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The Best Garden Tower

Ready to Do Big Things in Small Spaces? Then a Tower Gardening System May Be For You!

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From vegetables to herbs to flowers and beyond, a tower garden system enables you to pack a huge amount of growing punch into a small space. For most people, if budget isn't an issue then the Garden Tower 2 is the best choice. It has enough space to grow 50 plants, and it's the only vertical gardening system we've found that has a column in the center to compost your kitchen scraps and turn them into fertilizer.


Our Pick

The Garden Tower 2: Composter & Vertical Gardening System

The Best Garden Tower System

Offering an impressive all-in-one vertical gardening and composting system the Garden Tower 2 is the best garden tower if budget is not an issue. It spins, it composts, and with it you’ll be able to grow up to 50 plants of your choosing.

The composter portion of the Garden Tower 2 is powerful and will automatically turn your kitchen scraps into high quality organic fertilizer for your plants (just add worms). The roots from your plants will reach beyond potting soil and into the organic compost, and your plants will thrive with access to this type of fertilizer. You'd be surprised at how fast your kitchen scraps will disappear in a system like this.

It will take all of your scraps and then some. Not only that, you will have up to 50 plants (herbs, veggies, flowers, succulents and more) in as little as 2ft x 2ft of space (4 square feet). The unit itself spins, but if you put your garden tower on the optional wheel kit you’ll be able to move the unit wherever you want.


Budget Pick

Mr Stacky - Vertical Stackable Planter - 12 Inch Diameter (3 Tier)

The Best Budget-Friendly Garden Tower

It lacks a central composting column for your kitchen scraps, and you’ll have to put it on wheels to ensure all plants get enough sun as the unit does not spin on its own unlike the Garden Tower 2. But the Mr. Stacky system is cheaper.

If you’re content with not having the latest and greatest the 12 inch Mr. Stacky vertical planter system (3 tier) offers some of what the Garden Tower 2 provides for much less money. With the 3 pack you’ll get 3 stackable planters (12 inch diameter) that will enable you to do patio gardening in a small space (as little as 2ft x 2ft). You’ll have the ability to grow 9 plants total (3 plants per stack x 3 stacks), so if you want more than that you’ll need to buy multiple Mr. Stacky vertical planter kits or upgrade to the 18 inch Mr. Stacky 5 pack of vertical planters we mention below. Just like the Garden Tower 2 the Mr. Stacky solution is partially self watering, so any water you put into the unit at the top will percolate downward through all the other planters making it less cumbersome to water than horizontal gardening setups e.g. garden beds or planters on the ground. It also saves a tremendous amount of water as any water you put in the top will be reused all the way down.


Upgrade Pick

Mr. Stacky Vertical Stackable Planter - 18 inch (5 Tier)

The Best Vertical Gardening Kit For Higher Yield

If you want higher capacity in each plant slot, and more stackable planters per kit (5 tiers versus 3) then this system is for you. There’s plenty of space for each plant to develop a large healthy root system to increase yield.

One of the main determinants of yield is the number of stackable planters you have plus the soil capacity of each slot. In this case the Mr. Stacky stackable planter kit (5 pack) features 18 inch slots and comes with 5 tiers. In other words - 5 planters x 3 slots each x 18 inches depth equals a lot of growing space. Each planter is pretty big - just look at the photos on the Home Depot website. Sure, this product costs a bit more than our budget pick, but the growing capacity is much larger and so the investment is justified. With this system we recommend that you purchase a wheel kit of some sort to ensure you can easily turn the unit for even sunlight on all sides. At 18 inches The Mr. Stacky vertical gardening system is much bigger than the 12 inch offering, so you’ll get more bang for your buck.


Everything We Recommend

Our Pick

The Garden Tower 2 - Composter & Vertical Gardening System

The best garden tower system

Offering an impressive all-in-one vertical gardening and composting system the Garden Tower 2 is the best garden tower if budget is not an issue. It spins, it composts, and with it you’ll be able to grow up to 50 plants of your choosing.

Budget Pick

Mr Stacky - Vertical Stackable Planter - 12 Inch Diameter (3 Tier)

The best budget friendly vertical planters

It lacks a central composting column for your kitchen scraps, and you’ll have to put it on wheels to ensure all plants get enough sun as the unit does not spin on its own unlike the Garden Tower 2. But the Mr. Stacky system is cheaper.

Upgrade Pick

Mr. Stacky Vertical Stackable Planter - 18 inch (5 Tier)

The best stackable planters for higher yield

If you want higher capacity in each plant slot, and more stackable planters per kit (5 tiers versus 3) then this system is for you. There’s plenty of space for each plant to develop a large healthy root system and gather nutrients to increase yield.


