10 Tips for Growing Plants in an Aerogarden

The Aerogarden is an increasingly popular indoor hydroponic garden that allows beginners and experts alike to quickly grow a huge variety of plants including herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Many people have been impressed with the promises of a full harvest made by Aerogarden commercials, and I’m happy to report that the Aerogarden really does work. Like most gardens, though, the Aerogarden is not completely foolproof, and a few tweaks here and there can dramatically improve your yield. Here are ten tips for growing plants in an aerogarden:

Choose Your Plants Well
Some plants simply tend to do better in an indoor garden, particularly herbs and some lettuces. Choose plants that don’t get very large and that tend to thrive in temperate climates as opposed to very hot weather. Good choices include basil, thyme, cilantro, arugula, and endive.

Be Prepared to Transplant
If you’re interested in growing something more exotic than herbs, be prepared to transplant your plants outdoors when they get larger. Though most plants can survive in an Aerogarden for several months, tomatoes and peppers are going to do better outside on a long-term basis. Use your Aerogarden to start these plants as seedlings and then move them outside as the weather gets warmer.

Start Plants at the Same Time
If you start all of your seedlings at the same time, you’re likely to have better results because your plants will be generally the same height. This will allow you to keep the light at a height that allows all of your plants to get maximum benefits.

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Trim Back Seedlings
You really only need to have one successful seedling to grow a beautiful plant in the Aerogarden. Growing five or six seedlings in one Aerogarden is a recipe for crowding and nutrient deficiencies, so be prepared to trim back seedlings. After your seedlings have gotten a few inches high, cut the less healthy plants close to the peat pad and allow the healthiest plant to continue to grow.

Prune Your Plants
If you plan to use the Aerogarden on a long-term basis and are not going to transplant your plants outdoors, you’ll need to periodically prune your plants. Most plants grow faster when pruned and tend to live longer. Further, pruning prevents your plants from getting too tall for your Aerogarden, so research how to prune the plants you’re growing. As a general rule, most plants can be trimmed down to the lowest two levels of leaves without getting sick.

Don’t Use Plastic Domes
The Aerogarden comes with plastic domes that keep humidity high for germination. Unfortunately, these domes can also cause mold, and the Aerogarden already provides high humidity, so the domes really aren’t necessary. Germinate your plants without mold and you’re less likely to end up with diseased or moldy plants.

Consider Leaving Empty Pods
Especially in the larger 7-pod Aerogardens, the roots of some plants can crowd out others. If you’re growing large plants like peppers or tomatoes, consider leaving the two pods around the plants empty to allow for more healthy root growth.

Keep it Clean
Changing the water completely in your Aerogarden from time to time is an absolute must. This ensures that you get rid of any disease, bacteria, or fungus. When you plant new seed pods after an old set of seed pods, clean the Aerogarden out completely so your new seedlings have a fresh start.

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Combat Mold
The Aerogarden is a highly humid environment, so it’s very common for mold to grow on the seed pods. As long as this mold does not reach your plants, they will be ok. Get rid of mold by pouring a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the seed pods when you begin to notice any fuzz, and completely change the water at the first sign of mold.

Keep Your Packaging
Occasionally, even the best-tended seeds get sick or fail to thrive, and the manufacturers of the Aerogarden are wonderful about offering a refund. The seed pods are rather expensive, so it’s worth saving your packaging in case you have a problem and need a refund. The boxes the seeds come in also can provide useful growing tips, so saving your packaging is a good way to answer questions many Aerogarden users have about their particular plants.

With a little work, an Aerogarden can be a hassle-free way to grow beautiful plants. Happy gardening!