When you’re short on growing space, a vertical garden is a perfect way to grow lots of plants in a small amount of floor space. You can even have multiple types of plants in most systems, so you aren’t stuck with just a few plants. So long as you have room for one large pot, you should have plenty of space for one of these systems. The biggest thing to consider is how much floor space you have, and if you want a system that waters itself. Be sure to keep your needs in mind as you read this buyer’s guide.
Quick Comparison Chart
Product: Aerospring 27-Plant Vertical Hydroponics Indoor Growing System Plant Capacity: 27 Size: 72″ x 28″ Type: Hydroponic Self-Watering: Yes
Product: GreenStalk Patented Large 5 Tier Vertical Garden Planter Plant Capacity: 30 pockets Size: 19″ x 19″ x 55″ Type: Soil Self-Watering: Yes, just fill the top reservoir
Product: 4Ft Vertical Raised Garden Bed – 5 Tier Food Safe Planter Box Plant Capacity: Depends, but plenty of space Size: Bin size: 21.75″ x 8″ x 6″ Frame size: 29″ x 25″ x 48″ Type: Soil Self-Watering: No
Product: Ogrmar 64 Pockets Vertical Wall Garden Plant Capacity: 64 Size: 39.4″ x 39.4″ Type: Soil Self-Watering: No
Product: Mr. Stacky 5 Tiered Vertical Gardening Planter Plant Capacity: 20 Size: 16″ x 16″ x 38″ Type: Soil or Hydroponic Self-Watering: Yes
1. Aerospring 27-Plant Vertical Hydroponics Indoor Growing System| Best Hydroponics System
This is the top-of-the-line indoor hydroponics system. It allows you to grow 27 plants in a tiny amount of floor space. Everything from lighting to watering is taken care of by the automatic system. There is also plenty of support from both the company and the community so you have a much better chance of a good harvest. While it is more expensive than other options on this list, you have much less to worry about. The main thing to do is ensure your water has enough nutrients and the right pH for the plants you are growing. This can be accomplished with a simple test kit that is easy to use. You can even grow lots of types of plants in this kit, so you can grow what your family likes to eat.
As for downsides, there aren’t too many with this system. You can’t grow root vegetables, and very large plants aren’t easy to grow because of the tent and the lack of an easy way to support them. Vines are also a bit more tricky to grow if not impossible. You also can’t start from seeds in the system due to how the lighting system is set up. You will need to start your seeds elsewhere before transplanting or buy seedlings or plants from a gardening center. Otherwise, this is a very complete system that works great. It comes highly rated and you will end up with delicious produce in a very short period of time.
- All-in-one kit lets you grow indoors without any hassle
- Plenty of space for plants in a relatively small space
- Grow tent helps cut down on light leakage that can disturb you
- Can’t grow tall plants or root vegetables
- Can’t start seeds in it
2. GreenStalk Patented Large 5 Tier Vertical Garden Planter| Best Self-Watering System
This is a great option if you want an easy way to water your plants quickly. This system is only for planting in soil. This does make it a bit heavy for indoor use, so look into getting something to help you move it like the mover made by the manufacturer. When filled, this has 30 pockets you can use. Thanks to the large size and depth of each layer, you can grow root vegetables such as carrots. You can also grow things like corn and tomatoes with ease. So long as the plant can handle growing in a large container it should be fine in this planter.
There are a few things to keep in mind with this system. Some people have found that this doesn’t water very evenly. Since it can be hard to move, you may have issues with plants getting enough sun. This is particularly true for indoor growing. You may want to only plant half the planter, or being careful to plant shade-tolerant plants on the side away from your light. You could technically use a light system with this, but it might not be very easy. It can also be a bit difficult to assemble. Each layer is heavy once filled with soil, so you may struggle to put this together alone. Overall, this is a nice system to consider. If you want to grow in soil, this is a great option.
