Gardening is hard. Not only does it take an incredible amount of patience, but your beautiful horticultural creations can be destroyed overnight thanks to droughts, diseases, and insects.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a keen gardener myself. Unfortunately, I live in a desert these days. Growing plants is much harder than it was in the temperate seasonal climate of Northern Europe.
As such, I’ve started taking much more interest in indoor plants. Being not only a gardener but also a tech addict, I recently went on a voyage of discovery to see what green finger-friendly smart devices were out there.
Here are seven of the best gadgets I unearthed.
1. Parrot POT
How do you know how much water to give your plant? It’s so easy to overwater or underwater them. Worse, the symptoms of ill-health the plant displays are almost identical: wilting yellow leaves, a lack of new growth, and no flowers.
If you’re just starting your journey towards an indoor nirvana, you need some help.
Why not test a Parrot POT? In short, it’s a smart plant pot. Using four built-in sensors, it monitors the condition of your plants and waters them when appropriate. It’s a great device to own if you spend a lot of time away from home.
The pots cost around $85 and come in black or white.
Rivaling the Parrot POT is the PlantLink Lush. Like the Parrot POT, it’s a smart watering system. However, rather than being a standalone pot, the PlantLink sensors just push into the soil alongside the plants you want to monitor.
The devices all connect to back to a central hub (called the Basestation) which in turn forwards data to your smartphone. Each hub can support up to 64 sensors.
Best of all, the PlantLink Lush can work both indoors and outdoors, managing all your watering needs without you needing to lift a finger.
Letting technology take care of watering your garden is all well and good, but what happens if you’re not even botanically-minded enough to plant your flora in the first place?
Well, don’t worry, some smart home companies have considered that eventuality and are here to help.
One of the best options available is the Click and Grow Smart Garden. The device looks like an ordinary window-side plant pot, but it requires almost no effort from the owner.
The gadget comes with specially formulated “smart soil” (don’t ask) and a series of capsules. You just need to pop the capsules into the soil, fill up the pot’s water container to the defined level, plug the pot into your electricity supply, and kick back.
There are 40 species of capsules to choose from, including several edible plants like basil, sage, and parsley. You can even grow tomatoes!
Do you want something a little more exotic than cress and lettuce? Perhaps you should purchase a Biopod.
If you’re aware of the world-famous Eden Project in England, you’ll be instantly familiar with the concept. Biopods are self-contained ecosystems that can be set up to match the ideal environmental conditions for the plants you want to grow.
Using the accompanying smart phone app, you can control the temperature, light, humidity, ventilation, and rainfall of your pod, ensuring your tropical houseplant is perfectly content and will never die.
The Biopods themselves don’t come cheap. The Grand option will set you back more than $1,000, while the entry level Eden costs around $225.
One of the biggest challenges for an indoor gardener is making sure plants get enough light. If you live in a built-up area, or in a high-rise apartment with few windows, a lack of light can lay waste to your finely crafted ecosystem.
The makers of Plantui realized the problem and developed a gadget to help you along.
Like the Click and Grow, Plantui relies on capsules to get you started. Once your plant is sprouting, the self-adjusting grow light automatically determines how much light your plant needs to maximize its health. Oh, and the Plantui is also mess-free because it doesn’t even use soil (again, don’t ask).
The devices come in three sizes, starting at $99.
Perhaps the devices I’ve discussed so far are too complicated or too pricey for you to consider. If that’s the case, check out the Mini Power Plant Clock.
This cleverly-named clock doesn’t use batteries or mains electric to show you the time. Instead, it has two types of active metal rods that stick into a soil container on top of the clock. When you water your plant, the wet soil acts as a carrier and can produce enough power to turn on the clock’s LED display.
But how does a clock stop you from killing your plants? Well, if the soil gets too dry, the current can no longer be carried between the rods and the clock will turn off. If you don’t see the time, you need to get your watering can out.
Keeping plants alive isn’t just about watering them on time. You also need to monitor the humidity and temperature of their environment. Some plants are so sensitive that a change of just a couple of degrees can cause them to wilt and die.
One of the best ways to monitor the data is to pick up a Netamo Weather Station Indoor Module. They can track the temperature, carbon dioxide level, and the humidity in each room you put one in.
All the data is fed back to the smartphone app, and you can make any necessary adjustments to the environment accordingly.
Best of all, the Indoor Module can integrate with other smart devices around your home. For example, you could use an IFTTT recipe to automatically turn on the fan if the temperature goes too high, or you could get your Nest thermostat to adjust the heating if it’s too cold.
How Do You Keep Houseplants Alive?
The amount you’ll need to depend on these seven gadgets depends on your gardening expertise.
If you’re a long-time hobbyist, you might be so ingrained in your routine that you don’t need any outside help. However, if you’re a beginner, these devices can be the difference between a barren wasteland and the Garden of Eden.
Which smart devices to you use to help keep your plants alive and well? You can leave all your tips and suggestions in the comments below. And don’t forget to share the article with your fellow gardeners on social media.
Image Credits: Smile Fight/Shutterstock