Is it better to grow cannabis in soil or hydro?
Which cannabis growing medium is the best for growing marijuana, and which style of growing is right for you? Will you get the biggest yields growing marijuana with hydroponics, with soil, or a hydro-soil fusion (such as coco coir or other soilless potting mixes)? Which growing medium produces the highest quality buds?
This tutorial will teach you what to expect for each type of cannabis grow medium (including pros/cons, easiness, effect on yields, bud quality, etc). Get started growing weed today!
Table of Contents
Soil-Hydro Fusion – coco coir & other soilless mediums
Intro to Growing Cannabis in Soil
Growing plants in soil seems to be what many people try first when it comes to growing in cannabis. If you’ve grown other plants in soil and/or have maintained a soil garden, this may be the best choice for you because you will already be familiar with a lot of what you need to understand to grow cannabis in soil.
Note: Do not use “Miracle-Gro” soil or any soil that has “extended release” nutrients for growing cannabis. These types of soil will continue to release nitrogen to your plant roots for up to 6 months. This can burn your cannabis plants in the flowering/budding stage and reduce your overall yields.
Pros vs Cons
Soil Pros for Growing Cannabis
Many Already Have Soil Experience – Growing cannabis in soil is similar to growing plants like tomatoes or corn – soil growing may be the most intuitive option for you, especially if you already have gardening experience.
Simple – hand-water your plants in containers
Outdoor Growing – most outdoor growers choose to grow with soil. In the wild, cannabis grows in soil, so growing outdoors in soil is most like a cannabis plant's natural environment. Many people find that when growing cannabis outdoors, soil is the simplest and most intuitive way to grow. Growing with composted "super soil" gives the grower the ability to grow outside without needing to add synthetic bottled nutrients or manage the pH of the soil.
Option 1: Store-Bought Soil + Nutrients – Growers can buy soil online or at a store, and simply add nutrients throughout their grow while watering for thriving, happy cannabis plants.
Option 2: Compost or Purchase "Super Soil" – For those who don’t want to worry about soil pH or adding nutrients throughout the grow, there is the option of amending and composting your own super soil (or buying it already composted) specifically made for cannabis plants. While this option takes more time before you start growing, it can be somewhat simpler especially for those who have composted soil in the past. Note: Some growers believe growing in organic composted super soil with a rich microbial life actually improves the taste and smell of cannabis by causing plant to produce higher levels of terpenes and terpenoids.
Soil Cons for Growing Cannabis
Pests – Soil is organic material, and there are many types of bugs that can live in soil. Often, soil-growers seem to suffer more often from pests attacking their plants than hydroponic growers.
Slower Growth – Growing in soil is not as fast as growing in a soilless or hydroponic setup – hydroponic plants tend to get better growth rates, especially in the vegetative stage.
Setup Cost – Basically you just need soil and a container. Common cannabis soil mixes include Fox Farms Happy Frog and Fox Farms Ocean Forest. Any high quality organic soil mix will do in a pinch. Avoid Miracle-Gro soil or anything with “extended release” nutrients! If soil seems heavy, it can be beneficial to add 30% perlite and 10% vermiculite to aerate and loosen soil. One proven soil option is to compost your own super soil, which can be made organically and gets some of the best results of any soil. Common cannabis containers include classic plastic pots, terra cotta pots, smart pots (fabric pots) and air-pots. Standard gardening pots do best with soil that has perlite added so that there’s plenty of aeration for the cannabis roots. Smart pots and air-pots each add extra air to the root zones from the sides, so they don't require much (if any) extra aeration or perlite in soil mixes.
Setup Effort – Soil growing probably has the least setup effort of any method (with the possible exception of growing cannabis in a soilless mix). The biggest effort will likely be choosing your soil and nutrients.
Maintenance Cost – After setup, the main cost of soil growing will be replacing your soil every grow (highly recommended – reused soil often does not get great results unless you know how to amend it with the nutrients that were used during your grow). Occasionally you will have to replaced used containers that crack or break.
Maintenance Effort – Watering your plants, providing cannabis nutrients as needed, managing the pH of your root zone (you should be managing your root pH if you’re not growing in composted super soil which has microorganisms in your soil to help manage pH and make nutrients available to your plant roots).
How long until harvest? Soil has relatively slower growth rates than hydroponic methods, but a tuned-in soil grow can achieve impressive growth rates if given a great environment and plenty of bright light. Most soil grows will require 1-3 months of vegetative time (depending on how big you want your plants) plus 2-3 months of flowering/budding (depending on your strain). Learn more about how long it takes to grow cannabis here. Some growers feel that cannabis grown in organic super soil has the best smell/taste profile, though this is highly disputed among hydroponic growers.
How long can grower be away? It’s important for a grower to always remain close by for their first grow, especially for inexperienced growers. Experienced growers can safely spend more time away from the garden. Bigger containers hold more water and therefore give growers more time away, since constant watering isn’t needed. In the best case scenario it is always best to check on your plants at least once a day. You never know when a pest infestation will take hold, a plant will fall over, or some other unexpected event will happen.
