Reviewing Planta: Do House Plant Apps work?

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I’ve always been kind of against apps that help you keep track of your house plant care schedule.

If you look at any Facebook thread about them, you’ll see that most people are either for or against.

I’m against, because I don’t think an app can accurately gauge when a plant needs watering. With the free version of Planta, you basically only really get a watering reminder.

Still, I thought it was worth giving Planta a decent try. I have the Pro version and I…won’t get it again.

It’s just not for me.

THAT BEING SAID

Since I began using it, I can definitely see why so many people are such die-hard fans.

I went into this with an open mind, even though I pretty much knew I wouldn’t use it. That’s a me problem, BUT I’m aware that we’re not all the same, so I basically wanted to find out if it would be useful to anyone.

And yeah, it’s a good app. Top marks. There are parts that could be improved, but by and large, they do what they can as well as they’re able.

What I liked about Planta

This may come across as a negative review because Planta isn’t for me, but I quite liked the app – it does as well as it can doing something that can’t really be done. If that makes any sense.

  • It’s a nice way to document all your plants

You can take pictures, add notes (usually things like ‘this plant has thrips’), and track your plant’s progress.

I’d LOVE to be the kind of person that likes to document things and organise my life online. Ihave tried EVERYTHING. Asana, Notion, Google Calender, Evernote, Pocket, Goodnotes, ALL THE APPS.

The ONLY one I use regularly is Google Keep, which I basically use for shopping lists and my YouTube description box.

I like notebooks, and the only way I’d really use a plant planner would be if it were a physical notebook. Possibly a Goodnotes notebook. And even then, I’d use it religiously for three months and then never open it again.

But if you’d like an online plant planner, try Planta.

  • It’s good for reminding you to clean and fertilise your plants

Both these things should really be done on a schedule and it’s great to have a reminder. That being said, I’d adjust the frequency of fertilising because Planta seems to want me to fertilise every couple of weeks, which IMO is too often even at peak growing season.

  • Planta is great if you kind of know what you’re doing

…You just forget to actually do it. It doesn’t work for me because I know what I have to do and when to do it, I simply don’t.

Having an app also tell me to do it is just more pressure.

Please don’t think I want to be like this.

  • Planta knows its own failures and tries to combat them

When you first log your plant you fill in a tonne of information, so that Planta can best understand when your plant might be thirsty. I truly think that Planta’s creators knew the limitations of their app and tried to mitigate them as much as possible.

One example of this is the snooze feature. If you get a notification telling you to water and you don’t think the plant is ready, you can snooze the notification for however long (you get a few options for this).

What I didn’t like about Planta

  • The plant recognition thing

Do not use the Plant ID to ID your plants. It will get it wrong 9 times out of 10 and if it does get it right it’ll give you a batshit common name for it.

If you want a reliable ID for your plant, go to the r/whatisthisplant subreddit. They will know. They always know.

Somewhere in my house is a list of the plants I ID’d, what the app thought they were, and the weird common name it gave them. Unfortunately, the combination of moving house and having approximately 8 million notebooks means that I may never find it. I made a table and everything.

There is a video where I go through it though!

I remembered one! They call an Anthurium Clarinervium a Velvet Cardboard Anthurium. Please leave me a comment if you’ve EVER heard it called that.

whut

  • It takes AGES to add your plants

This is not the app’s problem. It’s a me problem. I have too many plants.

If you’re considering getting into collecting house plants and you think you might like Planta, ad your plants NOW, before you end up with hundreds.

I set aside a couple of hours to add all my plants to the app and I barely scratched the surface.

Technically this is a good thing. The more information Planta has, the more accurate it’ll be. BUT IT TAKES AGES. Especially if you have to identify all your plants at the same time.

  • If you follow it blindly it may kill your plants

It’s way too trigger-happy when it comes to watering and fertilising. It asks about soil type but not the type of pot.

It’s also weirdly obsessed with repotting. I only repot my plants if they’re out-growing them, and even then I sometimes just trim the roots. I know it’s frowned upon but I don’t have an unlimited supply of pots.

  • There’s no extra instructions for LECA

This is something they could add. There is the option to have LECA as the soil type, but they don’t seem to do anything with that information. There’s no reminders to flush or top up the reservoir or anything.

  • They completely ignore humidity

Humidity is extremely important when it comes to plant care. It’s literally life or death for plants like Calathea, and can make Peace lilies actually easy to take care of.

I’ve only seen it mentioned in the little blurb about misting, which I’ve included a photo of in the next section.

It’s a MASSIVE oversight, and a bit weird considering they wanted to know soil type, which I don’t think is as important as humidity.

  • No option for grow lights

Plants dry out a lot faster under grow lights, and they’re quite commonly used for house plants so it’d be nice to have them as an option in the lighting part.

monstera leaf

What I don’t understand about Planta

This actually endeared me to Planta, because it’s…wild.

So, Planta is a bit over keen on the fertilising and watering, that can be explained away by assuming the founders are operating in somewhere like Florida or the Philippines where the high humidity (humidity is not mentioned AT ALL, so it’s plausible) means that all house plants grow incredibly quickly.

We can forgive this.

BUT WHO THE HECK IS SCHEDULING THE MISTING??

It’s not that they recommend misting a lot, it’s that they recommend misting on a completely random schedule depending on the plant. My Schefflera apparently wants to be misted every week. Fine. Pointless, but fine.

BUT THEN THEY ALSO SAY THIS:

I’m 85% sure that they consulted two people. One was pro misting, one was anti-misting, so they split the difference and went with misting at entirely random times.

monstera leaf

Is Planta Pro Worth it?

I won’t be buying it again, but that’s because I don’t use it, not because it’s a bad app. If you want the scheduling and fertilising reminders, then go ahead and get it. It’s not particularly expensive.

Definitely try the free one first and see if you actually use it. You could also get a month’s subscription and upgrade to the yearly one if you like it.

Don’t do what I did, and get the year’s one straight away because it works out cheaper.

That only works if you actually look at the app. Hopefully I’ll be inspired to use it again in the future.

monstera leaf

Would I recommend Planta to a friend?

I wouldn’t recommend Planta to someone just beginning with house plant care. An app can’t tell whether or not a plant is dry, regardless of whether it knows the weather in your area, the type of soil that it’s in, and what window you’ve placed it in.

It. Can’t. Know.

I’d worry that a beginner would rely too much on the app and end up overwatering because the app told them it was watering day, rather than checking the soil.

I also wouldn’t recommend Planta to someone with a tonne of plants. Like, over 30. It’s too many notifications, and if you turn all your notifications off (like I do!) you’ll be hit with a great long list of chores that you won’t want to do.

Or at least, I didn’t.

You know how you’re about to happily clean your room, but then your mum asks you to, and suddenly you don’t want to? Unless I’m just a child.

Also, it takes an age to input all of your plant’s information. it’s fun for a bit but them becomes tedious. To this day I only have about a fifth of my plants entered in the app.

I would, however, recommend Planta to someone that’s organised and just has a few plants. Someone that will check the app for guidance.

I also think it would potentially be useful for people that are away from home a lot and have someone come over to take care of their plants.

Sure, it might be a bit over-eager with the watering, but there’s limited damage to be done in a couple of weeks (famous last words guys), and it would probably be easier than writing out a massive care guide.

Final thoughts

After trying Planta, I would definitely recommend that you try it. If you’ve got as far as reading this article you probably know *something* about plants. If you know nothing about plants, then try Planta, but don’t water your plant if the soil is still wet. Or even damp.

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