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Is an AeroGarden Worth It? A Realistic Look

Whether you’re an avid gardener or have a budding interest, you’ve probably seen buzz over the AeroGarden and other small-scale hydroponics set-ups. What’s the hype all about? Are these little systems even worth it? I did the calculations for you!

tomato seedlings under aerogarden lights

With grocery store prices rising, I’m searching for ways to lower my bill (and yours!). The AeroGarden has taken the indoor gardening world by storm, promising loads of food with little work.

But how much of that is true?

For word’s sake, I’m talking about AeroGardens. But pretty well everything I talk about here also applies to other indoor smart gardening systems like Click and Grow, Hoctor, and The Jardin Pro from Vegehome. The difference is not how they work but just their brand name.

I’ve looked at plenty of AeroGarden reviews and talked to my friends about their own mini hydroponics system. Since I’m a skeptic, I knew I had to do a deep dive for myself to get a true feel for what it is like having an AeroGarden.

This post will cover…

click and grow garden
My friend Tracy has a Click and Grow Smart Garden and absolutely loves it.

How Do AeroGardens Work?

AeroGardens are a combination of a hydroponics system and grow lights. It goes off the idea that plants actually don’t need soil to survive. All they need is light, water, oxygen, and nutrients. In fact, AeroGarden claims that items grow 5x faster than if they were in soil.

First, you “plant” the AeroGarden pods by inserting them into the water base. Inside the pods are a planted seed and a basket with compacted peat moss to hold it all together. The roots can go through the peat into the water basin.

aerogarden kit
Inside an Aerogarden kit it comes with the seed and pod, liquid plant food, small plastic caps for germination, and an instruction booklet.

A water pump helps to regulate the movement of water, as well as temperature. Every couple of weeks, you add liquid fertilizer to the water, and that’s it.

Above the water basin, grow lights which you can raise as the plants get taller. For more on the science behind how grow lights work, read this.

Overall, AeroGardens are pretty compact and easy-to-use countertop garden.

aerogarden tomato seedlings
After germination, thin out the seedlings so only one remains.

Cost vs Yield of AeroGardens

Is it worth it to actually grow food in AeroGardens? Or is it a gimmick to allow you to easily grow some food inside at a premium price. To answer that, we’re going to have to do some math. Bare with me!


Let’s look at cherry tomatoes as an example. At the grocery store, as of right now, 464 grams of cherry tomatoes cost $6.99 (CAD).

The Aerogarden Harvest is the most popular model, costing $164.95 (CAD). The Red Heirloom Cherry Tomato Seed Pod Kit costs 16.95 (CAD) for six seed pods, bringing the total investment to $181.90.

aerogarden tomato seedlings
These tomato seedlings took about 5 days to germinate in their grow anything pods.

AeroGarden claims that their fruiting vegetables grow for about 9 months. Considering it takes about 2-3 months until the plants are ready for harvest, let’s say you will get 6.5 months of harvesting time.

Let’s say over those 6.5 months, your AeroGarden produces those same 464 grams like the grocery store once a week. That means you’re spending about $6.50 rather than $6.99.

Now, I will say these are very generous calculations. That’s saying that your tomatoes produce constantly and fruitfully for 6.5 months. That may be the case for some but not for many, I imagine.

As we know, garden tomatoes get quite large which is how they can provide so much fruit. The variety you grow must be a mini tomato plant that stays around 12″ tall like “Tiny Tim”. Those can produce quite a few tomatoes on tiny plants in the garden, but it remains to be seen if that can be replicated indoors. I’ll keep you posted as these ones get older!

aerogarden seedlings under grow light after 2 weeks
It took two weeks to go from planting to tomatoes of this height, meaning the plants got big fast.


Okay, let’s do another example! This time, we’re growing lettuce. At the grocery store, a container of mixed spring greens costs $6.99 for 283 grams of lettuce.

AeroGarden claims that their lettuce and greens last for about 2 months. The Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit also costs $16.96, which means the total investment remains $181.90.

AeroGarden says you can begin to harvest after 3 weeks. Assuming you get the same 464 grams to harvest once a week for the 5 weeks your lettuce is alive, you’re spending a whopping $36.38 per week.

Of course, the idea is that you would grow more lettuce using the same AeroGarden after. But it would take a while to recuperate your costs.

Most smart gardens come with little plastic domes to help encourage germination.

Are Aero Gardens Worth It?

Returning to the above lettuce example, it’s just not worth it. Lettuce is very easy to grow, even indoors with just an inexpensive grow light, and you can get way more growing it this way than with the AeroGarden. The AeroGarden just doesn’t allow you to grow much at once unless you invest in the larger units. If you want to grow lots of lettuce, I recommend this setup.

It may be worth it for things like tomatoes, but only if you want access to fresh produce during the off-season. Otherwise, you’ll get a bigger harvest for growing six plants outside rather than six compact ones inside.

AeroGardens are an inefficient way to grow lots of food.

On the other hand, they’re super simple to use and very hands-off. Set it and forget about it pretty well. It could be fun if you don’t have much of a green thumb but want to experiment with growing your own food.

I know many people who have AeroGardens or similar setups and love it. I consider them more of a hobby. Some people will love it, while others would prefer to stick to growing food outdoors.

aerogarden Thai basil pod
Most smart gardens have very compact pods comprising mostly of peat moss that, surprisingly, stay together well in the water.

Clever Ways to Use Your AeroGarden

I likely won’t use my AeroGarden in the way it’s designed, but I can see myself using it for other reasons!

Start Seeds

The first way is to start seeds in it. And no, I’m not talking about the pods! You can use the grow anything AeroGarden pods or buy them in bulk online to start whatever seeds you want.

