CES 2013: Do We Need Another Gadget that Tells Us When to Water and Feed Our Plants?

parrot flower power© Raymond Wong/DVICE

At CES this year, among the giant tablets, new 3D printers and smartphone accessories, a new gardening gadget was unveiled: the Flower Power. The sensor-packed device alerts you via your smartphone when your plant needs more light, water, fertilizer and when your plant is too hot or too cold.

In the past when we have seen gadgets like these, we've thought they were a novel tech solution for a black thumb, but now with the proliferation of these devices, we have to ask, do we no longer know how to water our plants without a gadget telling us when to do so? Are we so detached from nature and dependent on technology that we can't properly take care of a houseplant?

Over the past year alone, we've covered a robot that moves your house plant to more sunny locations, a Wi-Fi sensor that tells you when to water you plants and I even included a plant sensor system in the Green Geek Gift Guide. Go back in our archives and there are even more high-tech gardening systems.

We're all about the intersection of technology and nature, but in this case, it may be necessary to step back and look at some low tech alternatives. If you have a black thumb, as in you regularly forget to water or take care of houseplants, you don't have to rely on smartphone alerts.

The most basic solution is to occasionally look at your plant. If your plant looks a little yellow or crunchy, it probably needs water. Plants like sunlight. Put them in a sunny spot.

Beyond those obvious things, there are other solutions like making a DIY slow irrigation system out of old plastic bottles so you don't have to remember to water as much. If you're willing to put a little more work into it, read up on the plant you've chosen and put a reminder list on the fridge for watering or fertilizing so you regularly see it.

If any of that seems like too much and you want a super-low maintenance houseplant, then get a cactus or bamboo plant. They make do with the minimum of water and sunlight and are practically impossible to kill.

Technology can get us closer to nature, but sometimes the best way to do so is to actually get closer and pay attention to our plants.

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