Any gardener will likely already participate in some vertical gardening, perhaps without even knowing it. For example, vertical gardening can refer to growing any plant that needs the support of a trellis or arch to grow upwards.
However, in this guide, I’ll discuss vertical gardening using an upright container to grow various plants (including decor plants and foods) vertically.
Nowadays, there are multiple kinds of vertical garden setups that you can purchase in stores or online. We’ve already looked at Lettuce Grow’s farmstand option in a previous guide, but how does it measure up to iHarvest – and what are the benefits of using either system?
Lettuce Grow vs iHarvest: Quick summary
Don’t want to read the full matchup right now? Here are key facts you’ll want to take away from this guide.
- Both iHarvest and Lettuce Grow are great value for money if you’re keen to get into vertical gardening.
- The iHarvest is a pretty huge setup and therefore needs a lot of space (it can be a pain to keep in a small apartment or house).
- iHarvest is better suited over Lettuce Grow for indoor gardening as it comes with lights, light stands, and trellis attachments.
- iHarvest can handle 30 plants at once, while Lettuce Grow cares for up to 36.
- Lettuce Grow is significantly smaller than the iHarvest (ideal for smaller spaces such as apartments and one-bedroom households).
- Lettuce Grow’s vertical gardening system needs extra lights (to be purchased separately) or to be put outside in the sunshine.
- Lettuce Grow is significantly cheaper than iHarvest, but you have to bear in mind the extra costs it requires (such as the lights, trellis, etc.).
Why should I try vertical gardening?
Although vertical gardening may seem strange, it’s becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason!
First of all, it allows you to bring your garden indoors – but I’m not talking about your standard houseplants. It’s built for food crops and exotic flowers – blooms and growths you’d normally need to grow outside. This can be ideal for people without a garden who yearn for that outdoorsy feel!
What’s more, no matter the season, your food can still grow from the warmth of your home and the lights from your chosen vertical garden setup.
Vertical gardens also come in various sizes. So, whether you’re trying to grow food to feed the family or simply looking for something small and sweet to brighten your home, you can find the perfect size pretty easily.
While certain vertical garden setups can cost a fortune, they can also make for great DIY projects. If you have the time and the spare capacity, there’s no reason you can’t make your vertical garden suit your tastes.
Finally, one of the best things about vertical gardens is that they allow you to grow plants with or without soil.
Vertical gardeners often prefer to use just water, sand, or even gravel to grow their plants! As long as they add the necessary nutrients, their plants can grow strong and healthy. There’s also zero reason to use pesticides.
Lettuce Grow – an overview
Lettuce Grow is a freestanding vertical garden that comes in multiple sizes. It can be kept indoors and outside and uses a hydroponic system to help cultivate plants.
It can grow anything from fruits and vegetables to decorative plants and flowers. To nourish your plants, you need to add enriched water (filled with the plant’s required nutrients) into the system, and the Lettuce Grow delivers it directly to your crops as and when they need it.
You can also set up lights around the garden, ensuring that wherever it’s placed, your plants are getting their fix of vitamin D!
Water is delivered via a water pump, which you should ideally check once or twice a week to ensure it is functioning properly. Other than that, the Lettuce Grow covers the rest of the work!
You can set Lettuce Grow up outside as well as indoors – but, as you’re visiting Houseplant Corner, we’re focusing on indoor use.
iHarvest – an overview
Unlike Lettuce Grow, iHarvest is a fully-automated vertical garden. This particular system needs to be kept indoors. It comes fitted with automated lighting and watering systems, ensuring you can grow any plant you wish (within reason) – from fruits and vegetables to flowers and bigger specimens.
Like Lettuce Grow, iHarvest has a hydroponic system, meaning there’s no soil. This makes it an ideal indoor garden, as there is no need to worry about dirt getting everywhere or even having to bear the smell of moist ground!
