Click & Grow
Here’s everything you should know about Click & Grow!
Or quickly jump to a section:
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Long Does Click & Grow Last?
- Can you Transplant?
- Price + Discounts
- What Plants Can You Grow?
- Can You Reuse Pods?
- Can You Use Regular Soil?
- Can You Use Your Own Seeds?
For years, I wanted to grow my own vegetables but I never had the space. (I live in a small New York City apartment with barely enough indoor sq footage, let alone outdoor space!)
But then I discovered indoor gardening.
Smart gardens are compact, all-in-one systems that control the watering, lighting and plant growth. They essentially do the bulk of the gardening work for you – and they allow you to grow fresh food without GMOs, pesticides and insecticides.
For about 5 years now, I’ve been growing my own veggies indoors!
I started off small with a compact Harvest to grow some simple kitchen herbs, and slowly got addicted.
You can find all my growing experiments on Youtube here.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with growing more unique, hard-to-find varieties of vegetables.
I’m currently growing Asian veggies like gai lan and Thai eggplants and I have an addiction to growing all sorts of peppers – habanada sweet peppers, Tunisian hot peppers and fun striped varieties like sugar rush peach.
some veggies i’ve grown indoors – rainbow swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, thai eggplant + ornamental jigsaw peppers
What I love most about indoor gardening is that it’s compact, neat and most of all, clean.
These smart tech gardens use a method of gardening called hydroponics, where plants are grown in water and not soil. By eliminating soil, the gardens eliminate most pests.
I started off with the plant pods but mainly use my own seeds now.
I also love that indoor gardens allow you to grow all year round. New York lies in garden zone 7, which only allows for outdoor gardening 7 months out of the year.
For certain vegetables that take longer to mature, indoor gardening is key!
When I started out indoor gardening, there was mainly just one company that made them – Aerogarden.
But today, there are so many options on the market!
I first came across Click & Grow through some Instagram ads and was immediately intrigued, because from a visual perspective they make by far the prettiest indoor gardens.
Then I did some research and realized the company also focuses heavily on science and technology. They’ve created gardens with smart tech that do even more of the heavy lifting for you.
With more and more indoor gardens taking over my small apartment, I wanted any new additions to be aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance!
Click & Grow was founded in Estonia by Mattias Lepp, who read about NASA growing plants in space automatically and had the idea to create indoor gardens to do the same on earth.
He worked with universities around the world to devise a ‘smart’ tech garden and launched an initial prototype in 2012.
Today, the company has a wide array of smart garden options and 70+ plant varieties to choose from.
With more and more of the world’s population living in urban areas, Lepp felt that indoor plants were vital in improving people’s health and happiness.
And it’s true!
Indoor gardens reduce stress, improve air quality and lower anxiety levels. I can vouch for that :)
Science & Technology Based Approach to Indoor Gardening
Click & Grow has a slightly different approach to indoor gardening than other companies.
The company uses science and technology to handle all of the heavy lifting of gardening for you – so their indoor gardens are practically foolproof.
If you’ve struggled to keep indoor plants alive or are convinced you have black thumbs, Click & Grow will change that.
They’ve essentially done what Nespresso has for coffee… but for gardening!
Each garden comes with automated LED lights and pre-seeded plant pods.
The pods contain ‘Smart Soil’ – Click & Grow’s proprietary blend of seeds, nutrients and a non-soil growing medium.
The smart gardens use water, lights and the smart soil to grow plants easily, quickly and cleanly.
There’s no pesticides, GMOs or harmful substances used throughout the growing process.
In about a month’s time you’ll have fresh herbs and lettuces that you can eat directly from the garden – with virtually no effort on your part!
And the nice thing about gardening indoors is that the smart gardens will automatically take care of plants all year round, 365 days a year.
What makes their indoor gardens distinctive is the design.
Click & Grow calls their products ‘smart gardens’ and they’re beautifully made.
