Article in App of the Week category.

LeafSnap Solves Your Plant Woes

I’ve never been great at keeping houseplants. I swear, I read up on them, and do everything right, yet they all still eventually die. I…

I’ve never been great at keeping houseplants. I swear, I read up on them, and do everything right, yet they all still eventually die. I stare at their yellowing leaves and wonder why I’m failing. Is it too dark? Too bright? Maybe too much water — or too little? Or maybe it needs a different fertilizer? Whatever I choose, it still somehow seems to be wrong.

The thing is, I love plants. It’s officially spring and I’m ready to buy more veggies for the garden and I’ll try more plants for my windowsills. To help me out, I started trying LeafSnap. There are a lot of “plant identification apps” on the App Store but this one stood out as it claimed to do a bit more.

To start, yes — it will identify any plant just by taking a photo. The app was able to differentiate my Thanksgiving cactus from my Christmas cactus, even though the differences are subtle! You can then add those plants to your collection. They can be broken up by room and you can take photos of each of them. This makes a great, visually rich interface for the app. They have these cool overlays for the images that are angled with subtle gradients that are colorful and fun.

When you’ve added plants, LeafSnap also can help diagnose them. I’m not sure how it gets its info, other than from perhaps ChatGPT, but it can return common ailments with symptoms based on the type of plant. This can give you a good idea of how to rectify your leafy friend’s affliction.

If you go into any of the plants that you’ve added, it can provide a wealth of information and tips. It has custom iconography for lighting requirements, pruning recommendations, temperature ranges, and more. It’s great to learn about the plants you have, as well as researching any new ones you bring into your home. I learned so much about Venus fly traps, including how to feed them, how often they last, and how you can keep them alive through the winter when you live in colder environments — like Ohio.

What I found the most useful though, was tracking tasks. If you correctly identify your plants, LeafSnap can give you care instructions. It will tell you when to water and fertilize for example. Plus it's water requirements. Some need to be completely soaked and drained, while others prefer a light misting. It breaks this out into a dedicated tab in the app and gives you an icon-based summary at the top, before breaking it down based on task. Rich iOS push notifications help make sure I don’t miss anything. I put them into my iOS daily summary that comes in around 5 PM so I am always sure to see it.

Plants give your home a sense of liveliness. The greenery is calming and I would like to believe it helps with air purification. I don’t love that this app has yet another in-app subscription model, but compared to what I’ve wasted killing plants… it’s probably worth it.

But enough about other people's apps.


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