The expanding world of connected home gadgets is nearly approaching joke status. (A Bluetooth-enabled toilet, really?) But with practically no knowledge of how to take care of plants, we felt compelled to test the Parrot Flower Power. The device helps you care for your plants by measuring four crucial environmental factors – soil moisture, fertilizer level, ambient temperature, and light – with built-in sensors.
The small twig-shaped gadget gets to work as soon as you stick it into a pot or the ground next to a particular plant. (It can be used indoors and out, in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.) To get the data, you just have to download an accompanying app and pair it with the Flower Power via Bluetooth. You then specify what type of plant you're monitoring by picking it from the app's lengthy database.
We stuck the Flower Power next to a potted Amaryllis and the app quickly outlined a "Plant Needs" guideline, including minimal fertilizer and medium-to-high light intensity. After "hanging out" with our flower for 24 hours, the device was able to generate some live stats about the plant in a chart view. Flower Power provided seemingly accurate readings – temperature was spot on, it recognized when the plant needed water, and on a few cloudy days, the app even made us feel a bit guilty that it wasn't getting ample light.
A couple drawbacks lie in the app's design, which is more childlike than high-tech. And although it will notify you when you should add water or fertilizer, it doesn't specify how much. At $60, the Flower Power is a significant investment, but if you want to prove to yourself you can keep a plant alive for more than a week this would be a big help.
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