Growing with Hydroponics
Intro to Hydroponics for Cannabis
While technically any growing medium besides soil is considered hydroponics (including growing in a soilless medium like coco coir), when most people think of “hydroponics” they think of a water reservoir.
Technically any type of hydroponics with no inert medium is called a “solution culture” to differentiate it from other types of hydroponics.
This section focuses on types of hydroponics where the cannabis roots grow directly in water and/or the grower needs to maintain a water reservoir.
In the next section we will cover soilless mediums, which are technically a type of hydroponics, but which most people consider more like growing in soil.
Pros vs Cons
Hydro Pros for Growing Cannabis
Faster Growth – Faster vegetative growth than any other growing method, which can result in harvests that come in sooner.
Bigger Yields – Experienced hydroponic growers usually get bigger yields than experienced soil growers – given the same conditions (light, nutrients, etc).
Less Likely To Get Pests – Of all the grow types, hydroponic growers are least likely have their garden attacked by bugs or pests (though it’s definitely still possible). Many pests need soil as part of their lifecycle, and many growers accidentally introduce pests into their grow room when buying new soil.
Some Options Are Low Maintenance – Some hydro methods are relatively low maintenance, and many growers believe some options are as simple as growing in soil (learn more about different types of hydroponic setups below).
Hydro Cons for Growing Cannabis
Setup Cost – Hydroponic setups are usually more expensive to set up initially, and some types of hydroponic growing may require some DIY.
Figuring Out Nutrients – Getting the nutrients “dialed in” can be difficult for some hydro growers (especially when combining nutrients and supplements from many different companies) unless you follow a proven formula. In hydro, growers have total control over nutrients, which means hydro growers can fix nutrient problems quickly, but also that nutrient problems should be monitored and fixed as soon as possible.
Root Problems – Many unprepared hydro growers run into problems at the roots, though it’s important to remember that there are several proven steps that can be taken to ensure happy, healthy roots – such as providing plenty of oxygen at the roots and keeping water temps around 70°F (20°C).
Some Options Are High Maintenance – Some hydro growing methods are relatively high maintenance, and may take lots of checking in for the best growth rates
Growing Hydro Outdoors Can Be Difficult – While hydroponic growing can be accomplished outdoors, many people find it difficult to control all the essential variables outdoors (sterile environment, controlling heat/cold, powering pumps, etc).
Best Hydro Methods For Growing Cannabis
Different Types of Hydroponics Systems
Learn which ones are and aren’t suited for growing cannabis
○ DWC (Deep Water Culture)
○ Top-Fed DWC (Bubbleponics)
○ NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
○ Ebb & Flow (Flood & Drain)
○ Aquaponics (Fish for Nutrients)
○ Aeroponics (Misted Air)
○ Drip System (Automatic Watering)
○ Hand-Watered Hydro (Soil-Hydro Fusion)
DWC – roots in nutrient reservoir that is oxygenated by bubbling air through the water. There are lots of different variations of the DWC method.
Top-Fed DWC (Bubbleponics) – like DWC except water is also pumped to the roots via a top-feed – fastest growth of almost any hydro system
Note: What’s “RDWC”? It stands for recirculating DWC, which involves many DWC units hooked together with pumps and a “controller” to make sure all the plants get what they need. Usually only used for very big grows with many DWC units – this method allows a grower to maintain many DWC reservoirs in one place, and have the water pumped to all the plants
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) – roots in containers on a tilted surface (often PVC piping). A water pump drips water from a reservoir to the roots of the first plant, and a shallow stream of water flows down the ramp over the roots of all the plants, one at a time. At the end, the water is usually drained back into the main reservoir to be recirculated. It is called “NFT” or “nutrient film technique” because there is a film of nutrient water flowing over the roots at all times.
Flood & Drain (Ebb & Flow) – roots in container which is flooded with water and drained on a timer – get plenty of nutrient water to roots as well as oxygen.
Aquaponics – fish are raised in a tank, and their poop is used to provide nutrients for your plants. In return, plant roots help filter the water for the fish. This is all accomplished by building a colony of bacteria known as a "biofilter." The bacteria transform the fish waste from ammonia (which is toxic to fish and unavailable to plant) into nitrogen that the plants can use.
Aeroponics – roots in misted air – this method gets more oxygen to roots than almost any other system. Can be difficult to get setup if you want to DIY (do it yourself) but there are lots of already-made aeroponics kits for growers interested in this style of hydroponics.
Drip system – Basically an automated watering system – can be used full hydro, with a soilless medium or even with soil. Plants are provided water via top-feed from a reservoir of water. There’s lots of variation on drip systems. For example, sometimes these systems are re-circulating, and sometimes the water is discarded after being dripped through the roots. Sometimes the water feed in on a timer, and sometimes the water flows constantly.
Soilless Mediums (Hand-Watered Hydro) – While growing with cannabis roots directly in a soilless medium like coco coir is technically considered hydroponics, I will go over it in the next section because as far as the grower is concerned, the experience of growing in soilless mediums is more like a fusion of soil and hydro compared to most other hydro techniques.
