It’s spring, and the perfect time to start your backyard gardening projects. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, these apps make it easy for you to identify, plant, and take care of vegetables, flowers, and other plants.
What to Look for in Gardening Apps
Whether you want to plant a few vegetables in planter boxes or plan out and grow a prize-winning flower garden, gardening apps can help every step of the way. Though each app varies a little in what it offers and how it approaches gardening, here are some of the most important features to look for:
- Plant Identification: This is handy for finding out what that gorgeous flower is you saw on your walk yesterday, for determining if a plant is poisonous, and a lot more. The best gardening apps make it easy to snap a photo of a plant and get instant and relevant search results. Some apps can even tell you detailed information about a plant, like its name, where it likes to grow, and how to take care of it (or avoid it).
- Plant Tracking: Planting your flowers, herbs, or vegetables is one thing, but keeping them alive is another beast entirely. Garden apps often provide details on how to maintain your plants from the time you plant them up until they bloom or are ready for harvest. Some can even send you daily or weekly reminders to check up on your garden.
- A Solid Community: These apps aren’t just great at identifying plants and helping you take care of them—they also excel at connecting you with gardening enthusiasts in your community and around the world. Some apps have more of a focus on sharing your plants and current gardening projects, while others offer a place where you can ask questions about gardening-related topics and get answers from expert and amateur gardeners across the globe. These community centers are an excellent place to become more educated and connect with people that share the same interest as you: gardening!
Best How-To Gardening Resource: Gardenate
If you’re a novice gardener, Gardenate ($1.49/iOS, $0.99/Android) is an excellent resource for learning how to plant a backyard garden. The app can help you figure out which plants work best in your climate, how and when to plant them successfully, and how to take care of them. It even tells you how far apart to plant seeds, what other plants to avoid planting them near, and how to cook and serve them up once you’ve harvested them. The app provides scientific and detailed information for over 90 of the most popular fruits, vegetables, and herbs most common in backyard gardens.
Gardenate provides local planting calendars and can tell you which month is the best planting time for a particular plant. It can also calibrate for greenhouse or cloche planting. There’s a space within the app where you can detail which plants you’ve planted (and any photos you’ve taken of them), then make notes about when you watered them or which varieties turned out the best. The app provides an estimated harvest date for fruits and vegetables, which is helpful if this is your first year gardening and you aren’t sure when to do so.
Best Plant Identifier: Garden Answers
Garden Answers (Free) is the perfect tool for identifying plants—it has over 20,000 plants in its database. The app is great for learning about a plant you just discovered (and think would look great in your yard), or simply to learn if a plant is poisonous to pets or small children. Identifying a plant with Garden Answers is easy: just take a photo, submit it, and the app’s advanced image recognition technology shows you instant results directly from garden and horticulture experts. You can look through posts from other people and even rate and review them.
The app makes it easy to search through its database with keywords in order to look up a specific plant and view its details, like its scientific name and what type of sunlight and soil it tends to flourish in. It also offers expert recommendations and advice for planting, watering, and otherwise taking care of your plants.
Best for Plant Advice: Garden Tags
From planting inspiration to garden management, seasoned gardeners and newbies alike can find something to love about Garden Tags (Free). The app’s coolest feature is Tasks. Here you can catalog all of your plants, then the app will send you daily, weekly, and seasonal tasks for each of them. This is a great tool for beginners, as it can help you remember to water, prune, harvest, and perform other actions for your garden as needed.
Whether your garden specializes in exotic orchids or you have a particularly prolific zucchini plant, Garden Tags is a great place to share photos of everything in your yard. Other members of the Garden Tags community can scroll through your photos and like or comment on them. The app also boasts an impressive community-powered planting encyclopedia of over 18,000 plants. It also has a gallery where you can discover plants and gardens around the world, and an identification tool you can use on plants you don’t recognize. The app has tons of fun and helpful features for gardeners of any skill level.
Best Gardening Community: Grow It!
Grow It! (Free) has a great built-in community and is a terrific app for those who like to garden socially. On your profile, you can list your plants and any gardening projects you’re currently working on. The community is easy to engage with, and you can follow other people if you like their posts and contributions. Grow It also has a tool for helping you find a garden shop near you, so if you’re new to gardening, you’ll know where to go for supplies.
If you have a question about one of your plants or want advice on how to care for a plant, you can peruse the Topics page for help with soil, lawn, pests, fertilizer, and other subjects, or ask a question and let the community upvote the best answers. Likewise, if you are knowledgeable about plants, you can answer questions posted by other people, or help others identify a plant. In that section of the app, other people can post photos of plants and you can suggest an edit if you know the answer.