Everything from the packaging to assembly to the gardens themselves is well thought-out, sleek and chic. They’re kind of like the ‘Apple’ of indoor gardening.
The branding is quiet, the gardens come in classy muted shades of white, beige or grey, and the exterior is very simple – no touchscreens or ugly buttons to ruin the look.
It’s a very simple, Scandinavian style aesthetic – which personally I love!
Out of all the indoor gardens I have, I found Click & Grow to be the quickest to set up and the most ‘set and forget’.
Click and Grow currently offers 5 different types of gardens.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 9
They’re both countertop models that can grow 3 or 9 plants, respectively, and easy to put together.
If I was starting an indoor garden as a beginner, I’d get either of these!
They allow you to get started with growing herbs and veggies right away, and when those plants eventually die you can purchase new plants and grow whatever you’d like.
In particular, I like the Smart Garden 9.
It’s large enough to grow 9 different types of plants while still being compact enough to sit on a kitchen counter.
It also holds enough water for a month at a time, so you don’t need to top up frequently.
And, it can grow everything from leafy greens to herbs to peppers, peas and strawberries.
Click & Grow also sells a huge floor unit, the Wall Farm, that allows you to grow up to 51 plants.
It’s a large indoor vertical garden that comes with 3 sleek shelves each with built-in water tanks and LED lights.
The Wall Farm is excellent for growing salads, herbs and dark greens, but can be used to grow anything!
It comes with 54 plant pods so you can get started growing right away.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 27
I’m a big fan of vertical gardening when you live in a small space, because it allows you to maximize and grow more efficiently.
This is essentially a plant stand and 3 Smart Garden 9s that can be stacked.
Click & Grow’s Smart Garden 27 is a great buy if you’re already familiar with hydroponics and indoor gardening.
You can grow up to 27 plants and I liked the simple, light pine-colored plant stand that came with it.
The stand is perfectly sized to fit the height of each garden, comes with a neatly hidden storage pouch on the bottom and has grooves on each shelf to hold the garden in place.
The stand was very easy to assemble and I especially liked that each shelf had little openings to neatly hide the garden’s electrical cords.
Once it was all put together, it looked minimalistic, neat and organized!
You just pay the difference and still get the cost savings!
Click & Grow Smart Garden 25
And finally, Click & Grow makes the Smart Garden 25.
This is one of their newer products and is specifically designed for growing leafy greens.
While salad greens and lettuce aren’t necessarily the sexiest thing to grow, they are one of the best simply because they’re fast growing, easy to consume and the most cost effective.
When you buy greens at the grocery store, they often go bad quickly – even if you have a crisp produce drawer in your fridge.
Most of the spinach, kale and other salad green mixes at the store have been grown in large commercial hydroponic farms. By the time they get to you, they’re past their prime shelf life.
They can also harbor bacteria. Lettuces have been recalled several times for containing feces or other bacterial diseases.
By growing your own greens, you can save quite a bit and you know you’re getting the freshest leafy greens at their peak nutritional benefit!
The Smart Garden 25 can grow up to 25 plants on a rotating weekly schedule of 5 plants.
It takes care of all the watering and lighting, and has a tray system so you can seamlessly plant, grow and harvest leafy greens on a 5-week cycle.
The garden comes with a whopping 54 plant pods so you can get started right away.
I like the variety of included plant options:
- (9) leaf mustard
- (9) red kale
- (18) romaine lettuce
- (18) green lettuce
I got the Smart Garden 27, which consists of:
- a plant stand
- three individual Smart Garden 9s
Setting up the plant stand was very easy, since all of the pieces were neatly labeled and for the most part, pre-assembled.
I screwed each shelf together, added the legs and the stand practically built itself!
I especially liked how each shelf had notches for the garden to snap into place, and how each garden had grooves to hide the electrical cords.
In total, the process took about 15 minutes – max.
I filmed an unboxing of the Click & Grow smart garden 27 here, with a quick overview of the setup process and my first impressions!