NOT Good For Growing Cannabis
These Hydro Methods Are NOT Suitable For Growing Cannabis
Raft System – Only meant for small plants like lettuce, raft hydro systems keep plants on a "raft" floating in a nutrient reservoir.
No tiny hydro systems like ones made for growing herbs! These hydroponic systems are far too small for a plant like cannabis. They don't have enough room for roots, or enough light to get cannabis to properly produce buds in the flowering stage. Don't use an Aerogarden (Aerogrow)! It is a struggle to get cannabis to grow in one of these, and you will get a lot better results using almost anything else (never mind the fact that they're expensive).
Never Use an AeroGarden for Growing Cannabis!
Setup Cost – many hydroponic setups are very inexpensive, especially if growers are willing to DIY and build their systems from scratch. Most of the parts for hydroponic systems are readily available at the hardware store and usually aren't terribly expensive. The more complicated your system, generally the more it costs. So if you need lots of pumps, tubing and special pieces you may spend quite a bit to get everything. Luckily, these days there are many companies that sell kits with everything included, and often these kits are comparable in price to building everything yourself.
Setup Effort – When it comes to setup, you will benefit greatly from doing your homework. I highly recommend finding a grower with a proven setup already (a grower who has at least one grow journal showing a successful harvest), and copy them for your first grow. Many already-made hydroponic kits can be found online, and these are often easy to put together. Certain setups that use a timer usually take some tinkering to get everything to work the way you like (example Flood & Drain, certain Drip systems, etc). For aquaponics, the grower must also consider the time and effort it takes to set up a tank that can support fish.
Maintenance Cost – Once your grow is setup, the majority of your maintenance costs usually go towards your nutrients and your grow lights. Learn about hydroponic nutrients. Learn about different grow lights. However, you will need to replace tubing, pumps and air stones every few grows or as they wear out.
Maintenance Effort – Your first grow will likely take a lot of maintenance as you get a feel for how everything works together. As long as you do your research beforehand, you will avoid common growing hydro problems like root rot and figuring out your hydroponic nutrient schedule. The amount of long-term maintenance depends quite a bit on which hydro setup you choose. A dialed-in DWC setup with a relatively large reservoir can take as little as a half hour each week to maintain the reservoir. Most hydro setups are relatively low maintenance as long as the grower has grown in the setup before. Some hydroponic setups take inherently more maintenance, for example aquaponics (growing with fish) and aeroponics (growing in misted air – take a bit of maintenance to make sure spray nozzles are always working properly).
How long until harvest? All hydroponic grow styles generally achieve faster growth than growing in soil, especially when it comes to speed of vegetative growth. The fastest growth rates are achieved when roots have constant access to both nutrient water and lots of oxygen. That means that growers get the fastest cannabis growth by adding more bubbles and dissolved oxygen into their water, or exposed always-moist plant roots directly to air (like aeroponics). While vegetative growth is often faster with hydroponic setups, growing hydro does not reduce the time a plant needs in the flowering/budding stage – that’s determined mostly by genetics.
How long can grower be away? Depends on the setups. It’s important for a grower to always remain close by for their first grow, especially for inexperienced growers with DIY setups. You need to be there if there’s a leak, or something stops working properly. With safe & professional setups, experienced growers can safely spend more time away from the garden. Bigger water reservoirs (or bigger pots for soilless mediums – anything that holds more water at a time) give growers more time away, since constantly adding water isn’t needed. Highly tuned setups like aeroponics tend to need more constant checking in, while simple and direct setups like DWC can be left alone for quite a few days. In the best case scenario it is always best to check on your plants at least once a day. You never know when a bulb will go out, a plant will fall over, or some other unexpected event will happen.
Hand-Watered Hydro – Coco coir & other soilless mediums
Intro to Coco Coir & Other Soilless Potting Mixes
While technically any growing medium besides soil is considered “hydroponic”, growing in coco coir or other types of soilless mediums can feel a lot like growing in Soil.
Pros vs Cons
Faster Growth – Soilless growing mediums tend to achieve faster vegetative growth than growing in soil.
Less Likely To Get Pests – Soilless growers are least likely have their garden attacked by bugs or pests, but it’s definitely still possible.
Easy – Hand-water your plants in containers, just like soil. Many growers believe that growing in a soilless medium requires about the same effort as growing in soil. If your soil setup involves feeding nutrients in the water, growing in a soilless medium will be nearly the same experience.
Not As Fast As Full Hydro – Growing in a soilless medium will get faster growth rates in soil, but cannabis plants will not grow as fast as a hydroponic medium that is able to get more oxygen to the roots.
Figuring Out Nutrients – Getting the nutrients “dialed in” can be difficult for some soilless growers (especially when combining nutrients and supplements from many different companies) unless you follow a proven cannabis nutrient formula for your specific growing medium.
Cost – Soilless potting mix and container. One of the more common soilless mixes used for cannabis is “coco coir” which is made from coconut husks. Usually a soilless mix contains many different inert components to achieve just the right amount of aeration and water holding properties. I don’t recommend making up your own soilless mixes until you have some experience as it’s easy to make a mix that either holds too much or not enough water.