- A self-watering system makes it easy to get water to every layer
- Fits 30 plants in a tiny space
- Uses soil, making it great for anyone who doesn’t want to learn hydroponics
- Heavy when fully filled
- Really needs a mover that is sold separately
- Hard to put together
3. 4Ft Vertical Raised Garden Bed – 5 Tier Food Safe Planter Box| Best Planter Box
If you’re looking for a more traditional planter, this is a great option. You have multiple tiers of planter boxes that you can fill with any plants you like. This lets you easily group plants that grow well together. The boxes do not have drain holes by default since it is meant for indoor use. You can add them yourself if you like since the boxes are plastic. This gives you plenty of space for plants in a small footprint, and it looks nice when set up. This is a bit shallow for many plants with large root systems, but you have plenty of space for most plants you could want to grow. You could even have succulents on one layer and herbs on another since each layer is self-contained.
The biggest issues with this are that the planters are only 6 inches deep and that there are no drainage holes. While this is fine for indoor usage, it can still encourage root rot. You also can’t really plant anything with large roots. However, many types of tomatoes and larger plants will do fine so long as you plant them where they won’t run into the other layers. This is a great, sturdy system and it is perfect for anyone with little space to grow. Just be sure you keep in mind the drainage issues and be prepared to ensure your soil drains enough for healthy plants.
- A sturdy system that takes advantage of a small amount of room to grow a ton of plants
- Planters give you lots of options
- Can handle taller plants
- No drainage holes
- No easy way to catch water if you do add holes
4. Ogrmar 64 Pockets Vertical Wall Garden Planter| Best Wall Planter
This is a great option if you want to create a living wall. For really tiny apartments, you may only have wall space to use for plants. With this system, you can plant directly on the wall. You have space for 64 plants, which means you can have plenty of variety. The felt material is eco-friendly and should help wick moisture and keep your plants watered for longer. There are a few things that need to be noted with this. The first is just how small each pocket is. They are only about 4 inches by 4 inches. This means they can’t hold larger plants at all.
The other thing is how hard it can be to keep such a small amount of soil watered. You also need to worry about water wicking through the fabric. If you don’t use some type of backing, this will result in water damage to a wall if it is directly against it. You will also need some way to catch any water that drips out. This size at least is not for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you know exactly what you are getting into. Perhaps look into the other sizes since it seems like the smaller ones may offer more space for soil.
- Only wall system on the list
- Has plenty of space for plants
- Eco-friendly materials
- Small planting space limits options
- Can damage walls with water leakage
- Very heavy and can be hard to attach
5. Mr. Stacky 5 Tiered Vertical Gardening Planter| Best Value
This option is another great vertical garden that advertised the ability to water all layers at once. This system also allows you to decide whether you want to grow in soil or hydroponically. You can grow 20 plants in this option, giving you plenty of options. It is sturdy and easy to fill. You have plenty of options for how you want to set this up, and you can even buy more layers so you can grow more plants in a small space. You will want a drip tray as well as some type of dolly so you can move this around to take advantage of the light. This is very important with indoor growing since any given indoor area will get less sunlight throughout the day.
One thing to note is that this may not have water reach all layers. Some plants are much more thirsty than others and may suck up all the water. Be sure to keep an eye on the bottom layers. It is also made of typical plastic, so it may crack after only a growing season or two. You may also want to add a pole to help give this more support. Overall, this is recommended, since it grows so much and is cheaper than many other options on this list. It is also easy to expand, making this a good system to start with since you can add more layers with ease.
- Holds 20 plants in a small space
- Can be used with soil or hydroponics
- Can handle taller plants
- Plastic is a bit thin
- Water may not reach all layers
- Pockets aren’t great for root vegetables
If you’re just getting into indoor gardening, you may have a lot of questions about what you need to look for. In this section, we’ll be going over any questions and concerns so you can get the best start possible to your indoor gardening adventure.
