Our Favorite Gadgets for Plant Parents

What about Can’t I, a professional gardener, take care of her houseplants? There, in the mirror’s reflection, my peace lilies trembled, my begonias darkened, my African violets faded as the beetles circled their leaves like vultures. While sitting by the bright window in a warm room, my houseplants annoyed me. I’m a non-gardening, stay-at-home mom, too busy cutting and cleaning important plants from outside the world to give to my own children. And it showed.

But I will not leave my day job, or the home garden that I like to invest in on the weekends. “If only I had a babysitter,” I told my husband. “Like someone who knows a little about horticulture to come and take care of my indoor plants.” He furrowed his brows. “No you the nurse?”

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He was right. It would be foolish to hire someone to do what I know how to do well. Then, with a job, three kids, four pets, and life in general, I have little time to water, remember. by the time I watered, killed the eggs with alcohol, thought about the problems of the light, etc. Just thinking about it makes me sick. I have ten more things to do. Well, maybe four, but hey, it’s more like ten.

Finally, after months of anxious, half-assed houseplant care, I figured out a big piece of the puzzle. I don’t need a human nurse. I need a tool. So I started experimenting with the technique of maintaining the plant. To say the least, life has changed. In a good way.

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After a few false starts, I found six things that work in the form of a nanny kit. Now they keep my plants not only alive, but healthy and happy. That, of course, means that I am healthy and happy as well.

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Photo: Johannes Mann/Getty Images

Let’s say you’re at the store, see a cool plant, lose your mind and pay $50, then bring it home. Great, but what now? A plant identification program can help. You just take a picture, upload it, and the app gives you its botanical and common name. Why is knowledge important? Because if you know where your plants grow in the wild, you will know how to keep them happy at home. You provide the right light, water, soil, and food. You are the god of earth and weather in an indoor living space, so plan accordingly.

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