Replying to @Megan Brooks first impressions of my newest indoor garden, the smart garden 27 from click & grow 🪴🪴🪴 #indoorgardening #gardeningindoors #apartmentgardening #clickandgrow #smartgarden9 #smartgarden27 #hydroponicgardening #aerogarden #indoorgardentok
The Smart Garden 9s were also very easy to set up.
These come with the water reservoir and plastic pods already together, so all I had to do was attach the LED lamp bar.
The gardens come with height extenders, but for the beginning stage you want the light as close as possible to the germinating seeds so I saved the height bars for later.
Click & Grow’s gardens are very simple – they run on an automated light cycle of 16 hours on and 8 hours off.
The light schedule starts once you plug it in, and the company suggests having the garden on during daylight and off at night to mimic the natural day cycle.
setting up the Click & Grow was incredibly easy – all the packaging is well designed + labeled so assembly took <15 minutes
Personally, I have all my indoor gardens running primarily at night (roughly 6pm to 9am).
So to keep everything consistent, I plugged the Smart Garden 9s in at the same time my other indoor gardens turn on.
If you want to control the light schedule, you can use these smart plugs which allow you to customize the time.
There’s also a Smart Garden 9 pro, which syncs to a phone app so you can customize the schedule that way.
Each Smart Garden 9 came with plants – 3 basil, 3 lettuce and 3 cherry tomatoes.
To get started, I placed each smart soil pod into the white plastic cups and filled the reservoir with water.
The white cups have a handy tag, which you can use to write the name of the plant so you don’t forget what you’ve grown.
Since I decided to fill the garden entirely with cherry tomatoes, I didn’t do this, but I imagine any kind of erasable marker would work well!
I planted one smart garden full of cherry tomatoes to start!
The main thing you have to do as the ‘gardener’ is monitor the water.
In the bottom left-hand corner of the garden, there’s a little bobble which indicates the water level. When the bobble is in line with the top of the garden, the tank is full.
No need to overfill the garden!
When the bobble sinks low, you’ll know it’s time to refill the water. Generally, the tank can hold enough water for ~3 to 4 weeks.
pop in the smart soil pods, cover with the white caps + germination domes, then fill the tank with water
Then I placed clear white covers on top of each pod.
These cover the surface area of the smart soil sponges and help block light. Excess light and moisture can create algae, so the white covers help prevent this.
Finally, I added clear covers to the tops of each pod.
Click & Grow is so nicely designed that these domes ‘snap’ into place for a snug fit.
These covers are germination domes and act as a greenhouse to create a warm, humid environment which helps baby seedlings grow.
red cherry tomatoes at week 1 vs week 4
How long does Click & Grow take to grow?
I mainly wanted to grow cherry tomatoes, so I planted an entire garden with the red tomato pods.
Every plant has a different rate of germination – lettuces and greens tend to sprout very quickly (in under 4 days) while tomato seeds typically take ~ 7-10 days.
All of the red cherry tomatoes germinated within two weeks and most pods even had multiple seeds sprout!
If this happens, you’ll want to thin out the extra seedlings and leave just the strongest plant to grow. Each smart soil pod is designed to hold 1 plant.
30 Days In
red cherry tomatoes at weeks 3-4
As each seedling grew to reach the height of the germination dome (weeks 3-4), I removed the covers.
I also removed the extra tomato seedlings so that only 1 plant was left per sponge.
In about 4-5 weeks, some of the tomato seedlings had reached the height of the LED bar, so I added on the height extender.
Generally, dwarf cherry tomato plants will produce a large singular crop of cherry tomatoes. They’re determinate plants and will continue to produce cherry tomatoes after the initial crop, but fewer and fewer.
The plants will continue to grow and produce fruit until the nutrition in the seed pods has been used up.
Who Click & Grow Is Best For
After trying out several indoor garden brands, I think Click & Grow is best suited for people with busy lifestyles and limited gardening experience who want healthy, fresh produce without much effort.