One proven soilless mix is to hydrate coco coir bricks and add 30% perlite and 10% vermiculite to aerate and loosen the mix.
Common cannabis containers include classic plastic pots, terra cotta pots, smart pots (fabric pots) and air-pots.
Classic pots do best with a lighter soilless mix with plenty of aeration for the cannabis roots. Smart pots and air-pots allow for heavier mixes that hold more water, since each of these types of pots add extra air to the root zones from the sides (which adds more oxygen to encourage faster root growth, but also means potting mixes tend to dry out faster).
Setup Effort – Growing with a soilless mix has very little setup – just get the mix and your container. The biggest effort will likely be spent choosing your soilless mix and nutrients. Remember, a soilless mix is technically a hydroponic setup, so it’s important to get nutrients that are either specifically formulated for your mix, or formulated for hydroponic growing. Nutrients that are formulated for soil usually do not work well for growing in a soilless setup.
Cost – The main cost of soilless growing is replacing your potting mix every grow (highly recommended, reused potting mixes often contain a buildup of nutrient salts that are difficult to properly rinse out). Occasionally you will have to replaced used containers.
Maintenance Effort – Watering your plants, adding cannabis nutrients, managing the pH of your root zone (you should be managing your root pH if you’re not growing in a soilless mix in order to make sure nutrients are readily available to your plant roots).
How long until harvest? Soilless mixes has relatively faster growth rates than growing in soil, and a tuned-in soilless grow can achieve impressive growth rates when given a great environment and plenty of bright light.
How long can grower be away? It’s important for a marijuana grower to always remain close by for their first grow, especially for inexperienced growers. Experienced growers can safely spend more time away from the garden. Bigger containers hold more water and therefore give growers more time away, since constant watering isn’t needed. In the best case scenario it is always best to check on your plants at least once a day. You never know when a nutrient deficiency will take hold, a plant will fall over, or some other unexpected event will happen that needs your attention.
59 AeroGarden Tips And Reviews For Instant Success.
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When the pandemic started, we were desperate to find ways to be around nature, and we couldn’t do that as much when the lockdown happened in Chicago. It became our option for stretching our green thumbs and growing indoor food and veggies.
But there are many indoor garden units out there (with various prices and features), so how do you know which one to pick? Let’s review the ins and out of this hydroponics system so you can decide if it makes sense for you. If you’re just looking for detailed reviews of specific models, you can start here:
Table of Contents
A Comparison Of AeroGarden Models
There are four garden families available from Aerogarden, including the Sprout , the Harvest Family , the Bounty Family , and the Farm family . Each family has one or more models. The main difference between families is the number of seed pods that can be grown at a time, with the Sprout having the fewest and the Farm having the most.
Different Aerogarden Models
The Aerogarden families are identified by the number of seed pods they grow at a single time. Here’s an overview of the four families:
AeroGarden Farm Family
This is the largest indoor system, and while it can fit on a large countertop, floor placement may be a better option. Each Farm unit holds 12-24 plants and utilizes motorized grow lights, so you are able to easily adjust the grow height of your light for the needs of your plants. Here are the different models of the Farm:
- Farm 12
- Farm 12XL
- Farm 24Plus
AeroGarden Bounty Family
The AeroGarden Bounty is the second-largest in the family. It comes with 9 holes for growing seed pods, and a 40-50W LED light. Here are the Bounty models:
AeroGarden Harvest Family
The Harvest family is one of the smaller indoor units provided by AeroGarden. It has 6 pods for growing:
How Does AeroGarden Compare to Other Indoor Gardens?
There are countless indoor garden systems, and while AeroGarden has many convenient bells and whistles, its hydroponic system is similar to that of several brands such as IDOO , Ivation , GrowLED . One of our new favorites is the iHarvest (we scored a $50 off discount with the code “TwoPeas “), which can grow $1,000 worth of produce in a year.
You can get $50 off the iHarvest when you use the Coupon Code “TwoPeas” at Checkout.
The Best AeroGarden Growing System
What’s the best AeroGarden for you? It depends on your goals. If you just want an affordable indoor hobby or some nice herbs to use with your dinner, you should consider models within the Harvest or Bounty Family . But for serious gardeners who want to supplement their grocery budget, we recommend the Farm 24Basic or Farm 24XL , which can each grow up to 24 plants at a time.
Purchase And Costs
Where To Buy AeroGarden?
You can buy Aerogarden from online retailers, such as Amazon or Aerogarden.com, or purchase these indoor gardens from brick and mortar retailers like Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and Best Buy.
How Much Does AeroGarden Cost?
AeroGarden has several models, each with different prices between $99.97 and $895. The smallest model, the Sprout, is less than $100. The biggest model, the Farm 24XL , retails for $895. Fortunately, they regularly provides discounts, especially during the holiday season. It’s not uncommon to save $200 or more on Farm models between November and January.
How Much Does AeroGarden Cost To Run?
How Much Electricity Does An AeroGarden Use?
