Some products show up everywhere — subway ads, Instagram, celeb endorsements. With this series, we're testing such products to conclude one thing: Does it live up to the hype?
What's everyone talking about?
The Click & Grow Smart Garden 3, a smart planter designed for users to grow their favorite plants, fruits, herbs, and veggies indoors with minimal monitoring or effort. The system essentially runs on its own with a large self-watering reservoir that hydrates plants, and an automated LED grow light that mimics sunlight to provide essential nutrients. All you have to do is refill the reservoir every 3 weeks, and plants will thrive.
What's the buzz about?
Even if you're blessed with a big backyard and endless sunlight, turning soil-sewn seeds into blossoming plant babies is a skill that requires so much patience, precision, and effort. For many amateur gardeners like myself, the process isn't something I've often been successful with, but the lure of having unlimited access to fresh herbs and produce keeps pulling me in.
Enter the Click & Grow Smart Garden 3, a low-maintenance indoor growing kit that combines the freshness of a local farm and the convenience of the produce aisle, all in an automated system that makes it easy for plants to thrive in any setting.
Where's all the hype coming from?
- A gardening boom that started during the Pandemic is here to stay
- Reviews from CNN, Business Insider, and Today.com
- A growing 101K Instagram following
So does it live up to the hype?
How'd we come to this conclusion?
Perhaps I'm just a perpetually cursed serial plant-killer, but every time I try to grow literally anything, my plants end up looking parched, papery, and pathetic. I'd like to blame it on the limited natural sunlight in my rear-facing apartment, but if I'm being real, I tend to water my plants either too much or too little. Being a good plant parent is hard.
So, when even my trio of notoriously tough-to-kill succulents started looking shriveled and sad, I started looking into smarter solutions that would help me reap the benefits of having a green thumb, without any room for error.
The Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 offers a foolproof way to grow up to three separate plants at a time with a simple and sleek indoor setup. Through an automated watering system and powerful LED lighting, it provides the right amount of light, water, and nutrients to turn tiny seedlings into healthy sprouts.
To start you off, every Click & Grow garden comes with three biodegradable basil plant pods, but if you'd rather diversify your harvest, consider browsing through the brand's plentiful plant catalogue that contains more than 50 varieties with everything from pet friendly catnip to curly parsley.
Every pod contains seeds embedded in a proprietary smart soil that's inspired by NASA technology to ensure that plants have an ideal environment to grow and thrive. It releases nutrients according to your plant’s unique needs, balances pH levels, and is packed with plenty of oxygen pockets that help stimulate root growth. Plus, the soil lacks harmful substances like pesticides, fungicides, and hormones, so edible plants can stay pure.
The Click & Grow operates comparably to traditional pod-style coffee makers. Just add water to the unit, pop in a pod, and let the magic happen with some bright light and a bit of time.
Plug it in, and the LED grow light will turn on immediately. It automatically switches on and off, and stays on for a full 16 hours, so make sure that the time you plug it in is when you want it to turn on every day. Though it only consumes 8 watts of power (approximately $5.00 in energy costs a year), the light is extremely bright, making it great for growing plants in spaces that don't have sufficient natural sunlight. The lamp itself is completely adjustable, and comes with two arm extenders that should be added on as your plants grow. While the light isn't hot, it can scorch plants if kept too close.
Also essential to their health and growth, a hefty 40-ounce water reservoir automatically feeds plants the right amount of fluids. That's right, you never need to question whether or not your thirsty plants are getting enough H2O! Water transfers internally from the reservoir to the soil through stick-like wicks at the bottom of each plant cup, so you don't have to worry about the system spraying and wetting surrounding surfaces.
The reservoir does need to be filled approximately every 3 weeks, but it completely eliminates the need for tedious daily watering — if you remember at all. Go ahead and take that well-deserved 2-week vacation without chancing the survival of your sprouts. In fact, I went away for a few days amidst testing, and returned to thriving plants that had nearly doubled in size.
Over the past 6 weeks, I've used my pluggable planter to produce fresh basil, rosemary, and wild strawberries, and have been extremely impressed with their growth speeds and outcomes. By far, the basil has been the most successful, sprouting in just a few days and growing to a harvestable height within a mere month. The rosemary and strawberries are coming in slower, but both are exhibiting growth progress that's right on schedule, according to the plant-specified cycles and tips that are available on the Click & Grow app.
I particularly appreciate the size and sleekness of this indoor garden, featuring a clean white exterior and a reasonable 5-by-12-inch size that doesn't occupy too much table space in a tiny apartment. Unlike clunkier, less aesthetically pleasing competitors, it seamlessly fit my minimalist decor, and even features a cord-concealing groove on the side that tidies up extra slack to keep wires fully out of sight.
What's the bottom line?
If you're ready to grow happy, healthy plants from the ground up, this self-sustaining indoor garden is a great way to enjoy fresh herbs, plants, and produce year-round with minimal time or effort. Click & Grow also offers a larger smart garden that can nurture up to nine plants at a time, so whether you're looking to obtain a heftier harvest, or are satisfied with smaller clippings, the brand features green offerings that'll suit every goal and grower.
Zarah Kavarana is the contributing editor at BestProducts.com, where she spends her days hunting for shareworthy home, tech, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle finds, and resisting the urge to add them all to her cart. A Boston University journalism grad with a penchant for red wine, her hidden talents include poaching an egg and applying winged eyeliner on the subway.