This App Is Keeping My Plants Alive, No Thanks to Me

Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo
Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo

Here’s the thing about plants: They’re gorgeous, they improve just about any space, and in most cases, they’re generally fairly easy to take care of with a little consideration to their needs. Personally, I can’t live without them, and they were some of the first things I bought after relocating to the West Coast recently and settling into a new home.

But tending to one plant is much easier than, say, 10 — approximately the number of plants I’ve acquired over the last couple of weeks — particularly when it comes to making sure they’re all watered on time. And to help me get into a new watering routine with my new green roommates, I opted for an iOS app called Planta, one I’d highly recommend to anyone with more than just a handful of plants in their home.

Here’s my problem with the plants I’m currently trying to keep alive: Few of them are the same, meaning they’re all on different watering schedules and need varying degrees of direct or indirect sunlight. I am pretty organised, but I am not bullet journaling-levels of organised. And while some of my plant species were familiar — like my twin snake plants, my various succulent babies, and a gifted jade plant — others, like my bird of paradise and a pair of fiddle-leaf figs, are newer to me.

So far, so good. (Photo: Catie Keck/Gizmodo)

My colleague Shoshana Wodinsky mentioned she’d downloaded an app called Blossom to help with her watering schedule for her glorious 27-plant situation, which is enviable. This app — which pushes out wholesome watering reminders like, “Your plant is just shy to say thank you aloud” — was pretty much perfect, but the app’s premium subscription would have put me out $US30 ($42) for the year, something I couldn’t seem to justify. (Shoshana managed to snag hers for $US10 ($14), a steal that I probably would have otherwise jumped on.)

After a little research, I found both a free app called Florish and freemium Planta. Both are still on my phone, but Planta is the crown jewel of my plant folder. Florish is a great app with fairly straightforward light and care instructions, including common issues to keep an eye out for. But Planta really won me over with the free version of its app, which allows you to also strategize the best homes for your plants by inputting the light and orientation of various rooms in your house.

Shosh's enviable plant setup (and one very good cat). (Photo: Shoshana Wodinsky/Gizmodo)

I like this feature because no plant is forgotten on watering day — I have a log on my phone reminding me where they all are. I know this sounds very silly, but if you have more than a dozen plants in your house, it can be easy to occasionally forget one. Plus, Planta will help you with fertilisation, something I’m a complete dummy at but about which I would like to learn more.

Planta also has a snooze function if your plant soil isn’t ready for more water yet, something I find particularly useful for my bird of paradise. I can’t speak to the app’s more premium features myself, but you can pay to get help with things like identifying issues with an ailing plant and more specific recommendations for plant needs. A month will cost you about $US8 ($11), while a year costs slightly more than Blossom at $US36 ($50).

I’ve had this app for a minute now, and my plants are — thankfully — thriving. And if you need some help in the watering arena, you really can’t beat the price of free.