Fresh herbs and earthy lettuces elevate simple dinners, but finishing a bunch of mint or cilantro before it starts to wilt is a perennial challenge. The solution lies in the home gardening kit. Thanks to grow lights and innovative soil technologies, a green thumb is no longer a prerequisite for successfully growing a garden. Today’s best planters self-regulate, requiring little more than water and electricity to produce a bounty of fresh herbs.
Modern Sprout Growhouse
The Modern Sprout Growhouse works with seedling kits beyond just those sold by the company, and it can be mounted on a wall or set on countertops. Made from glass and antique brass, it doubles as a greenhouse — ideal for cacti and succulents. While it’s the most low-tech of the bunch (it lacks an irrigation system), it’s the most versatile and arguably the best looking.
Capacity: 3 plants
Works With: any small pots, plus Modern Sprout garden jars
Grow Light: full-spectrum LED light with automatic 8-, 12- and 16-hour timers
Plantui 6 Smart Garden
A semi-automated countertop kit, Plantui looks less like a grow kit and more like a minimal design object (due in great part to its matte texture and egg-like shape). With self-regulated irrigation and light exposure, Plantui’s soil-free seed capsules are fully grown within eight weeks and range from standbys like basil and curly kale to more obscure herbs and lettuces, such as bloody sorrel, mustard leaf and an array of edible violets.
Capacity: 6 plants
Works With: Plantui capsules only
Grow Light: patented LED light automatically adjusts during plant growth phases
Irrigation: professional-grade irrigation system pumps water to roots up to seven times daily
Click & Grow Mini Indoor Vertical Garden
A favorite from last year’s GP100, the Click & Grow Wall Farm makes small-scale indoor farming absurdly easy. By relying on proprietary, NASA-inspired smart soil with nutrients that sync to a plant’s life cycle and balance soil pH, the Click & Grow Wall Farm is able to support plants with a range of growth cycles — herbs like parsley and marjoram, fruits like wild strawberries and mini tomatoes, as well as lettuces and decorative flowers.
Capacity: 34 plants
Works With: Click & Grow plant capsules only
Grow Light: energy efficient, full-spectrum LED lights
Irrigation: passive system draws water from tank through capillary action