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Ever left town for the holidays and returned to find your houseplants didn’t make it to the New Year? We’ve found a way to grow indoor plants maintenance-free--meaning they can totally fend for themselves à la Kevin in Home Alone.

With their streamlined Modern Sprout planters, Chicago couple Sarah Burrows and Nick Behr have created a way for design-loving city dwellers to grow flowers and herbs in attractive, self-watering, self-feeding hydroponic window boxes. ($130 to $250, sold online and at Sprout Home)


Choose a plug-in or solar-powered model--best for rooms that get four hours of direct sunlight a day--add plants and liquid fertilizer, set the timer and wait for the magic to happen. You don’t even need soil, just some tidy clay pellets. 



One of our favorite flowers--the orchid--is perfect for Modern Sprout planters--the timer even has a specific setting for them. 



But Behr and Burrows love growing edibles best, and even in winter’s weak light, herbs like chives, cilantro, mint and parsley will all thrive. And just wait until summer (after all, it’s only six months away): The couple say they got 200 cherry tomatoes out of one plant this past season. 



Finally, you can take your green thumb on a worry-free vacation.

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