The Research

Why You Should Trust Us

Who Should Buy This

How We Picked

What’s the Difference Between a Garden Tower and Stackable Planters?

Our Pick: Garden Tower 2

Flaws But Not Dealbreakers

Budget Pick

Upgrade Pick

The Competition


Why You Should Trust Us

I, Daniel Douglas, wrote the latest version of this guide. In addition to being in charge of The Sassy Plant community of over 10,000 plant lovers (and growing), I am also a gardener and landscape maintenance professional. This has given me the chance to test out a large number of gardening tools with real experience in the field over many years. You can find me in the Sassy Plant community on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.

Who Should Buy This

If you are short on space, have a bad back or knee pain, or don’t have the construction tools or skills to build your own garden beds then a garden towering system may be perfect for you. garden tower system (e.g. Garden Tower 2) or vertical stackable planters are lightweight, compact, tough as nails, and will last for a long time no matter what you plant in them. And unlike wood planters they won’t rot over time. Vertical planters enable people of all ages and all ability levels to experience the joy of gardening - no matter how much space they have available.

How We Picked

Our ideal garden tower system has the following attributes:

Built-in composting: A top tier garden tower will include a composting system to enable you to turn your kitchen scraps into high quality organic fertilizer that your plants will absolutely love. Only one of the garden towers in this article includes a built in composting system, and that is the Garden Tower 2. If you want to spend less but still compost your kitchen scraps to turn them into organic fertilizer you will have to look at other vermiculture solutions, and that makes it less convenient.

Spinnable: Given that the sun moves throughout the day you’ll want to ensure that plants on all sides of your vertical stacking planter system get an even amount of sun. With the Garden Tower 2 this is easy as the unit itself spins. Our other picks do not spin, so you’ll need to get a plant caddy (wheel kit) to enable this.

Large capacity: the garden tower and stackable planters we’ve chosen all have one thing in common - the ability to grow a large number of plants in a very small area - as small as 2ft x 2 ft = 4 sq ft. Whether you end up choosing a vertical stackable planter system or a garden tower system you’ll want options for the number of plants you can grow. You can either choose to have a large number of plants in one unit, or you could have multiple units. The number of tiers per unit is up to you - it all depends on how much space and budget you have available. If budget is not an issue we recommend that you check out the Garden Tower 2.

Durable: any vertical gardening system should be tough as nails, and should last you for many seasons. There are multiple stackable planter systems on the market, but the ones we’ve chosen are made from super tough plastics.

Multiple color options: although less important than other attributes such as capacity, the ability to choose your own color is something that was important to us when doing our research. All of our picks give you the ability to choose your own color except the Mr. Stacky 18 inch 5 tier system which only comes in a gray color.

A community of users: You might not think this is important initially, however, it’s neat to be able to see what other people are doing with their garden towers. Not every product listed here will have a community of users - the Garden Tower 2 is the only one we found where you can view photos and videos of what other people have done with theirs - just check out the hashtag #gardentower.

What’s the Difference Between a Garden Tower and Stackable Planters

Our pick for the best garden tower, the Garden Tower 2, is an all-in-one vertical gardening and composting system that also spins. This means you can put your kitchen scraps in the center column, and the unit will transform them into organic fertilizer that your plants’ roots will reach into and pull nutrients from. The unit also spins thus enabling you to give plants on each side an even amount of sunlight. It’s a complete system for growing your own food and becoming a patio farmer.

If budget is an issue you can achieve similar, though somewhat inferior results with a vertical stackable planter system. This consists of multiple tiers of stackable planters that can each fit up to 3 plants, or more if you want to have more than one plant per slot. You won’t be able to spin your vertical planters without buying a plant caddy (aka wheel kit). You also won’t be able to have built-in vermiculture (worm) composting, so you’ll have to get a separate setup if that is your goal. It’s possible to duplicate the results you would get with a garden tower, you’ll just have to do more up-front work to get the same results.

Our Pick: Garden Tower 2

The Garden Tower 2: Composter & Vertical Gardening System

The Best Garden Tower System

Offering an impressive all-in-one vertical gardening and composting system the Garden Tower 2 is the best garden tower if budget is not an issue. It spins, it composts, and with it you’ll be able to grow up to 50 plants of your choosing.

The Garden Tower 2 is a rotating composter that grows 50 plants in 4 square feet almost anywhere. If you have a space as small as 2ft x 2ft that gets plenty of sunlight you’ll be able to use the Garden Tower 2 to its fullest potential. Whether you’re interested in organic vegetable gardening or growing organic herbs, flowers or succulents the Garden Tower 2 has got you covered. Grab the additional wheel kit (plant caddy) and you’ll be able to move your Garden Tower 2 to the areas with the best sunlight and radiant heat thus maximizing your plants’ growth.

