Italy’s Hexagro has launched a new vertical garden designed to bring a splash of green to the home. Designed for folks with limited space, the Clovy offers growers the choice of hydroponics or aeroponics, the setup can grow taller as their green thumbs develop, and it features pods made from recycled materials or agricultural waste.
Thanks to an IoT irrigation system, folks don’t need to concern themselves with daily watering as the automation technology takes care of that, with fine control available via a companion mobile app – which includes an “AI-powered cultivation assistant” called Hexbee that helps guide users through plant care and maintenance.
“With the IoT system, you can schedule specific times and days for irrigation, adjusting the amount of water delivered,” explained the company. “This flexibility allows you to optimize water consumption, reduce waste, and promote responsible water resource management. Moreover, the irrigation system features two electrical outlets that can be easily automated and can connect to any additional electronic devices.”
Those new to vertical gardening may be best suited to the “hydroponic fertigation” setup, which makes use of coconut fiber as a growing medium and keeps the plants dosed up with water and nutrients. More experienced growers can opt for a low-pressure aeroponics platform, where the system delivers moisture and nutrients by misting the roots without the need for a substrate.
“In hydroponic fertigation, plants absorb nutrients from the substrate, while in low-pressure aeroponics, the water and nutrient solution are misted onto the roots, which remain suspended in the air,” said Hexagro.
The standard version of the Clovy system is made using 100% recycled plastic, and can be optioned in small – with four pods and a container that can host up to 20 plants – or large – a 40-plant setup with eight pods plus a container. Also available in small or large is an eco-premium flavor that’s made from upcycled bio-composite materials from agricultural waste, such as wood chips or rice husks.
Users stack the pods above a stylish container base that holds a low-pressure pump and about two weeks’ supply of water (a notification is sent to the app when the nutrient solution starts running low). Each pod can be home to four different plants, though the uppermost level can potentially hold eight.
Growers can pop in their own seeds or use pre-grown seedlings from a friend/neighbor, so can choose decorative or food plants to taste, but will need to source the growing medium and nutrients from Hexagro when the initial batch runs out. After that, they can move it to a source of natural light courtesy of the included trolley wheels on the base, such as a large window or patio, and set watering schedules via the app, dive into the knowledge base or online community, and watch the plants spring into life.
The Clovy vertical garden is raising production funds over on Kickstarter, where perks currently start at €139 (~US$145) for a small standard model, or €159 ($165) for a small premium. The usual crowdfunding caveats apply, but if all goes to plan with the already funded campaign, shipping is expected to start from April 2024.