Here at SPY, we’re trained product testers who’ve seen it all — see-through coolers, sheet detanglers, dessert hummus. So when a product claimed to grow a full indoor herb and produce garden inside your home, we jumped at the chance to try it. Lettuce Grow reviews, like a salad, are mixed. But after spending two months using this vertical, futuristic device I can see why.
You can keep reading to find my full Lettuce Grow review, but if you’re looking for the TLDR here it is: if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort and time, the Lettuce Grow can produce great results. Please, lettuce explain.
Lettuce Grow Farmstand
Lettuce Grow: At a Glance
Dimensions & Specs
The Lettuce Grow Farmstand comes in five different sizes that start with 12 plants at 3′ 10″ inches and progress upwards by six, as there are six plants per pod. The options and heights are as follows:
- 12 Plants: 3′ 10″
- 18 Plants: 4′ 6″
- 24 Plants: 5′ 2″
- 30 Plants: 5′ 10″
- 36 Plants: 6′ 17″
The product itself is 22″ x 22″ x 44″ and weighs about 20 pounds without any water in it.
Power Source: Outlet for both water pump and grow lights, if you’re using them
Return Period? 90 days
Water Usage: Less than a gallon per plant total
App? Yes, an app helps track your harvests, contains FAQs and other info
Warranty? 1 year for electrical parts, 3 years for non-electrical parts
Lettuce Grow Reviews: The Setup
Setting Up The Lettuce Grow
Putting my Lettuce Grow together took a few steps, and the box itself didn’t come with printed instructions so I was only guided through their YouTube channel and app. As other Lettuce Grow reviews reference, the setup was easy and definitely doable for one person. It took about an hour, some elbow grease and a few frustrating missteps, but eventually I got everything set up.
The Lettuce Grow is essentially a series of plastic pods, each with six circular spots for seedling pods, that attach to a base that’s filled with water. You install a pump that shoots water to the top through a series of pipes and a cap helps disperse it through all of the seedling pods. Your plants grow out from each seedling pod and you position each seedling on the Farmstand based on factors like how much sunlight they like. Once you note on the app which plants you’re currently growing, it gives you guidance for nutrients and watering.
Taylor Galla | SPY
Watering and Fertilizing Your Plants
Once you note which plants you’re growing with your Lettuce Grow, the app gives a recommendation for how often to water your plants, how long, and how much fertilizer to give them once a week. The pump that comes with the Lettuce Grow has a timer that you set so it’ll automatically water itself for 15 minutes twice a day, 30 minutes once a day, etc. The fertilizer comes with the Farmstand, as well as a pH testing kit that you’ll also use once a week to test the pH level in the water. They also provide something called “pH Down” to add to the water to lower the pH levels if they’re too high.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it sort of is, but I’ll dive into that more later in this Lettuce Grow review.
Lettuce Grow Seedlings
Lettuce Grow sells seedlings in addition to its Farmstand, and each seedling package comes with details on what each seedling is as well as its growing preferences, if it has any. They have a wide library of seedlings to choose from including all different types of kale and lettuce, herbs like parsley, cilantro and chives, tomatoes, strawberries, cauliflower, chard and more.
Following guidance from other Lettuce Grow reviews, I went with their standard opening package of plants, some of which grew very well for me and others that didn’t, but overall I’ve yielded an impressive amount of produce from the tiny seedling babies.
Using The Lettuce Grow Outdoors
Make Sure You Have a Power Source
I first received my Lettuce Grow in July of 2022 and installed it outside on my balcony. This system is designed to replace and streamline a traditional garden, and I think this is one of the best use cases: a young millennial who lives in an apartment with a balcony but still wants fresh, homegrown produce. It’s almost perfect for that.
A hurdle I encountered amidst my Lettuce Grow review testing was it requires a power source in order to water itself and I don’t have an outlet on my balcony. I didn’t want to run a power cable outside and leave one of my doors cracked all summer, so I had to manually water it twice a day. You can do this via the pump it comes with, but it’s a tad less convenient because you have to remember to turn the water on and, more importantly, turn it off after 15 minutes. I accidentally overwatered my plants a few times.
Taylor Galla | SPY
A Hose Would Be Helpful
I also don’t have a hose outside, which made filling up the tank initially a bit of a chore. I shuffled large pots of water back and forth from my balcony for about 20 minutes, but since then it’s only taken a few glasses of water a week to replenish it. It is a very water-efficient machine, and does grow plants with far less water than a standard garden, in my experience. If you have an outdoor space with a hose and an outlet close by, you’ll be as right as rain.
Fresh Sunlight + Nutrients = Happy Plants
Other than those two setbacks, the Lettuce Grow grew very well outdoors. The plants sprouted very quickly, grew full and lush and despite some rainstorms, tough wind and smog from the city, everything overall thrived in an outdoor environment. There were a few plants that, despite being put in a relatively shady spot on the Farmstand, still got too toasty and didn’t survive. However, I blame the intensity of the sun on my balcony for that, rather than the construction.
Using The Lettuce Grow Inside
In early October, when the temperature dropped, I moved the Lettuce Grow indoors to see if it could actually grow fresh produce year-round, without the help of sunny conditions. I set it up in my living room, flanked by two huge windows that get a ton of sunlight, and found that for the most part, it grew just as successfully.
