The 10 Best Tiered Planters
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Whatever you're cultivating, be it herbs, vegetables or decorative flowers, one of these tiered planters can help you do it in a compact area. Many can accommodate more plants in less space than would be required in the ground, and can help lessen the need for bending down, making them perfect for those with small backyards or mobility issues. They come in a variety of attractive options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 22, 2020:
Due to widespread availability issues, this set of rankings needed to be largely rebuilt during this round of updates, with our only remaining selections being the Mr. Stacky Indoor & Outdoor, and Nancy Janes Terracotta. The options we removed were the Algreen Garden View, Kinglake 7 Pockets, Gro Products Vertical, Outland Living Freestanding, GreenStalk Huge, and Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot. We also eliminated the Mr. Stacky Self Watering, noting that our rankings already included similar selections. Some of our new additions include the Worth 36-Pocket Set — a wall-mounted model with a gravity-driven cascading irrigation system, the Meiwo 7 Pocket — an affordable option made of felt material that can accommodate over 30 pounds of soil, and the Earth Tower Garden Vertical — a compact unit that crams the equivalent of a 46-foot garden row into a single planter with a footprint of four square feet and a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
A few things to think about for this category:
Capacity: The sizes of options in this category can vary tremendously, and it isn’t always that obvious in the online-shopping space, so make sure to pay close attention to each selection’s overall dimensions – to make sure it’ll work in the space you have planned for it – as well as the dimensions of its individual planters — to make sure that they’ll accommodate the plants you’re hoping to grow.
While options like the MyGift Southwest Desert, which consists of four 3.7-inch pots, and the Nancy Janes Terracotta, which is 13-1/2 inches tall, present one feasible and attractive way to start an indoor herb garden, they’ll definitely be on the small side if you’re hoping to start taking down crops of vegetables and bags of leafy greens. Models like the Greenlab Freestanding and Watex Double Frame incorporate some larger containers into their designs, leaving users with much more flexibility, in terms of which plants will thrive in their new planter.
Installation: While portable models like the Watex Double Frame and Earth Tower Garden Vertical have casters that make relocation a breeze and any sort of permanent situation optional, that convenience will only last for as long as the hard floors do, so don't plan on using either of these models on carpet, turf or anything else beneath your feet that isn't smooth, durable and rigid.
The Yaheetech 3 Tier is easy to assemble and throw right into a flower bed, but it should be noted that it includes no bottom plate, and so dirt and water will drain straight out of it, making it an impractical choice for a deck, and an inadvisable choice for stone and concrete patios. The pots in the MyGift Southwest Desert are all equipped with a drainage hole, which is great, but with nowhere for that water to drain, you’ll want to install this option outdoors, or have some sort of a tray ready to catch that runoff after watering indoors.
Hanging models like the Worth 36-Pocket Set and Meiwo 7 Pocket are a great way to increase yield without impacting the available ground space in your yard, but you’ll likely need to be comfortable driving a few screws or hooks into a wall or garden fence. It should also be noted that there have been reports of the Meiwo 7 Pocket, which is made of felt material, leaking moisture onto the wall behind it and floor beneath it. Although the latest version of this model purportedly features a water-resistant outer layer that should eliminate this problem, we’d urge users to be cautious as they implement this option, especially in indoor settings.
Irrigation: If you’re the kind of gardener who’s in it to reap the rewards of delicious crops, but you’re all for skipping the so-called therapeutic joy that comes with maintenance, then you might be interested in a unit with a built-in irrigation system — so you can spend less time holding a watering can and more time holding a margarita glass.
The Nancy Janes Terracotta is designed in such a way that you only need to water its top pot, leaving its runoff to feed the plants below. This seems convenient, but the problem with cascading systems like this – at least when they involve potting soil or soilless hydroponic substrates, many users report great success when using hydroponic systems that apply the nutrient film technique, which is quite similar in principle – is that they tend to leave some pots saturated, and others dry. Neither of which is a good situation. For a unit the size of this one, in spite of its irrigation system, I think I’d still be inclined to water each of its pots individually.
The Worth 36-Pocket Set is based on a similar system to the Nancy Janes Terracotta, only it takes the idea a step further and incorporates a drip line, which is mounted over the unit and attached to a nine-foot hose kit, so that you don’t need to worry about that watering can anymore; once this selection’s set up, you’ll just need to turn on your garden hose. However, at the end of the day there’s still a good chance you’ll be facing the same problems with uneven moisture levels. But, given that this unit has three times as many pots in it, at least this system will save you considerably more labor.
The Watex Double Frame also uses a top-feed irrigation system, but its is a bit more advanced than the last two we discussed. By equipping every pot in the system with its own drip emitter, this offering eliminates lower pots’ dependency on runoff and gives all your verdure an even soaking, greatly increasing your chances of success.
The Earth Tower Garden Vertical applies a bottom-feeding technique, with tubes that run to the bottom of its pots, a method that many believe encourages robust root growth. It can certainly be a good system, but I wouldn’t necessarily assume that it’s superior to something like the drip system found in the Watex Double Frame, as I would humbly suggest that a well-executed drip system can work just as well as a bottom-feeding apparatus.