Do you only have a patio or balcony space for gardening? Do you have bad knees or a bad back and don’t want to bend over, squat or kneel for extended periods of time? If yes you’ll want to consider a vertical gardening system like the Garden Tower 2. It will enable you to garden sitting down from the comfort of a chair if you want. It also has stacking and nesting planting rings (tiers) - this means you can customize your tower height to suit your needs.

One of the most important aspects of gardening is to replicate a natural ecosystem where plants die, fall on the ground, and their nutrients are absorbed - much like a forest. This is where our pick, the Garden Tower 2, really excels. It features a composter where your kitchen scraps will turn into compost which provides nutrient-rich organic fertilizer for your plants. This, combined with a high quality potting soil provides an ideal environment for your plants to thrive no matter what you choose to grow.

One benefit of the Garden Tower 2 we haven’t mentioned yet is that it nearly eliminates weeding. This is because the space available to grow each plant (aka a slot) is smaller than on other vertical stackable planters. Far from a dealbreaker this is actually a positive - the reason is that less surface area means fewer weeds can grow. The foliage of your plants will crowd out any weeds and absorb pretty much all available sunlight. In contrast, a horizontal garden bed has a huge surface area of soil, and this is pretty much an open invitation for weeds to set up shop and thrive. If you hate weeding but love gardening then the Garden Tower 2 may be for you.

Nutrient loss in regular garden beds can be a problem. Minerals can percolate down through soil and be lost forever. The Garden Tower 2 has a removable tray at the bottom that lets you collect nutrient-rich water and recycle it back to the top of the unit thus giving your plants’ roots multiple opportunities to absorb the nutrients through the central perforated composting column, This speeds up growth rates, and increases yields.

Now let’s discuss some specs in more detail. Made from ultra tough, BPA free, PVC free, food-grade plastic (HDPE) the Garden Tower 2 is nearly indestructible and will last for a long time (the manufacturer estimates a 7-12 year lifetime, so roughly 10 years in any climate). The unit measures 43″ tall & 24.5″ wide - this means it will fit in a space as small as 2ft x 2ft - ideal for any patio, balcony or corner of a yard. The unit weighs 36 lbs empty, and with moist soil it weighs 220 lbs. It features slots for up to 50 plants - more than enough for organic herbs, veggies, flowers or succulents. The composting ‘tea’ tray collects up to 2 gallons of water, and this enables you to recycle nutrients that have percolated downward thus supercharging your plants.

Flaws But Not Dealbreakers

Our pick, the Garden Tower 2, weighs 36 lbs empty, and with moist soil it tips the scales at 220 lbs. If you are incapable of lifting and moving a shipping box that weighs 36 lbs then you’ll need help setting up your Garden Tower 2. When it’s full of soil, compost and plants it will be over 200 lbs, so it will be difficult to move. However, the unit itself spins without requiring a plant caddy (wheel kit), so it’s easy to spin it around to get to the plant you want. You can stay put in one spot, and still tend to plants on all sides. Despite its weight the good news is that planting and maintaining a garden in the Garden Tower 2 is a breeze. It can even be done sitting down, so plant lovers of all ages (even the elderly) and ability levels (even beginners) can enjoy gardening.

Other flaws of our pick besides the weight include the amount of space available for each plant. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage, let me explain why. Having smaller slots for each individual plant (up to 50) means that there’s less soil surface area exposed for weeds to grow on. Once your plants get bigger and their leaves start to cover the unit the amount of light for weeds decreases significantly. The end result of this type of design is that you will have hardly any weeding to do, and possibly none at all. What other gardening system do you know of that will stop weeds from growing - without any dangerous chemicals?

The only downside about packing 50 plants into a 2ft x 2ft space is it won’t look like a standard garden. There is only enough room in each slot for the stems of each plant, and there’s little soil surface area beside each plant. Again, that might be different than what you’re used to, but it means you‘ll have next to no weeding to do which is a huge plus.


Budget Pick: Mr Stacky - Vertical Stackable Planter - 12 Inch Diameter (3 Tier)

Mr Stacky - Vertical Stackable Planter - 12 Inch Diameter (3 Tier)

The Best Budget-Friendly Garden Tower

It lacks a central composting column for your kitchen scraps, and you’ll have to put it on wheels to ensure all plants get enough sun as the unit does not spin on its own unlike the Garden Tower 2. But the Mr. Stacky system is cheaper.