The amount of electricity used by your AeroGarden varies by model type. Larger gardening systems, such as units within the AeroGarden Farm family, use about 48 watts per month. In contrast, the smallest unit – the AeroGarden Sprout – only uses an average of 13 watts of electricity a month. The AeroGarden Harvest and AeroGarden Bounty families use 23 watts and 48 watts, respectfully.
Does AeroGarden Save Money?
Most AeroGarden models are too small to grow enough food to outweigh the initial cost, as well as the cost of nutrients, electricity, and additional seed pods. The exceptions to this are the AeroGarden Farm 24 models. You can grow up to 24 plants at a time with these indoor gardening systems. So you could potentially save money on herbs or greens if you compared them to organic herbs and greens at a store.
And, of course, certain plants, such as marijuana, can potentially produce a higher profit per plant than something like cherry tomatoes.
Pros And Cons of AeroGarden
Like all indoor gardens, Aerogarden gets high marks in certain areas and less favorable reviews in others. Here are the most relevant pros and cons of the different hydroponics models.
We’re going to say this a lot – the AeroGarden does a great job of simplifying some pretty complicated technology. Most models will only take a few minutes to set up, while the largest models ( Farm 24Basic, Farm 24XL ) could take you up to 30 minutes. If you read the directions carefully, you shouldn’t have any problem getting your garden set up quickly!
The Digital Display – Touchscreen Control Panel
The larger models have an incredibly sleek touchscreen LCD that helps you take the guesswork out of the gardening process. All you need to do is input the type of plant you’re growing – herbs, tomatoes, etc. – and it will help you set the light timer and nutrient reminder, and it will alert you when water levels in the bowl are lower than they should be.
For the larger models, you can generate a lot of plants to feed your family. Some of the Farm models can grow up to 24 plants at a time. To optimize yields, you should consider growing on a rotation. You likely don’t need 24 salad green plants growing at the same time. So start 12 at once and then wait a week or two before starting the other 12. This should allow you to have 2-3 side salads a week.
Aerogarden uses hydroponics to grow fresh herbs, veggies, flowers, and more. This means that your plants don’t rely on soil but instead grow in nutrient-rich water that’s suspended in plastic grow nets. The benefit of doing this is that that your plants grow faster and bigger than they would using traditional methods, and it’s less messy than working with soil.
Larger AeroGarden models are smart devices, meaning they can connect to the AeroGarden app or other supported devices, such as Amazon Alexa, and can connect to wi-fi. This gives you one more way to receive alerts about your plants’ progress, as well as reminders to refill the water bowl or add liquid plant food.
Longer Growing Seasons
Live in the icy tundra? No problem. AeroGarden is an indoor gardening system, so you’re growing season is all year round. We live in Chicago, and most of our plants can only be grown eight months of the year on our balcony. But with Aero Garden, we can grow 12 months without even putting our shoes on.
No Pesticides Or GMOs
With AeroGarden, you can feel confident that your plants are grown without harmful herbicides or pesticides. The plant food used contains iron, calcium, magnesium, and other vitamins that plants need to flourish. What’s more, Aero Garden never uses GMO seeds for their seed pods.
If you’ve had a chance to look at the indoor garden market, you’ve probably noticed that most of them are downright ugly. They usually have cords and weirdly-colored lights – they look like a hybrid between a disco and Frankenstein’s laboratory. AeroGarden has mastered the art of making classy products. All of the models are sleek. They look both sophisticated and minimalistic, meaning they’re the perfect addition for any kitchen countertop.
Benefits Of Indoor Plants
Gardening has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety . Similarly, having plants in your home can improve air quality, and watching something grow can do wonders for your mind. It’s important that people are constantly caring for and supporting things other than themselves. It’s in our wiring.
AeroGarden allows you and your family to take part in growing plants without having to leave your home. It’s an excellent option for those of us who live in urban areas.
AeroGarden offers a germination guarantee. So if your seeds don’t germinate after three weeks of planting, you can call AeroGrow customer service, and they will send you a replacement pod. Devri and I have done three different plantings with our AeroGarden Bounty so far, and all of our seeds have germinated each time. But, according to some of the reviews I’ve read, it does happen occasionally.
If you have light-sensitive eyes, you may need to take measures to protect yourself from the blazing rays of the Aerogarden. Smaller models like the Sprout are usually okay, but the Farm is near blinding with its 60W light. It can feel like you have a small sun inside your home. If you don’t want to deal with the light, place the unit in a garage, shed, or basement. Better yet, set the light timer to only be on when you’re either at work or asleep.
Most personal hydroponic systems are expensive, so it’s not unusual that the price of AeroGarden is so high. But you’ll likely spend between $100 and $800 on one of these indoor gardens, depending on the model you choose. You could build your own hydroponic system for less than that, but it wouldn’t look as nice or have all the fancy features.
You’re paying for convenience when you buy one of these units, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Fresh veggies are tasty, whether you toiled in soil to grow them or not. You can buy the AeroGarden models here.
We are die-hard fans of AeroGarden, but that doesn’t mean they’re without fault. There are several comments online that mention AeroGarden’s lousy customer service. People have trouble getting them to respond, and when they do respond, they’re notoriously unhelpful. And sure, all companies get the occasional bad review, but we’ve sifted through hundreds of reviews, and person after person mentions their poor experience with customer service.
