There’s an app for that.
Yeah, it seems like there’s an app for everything these days. And those of us with green thumbs aren’t being left out. There are quite a few apps aimed at plant lovers, whether it’s a garden journal app or an app for identifying that mysterious plant that’s growing in the middle of your herb garden.
According to an article by the Pew Research Center in June of 2019, 81% of Americans owned a smartphone. (June 2019, Pew Research Center) And according to a study released in 2017, nearly 77% of all U.S. households participated in some form of gardening. (April 2018, Globe News Wire) With those kinds of numbers, it’s pretty safe to assume that most gardeners also own a smartphone.
Why not put your smartphone to work with a helpful gardening app?
But which one?
I downloaded the six best-rated and most downloaded apps and tried them all to help you choose the best one. To be reviewed, the app had to be available on both iOS and Android. Some were also available as a web app and as a desktop version, those have been noted.
There were a lot of apps out there that looked great but were only available on one platform. You should check out the options specific to your phone too. (I have a list of suggestions at the end.)
At the end of this post, I’ll let you know which app was my top pick.
In no particular order…
Available on desktop
- Gardenize is an excellent app for folks who are interested in just their garden and don’t want to have to search through an extensive catalog of plants. You build your own plant library with pictures from your garden, adding notes throughout the season.
- One great feature is the ability to connect plants with different areas where you garden. For instance, what did you plant in “Flower Bed by Shed” or “6×4 plot”? You’ll never forget what you planted where again.
- The app includes lots of great articles on gardening. You can search and save topics based on your needs. Are you looking for an article on tomato pests? Search for it in the Inspiration feed and save it to read later.
- Picture This claims to be a “Botanist in your Pocket” (PictureThisAI.com). And the app lives up to the claim.
- While the app is a paid app, the premium features are pretty sweet – unlimited plant ID’s, 1-on-1 consults with gardening experts, weed IDing with suggestions for mitigation, a step by step care guide for plants based on photo IDs to name a few.
- This is a great app when you have a sick plant. You can take pictures of the plant and get it diagnosed based on the images.
- The explore tab allows you to see what other people near you are growing or identifying.
- Picture This has excellent care guides filled with useful information. You can add plants to your Plant Care tab and set watering and fertilizing reminders. You can even name your plants, like “lavender, southern side of the house” or, in my case, “Pam the Palm Tree.”
- Plant identification happens via image matching. Simply take a photo of your plant, and it uses other pictures in its database to make a match. The website boasts 95% accuracy.
- There is a fun community feature that allows you to like and comment on photos shared by others in the community.
The app says you can ‘try it out’ for free. You get a 7-day free trial, after which, the premium version is $19.99 a year. I think that’s a bit on the pricey side for a phone app, but depending on how often you use the app, it may be worth it for you.
Moon & Garden
- This gardening app is based on the biodynamic gardening approach, which was created by Rudolf Steiner. The practice relies heavily on the notion that the moon influences all aspects of gardening from when you should plant to when you should harvest, even when you should mow.
- The app has an active community forum that allows you to connect with others who practice biodynamic gardening. The forum does seem to be engaged with new posts daily.
- The calendar provides detailed daily gardening advice based on the lunar calendar. It also provides you with a local weather forecast tab. The calendar is the best part of this app.
- Moon & Garden allows you to keep detailed notes and photos of your garden so you can track your successes and failures through the growing season.
- The premium version is only .99 and gets rid of ads as well as unlocks a few premium features like unlimited picture space.
The app had several bugs at the time I used it, including one which would not allow you to purchase the premium version and one where some pages were in a different language. These issues had been noted in a few of the reviews. I really wanted to like this app, but between the bugs and the overly simplistic features, it was a no-go for me.
From Seed to Spoon
Available as a Web App
- This app was started by a couple who got interested in growing their food. They now grow food for their family of 6 in their back yard in Oklahoma City.
- The app uses your GPS location to give you planting dates, which helps you make sure you’re getting seeds and plants in the ground on time. It also takes into account your local frost dates, again using your location.
- Several apps have an area dedicated to pests, but From Seed to Spoon also has a tab for beneficial insects. This kind of information can be incredibly helpful to your overall yield, as some beneficial insects will get rid of pests.
- The app has detailed growing-guides for numerous vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
- What sets this app apart from other apps is the connection between growing your food and healthy eating. You can filter the plants by their known health benefits to plan a garden tailored to your health needs.
- The app has a dark mode; I’m all about apps with dark mode.
- You can access videos from the app filled with helpful gardening advice.
- There are recipes too, which helps if you’re new to growing vegetables and have no idea what to do with all of those tomatoes you planted.
They have a premium service, which is free for now but will be a paid plan in the future. The Garden + feature includes things like plant tracking, seed sprouting estimates, a garden log, the ability to archive past gardens, and more. At the time of this writing, no price was available for this feature and no timeline for when it will no longer be free.
This app does not have a plant identification feature.
Available as a Web App
- Touted as a ‘citizen science project,’ Pl@ntNet is all about getting the average person involved in plant biodiversity. As we lose plants around the world, this is increasingly important. The app is part of the Floris’Tic project, which hopes to close the gap between plant sciences and the general public.
- By using the app to identify plants, you are essentially helping to create a catalog of plants around the world.
- While this app is primarily for plant identification, it can be a helpful tool for gardeners as one of the flora categories is weeds. This is a fantastic app for foragers as well.
The app doesn’t offer much in the way of gardening advice or tracking. However, it’s still a great app to use. Biodiversity is vital to us all, especially those of us growing food.
- The Garden Answers is a snappy little cell phone application that identifies plants almost immediately. You take a photo of the plant using your camera, and the app then compares the picture to similar photos until it finds a match.
- The app offers both the botanical and common names of plants, which can be important when you are foraging beyond your garden walls.
- You get in-depth care information for the plants you identify. The plant identification page has a link to the Wikipedia entry for that species.
- While the app is free, you can get the premium version for $3.99 a year. The only difference is that premium members do not receive marketing.
- For $1.99 per question, you can ask a horticulturist for help identifying a plant or for information concerning a disease or problem with a plant. Answers are received within 24 hours, and if they can’t help you, you get a credit towards your next plant ID.
- The app uses your GPS location to show you ID’d plants near you. This can be useful for foragers.
The app boasts a ‘community,’ but it’s just a link to a Facebook Group. If you’re looking for something in-app, this isn’t it.
Which one did I like best?
After tinkering with all of them, it was a tough call. However, I felt like From Seed to Spoon was the best over-all app for those who are looking to grow their food. The platform is nice, and the app contains a wealth of knowledge and provides you with numerous handy tools to track your garden growing endeavors.
Try out these apps from the Apple Store
- Vegetable Tree
- Garden Compass
Try out these apps from Google Play
- Sowing Calendar
- Garden Manager