The actual movement of the Lettuce Grow stand wasn’t as hard as I imagined, as it slid pretty easily along the floor. The base filled with water would’ve been nearly impossible to lift, though, so make sure wherever you put it initially is a place you like.
One of the ways Lettuce Grow supplements sunlight when you move it inside is through Grow Lights, and I understand they’re supposed to be used all the time in order to ensure the plants are getting what they need. However, without a dedicated room for the Farmstand I found them to be bothersome and distracting. My loft-style apartment has one big dining room, kitchen and living room, and the Farmstand being positioned in the middle didn’t help this experience.
When the Grow Lights are on they’re too bright to not disrupt the space and cause a squint when you look at them, so I end up turning them off most of the time. Some plants suffer as a result, but most continue to grow just fine. This is not how the machine is meant to be used, but the sacrifice is worth it for me, and I’ve taken it into account when assessing the overall success of the product.
Watering + Maintenance
The Lettuce Grow markets itself as a self-watering, self-fertilizing plant grower that barely needs any work to run. For the most part, that is true. It’s way less work than a traditional garden, and doesn’t require bending down to weed or worrying about moles or deer. It does, however, still take time to use and tend to, time I didn’t always want to spend.
Taylor Galla | SPY
Every week you add nutrients to the water in the base. That’s easy enough, but you also have to check the pH levels. This involves scooping water into a beaker and dropping a few drops of solution into it to test the color. Depending on what you get, you have to add the anti-pH powder to lower the levels.
Because this is an organic, pesticide-free gardening operation, I also encountered pests. My pepper plant, parsley, and a few others were infested with spider mites that (I’m pretty sure) don’t harm the plant, but are unseemly to look at. The Lettuce Grow app recommends an organic pest spray that has helped but hasn’t gotten rid of them entirely.
Lettuce Grow Reviews: Key Criteria
There were a few key things I was looking to put in this Lettuce Grow review. Consider this my own review “FAQ” that’ll hopefully clear up some questions you may have about a $1,200 fancy vertical garden.
Is the Lettuce Grow Easy to Use?
Overall, it’s very simple to use. It requires almost no maintenance, hasn’t broken or malfunctioned this entire time, and was simple to put together. I wish they had included any type of instruction in the box with the machine itself, but the app worked fine. You can definitely be an inexperienced gardener and use this machine with success.
Does the Lettuce Grow Successfully Grow Produce? If So, How Long Does it Take?
Yes, as evidenced by the many photos above and other Lettuce Grow reviews, the Lettuce Grow definitely, successfully grows many types of produce indoors and outdoors. It takes a few weeks before you’re able to harvest, but after that, everything grew exponentially in size. I was having trouble harvesting plants in time, and some things died off because I didn’t pick them soon enough! My tomatoes grew very quickly once they started sprouting and would get so large and heavy they’d fall onto the floor before I could pick them!
Does the Design of the Machine Function as it Should?
As with Lettuce Grow reviews, and reviews of similar products, the question of whether or not the fancy design is necessary is bound to come up.
The design looks a tad more futuristic than it actually is, but it definitely works as it should and has a purpose. The curved shape enables all of the plants to get ample water, lower positioned plants to get protection from intense sunlight, and makes everything easy to access and harvest. I’ve had some people walk into my apartment and note that it looks like a spaceship or something from another planet and I definitely see where they’re coming from. It does, however, operate more simply than it looks, and that’s a good thing.
Are the App and Customer Service Easy to Navigate?
Another key component of reviews of the Lettuce Grow, or similar products — is customer service helpful?
Yes. When I needed help with my pests I found their advice on the topic easily in the FAQ section. The app is intuitive and, while I haven’t used it a ton, I found it very helpful during setup and for nutrient reminders. It also tells you when to harvest your various plants, but I think most of the time you can tell just by looking at them.
The Overall Verdict: Should You Buy the Lettuce Grow?
If you have the money, want to garden without the mess, and have a spot out of the way where you can plug in its Grow Lights, or place it outside, then yes. This machine is not for everyone. It’s not for you if you want to grow herbs without any work, if you don’t have a few square feet of extra space and if you hate the sound of running water.
It’s great for anyone who doesn’t have a yard to grow produce in, but it also doesn’t give you quite the same therapeutic feeling that a garden can. You take away the work, yes, but you also take away the soothing effect that working with your hands in the dirt can give you. If you’re looking for that, this machine won’t give you that. If you’re looking to eat organic and grow it at home with as little effort as possible, the Lettuce Grow is a great option.
- Very easy to set up and use
- High-quality design that didn’t break or even malfunction
- Grow lights enable you to use it indoors with no problem and are easy to install
- App provides plenty of guidance and insight into what you’re growing, how to use it, etc
- Easy to order and set up plant seedlings when they’re delivered
- Very expensive
- Not the same feeling as having a real garden
- Organic gardening usually means pests
- Requires some work every week to maintain optimal fertilization levels
My Personal Verdict? This is not something I would buy for myself, as I want an outdoor, in-the-ground garden one day and don’t mind the extra legwork. That said, I’m definitely going to continue using my Lettuce Grow to reap the benefits of growing vegetables in an apartment and enjoying the satisfying feeling of knowing I grew them with very little effort.
Note: A free Lettuce Grow test sample was provided for this Lettuce Grow review. Our editors continue to test review samples for months, if not years, and update our reviews accordingly.