I’ve started trying apps to keep track of plant care. My favorite so far is Greg, and I outline why here! Check out Greg‘s webpage here, which offers online plant-specific guides – no app even necessary!
Since this is my first review post, let me outline the structure for you: First you’ll see three columns with a TL;DR breakdown of the pros and cons of Greg. Below that is my full review with screenshots and more in-depth information about the app.
What’s “The Urban” column about? That third column talks specifically about what I think makes this app good for the urban gardener. Does it take local conditions into account? Is there an indoor/outdoor setting? Is it beginner-friendly? Things like that will get mentioned in that third column.
- Free for a few plants
- User-friendly and simple
- Cute, uncluttered interface
- Sends push notifications with a snooze option
- Auto-identifies plants with the option to self-identify
- You can enter pot size, sunlight amount, and window information for a tailored watering plan
- Offers pop-up tips
- Option to have a social component or make your account private
- Costs money once you hit more than 5 plants
- Misidentifies some plant species
- Some plant species are not available (BUT: there’s an easy way to have the Greg team find new species! See below.)
- Only offers watering schedule
- No grow light option at first, only sunlight – you have to look for the grow light option
- Greg‘s mission: helping everyone get gardening knowledge
- Social component
- Takes locality into account
- Indoor/outdoor setting
Let’s start with Greg‘s mission: “We imagine the world not as it is, but as it could be…How might our world change if more people understand how to support plant life?” I’d like to live in that world. I’m imagining sprawling tree houses, laying in moss beds, growing all of our own food, cultivating a world more equitable and long-lasting for all beings… there are so many possibilities.
So, yeah, Greg quickly gets an A+ in the mission department.
Next comes usability. The app’s interface is simple and, frankly, calming; I love the color choices and the uncluttered screen. You can see here my office rosemary, named Wallace. He gets his own dashboard, and then I have an overall dashboard called “Valeri’s Oasis” that shows photos of all the plants I’ve loaded into the app. (I know, it says “Diana’s Oasis” in that screenshot – my phone thought my name was Diana at first, don’t ask.)
Your plant’s dashboard includes:
- Plant type
- Amount of sunlight, including direct/indirect, hours of sunlight, distance from window, window orientation, grow light option
- Pot size and type, including drainage
- Soil type
- Location (uses phone location settings)
- Indoor vs. outdoors
- Near air conditioning or heater
- How often your plant needs watered
- Amount of times you’ve watered the plant
- How many times you’ve snoozed watering alerts
- A list of recorded actions
Adding a plant to your Oasis is simple. On the app’s bottom panel is a square + button. After tapping that, you get the screen you see to the left. Here you can take or upload a photo and name your plant. The app automatically checks the genus of your plant, which is a nice feature! (You can change the auto-generated genus later – I’ll go into that in a bit.)
There’s also a fun and silly feature where if you click the red dice, Greg makes up a name for your plant – I thought Sigmund was a funny one.
Next the app asks some questions about your plant – this is where it gathers the beginnings of that information on the plant’s dashboard. My one complaint here is that even when you finish these initial questions, your plant’s profile is only 21% finished, but Greg has already set up a watering plan. Of course, when you add more information it updates, but this seems a little inefficient.
Finally, let’s talk plant identification. Luckily I was really able to test this feature because I know my plants’ species; my totem pole cactus came from Synthesis and they tell you all about each plant, for example. I also have a vampire cactus (also known as a California barrel) that I got a long time ago as a tiny baby cactus (she’s still pretty tiny).
Now, when I loaded my vampire cactus into Greg, it came up with the wrong species identification. On your plant’s dashboard you can update the identification easily – if the actual species is in Greg‘s database. Some are not. BUT – if no options come up, you can click the “We’ll help” option in purple and it sends a ping to the Greg team. Supposedly then the team looks into it and updates the database – I’ll have to check back on my cylindraceus and see if there’s been an update yet! If your primary interest in using an app is to identify plants, I would suggest iNaturalist.
Overall, I give Greg a four out of five flower rating!
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