Disclaimer – While there are many reviews about AeroGarden customer service issues, I’ve never worked with their customer service personally. All of the products I’ve purchased work well and have produced amazing plants, so there hasn’t been a need to contact customer service for support. If this ever changes, I will write about the experience here.
How To Use AeroGarden
To set up your AeroGarden, attach the LED grow light and grow deck to the water bowl. Insert the seed pods, add water to the fill line, pour in the liquid nutrients, and put the grow domes on each of the seed pods. Plug in your AeroGarden and set the light (most models have a control panel). Then you’re ready to grow! Your smart garden system will do the rest! Follow directions for cleaning, adding nutrients, and removing the grow domes.
Note: Some models have slightly different setups, such a the Sprout and the larger Farm models. For these, follow the directions as described.
What Can You Grow In AeroGarden?
You can grow almost anything in an Aerogarden, including veggies, salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, flowers, bell peppers, eggplants, chilis, cucumbers, snap peas, strawberries, and even marijuana. AeroGarden offers over 70 seed pod types, and a grow anything kit, which allows you to grow your own herbs and other plants.
But you can’t grow everything in AeroGarden. We don’t recommend you grow root plants like potatoes and carrots in this hydroponic system. Here are our favorite seed pod kits currently available from AeroGarden:
Where To Buy AeroGarden Pods
AeroGarden pods are available at many online and brick and mortar stores, including Amazon, AeroGarden.com, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Bed Bath & Beyond. For the best deals, start by looking on Amazon.
How To Make Seed Pods For AeroGarden
The plastic grow basket that comes with your AeroGarden can be reused, but you’ll need to replace the grow plug. You can purchase grow plugs either through Amazon or AeroGarden, or you can try to make them. But this is easier said than done. Some savvy growers say that weatherstripping seals can be dried and used as a seed plug. If you do this successfully, please let us know!
How To Plant AeroGarden Seeds
AeroGarden seed pods arrive pre-seeded and have a germination guarantee. If you’re using the grow anything pods , insert two of your own seeds, place the seed pod into the grow deck slot, and cover the pod with the grow dome. Make sure your bowl has water up to the fill line, and add your plant food. Once you set your light, sprouting should typically happen within 1-2 weeks.
How To Start Seeds In AeroGarden
You can use the AeroGarden seed-starting systems to grow between 15-85 seedlings indoors. Remove the grow deck, fill the bowl with water to the fill line, and add the plastic seed starter tray with the biodegradable grow sponges in each of the seed holes. Let the sponges sit for at least 30 minutes before adding your seeds. Add two seeds per hole, and add the recommended plant nutrients. Set the light and watch your seedlings grow!
What Grows Best In AeroGarden?
Almost anything that grows above the surface can be grown in an AeroGarden. Still, some plants do better than others, such as Thai basil, curly parsley, Genovese basil, cilantro, chives, cherry tomatoes, petunias, and salad greens. Here’s the full list of our favorite AeroGarden seeds to grow:
How Long Do AeroGarden Plants Last
- Flowers: 2-4 months
- Fruiting Vegetables: 9 months
- Salad Greens: 2-3 months
- Herbs: 3-4 months
Can You Grow Cucumbers In An AeroGarden?
You can grow cucumbers in the AeroGarden, but you’ll need to bring your own seeds and use the Grow Anything Seed Pod kit. When growing cucumbers, use a cotton swab to pollinate the cucumber flowers, moving pollen from the male flower to the female flowers. You can tell a flower is female because it has small bumps just below the petals’ base. Do this daily. Be the bee!
Can You Grow Marijuana In An AeroGarden?
Marijuana can be grown in most AeroGarden models. You should consider growing a smaller plant strain, as there are growth height limitations with the light hood on each of the models. Some smaller strains we recommend include AK-47 (Hybrid), Northern Lights (Indica), and Lowryder (Hybrid). You will also need to use the grow anything seed pod kit to start your plants. Please be sure to follow all state and federal laws when growing this plant at home.
How To Store AeroGarden Herbs
For short-term storage, you can place your fresh herbs in the refrigerator. For basil, parsley, cilantro, chervil, and mint, place the stems in water (like a vase). For herbs like dill, oregano, and thyme, store them in an unsealed plastic baggy alongside a small paper towel to absorb water droplets. Your herbs will remain fresh for a few days like this. You can dry your herbs in the microwave or freeze them in herbal ice cubes for long-term solutions. See directions below for both options:
Microwave Herb Drying
- Place no more than 3-5 herb stems in the microwave between two paper towels
- Place a microwave-safe cup in the microwave with water. Don’t put the herbs in the cup. The water helps protect the herbs from damage by the microwave
- Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes
- Remove herbs
- Let herbs cool
- Store in a mason jar for later use
Herbal Ice Cubes
- Chop the fresh herbs
- Put them inside a silicone ice cube tray
- Fill the tray with water
- Freeze the tray for a minimum of 3 hours.
- Melt your herbs at a later date to use and enjoy!
