US gardening company Garden Compass has launched an app that offers horticultural advice based on a photo of a plant.
The app, called SmartPlant, allows users to upload pictures of their plants and receive information on how to care for them. It also connects users with gardening experts in their local area, and sends monthly advice on their plants. For example, if a shrub appears to have a parasite, they can send a photo to an expert through the app and receive instant guidance on treating the problem.
With clear instructions for care, a key selling point is the simplicity of using the app, as it avoids the complicated jargon that puts people off nurturing their gardens. Calendar notifications provide helpful reminders when tasks such as watering or repotting need to be done. It also recommends products that will ensure each plant is properly cared for, such as specialist fertilisers or compost.
The company is raising equity via crowdfunding site Crowdcube to make it compatible with voice-activated services such as Amazon Alexa.
The service is likely to appeal to millennials (aged 23 to 36), who are spending more time gardening to boost their wellbeing and escape technology. Of the six million Americans who started gardening in 2015, five million were aged 18 to 34 (National Gardening Market Research Company, 2016).
For more on the standout products and services that are making it easier to care for plants, see Nature Embracers.