May 10, 2016
5 Apps That Will (Kinda) Guarantee You Won’t Kill Your Houseplants
Ok, so we can’t really guarantee you won’t kill your houseplants. We don’t know you, your plants, or your experience level. But we can guess that these apps will help you compensate for any lack of knowledge you have and in the process of using them, teach you how to become a better grower.
1. Identify your plant.
WHY: This one is very useful for when you see a plant you like, lost a plant’s name card, or you straight up forgot what plant you bought and don’t know how to take care of it (hello, that’s me).
HOW: Simply take a picture, submit it, then look through a list of suggested plant photos to find the one that looks most like yours. I tried it out with a weird cactus-looking thing I have, and while I couldn’t find the name of my exact plant, I did learn the plant family it belonged to and the care instructions for similar plants within that family. If you get really confused (or desperate) you can submit a question in the app to gardening experts for $1.99 per question.
2. Inform yourself.
Gardening Reference Guide (Free)
WHY: Once you have the name of a plant, use the Gardening Reference Guide to get the care and cultivation instructions for hundreds of different flowers and plants.
HOW: You can search for different species using their common or botanical name and learn about the region they are native to, light, water, soil and climate requirements, and bloom or harvest times.
3. Assess your sunlight.
WHY: Sun, water and soil (sorry, had to do it) are crucial to the life of your plants. Most plants you purchase will suggest one of three different amounts of sunlight. Full sun (6+ hours of sunlight), partial sun (4-5 hours of sunlight), and full shade (No direct sunlight). But how do you determine how much sun your plants are getting? I know I can’t figure out the difference between getting light from a window vs direct sun rays. Are they different? Which counts as sunlight? These apps will help you parse out these confusing questions.
HOW: Both Sun Seeker and Sun Surveyor use your location to track the sun's movement. You can do this with a simple compass or use the augmented reality feature to put your phone right where the plant will sit and get view of the sun's movement throughout the day.
4. Watch your water.
WHY: Once you determine sunlight exposure, Koubachi will help you learn how to properly water.
HOW: You can enter in your plant's name, average sunlight exposure, and your own location. With that, the app will send you reminders on when it thinks your plants needs watering. It's not a perfect science, but the more you use it, the better it gets at predicting your plants’ watering needs. You still need to depend on your own insight and notice the conditions of the soil, but this will help you get on a regular watering schedule instead of (like me) doing it at random intervals and freaking out about root rot every time.
5. Get social.
MyGarden for iOS (free)
WHY: This platform is like the Goodreads of gardening. You get to keep track of what you’re growing and show off to other gardeners, which in turn motivates you to take care of your plants. You don’t want to look like some kind of amateur (or worse - plant killer!) in front of your new gardening buds.HOW: You can keep track of your plants and their progress, easily sharing them with your friends to show how things are going. Photos can be exchanged to show off your handy work, plus you can keep track of ongoing tasks. Is it based on appearances just like every other social network? Yup. But will it help you become a better gardener? Most probably.