Pruning And Plant Maintenance
How To Prune AeroGarden Herbs
3-4 weeks after planting, you should consider pruning your fresh herbs. Some plants are faster growers and need to be pruned to give your other plants access to light. For basil varieties, mint, parsley, and thyme, start at the top of the plant and follow the stem back to the previous leaf set. Make the cut with a pruning tool just above the new leaves. For parsley and dill, simply follow the top of the leaves back to the plant’s base and make your cut.
Balance is key. Make sure your herb plants aren’t shadowing their neighbors. Keep in mind that you should never take more than 1/3 of the plant in a pruning session. Over pruning can harm your herbs and make it difficult for them to take in enough light.
How To Prune Lettuce In AeroGarden
Three weeks after planting, you can begin harvesting your AeroGarden lettuce and other salad greens. Start by snipping the leaves with shears or scissors an inch above the plant’s crown. When pruning your lettuce, make sure you never harvest more than 1/3 of the plant, as this can cause it harm. You should harvest your AeroGarden Lettuce 2-3 times per week.
How To Prune Chives In AeroGarden
The cylindrical leaves of chives, called scapes, can be harvested with scissors or shears. You can remove up to one-third of the scapes in a single harvest or harvest a few scapes as you need them for meals.
How To Prune Dill In Aerogarden
To harvest dill, use shears or scissors and cut two inches from the top of the nearest leaf set. You can also remove an entire stem, as long as you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the dill plant.
When To Pick AeroGarden Tomatoes
If you’re growing tomatoes in your unit, you expect to harvest the fruits of your labor 8-9 weeks after planting your seeds. When you harvest, be careful that you’re not using too much force with the plants, which can cause them to break or drop fruit. Consider using a pruning tool to help this process.
How To Pollinate Tomatoes – AeroGarden
Tomatoes and other fruiting plants typically rely on insects and wind for pollination. Since you’re inside, you’ll need to pollinate your plants by hand by gently shaking or vibrating the plants daily (mimicking wind), and use a “Be the Bee” hand pollinator (mimicking bee pollination). You should hand pollinate your plants every day for the best results. Other options for fertilizing plants include a small artist brush or a cotton swab. But it won’t look nearly as cute as a pollinator.
Transplanting AeroGarden Plants
Can I Transplant my Aerogarden Plants?
To transplant plants, start by removing the pod from the grow deck. Use scissors to cut the seed pod in half, allowing you to remove the plant pod and the roots. Plant the pods in a pot at least four inches deep. Carefully pour soil around the roots and gently press the soil with your fingertips. Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep the soil evenly moist. Start the plant in a window or under a grow light for 1-2 weeks before moving it outside. Bring the plant inside regularly, which will help it toughen up without putting too much stress on your plant.
Can You Plant AeroGarden Pods In Soil?
Yes, you can plant Aerogarden grow sponges in the garden. Before you do, remove the plastic grow basket with scissors and separate the sponge and the roots. Plant the seed pod in the soil and lightly press the soil around the edges.
Cleaning Your Aero Garden
When To Clean AeroGarden
You should regularly clean your Aero Garden unit to keep roots and other debris from clogging the water pump and keep pathogens from hurting your salad greens, fresh herbs, veggies, or flowers. You should also clean between plantings.
How To Clean AeroGarden
- Remove the water from the bowl
- Add new water to the fill line
- Add 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach (5 cups of distilled white vinegar will also work!)
- Turn the AeroGarden on, so the Pump circulates water
- Empty the mix in the sink
- Rinse your water bowl
How To Change AeroGarden Water
It’s recommended that you keep the water to the fill line at all times, add nutrient solution every two weeks, and replace all the water in the system every month. To replace the water, you can either use a Rinse and Refill Siphon or remove the grow deck and empty the water down a sink drain. Once you drain the water, clean and sanitize your AeroGarden with bleach, white vinegar, or by mixing the Hydroponic No-Rinse Cleanser into the basin.
What Comes In An AeroGarden?
Your AeroGarden comes with all the essentials for growing, including an LED grow light, a light hood, a water bowl with a water pump or aerator, a grow deck, seed pods, grow domes, liquid plant food, instructions, and recipes for you to use with your herbs, veggies, or other plants. Most models only take a few minutes to set up, and you don’t have to mess with soil. Just add water and nutrients, and turn on the indoor light.
LED Grow Light
Depending on the model of AeroGarden you purchase, the LED grow light wattage will differ. For instance, the Sprout model has only a 10W LED light, while the AeroGarden Bounty Elite has a 50W LED light. The main reason for these differences is to accommodate for the amount of plants growing. Smaller models have fewer plants and need less light. According to their site, the grow lights use a “proprietary blend of phosphors to deliver the proper balance of white, red, and blue light for healthy compact vegetative growth.”
We should point out that these lights are very bright and can be a little overwhelming if you’re light sensitive. Especially for larger models – such as the Farm 24Basic – consider putting them in a garage or basement. Another option would be to only have them on during the sleeping hours, so you don’t have to see them.