The smart gardens do the bulk of the gardening work for you, and can be used to grow practically anything – herbs, lettuces, hot peppers, flowers, peas.
All you really have to do is replenish the grow bowl with water.
And even that is minimal top up work, since the reservoir can hold about a month’s water supply!
If you’re brand new to growing veggies indoors, Click & Grow is a sleek, pretty set up that delivers quick, effective results.
When the plants reach the end of their life span, you remove the pods and re-order new plants directly from the company. Click & Grow offers the best variety of plant pods that I’ve seen, with lots of exotic herb and veggie varieties.
However, if you want more control over the growing process, Click & Grow may not be for you.
Plants stay a bit smaller in the company’s smart gardens and you’ll need to re-buy their plant pods for the best growing results.
So if you don’t want to be locked into the plant pod model, you may not like their system.
You can use your own seeds with Click & Grow but it’s slightly more expensive than with other indoor garden companies.
You can purchase their Grow Anything seed pods, which contain the Smart Soil pods, but they’re the same price as the pre-seeded pods so I think you’re better off buying their plants.
Also if you like to tinker and experiment, you may be disappointed since their gardens aren’t really designed for that.
- beautiful design
- easy set up
- low maintenance
- plants grow on their own!
- no need to add nutrition
- plants stay a bit smaller
- need to purchase new plant pods from company
- slightly more expensive
As I mentioned, most indoor gardens use a gardening method called hydroponics, because growing in soil is messy, dirty, slow and not ideal for indoor use.
But within the category of hydroponics, there’s many different sub-methods!
Click & Grow uses a wick method, where the plants sit in plastic cups that have a cotton wick placed at the bottom. The wick extends into the water reservoir and slowly draws up water as the plants need it.
Wicking systems are one of the simplest forms of hydroponics so they’re a great method for beginner indoor gardeners.
It works especially well with low maintenance plants like lettuce, herbs and leafy greens, and also is cleaner and easier to maintain.
From a user perspective, the only thing you need to stay on top of is the water level.
Each Click & Grow garden has a water float indicating the water level in the tank. When the float drops low, you simply add more water.
The tank is large enough to hold about a month’s supply of water, so top-ups aren’t too frequent.
One of the main unique differences with Click & Grow is their Smart Soil pods.
These aren’t made of real soil – which is great because soil is a breeding ground for pests and bacteria. Instead, it’s a growth medium that acts like a sponge to hold the plant and retain water.
It also contains nutrients, little beads inside that slowly release nutrition to the growing plant and enable leaf and fruit production.
With traditional hydroponics, plants are grown in a sponge and suspended in water.
You would add nutrients to the water bowl and the plants’ roots would absorb both water and nutrients in the tank.
With Click & Grow, the company uses smart soil pods because they say it’s more efficient.
Nutrients get automatically distributed to the plant’s roots at a more precise level, enabling the plants to retain a higher level of vitamins and minerals.
As the gardener, you don’t have to worry about fertilizing or spend money on additional plant food.
Click & Grow says their fresh lettuce contains 3x higher antioxidants than lettuce grown in other hydroponic systems.
I’m not sure how to personally measure antioxidants in produce, but if it’s true, that would be a huge plus in Click & Grow’s favor!
What I will say is Click & Grow’s smart soil pods make maintenance much easier than other indoor smart gardens.
You only have to worry about watering – not nutrition.
Adding plant food on schedule can be tricky.
Sometimes I’ve added too little and my fruiting plants will drop their flowers or struggle to produce fruit (or the fruit is tasteless).
Other times I’ve added too much nutrition and ‘burned’ my plants – the leaves get yellow and suffer.
The smart soil pods maintain a consistent pH level for plants which allows the plants to grow as healthy and reliably as possible.
It also allows you to grow many different types of plants in one Click & Grow smart garden.
Different types of plants need different levels of nutrition.
For example, lettuce thrives at a pH range of 5.5 to 6.0 (or an EC solution around 1.2 mS/cm).
