Even if you're terrible with plants, this smart device will help you grow a garden

AeroGarden planter on a teal background
(Image credit: Future)

Managing plants is a simple task for most people but, unfortunately for me, I am not most people. You see, I have an odd affliction that makes it so nearly any plant I purchase and attempt to nurture ends up deader than a doorknob within a month or two. 

Typically their lives are cut short due to either over or under-watering – or even a combination of the two, somehow – but the fact remains that I am incapable of managing plant life unless they literally require almost no management (bamboo and pussy willows are my only strongholds right now).


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So when Amazon Prime Day came around and I spotted the AeroGarden Harvest on sale, it seemed like a no-brainer to invest in a couple of them and try to grow some herbs.

Since that purchase, I’ve been taking regular pictures of my progress with these devices to see how well they work. And so far, the results have been fascinating.

How does it work? 

The AeroGarden Harvest is an indoor hydroponic garden that allows you to grow your own vegetables, herbs, or flowers whatever the weather. Seeds are planted in thin soil pods, which are then submerged in a container filled with water that has been treated with liquid plant food. It’s also equipped with LED lights that can be manually controlled or automatically turned on in low or no light conditions. There are three symbols on the container; one to toggle the LED lights, and then a further two that track water and plant food levels.

Essentially, other than performing very simple maintenance like refilling the water or dropping in capfuls of plant food every 2-4 weeks, the AeroGarden Harvest is meant to be self-sustaining. It’s specially made for people like myself, who find it difficult to manage the constant repetitive tasks involved in keeping plants alive the normal way. Once plugged in, not only can it provide light, but the water you fill the container with is constantly fed to the pod, ensuring that there’s never a dry spot.

The initial setup was quite easy as well, with me only having to fill up the main containers with water up to the fill line, then drop two capfuls each of plant food into the water. Plug it up and insert the pods into the holes, then cover it with the plastic covering and that’s it! Just make sure to place them where there’s ample sunlight if you can, but if you don’t have access, the LED lighting compensates extremely well - and makes for a pretty unique table lamp, given how bright it is.

And even better is that there are tons of other pods you can purchase, including green leafy vegetables and various types of small tomatoes. You can even create your own seed pods with sponge casings available on Amazon, but that’s still too far out of my wheelhouse to even think about right now.

How well does it work? 

The short answer is; very well so far! The pods come with an “every seed is guaranteed to sprout” assertion, which I made sure to pay attention to. The top of the pods state the type of plant and how long it takes to sprout, which is a guideline as some can sprout faster or slower than average. And true to word, every one of them did sprout eventually.

It’s a great experience watching these plants grow. Not only because they’ll eventually contribute towards a delicious meal, but because having some greenery in your household is objectively good for you. Plants can filter out your air just as well as the best air purifiers, which is vital since indoor air quality is terrible, and being around them is psychologically good for you too.

As you can see from the above gallery, the plants themselves have all grown very healthily, with bright, green leaves. The dill especially performed well, sprouting first, as has the basil; right now, the other herbs are starting to come into their own. Unfortunately, I had to give away my mint pods - my cats could accidentally eat them - but they were also doing fine before then.

As someone who has never successfully raised plants in my entire life, seeing how well they’re doing is very special to me. Even looking back at these pictures makes me a bit emotional, as I can see how much they've grown from tiny baby sprouts into the much larger but still growing plants they are now.

Final thoughts 

Of course, these plants haven’t finished growing yet, but I’m pleased to say that the AeroGarden Harvest works even better than I thought, and far better than my initial skepticism allowed for. The mechanics work perfectly, to the point that I regularly completely forget about tending to them, at least until I go to admire how healthy and strong they look. One observation I did make about my own plants is that they responded best to the LED lighting but if your own apartment is extremely well lit then that should be more than adequate.

Another benefit to using this smart device is one that’s obvious in hindsight, and that’s the peace of mind it gives me. Trying to grow plants was always an exercise in guilt, knowing I would inevitably fail; but now I can reap all the benefits of plants in my household without any of the stress that comes with them. There’s a nice variety of pods to choose from as well, so as you cull your current batch you can keep replacing them with new plants.

If you’re someone who has trouble with growing plants the normal way but you want to reap the benefits of having them, the AeroGarden Harvest is an excellent investment. Especially if you manage to snag some during a major sale.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.