What to Look For
When you are deciding on a vertical garden for your space, you should keep a few things in mind. To start with, look at how much space you have and the space of it. Decide how much floor space you can do without and the shape of it. If you can’t sacrifice floor space at all, look into wall planters, though you may need some way to catch water.
Next, look at how much light the space you have selected will get. This will decide what you can grow in that space. Some plants need plenty of light, while others need shade. This means that one plant may wilt in the same space that another would thrive in.
You should also decide between planting in soil or growing hydroponically. They each have their own pros and cons, so do your research to decide which one you prefer. Hydroponics can grow plants even faster than soil since they don’t need to work as hard to absorb nutrients, but it can be more complicated since you need to monitor pH and nutrient levels in your water. You may also need to invest in a pump system depending on how you decide to set it up.
No matter what, your plants will need water and fertilizer. Make sure it is easy to handle for you and how much time you have. Self-watering systems might be easier if you are forgetful or impatient.
How much space do I need to grow indoors?
As you can see, some options don’t need to take up much space at all. Just be sure to read the size descriptions well for any planter you may want to try. Measure your space and keep this in mind.
What about avoiding water damage?
If your system doesn’t have some way to catch water, you will need to supply it. Be sure to read reviews or even ask questions to make sure you don’t need to worry.
Do I still need to fertilize plants in soil?
Yes, your plants will absorb the nutrients already in the soil and then run out if you don’t fertilize. This means your plants will start to suffer. Be sure to fertilize regularly, particularly with vegetables.
How do I know if my space gets enough light?
You can either observe it throughout the day or set up a camera to check the light levels.
How do I know if my plants don’t have enough sunlight?
A plant that isn’t getting enough sunlight may yellow or show signs of odd growth if it is growing at all. You may notice small leaves or even no leaves. Try moving it to a sunnier spot and see if it perks up.
How do I know if my plant is getting too much light?
While it may seem like there is no such thing as too much light, some plants really do prefer the shade. If your plant is getting too much sun, you may notice burned spots or notice leaves falling off.
How do I tell if my plant needs fertilizing?
This depends on the plant and what nutrients it is lacking. You may notice a change in color, poor growth, or even browning. Your vegetables may come out deformed. For instance, you may see cracking or browning. If it is bad enough, you may not see any fruit or flowers at all. This can also be a sign of some pests if you do not keep your gardening tools sterilized between different plants.
How often should I fertilize?
You should fertilize about once a week for most vegetables. Follow the package directions to make sure you are applying them appropriately.
What plants do best in vertical gardens?
For edible plants, you want things with shallow roots that grow quickly. Herbs, radishes, and salad greens all do well in vertical gardens. The manufacturer of your system may have recommendations, so be sure to look into it. Also, be sure that all the plants you choose and both container and indoor friendly.
Do I need grow lights?
This depends on your plants and how much light you get. If you notice that your plants need more light, you can always get grow lights that are plugged into a timer. This can help your plants grow stronger.
Any other special set-up?
You don’t really need too much more than a typical indoor plant. However, things like a fan can improve growing conditions. You may also want a mat backed with rubber under some vertical systems since that can help prevent water damage to your floors.
Can I have a vertical garden if I rent?
This may depend on your landlord. Some may not want to risk water damage. You can help by not using a system that requires any damage to the walls and using a drip tray to protect the floors. Make sure you don’t overwater.
How do I avoid overwatering?
The easiest way to avoid overwatering is to only water when your soil is feeling dry beneath the surface. Water slowly so you can be sure you don’t add so much water that it overflows your drip tray.
Vertical gardens are a great way to maximize your growing space. So long as you do your research, you should end up with a productive space for both edible plants and decorative plants. Make sure you can move your garden to maximize the light you have available or look into grow lights to help make your plants stronger. You will also want some way to manage the water that will drain out of your planter. Get a planter that works for you and enjoy some indoor greenery to cheer up your space.