Meanwhile, tomatoes prefer a more acidic pH environment around 6.0 to 6.5 (or an EC solution around 2.0 – 5.0 mS/cm).
Typically with hydroponics, you’d want to grow each plant in its own water bucket.
Or, if growing multiple plants together with one water system, you’d grow like plants together (all lettuces and leafy greens together, all tomatoes together, all hot peppers together, etc)
Click & Grow’s plastic pods are enclosed, so each plant receives nutrition from its own smart soil sponge.
That means you can grow completely different plants all in the same smart garden and ensure that each plant gets its desired amount of nutrition!
The roots never really mix together in the water reservoir so it’s like each plant is living and thriving in its own bubble.
So with a Smart Garden from Click & Grow, you could mix basil, lettuce, hot peppers, wild strawberries and peas all together!
You typically wouldn’t be able to do this in an Aerogarden.
How Long Do Click & Grow Pods Last?
Click & Grow pods are optimized to last for the life cycle of each plant it’s growing.
Every type of plant has a different lifecycle – lettuces on average last 2-3 months while dwarf cherry tomatoes last about 5 to 6 months. Hot peppers can last for years!
In general, Click & Grow pods will last about 3 to 4 months in the regular plastic cups. After a certain point, the plants will have used up all the nutrition in the smart soil sponge and the roots will be constrained by the size of the white cups.
At that point, the plants are still alive and healthy, they just need a bigger space.
So, you can throw them out but I recommend transplanting them to a larger individual sized pot.
Another factor to consider is the life span of each plant.
With Click & Grow’s closed pod system, the roots are contained to the space of the small plastic cups.
Plants will typically stop growing once they’ve maxed out their space – it’s why you would repot outdoor plants into a bigger pot.
Because the Click & Grow pods are relatively small (it’s an indoor garden, after all), plants in Click & Grow will stay pretty compact.
For herbs, lettuces and leafy greens, it’s not a problem!
But for larger fruiting varieties like hot peppers, bell peppers and peas, the plants could easily get much larger and produce more fruit if given a bigger space.
I have a video on transplanting shishito peppers to kratky here.
Another alternative is to use Click & Grow’s pro cups.
These plastic pods have small slits on the sides that allow a plant’s roots to continue to grow.
With the pro cups, plants can dangle their roots into the grow bowl and get larger and larger.
The pro cups are best used for fruiting varieties that need the space – think cherry tomatoes, peppers, etc.
The perforations on the side of the cups allows the plant to get bigger and have greater fruit yield.
regular pods vs pro pods and the nutrition beads both outside + inside the smart soil pods
Click & Grow’s gardens are hands down the prettiest indoor gardens on the market.
Some people don’t mind turning their home into a mad science experiment, with giant plastic buckets and tube piping from Home Depot, but many of us growing indoors want our gardens to look well.. pretty!
If it’s inside your home and you have to look at it all day long, I know I’d prefer a sleek, well-designed set up than a DIY option.
So I have to say Click & Grow’s smart gardens win on looks alone.
But, their gardens are slightly more expensive than the uglier looking options out there – when you look at the retail MSRP.
In reality, I’ve noticed most indoor garden companies frequently offer sales and discounts.
|Click & Grow||Capacity||Retail Price||Sale Price||Aerogarden||Capacity||Retail Price||Sale Price|
|Smart Garden 3||3 plants||$100||$75||Sprout||3 plants||$70||$60|
|Smart Garden 9||9 plants||$230||$170||Bounty||9 plants||$200||$180|
|Smart Garden 27||27 plants||$990||$600||Farm||24 plants||$519||$450|
I generally wouldn’t pay full price, since they’re always on sale!
And at the sale price, both companies gardens are pretty comparable – so it comes down to whether you value looks + ease of use vs longer plant life + larger plants!
What plants can you grow in Click & Grow?
Click & Grow sells over 70+ different types of plants – herbs, leafy greens, vegetables and flowers.
