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As much as I enjoy watching plant parents take care of their prize-winning collections of lush greenery on social media (mainly TikTok, they make it look really fun on there), I still haven’t snagged any of my own. Especially now that I live in my own apartment, I really thought my desire to become a dedicated herbalist would switch on immediately and Home Depot would become my second home. However, that’s far from the case.
I’ve pretty much accepted that I’m a little too busy and far too scatterbrained most days to remember to care for my own plants. I know it’ll be a fun hobby once I get into it, but trying to figure out where to start caused me anxiety until I gave up on the idea entirely. So when I got the chance to test out a smart gardener, an indoor grow system that provides itself what it needs to flourish, I had to see if this was the right alternative for me.
Since the creation of its smart grower in 2012, Click & Grow has perfected its technology and created a variety of indoor smart gardens to cater to different spaces. Inspired by inner-city living, Click & Grow prides itself on providing busy city dwellers with an efficient way to experience homegrown plants, herbs, and fresh flowers all year round. Studies have shown having houseplants can significantly improve mental health and air quality and relieve stress of people living in major cities — so you could imagine the curiosity bursting out of my tiny Brooklyn apartment.
As someone who’s skipped a few therapy sessions, I could use all the help I can get. And I must say, watching my Smart Garden 9 ($161, originally $230) produce leafy greens over the course of four weeks has uplifted my mood and been an overall fun journey. I am excited to eat my first self-grown caesar salad! I went with The Salad Lovers Kit ($84, originally $120). Its nutrient- and seed-filled Smart Soil plant pods produce romaine lettuce, green lettuce, and red kale, but there are many more to try. Read on to get my honest review of this smart garden and why I think it’s a perfect gift for cooking enthusiasts and gardeners of all skill levels.
What I Like About Click & Grow
The Smart Garden comes in two parts: a water tank and an overhead LED lamp. I added the Salad Lovers plant pods to the nine pod holders. Because of the Smart Garden’s design, the pods water themselves and indicate on the tank when they need to be refilled. I love how simple the setup is — a real “set it and forget it” situation. Even the mild maintenance that’s required — cleaning harmless mold and algae that grows on top of the dirt and refilling the water tank — can be completed in about five to 10 minutes and doesn’t take away from the experience.
For someone who doesn’t own any plants, watching a plant “naturally” grow made me understand planters and garden enthusiasts. I found the Smart Garden to be inspiring. I realized I was actually checking the plants more often than I thought I would be capable of and peered into the little pods to watch even the slightest of growth and subtle changes. This actually made me feel competent and definitely boosted my mood daily.
Even my landlord (who promptly came over to pick up rent) saw the garden and brought up the beautiful point that it’s important to watch things grow in their own time, noting that the process could be meditative and calming. After hearing that, I made a point to breathe a little more deeply each time I checked in on the garden, making the process an active part of my daily self-care practices.
What’s Worth Noting About Click & Grow
My Smart Garden was originally placed on my bookshelf in my living room far from the window. On night one, I learned just how bright the lamp is — it’s automatically set to turn itself on for 16 hours of “sunlight” and off for eight hours — so I had to sleep with my bedroom door practically closed to avoid seeing it. Eventually I moved the garden closer to the window so that I didn’t see the light when I was sleeping, and the plants got a bit of natural light as well. Pro tip: the Smart Garden comes in five different sizes, so make sure you have space to place your garden on a flat and strong surface.
As mentioned earlier, the pods could possibly grow white mold and green algae, but that’s pretty normal. As the company notes in its Frequently Asked Questions, the plants are sitting in water for long periods of time, so the plants could be getting accidentally overwatered. I had mine in a dark place at first, but once I moved the planter to natural light and cleaned the top mold off with a paper towel, I didn’t see the mold again.
Also, three of my pods didn’t grow at all, which also seems to be normal, even for the traditional planters, since some seeds just don’t grow. The great thing about Click & Grow is that it’s sensitive to this possibility, so when customers reach out about their dud seeds, the company ships out new replacement seed pods free of charge.
Who Click & Grow Is Best For
The Click & Grow Smart Garden is a great home addition for both the beginner and advanced plant enthusiasts. For anyone who’s too busy to grow traditionally, this is a perfect way to still get the experience of growing without the stress. It’s also a great home addition for anyone who just wants to enjoy greenery in the home to brighten up a space — this minimal maintenance is worth the air-quality benefit alone. The Smart Garden could even be a sophisticated appliance for any active cook or professional chef — having fresh, leafy greens and herbs from your own kitchen sounds like a flex to me.
You have full control over how much you’re actually growing, depending on which planter you decide to go with. You can go as small as the Smart Garden 3 ($70, originally $100), which houses three growing holes (also the perfect size for children to work with alone) or as big as the Smart Garden 27 ($650, originally $990), which comes with a Click & Grow Plant Stand (standing at nearly four feet tall) and three Smart Garden 9s. And if you really have funds and space to go all out, you can get the Wall Farm Indoor Vertical Garden ($2,500), a full wall unit that houses three shelves totaling 51 growing holes.
Is Click & Grow Worth the Splurge?
Like any garden, the Smart Garden keeps on giving. And with the way inflation is going, any free groceries are a win. The price seems less daunting when the garden is continuously growing produce and herbs.
In comparison to other brands, like Gardyn Home, the price is worth it for the amount of money you’d save on buying greens, fruits, veggies, peppers, and fresh flowers.
Where Is Click & Grow Available?
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Moná Thomas