The AeroGarden grow domes are a thoughtful addition to the systems, and they are a huge help for getting the seeds to germinate. 

But many folks aren’t sure when to use them or when to remove the AeroGarden domes. 

The directions with the systems aren’t too detailed on this topic, so we decided to help you out with this guide. 

Aerogarden grow domes should be removed before the leaves touch the edges. The domes help seeds grow by trapping the moisture in the seed pods and protecting the new roots from dehydration. Once a dome is done, they’re safe to wash and reuse for your next harvest. 

Read ahead if you want more details and clarification on the AeroGarden domes and how to use them. 

aerogarden when to remove dome

What Is An AeroGarden Grow Dome?

A grow dome is a little plastic cover used to help with germinating new seeds. 

They trap the moisture and protect the seeds from the air at large. 

They also protect the seeds from bugs.

Learn more about AeroGarden and bugs in our guide for how to get rid of them.

Think about how seeds grow in the wild. 

They end up deep in the soil, surrounded by moisture, until the roots reach above to absorb light energy from the sun. 

Seeds in hydroponics need a similar environment. 

The seed pods that come with an AeroGarden are great for starting seeds, but you need to put the grow domes over the pods until the seeds have sprouted. 

All AeroGarden systems (like the one at the link to Amazon) come with the grow domes. 

The domes mimic the best environment for new seeds to grow in by trapping the moisture. 

Surprisingly, seeds don’t need much more than moisture to sprout. 

It’s only after sprouting they need light energy and nutrients. 

The AeroGarden domes aren’t fancy; they’re just little plastic domes that fit over the seed pods. 

They don’t even fully “pop” on in most cases. 

If you’re having difficulty imagining what they are, they remind me of the plastic tops you get for smoothies from 7-11 (except these are closed on top). 

When Should You Remove Your AeroGarden Dome?

The answer for when you put the grow dome on is easy: Put it on right away to help the seeds sprout!

Taking the dome off is another matter, and the directions that come with the AeroGardens are vague. 

There are two approaches for deciding when to remove the domes, and both have worked for me with equal degrees of success. 

  • Wait for a 1/4″ inch sprout above the seed pod.
  • Remove the dome just before the leaves touch the dome. 

When you see a 1/4″ sprout above the cardboard, your plant is established enough to survive on its own. 

It may not grow as fast at first compared to leaving the dome on, but you avoid the risk of leaving the dome until the last minute. 

Leaving the dome until just before the leaves touch the edge is fine too, and it’ll give the plant more of a chance to establish itself. 

But if the leaves touch the edges at all, they’ll turn yellow, brown, or spotted and possibly die. 

If there are only a couple of lost leaves, your plant will likely survive, but if it’s too much, your plant may shrivel and die at this point. 

So which method is best?

It depends on your personality. 

I tend to be somewhere in the middle. 

Wait until the sprout is halfway to reaching the dome, and then take it off. 

This happy medium has worked for me (though, not really any more or less than the other methods).  

AeroGarden Grow Dome Alternatives

If you’re out of growing domes, you’re not doomed. 

Anything that’ll trap the moisture works well. 

Some people tent some tin foil over the seed pod, which works well. 

Just make sure you don’t have heat directed at it, or it’ll overheat the seeds. 

Any little plastic cups or Tupperware will do the job too. 

If you have a way or an object to give the whole growth deck a decent seal (that’s dark and blocks the light), try that too. 

An upside-down baking dish will do the job. 

Get creative if you don’t have a grow dome. 

Or just buy more! 

If you do end up needing to buy more AeroGarden domes, they’re dirt cheap on Amazon. 

Quick Tips For Sprouting AeroGarden Seeds

Sprouting seeds is an important step to giving your plant its best chance at growing to a good harvest. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you out: 

  • Don’t use lights until you see a sprout.
  • Keep them 4-6″ inches above the sprouts when using lights.
  • Add little bits of soaked Rockwool under the dome for added moisture. 
  • Start the seeds in another spot, so you can pick the best sprouts to grow. 
  • Put the taller plants in the back slots of your AeroGarden.
  • Keep the seeds away from heaters, vents, and air conditioners. 
  • Use the seeds not long after you buy them. 

Commonly Asked Questions

Do You Need AeroGarden Grow Domes?

AeroGarden grow domes are helpful, but they’re not required. 

Anything that traps moisture will do the job, but you need something here in the germination stage. 

Can You Reuse AeroGarden Domes?

AeroGarden domes may be washed and used repeatedly, making them a little better for the environment. 

Do All Hydroponics Use A Grow Dome?

Germinating seeds in hydroponics require something to block the light and trap moisture. 

In large-scale growing, they don’t use little domes; they’ll use a big object to cover many seeds (often using Rockwool cubes as their growing medium.