4 Phone Apps Helping Me Grow & Maintain My Houseplant Collection
Houseplants have already invaded Instagram, so it was only a matter of time before they got some apps of their own.
This year, there's been a rise in digital resources that guide users through how to grow and maintain their houseplant collections. As someone who loves both houseplants and incessantly picking up my phone, I am here for the trend. I decided to try a couple out to see if they could improve my existing plant routines.
The verdict: While I don't think houseplant care can be totally automated (there's always going to be an element of human touch and intuition involved), the following apps were helpful for sending reminders about when to check in on what and providing new insights into the types of plants that are best suited for my space. Here's a little snapshot of the features of each.
Vera by Bloomscape
Houseplant delivery company Bloomscape recently acquired the Vera plant care app. The new collab allows users to compile virtual "plant profiles" for their greenery.
Once you photograph, identify, and name a plant, the app creates what is essentially a baseball card of stats on it: when it needs to be watered and fed, what kind of humidity and temperatures it likes, etc. Plus, it serves up fun new tidbits about your plant pal. (I'm proud to share that my Bird of Paradise, Ernst, is considered the queen of the indoor plant world.)
The type A plant parent can also use this one to track the last time they watered, fertilized, repotted, misted, and rotated their plants to keep on a consistent schedule or write in to Bloomscape's in-house greenery team with a question—all for free!
If you're unsure what kind of houseplant you have in the first place, Leafsnap can help you identify it. It's a good, basic app to start with if you were gifted greenery of unknown origins or forget whether that trailing plant in your bedroom is a philodendron or a pothos.
It's totally free to use but does serve up a fair number of ads.
Giving your plant the right lighting is essential, and Florish helps you easily gauge the direction and intensity of the light that filters in through your home's windows. Its free light reader tells you whether a space is suitable for bright, indirect-light plants, low-light plants, etc., and offers up suggestions for new plants to add to your space based on your lighting.
Like Bloomscape, it also lets you input your plants into a virtual plant collection and offers up a few basic care tips for each one.
To access most of the features on the Steward app, you'll need to opt into a subscription (around $10/month, depending on payment plan). The money goes toward custom plant maps that tell you exactly the right plants for your rooms' lighting, layout, and size. The app also connects you with a team of botanists who can help you choose new plants and better tend to your existing ones.
Simply take a video of your space (with special emphasis on the windows) and within a week or so, the Steward team will draw up a plant plan that auto-updates with the seasons.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.