All of their plant pods are pre-seeded with non-GMO seeds and include nutrition. They have individual 3 packs, 9 packs and mixed assortment packs with fun options like:
Out of all the companies that make indoor gardens, I think Click & Grow has the widest selection of plants!
In particular, I have my eye on their purple pak choy, wild strawberries, wasabi mustard, rosemary and yellow sweet peppers.
Can You Reuse Click & Grow Pods?
The white plastic cups, label covers and clear germination domes are all reusable.
However, the smart soil shouldn’t be re-used.
Once the plants have fully grown, you can either transplant them into a larger pot (indoors or outdoors) or eat them and dispose of them.
Then, you’ll want to pick up new plant pods.
The remaining smart soil should just be composted or discarded. After several months, the nutrition beads inside the smart soil has all been consumed by the plant.
Can You Use Regular Soil in Click & Grow?
I don’t recommend using regular soil in any kind of hydroponic indoor garden.
Hydroponics is meant to grow without soil – it’s a cleaner and faster method of gardening.
Plus, soil often contains bugs or bug eggs, and damp soil can be a magnet for gnats. Keeping soil indoors significantly increases the risk of bugs!
And I don’t know about you, but I hate bugs with a passion and I definitely do not want them in my home.
If you don’t want to be reliant on Click & Grow’s pods for gardening indoors, you can definitely experiment with other types of non-soil growing mediums.
Note – I don’t think the company recommends this but I love to experiment, so here’s how I’m using one Click & Grow without their smart soil pods:
Since the pre-seeded pods have multiple seeds in each pod, I had tons of extra cherry tomato plants that germinated.
Typically, you’d thin out the extra seedlings and leave just 1 seedling to grow in each sponge.
But I couldn’t bare to kill them off ha so instead I took the extras and used them in a second Smart Garden 9.
I didn’t have any extra smart soil pods, so I placed the cherry tomato seedlings in clay pebbles.
removing extra tomato seedlings and re-planting in the click & grow with hydroponic clay pebbles
The company’s smart soil pods are unique in that they contain all the nutrition inside the sponge.
Their sponges are expertly designed to keep the pH balanced, ensure adequate airflow and also retain moisture.
So, if you do plan to use a different growing medium, you’ll need to add your own hydroponic nutrients to the grow bowl and monitor your plants more diligently.
You’ll get the easiest, no-fuss results with their smart soil, but of course it’s also fun to experiment!
Can You Plant Your Own Seeds in Click & Grow?
Yes! Click & Grow offers ‘Grow Anything’ plant pods that are essentially smart soil pods without seeds.
They have two types :
- one suited for herbs, lettuces and greens
- another for fruiting plants that have heavier nutrition requirements
If you already have your own seeds, you can pick up the Grow Anything pods and simply drop in your seeds.
For fruiting plants, you’ll also want to use the perforated Pro Cups, which have more room for the larger roots.
I like to buy heirloom seeds (here’s a list of my favorite companies) so that I can grow unique varieties of everyday vegetables.
For example, round Thai eggplants instead of traditional American eggplants.
My only criticism is that the Grow Anything experimental pods are quite pricey. They cost $9.95 for a 3 pack, the same price as the pods with seeds in them.
Hopefully Click & Grow will sell bulk packages of these to bring the price down!
Overall, I love my Click & Grow gardens!
They simplify gardening to be practically effortless and having fresh herbs, lettuce and tomatoes indoors adds a lot of brightness and vibrance to my tiny apartment.
Plus, I love how Click & Grow enables me to have a garden indoors.
As someone without a backyard, living in a tiny New York City apartment, I’d have no way to grow my own veggies without a handy smart garden like this.
And even if you are fortunate to have enough outdoor space for a garden, I think you’ll still love Click & Grow.
Their handy tech-forward smart gardens allow you to grow all year round – even in the dead of winter – and can yield everything from peas to hot peppers to bok choy to sorrel!
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