Without constant watering reminders, health guides, and curated tips from Plantum, my little apartment garden would have wilted like it does every year. Initially, this gardening app is a little clunky, but it’s definitely worth the $19.99 for a lifetime subscription.
As much as I love plants, I’m not a gardener. There are several pots of dried succulents that can vouch for this. Still, I’ve always wanted a small, luscious yard for my apartment, and this year I was determined to seek help to make that happen. I’ve sought help from professional gardeners over the years, opting for “easier” plants and just trying to grow cacti. These left me with a dead money tree, a rotten spider plant and a dried out cactus.
This year I opted for a lifelong subscription to Plantum. It’s an iOS app that identifies your plants and tells you about them. It’s $19.99, and this is the first time my spring crop has made it through summer.
What does Plantum do?
Based on a database of more than 14,000 plants, Plantum can identify you, diagnose you and give you tips to keep your plants alive. The plant identification feature was more useful than I expected since I only buy plants that are clearly labeled. What I thought was a Pothos was actually a Peace Lily. Pothos is very poisonous to pets and humans, but peace lilies can cause cats intense stomach pains. Plantum only needed one photo to verify that and it passed my own examination.
The features that really shined for me were the watering and turning reminders. These are difficult to set up in the beginning. You have to enter each plant individually, mark it as indoor or outdoor, and you can even measure the pot for more accurate watering. You even have to activate each notification. If you have a lot of plants, it’s a chore, but once it’s done, it’s done. I get weekly reminders for some plants and daily reminders for others.
Plantum even told me when to turn my plants. Sunlight is apparently a priority for many plants, which explains the failure of my office harvests. Had I had this app while trying to grow a walnut tree in a windowless office, I might have learned two things: 1) that doesn’t work and 2) exactly what caused my treatment.
The Plant Doctor is activated when you identify a plant. Plantum also gives you a diagnosis of its health, whether the AI considered the plant to be healthy, underwater, or suffering from a specific disease. If a disease is detected, Plantum will give you a course of action. Granted, the diagnosis is not always 100% correct, but it goes a long way in telling you something is wrong and helping you investigate more. In the case of my Peace Lily, it had no root rot. It’s just kind of ugly.
What can you learn about plants with this app?
At the bottom of the app is a toolbar with your home page, diagnosis button, photo shutter, your registered plants, and an Explore tab. That last tab is a world unto itself, and it’s great for people who just really want to expose themselves to all things nature.
The Explore page has an updated feed of images, videos, articles, popular plants of the day, care guides, plant inspiration, common mistakes and much more. I used it to see gardens I could never match, so I felt a little better about the two struggling cacti I keep on my desk. They’re in cat-shaped pots and can’t match the blooming hydroponic setups and lush gardens showcased in this app.
There are even tips for just enjoying nature. Picking wild mushrooms sounds a lot more fun after reading a detailed guide that made it feel more like an enjoyable hobby than a fungi dice game with lives on the line.
Is Plantum worth $20
Yes, if you enjoy planting, gardening, or even hiking and have a device running iOS 13 or later. The care reminders make it pretty easy to care for most plants, even if it’s a hassle to set up. The plant doctor makes it a lot easier to determine if a plant is a lost cause to disease or if it needs direct sunlight for the first time in its life.
Even if you just love nature, you can use Plantum to learn more about the world around you. I have learned the names of so many trees and shrubs on hiking trails where I have lived for over 20 years. I had never heard the name “Scrub Oak” or “Lambs Ear” in my life, but apparently I am surrounded by it.
If you’re a plant person, hobby gardener, or just want to keep a few plants healthy, consider getting a lifetime subscription to Plantum while it’s still $19.99 (reg. $59).
Prices subject to change.