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Choosing an indoor growing kit is a wonderful way to get your hands in the soil (or not, if it’s hydroponic) and reap a beautiful harvest sans the outdoor space, perfect weather, and gardening know-how.
Want to grow your own food but not sure if you have the gardening chops or the space? Consider indoor gardening. Better yet — consider investing in an indoor garden kit for max simplicity and great returns.
Plus, one big perk of gardening indoors is not being dependent on the weather, so you can grow 365 days of the year.
“An indoor garden will allow you to grow year-round without access to direct sun or healthy soil, no matter where you live,” says Rise Gardens Master Gardener Angelo Kelvakis.
Read on for the deets on an indoor garden kit, how to use it, and where to get one of your own.
Sticking with the simplicity theme right off the bat, an indoor garden kit is pretty much how it sounds. It’s a kit that provides all the materials you need to get started growing herbs, vegetables, or microgreens within the confines of your apartment living room or kitchen.
“Indoor gardening kits are great for anyone who either doesn’t have a lot of outdoor growing space (no patio or backyard), doesn’t have access to good climate (cold/lack of sun), or just hasn’t grown before,” says Nikhil Arora, co-founder, and co-CEO of Back to the Roots.
Most indoor gardening kits don’t take up too much space, either (They can range from the size of a flowerpot to a small bookshelf) so if you have room on a countertop, corner, or shelf near a window, you’re good to go.
“With indoor grow kits, it’s easy to grow right on your windowsill, in a controlled indoor environment without the worry of pests,” says Arora.
The items an indoor garden kit contains will vary depending on the kit you choose and how elaborate it is. But there are certain things that all indoor kits should have.
“A good indoor kit should come with a planter, soil, plant food, seeds, and great instructions,” says Arora. “Also, hopefully, it is 100 percent organic to keep any chemicals out of your home and make it safe for your kids/pets too.”
Many indoor kits also come with grow lights which are important if your home doesn’t receive sufficient sunlight.
“Gardening kits usually include growing lights, a container for plants, and an automated closed-cycle watering system,” says Bryan McKenzie, landscape designer, gardening expert, and co-founder of Bumper Crop Times.
With as many different indoor garden kits as there are on the market, you’ll likely find one that will grow whatever you prefer.
“Honestly, you can grow almost anything with an indoor grow kit — everything from mushrooms to microgreens, to herbs, leafy greens, fruits and veggies,” says Arora.
But don’t start imagining a rainforest snaking up your walls, either. The size and style of the kit will also influence what can be grown.
“In any indoor garden, you will be able to grow [only] low-lying plants like greens,” says Kelvakis. “It depends on what type of system you have, but most indoor gardens are restricted by the height from the lights.”
You can easily find an indoor garden kit at garden centers, home improvement stores, online, and even some department stores.
Here are some of our top recommendations to consider:
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $100–$200
- $$$ = over $200
Our recommended indoor garden kit for the windowsill:
Have limited space but want to bring a splash of color to your windowsill? Window Garden Aquaphoric Herb Garden Tub is an affordable option that’s ideal for most windowsills or countertops that receive sufficient sunlight.
“Narrow enough to fit most windowsills, it includes a spacious planter tray, and a passive watering system with a water level indicator,” explains McKenzie. “You just don’t need anything else for growing on a windowsill!”
Soil is included, but you’ll need to purchase the herbs you want to grow separately.
- Price: $
Our recommended plug in and grow indoor garden kit:
Three different plants can grow simultaneously in water instead of soil with this compact kit from AeroGarden. It includes LED lights and an option to extend the light stand so plants have space to grow up to 10-inches high.
Once you’ve assembled the kit, plug it in, and enjoy watching your garden flourish — you only have to make sure there’s water in the reservoir.
Basil, parsley, and dill seeds are included, along with a bottle of plant nutrients. “This is my favorite indoor gardening kit for beginners, busy folks, and those who don’t need too much,” says McKenzie. “The design of this kit makes it very easy to do … well, everything!”
- Price: $
Our recommended savvy and sleek design indoor garden kit:
With a sleek design and LED lights overhead, the Click & Grow Indoor Herb Garden Kit lets you plant three types of herbs simultaneously. No need to worry about watering, nutrients, or switching the lights on or off with this smart technology, self-automated growing kit.
Three basil plant pods are included and there are over 50 different plant pods you can choose from, such as lavender, parsley, or cilantro, which are purchased separately.
According to McKenzie, this kit “is a perfect choice for beginners, as it requires you to do nothing but follow the instructions and harvest the yields.”
- Price: $$
Our recommended indoor garden kit for bigger harvesting:
Luna’s Elegant Home Plant Sites Hydroponic Unit uses water instead of soil to grow over 50 plants simultaneously for a big harvest. It’s easy to assemble and made with four levels of food-grade PVC pipe. You also don’t need to worry about watering the plants, as it allows you to program when to water and give nutrients.
“This kit is a wonder in terms of capacity and cost ratio,” says Mckenzie. “It has as many as 56 slots for herbs and salads.”
At the time this article was written, this item was out of stock. It’s listed to come back in stock on June 1, 2022.
- Price: $
Our recommended indoor garden kit for growing vertically:
Looking to grow plenty of vegetables and herbs but don’t want to take up too much space inside? This soil-free, automated Gardyn Home Kit has you in mind by requiring no more room than a floor lamp.
“It’s a 60-inch tall kit that doesn’t take too much space but allows up to 30 plants at a time, including herbs and veggies,” explains McKenzie.
Although it’s not a cheap option, it is a good investment if you want to be able to grow a variety of plants indoors.
- Price: $$$
A kit isn’t absolutely necessary to grow a garden indoors but it can certainly make life easier, especially if you’re a newbie in the gardening sphere.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about what to grow, going with soil vs. a hydroponic option, how often to water, and lighting, an indoor kit takes a lot of those decisions off the table.
“With an indoor garden, a lot of the guesswork is taken out and you can build your plant with confidence,” says Kelvakis. “As technology advances, indoor gardens are becoming far more affordable, easier to use, and more aesthetically pleasing and quieter, which helps you place them inside your home.”
If you prefer DIY, you can buy all the materials separately to grow an indoor garden. “Yes, it’s cheaper to buy grow lights and a watering system than to buy a fancy gardening kit,” says McKenzie. “On the other hand, getting an all-in-one system saves a lot of time and still makes your product cheaper than store-bought alternatives.”
Arora adds, “Kits make it easy by including everything you need so you don’t have to go to a garden center to buy soils, seeds, pots, plant food, etc. — it’s all right there for you.”
An indoor growing kit reduces the amount of decision work you need to do, such as figuring out what to plant, when, and how.
If you’re wanting to grow culinary herbs to add to your scrumptious creations or want to start growing your own food, an indoor garden kit provides guidance from planting to harvest time so you can relax and observe the magic.
“For anyone who enjoys gardening, plants, healthy eating, and cooking using the freshest ingredients, an indoor garden can be an incredible addition to your home,” says Kelvakis.