I am no longer a plant killer after I started using the ‘PictureThis’ app
When it comes to plant care, you could describe my thumb as a pale yellow rather than green. I’ve mastered caring for easier species like succulents and ivy, but I’m still prone to overwatering and failed propagation. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from amassing a substantial crop – my bedroom alone is home to 11 plants – and I’m eager to expand my collection.
Maintaining so many plants at once has proven to be extremely satisfying, although it has also led me to understand why they call nurseries grow houses – these plants have become my babies. And as a concerned parent, I trusted Google as a cheap diagnostic tool lest a leaf start to sag or change color.
Searching for your own symptoms on Google, however, results in deadly false diagnoses, and the same notion seemed to apply to plants. I wasn’t getting the answers I desperately needed; instead, I was provided with fertilizer announcements between articles which informed me that my plants were as gone. My pale yellow thumb slowly shriveled into black before I ran into another ad for an app specially created for plant care.
Called “PictureThis”, the app is called “a botanist in your pocket”. Thanks to advanced artificial intelligence – and an image of the plant in question – PictureThis claims the ability to identify over 27 million plants, tell you how to care for them, and even diagnose unsightly problems. Other features, like chatting with botanists who specialize in your plants, are also available if you choose to pay $ 30 for the premium version of the app.
By taking a photo of one of my succulents, I received much more detailed care instructions than what is shown on the tiny plastic tag that originally came with the plant. For starters, the plant was not quite a ‘jade plant’ as its retail label suggested, but rather a variant of the species called ‘flaming katy’. PictureThis advised me to give the succulent full sun, well-draining sandy soil, and fertilization once every half a month during its growing season. I was also introduced to her ideal growing temperatures, repotting suggestions, pruning and propagation tips, and common pests.
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Documenting the rest of my plants gave me similar information, as well as the ability to set custom watering schedules – making sure that overwatering and watering is a thing of the past. And easy access to encyclopedia-type documentation, contained in a folder titled “My Garden”, makes caring for my plants synonymous with the phrase “there is an application for this”.
Think of PictureThis as the virtual version of “Plant Care for Dummies”. With the app’s in-depth knowledge and reminders of plant care, it’s virtually impossible to kill a plant unless you are unable to follow simple directions.
A few months after downloading the app, my plants have grown impressively – even some that I have owned for years before – and I also started using PictureThis for plants outside my house. While walking my dog in the fields surrounding my house, I was able to keep him from chewing on hairy vetch, which the app identified as a poisonous species to pets. A less useful poem on the weed has also been provided.
As long as you are interested in plants, whether it’s growing them, identifying them, or cultivating them, PictureThis serves as a useful guide. This has led me to nurture my plants the way they deserve, while also justifying my endless plant purchases.