If you’re interested in vertical container gardening systems, and you don’t have the budget for the Garden Tower 2, we like the Mr. Stacky 12 inch, 3 tier vertical planter system. Each tier has 3 x 12 inch high container slots, and you can grow one or more plants per slot - up to 9 plants or so per tier. Multiplied out you could grow anywhere between 9-27 plants depending on how thick the stems and root systems are. With this solution you won’t get as many plant slots as you would on something like the Garden Tower 2. The Mr. Stacky vertical planting system also doesn’t spin, so you would need to get a wheel kit (aka plant caddy) in order to turn the unit (e.g. to get even sunlight for plants on all sides). This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker if you have a location that gets good light on all sides.

On advantage that our budget pick, the Mr. Stacky 12 inch, 3 tier vertical container gardening system has over the Garden Tower 2 is price. You could buy multiple Mr. Stacky setups and have separate vertical gardens in multiple locations if you wanted. That wouldn’t be possible with only one Garden Tower 2 - you would have to buy more than one which would get pretty pricey (although definitely not out of reach for the more affluent gardeners out there).

If 12 inch diameter pots aren’t big enough for you then take a look at our upgrade pick, the Mr. Stacky 18 inch vertical container gardening system (5 tier).


Upgrade Pick

Mr. Stacky Vertical Stackable Planter - 18 inch (5 Tier)

The Best Vertical Gardening Kit For Higher Yield

If you want higher capacity in each plant slot, and more stackable planters per kit (5 tiers versus 3) then this system is for you. There’s plenty of space for each plant to develop a large healthy root system to increase yield.

Compared to our budget pick above the 18 inch diameter pots are huge (1.5 feet wide) and have plenty of room for a large amount of soil to support big stems and root systems. With our upgrade pick you also get 5 tiers instead of 3, so it makes the extra investment is justified.

On minor disadvantage of the 18 inch Mr. Stacky system is it only comes in a gray color, so fans of terra cotta or other colors will have to either settle for their second favorite color or choose another product. Again, this isn’t a deal breaker as it comes down to minor aesthetic preferences. The plants don’t care what color container they’re planted in.

Assuming you could grow anywhere between 1-3 plants per slot this means you would get 3 - 9 plants per tier. Multiplied out over 5 tiers you could grow anywhere between 15 - 45 plants. Keep in mind that plants won’t get their own slot like they would in the Garden Tower 2. There will be some crowding.


The Competition

The Pure Gardens 13 Inch Stackable Planter: is a modular, vertical container gardening system that’s similar to our budget and upgrade picks by Mr. Stacky. One disadvantage we found with this product is it comes with a Prop65 warning (for California residents) which means it may contain nasty plastics that can cause health issues. Unfortunately if you buy the cheapest of the cheap this can be more of an issue. It’s not clear from the product descriptions we read whether this plastic is food grade or not. We recommend that you spend a bit more money to get higher quality plastic that will possibly be less harmful. However, if you cannot spend more than $20 on your vertical gardening system and the potential risks are acceptable to you then this product may be worth looking at.

HowPlumb 6 Tier Stackable Planter: This system seems like a reasonable solution. The price is decent and the capacity in terms of planter diameter and height is good. However, there was a lack of photos showing the product in use. Also, we figured that a 6 tier system might be getting a bit dangerous without some sort of reinforcement in the center, and that’s why we are recommending the Mr. Stacky 3 tier and 5 tier systems over this one. If you aren’t concerned about tipping this one may be worth a peek.

EMSCO Stackable Planter System: At only 3 tiers this one comes in at a price point almost as expensive as the 5 tier and 6 tier ones. However, one advantage this product has is the inclusion of a rotating base tray. This is the only stackable planter system that includes a base tray - you have to buy it separately for all other products (except the Garden Tower 2). Despite the slightly higher price tag you might find you get more value here, so perhaps this one is for you.

Dollar Store Stackable Planters : There may be stacking planters available at your nearest dollar store. As with any product there are pros and cons to buying these types of gardening products. While you might save some money initially it likely comes at the cost of durability and longevity. You will likely have to replace your stackable planters much earlier if you buy them from a dollar store. This may be an acceptable trade off for you, so if that’s the case then go for it.


About Your Guide

Daniel Douglas runs the Sassy Plant FB community of over 10,000 plant lovers (and growing), He is also a gardener and landscape maintenance professional. This has given him the opportunity to test out a large number of plant and gardening tools with real experience and heavy usage in the field over many years. You can find him in the Sassy Plant community on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.

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About The Sassy Plant

Hi, we're Dan & Kat. We love plants and gardening and wanted to share what we've learned along the way with you. The Sassy Plant is a cheeky take on plants, gardening and home. Go here to learn more about us. We hope you enjoy!