One of the most common pieces of advice that we receive from plantitos and plantitas is to do your research.
Plants need TLC, yes, but it’s easy to kill them by overdoing things. You can just experiment on what works for the plants you want to grow or you can save time and effort by finding out exactly what they need as soon as you have them in your home.
Here are apps that you can download to help you become a successful plantito and plantita.
LeafSnap: Identifies your plants
Taking care of your plants starts with knowing exactly what you have in your pot.
One of the most commonly asked questions by plant lover on Facebook groups is: “Please ID this.” This is a great conversation starter in such groups. There’s no shame in not knowing what your grandmother has been growing in her garden, or not remembering the seeds you dumped into your container. Members are also only too happy to answer.
But what do you do when you are content to just lurk in such groups but not engage? There are plenty of apps that can do that for you.
LeafSnap is our favorite because it’s unlimited, free to use and no registration is needed. Sure, there are premium options but we were fine waiting the five-second ads out.
The app is pretty straightforward. You take a picture of your plant or choose one from your gallery. You help LeafSnap by choosing if your picture is a leaf, flower, fruit or bark. It will come up with multiple answers but ranks first the plants that look closest to what you have.
In our test, it has accurately identified basil, ginger and cape periwinkle. The app will also give you the genus and family of your plant with its different names, description and uses. You can also choose to read more and it will lead you to other sites that can help you learn more about it.
What it lacks is that it cannot identify specific varieties. We tried it on monstera and it did come up correctly with the genus and even suggested a family or two. But for those who collect different varieties, you need to do your own research. This app is perfect for newbies.
Waterbot: When to water
Everyone is keen on growing a jungle nowadays. It’s easy to lose track of plants when you are caring for a good number of them. This is where the app Waterbot comes in. It’s an alarm that tells you it’s time to water your plants.
You have to take a photo of your plants, name it and set a schedule. Waterbot allows you to schedule watering every day or for up to 60 days. You can schedule fertilizing through the app, too.
Photos can be grouped into three: general plants, cacti, flowering plants.
The app is easy to understand. It uses icons that make it user-friendly.
Other similar apps include Vera and Plantiary: Plant Care and Watering Tracker.
Plantix: Plant doctor
Just when you think you’re properly caring for your plants, pests invade your garden. You can type random words on Google for solutions, such as “white cluster + bugs + curly leaves,” and trawl the web. Or you can take a picture of it and let AI figure it out for you.
Plantix is such an app. The photo you upload will allow the app to give a diagnosis and suggest medicine for your plants. It tells you when the pests appear and what insecticide to get, how often you should use it, when not to use it and how toxic it is.
If you are unhappy with the solution, finding alternatives will be up to you.
There’s a weather forecast included in the app which also tells you what’s the best thing to do on the day. For example, when it’s going to rain, the app will say that it’s a bad day for applying pesticides.
There are specific plants that the app caters to such as ornamental plants, tomatoes, papaya, citrus, okra, chilis and melons. You can get tips on how to cultivate it from the app. From selecting the seeds, to sowing them in the nursery, weeding, caring and harvesting.
You can even put the date when you first sowed the plant. It will give suggestions depending on how far along you are. If you’ve been pregnant and have used a baby app, you’d be very familiar with this one because it functions very much like the apps for caring for little humans. It will guide you every step of the way.
Plantix can also be used by farmers as it can calculate the amount of pesticide needed per land area.