growth of your plants carefully. If some start to grow well, they can cannibalise the space and literally take over. So try to ensure a balanced environment where all your greens can thrive!

How to Choose an Indoor Herb Garden

Firstly, unless you’re prepared to risk leaky units and loud pumps, I’d only recommend buying a good quality machine. Here are some further questions to ask yourself when assessing which is the right indoor smart garden for you:

  • Design – Would you prefer a soil-based or hydroponic garden?
  • Functionality – Do you need a holiday-mode setting? Different lighting functionalities? A reminder when the water is running low?
  • Size – Where will your indoor herb garden live? Do you have limited or abundant kitchen surfaces?
  • Maintenance – How much time do you have to dedicate to your smart herb garden? Does the app allow for fully automated control?
  • Plant type – What kind of plants do you want to grow in your smart garden? Is the height adjustable for larger fruit and veg varieties?
  • Price – What is your budget? Can you wait and save up if needs be?
Fresh herb cuttings on a wooden chopping board

Indoor Smart Garden FAQs

What exactly is a smart garden?

An indoor smart garden is an appliance that uses LEDs and automatic watering to simulate outdoor growing conditions. This allows you to grow plants with zero outdoor space and very little gardening expertise.

Smart gardens are generally either soil-based or hydroponic. Soil-based systems are pretty self-explanatory and are similar to traditional gardening, with seed pods containing potting soil.

Hydroponic growing, whilst it sounds more complicated, really just refers to the technique of growing plants using a water-based, nutrient-fortified solution as opposed to soil. They generally also support faster growth than their soil-based counterparts.

What can you grow in an indoor smart garden?

Pretty much anything you can think of! Herbs, leafy greens, soft fruits, compact vegetables, and edible flowers are among the most popular choices. However, bear in mind that you are often restricted to buying products directly from the manufacturer (so that they fit your machine). It’s therefore always worth checking the refill prices and variety before splashing out on an indoor smart garden.

What is the running cost of an LED growing system?

In terms of energy use, running your indoor smart garden for a year will generally cost as little as £5-£10 with energy-efficient LED lighting.

When should I prune/harvest my plants?

In short, it depends on what plants you’re growing. You should receive more specific growing guidance with the supporting instructions/app.

Generally speaking, most retailers promise fresh greens within just 3-4 weeks, with continued harvests for a further 4-6 months. Many brands also have ‘germination guarantees’, so if for whatever reason one of your pods chooses not to sprout, you can let them know and get a fresh one sent out, free of charge.

How do I properly maintain my indoor smart garden?

After the initial set-up, there shouldn’t be too much for you to do on a daily basis. However, all machines will require periodic upkeep and maintenance to ensure mould and algae are kept at bay. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for more specific guidance.

Will my herbs survive if I go on holiday?

Yes – that’s the beauty of a smart garden! Your plants should be perfectly fine if left to fend for themselves for 1-2 weeks (that said, don’t push it for months at a time).

Some machines have a handy ‘holiday mode’, and the fact that all these machines are app-controlled means that you can check in on your plants and adjust the settings… from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a decent WiFi connection!

Woman holding freshly harvested lettuce

Invest in an Indoor Smart Garden for Homegrown Produce on Autopilot

If you’re after some Good Life vibes but are wondering if an indoor smart garden is really worth it, then I hope this post has given you some food for thought. Plus, an insight into the best indoor smart gardens currently available in the UK today!

Whilst they are certainly a luxury, to my mind it’s a much better use of money than splurging on a designer handbag or other mindless clutter you don’t need. As well as boosting your mood and reconnecting you with nature, you’ll also have fresh, organic produce at your fingertips (all year round!).

Plus, if you’re in the process of going vegan, it’s a great way to introduce more delicious homegrown flavours into your cooking.

For a week’s worth of meals to put your new herbs and greens into action, check out my minimalist plant-based meal plan. And don’t forget to let me know how you get on if you decide to make the leap into plant parenthood…

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