Where To Buy AeroGarden Bulbs
For best results, you should replace your bulbs every six months . You can purchase replacements for most models. Make sure you check the bulb model number, so you find the right match. Here are LED grow light replacement options . If you need a different model for your unit, contact their support team here .
How Long Do AeoGarden LED Lights Last?
An AeroGarden LED light will last 2-4 years, but it will start dimming bit by bit after six months. Still, these grow lights should continue to meet your plants’ light needs for at least a few years.
How To Replace AeroGarden LED Lights
New AeroGarden Models have an LED light hood, meaning you don’t need to replace your LED grow lights until the individual diodes start to fail. These diodes typically have a 2-4 year lifespan. For best results, you should consider replacing your light after six months of use. To return an AeroGarden LED grow light, contact AeroGarden for pricing .
How To Replace Bulbs In An AeroGarden
To replace an LED grow light on an AeroGarden, lightly pull the light toward you with one hand while holding the other hand on the base. The bulb will then pop out of the indoor garden. Insert the new bulb and gently pop it into place.
How Long Does the AeroGarden Light Stay On?
The LED grow light stays on between 15.5 and 17 hours a day, depending on what you’re growing. On models with a control panel, you can set the light timer using the quick plant functionality and selecting the plants you’re growing. Here are the light times by plant category. Flowers – 15.5 hours a day Veggies – 16 hours a day Salad Mix – 16.5 hours a day Herbs – 17 hours a day
What Is In AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients?
The liquid nutrients or “plant food” provided with your Aerogarden is a liquid fertilizer with Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Phosphate, Ammonium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulphate, Calcium Nitrate, and water. This “all-in-one” plant food provides your plants with 13 macro and micronutrients and works well with herbs, veggies, salad greens, and flowers grown hydroponically.
Can I Use Miracle-Gro In My AeroGarden?
While AeroGarden is a Miracle-Gro partner, it’s not recommended that you use Miracle-Gro Plant Food in your indoor gardening unit. This plant food is meant for growing in soil and doesn’t have the micronutrients or pH balance your hydroponic plants need. If you’re looking for proper nutrients for your hydroponics plants, here are you best options:
How To Turn On AeroGarden Pump
The AeroGarden Pump should start automatically when you plug in your unit. You may not hear it because it cycles on and off on a timer. Also, be sure that roots are not growing into your pump, which can cause problems. If the pump still isn’t working, you can replace it in most models with this affordable pump .
Facts And Miscellaneous
What Is An AeroGarden?
AeroGardens are hydroponic gardens that are dirt-free and foolproof. These units are easy to set up. It includes plants that are simple to manage, and you can keep harvesting throughout the entire year. Every AeroGarden comes with a water bowl, liquid plant food for nutrients, water pump or aerator, a grow deck, seed pods, and a full-spectrum LED lamp, giving the plant the light they require.
Many models also have an LCD control panel, which gives you reminders to add water and plant food, and it provides updates and tips for your plants. AeroGarden is owned by a company called AeroGrow International – a leader in the household hydroponic indoor gardening space.
They introduced the first AeroGarden in 2006 and soon released other AeroGarden models and over 70 seed pods (for a variety of plants, veggies, herbs, and flowers). These units have been especially popular with city dwellers who don’t have access to much outdoor space, plant lovers, and the elderly, who may find it increasingly difficult to get outside to garden.
As Chicagoans, we were thrilled to have an herb garden sitting on our countertop. It was easy to access, and we were able to keep it going during the six months of winter in our condo by Lake Michigan. Growers see these indoor gardens as a little slice of nature for their homes. In the year 2013, Miracle-Gro invested over $4 million into Aerogarden and accounted for more than 30% in the company’s shares. Funding from this gardening behemoth has no doubt been at least partially responsible for Miracle-Gro AeroGarden’s popularity in the space.
Several new indoor gardening systems have entered the space in the last few years, such as the high-producing iHarvest . Time will only tell if AeroGarden can maintain its hold on the market. One thing that they could do to improve its position is to beef up its customer service. Time and time again we’ve seen reviews about the low quality of customer service from this company. As budding companies continue to compete for the spotlight, good customer service will soon become the ante to play. Aero Garden Hydroponics needs to improve in this area or get out of the way for someone else.
Does AeroGarden Work?
Yes, AeroGarden works, and no green thumb is required. With very little maintenance, you can grow herbs, veggies, salad greens, or flowers from the comfort of your home. And with its hydroponic system, plants will grow 5x faster and larger than if you used traditional methods. You can see the reviews for these products on Amazon:
Is AeroGarden Hydroponics?
AeroGarden relies on a category of hydroponics called aeroponics. Their site calls it “advanced hydroponics,” but it’s a pretty simple set up. The water pump or aerator moves nutrient-rich water so that it drips across the roots. This mix of air and nutrient-rich waters means your plants can grow up to 5x faster. A few models, such as the Herbie and the Sprout, rely on a sub-category of Aeroponics called Deep Water Culture (DWC), which means that the plants are suspended in nutrient-rich, oxygenated water instead of using a drip method. You could build something similar, but it wouldn’t look as sharp or have all the bells and whistles as an AeroGarden.