Yes, you heard me right; you can plant anything you want in your AeroGarden and aren’t limited to what they offer online.

large tomato seedlings under aergarden lights
These tomatoes went from seed to this sized plant in just 2 1/2 weeks, planted in the grow anything pods.

Once the plants are big enough, you can transplant them outside. You still need to harden them off, carefully extract them from the baskets, and generously water them. They’re bound to go through shock experiencing such different conditions, and you may lose a plant or two, but it’s certainly possible.

click and grow soil pods
These are the pods from the Click and Grow Garden, containing no wasteful plastic basket.

New Cuttings

Hydroponics is simply one of the best environments for new cuttings. You could place them in one of the grow anything AeroGarden pods or directly in the water, assuming that the leaves are large enough to support them.

The water circulation, grow lights, and temperature control will ensure that they grow quickly, and you can put them in the soil in no time.


I don’t know if I would use an AeroGarden for this one, but definitely grow lights. Tender items like succulents have a hard time getting enough light indoors during the winter. When you bring them inside to overwinter them, the grow lights ensure they get enough light until they can go out outside again.

Frequently Asked Questions about AeroGardens

What is the disadvantage of AeroGardens?

AeroGardens require a significant upfront investment compared to just buying indoor growing lights or growing things yourself outside.

The standard AeroGarden Harvest model only holds room for 6 AeroGarden pods which doesn’t allow you to grow much either. You must also only grow compact varieties to fit in the plant.

Because of the size, you also won’t get a huge yield of plants. You would likely get more by growing with more traditional methods.

Can I use regular seeds in the AeroGarden?

Yes, using AeroGarden’s grow anything pods. You can also find these in bulk on places like Amazon for a more affordable price. With these AeroGarden pods, you place your own seeds in the peat moss baskets and pop them in.

Keep in mind the size of the plants. They must be compact varieties to live in the AeroGarden due to size limitations.

While you can start your seeds at different times, it’s best to start them at the same time so you can keep the light close to all the plants.

If you have an AeroGarden or something similar, I would love to read your comments on them. As I wrote earlier, I’m a skeptic, but I see them selling so often and hear about friends that love them. Tell me your story and lets keep the conversation going. I’ll be sure to post updates as well.


  1. I use mine for basil all winter, The harvest is fast and generous and it grows and regrows quickly, much faster than under grow light in soil. . Mine was a gift so cost nothing. I do grow outside as well, and dry and freeze what I don’t use but like it fresh in winter.

  2. I have used aero gardens for herbs for 8 years and love them for the fresh taste ease of gardening and joy adding just picked basil to my dinner salad. My 6 space AeroGrow has lasted for many years so the cost per harvest is much lower. I have given them as gifts including to a 95 year old friend who loves growing petunias. I’m surprised by this negative review. And I am neither much of a gardener nor get any benefit from sharing this except the pleasure of sharing something good!

  3. Thank you for this article. I will say your calculations are very generous. I was given an AeroGarden for Christmas. Got started with 9 Herb pods on New Years. Thoroughly enjoyed watching them grow during the winter. However only 4 of the 9 pods sprouted and produced. Production has been fantastic for 1 Dill, 2 Basil, and 1 Parsley. In fact I’ve had to harvest and dry some herbs just to keep up with production. But 4 out of 9 pods producing is not a good percentage. Plus, the instructions suggested “filtered” water. It was a “suggestion”, not a must, but I do own a water filtering system, I do know our city water is chemical laden and very hard. Simply because I did not want to clean hard water deposits out of this machine, I did use Filtered water. That could possibly be another cost for some that do not have a personal water filter system. Mature plants do require massive amounts of water!! If you want to leave for a week, you system might be dry when you return home if you have mature plants. I would not have purchased this for myself, but did tremendously enjoy it as a gift. Today is June 3, so have used this system for 5 months. The massive amount of root growth for 4 plants in the base desperately needs to be cleaned out and I do still have extremely viable dill, basil and parsley, can’t imagine the root growth if all 9 plants had sprouted and thrived. Must admit, It is very nice to have fresh dill, basil, and parsley at my fingertips during the winter. I have heard some gardeners do not think the flavor is as potent in hydroponics growth as in soil, honestly I have not noticed a difference in the flavor with these 3 herbs. I do believe the indoor plants are more sustainable in hydroponics, at least mine have proven to be more sustainable than the herbs I’ve grown indoors in soil. Lots of issues to consider. Most likely I would not have bought this for myself, but as a gift, I really do enjoy it.

  4. I use it to grow herbs during the winter. I have grown lettuce but agree that that if you are wanting a consistent amount lettuce they’re easier more productive ways to grow it. I am going try using it for starting my own seeds of choice and ordering the pods off Amazon. I may try starting some lavender.

  5. I love my Aerogardens! I got my first one in 2017 and after using it for 6 yrs almost continuously the LED light finally quit. After using the accompanying seed pods I never reorder them. I get the seed starting tray for each so all you have to do is get the sponges and use your own seeds. I also love to grow basil all year round. It’s perfect for that.
    But I also enjoy lettuce, Swiss chard, kale right from the Aerogarden. Lavender surprisingly germinates and grows well. I will transplant that.
    But my very favorite use is to grow my tomatoes, eggplant, and butternut squash seedlings in the Aerogarden for transplanting outside. They grow so fast with no damping off. I have to make sure I don’t start them too soon!
    My aerogarden purchases are not the more expensive hi tech gardens but the smaller more simple ones. I definitely get my moneys worth from my purchases.


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