That said, iHarvest isn’t quite as versatile as Lettuce Grow. It is a 30-plant vertical garden and takes up about 2.5 square feet of space. Ideally, it needs to be set up somewhere you can reach all around it and have plenty of room for the lights overhead.
On the other hand, sacrificing some space can be well worth it, especially when, according to iHarvest, you can grow your plants in their vertical gardens up to three times faster than they would grow in regular soil! We’ll let you be the judge of that one…
As you saw above, one of the best things about the Lettuce Grow is that it can arrive in multiple sizes. You can get a small farmstand that only holds about 12 plants, or a much bigger unit that can hold up to 36. Its biggest farmstand weighs about 24 lbs and measures 6’1” by 1′ 10″.
In terms of size, however, the iHarvest takes the cake! This vertical garden only comes in one size farmstand, which measures exactly 32” by 14” by 60”. So, you’re going to need more room for the latter. It’ll also hold fewer plants than Lettuce Grow.
Buying plants for your vertical garden
The iHarvest arrives as a complete set, including lettuce and herb seeds. And, if you need any more, iHarvest recommends buying the seeds for the system directly from the brand. There’s no need to invest in external greens.
Lettuce Grow, on the hand, is fine with you buying and planting your own seeds. While they recommend you buy specifically from their set range, their systems appear to work fine with any hydroponic plant.
Both companies provide various choices regarding plants, including fruits and vegetables, as well as more decorative flowers and vegetation. I’d recommend you look at what either option has to offer before looking elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a more affordable unit, Lettuce Grow is the way to go. They have vertical garden options for about $399. Their largest model costs $699, which remains far cheaper than the iHarvest.
However, it’s important to remember that the Lettuce Grow comes incomplete. Unless you plan to keep it outside, you will have to invest another $200 for the glow rings to clip onto the farmstand.
However, the iHarvest comes as a complete package for $899. That includes the iHarvest itself, two lights with two light stands, a trellis, a pump, a starter pack of seeds, a nutrient tester, a pH tester, nutrients, pH conditioner and rapid rooter, net cups, and clips.
Additionally, iHarvest allows you to pay for the vertical garden in multiple installments. You can pay $71 per month until the garden is paid off, with 0% financing.
Ease of use
Both Lettuce Grow and iHarvest vertical gardens are very easy to maintain – hardly surprising!
The iHarvest does come out slightly ahead in terms of maintenance due to the trellis being included in the package. The trellis allows you to separate the plants, making their maintenance much easier.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that the iHarvest is significantly bigger than the Lettuce Grow, which means that the general cleaning of the unit will take longer.
Can I use Lettuce Grow and iHarvest outside?
The Lettuce Grow can be used outside. In fact, if you don’t have the right lights for the farmstand, you’ll have to keep it outside for the plants to get access to that much-needed UV!
On the other hand, since the iHarvest comes with its own lights, it’s best kept indoors. Just make sure you have enough space!
What’s better… iHarvest or Lettuce Grow?
As you can see, both the iHarvest and the Lettuce Grow have their qualities and faults. So, let’s look at those pros and cons in detail.
iHarvest pros and cons
- Adjustable lights
- Guiding trellis
- Good functionality
- 14-gallon water reservoir
- Comes as a complete set
- Good value for money
- Very unwieldy, can look awkward
- Only holds up to 30 plants
- You’ll have to buy seeds directly from the company
Lettuce Grow pros and cons
- Portable farmstand
- Can be kept indoors or outside
- Great capacity for such a small unit
- Great ring lights
- Good for small spaces
- Even the biggest unit is pretty small
- Lights sold separately (adding to costs)
As you can see, there’s no clear winner in the battle between Lettuce Grow vs iHarvest. Consider your budget, what you’d like to grow, and most importantly, space!
The team at Houseplant Corner loves getting into a bit of vertical gardening, and these systems are among the most popular on the market right now. You know what? Believe the hype – get stuck into indoor gardening with either option and you’ll have great fun.