Plants are everywhere around us, yet so many of us know so little about them. But once you start learning about plants, you start to have a real appreciation for them - you'll never walk past a plant without admiring it for a few seconds.
The issue is that there are literally thousands of species of plant out there, and trying to learn about all of them is a monumental task. This is where a plant identifier app can be very useful. All you have to do is get your phone out and you can immediately find out what plant you're looking at and much more information.
There are lots of plant identification apps out there, and having downloaded and tried several of them, we feel pretty well qualified to publish a guide about the best plant identification apps that you can use. We took our phones to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh so that we'd find a mix of really common and really rare plants to identify and so we could put these apps through their paces, let's get into the guide:
The best plant identification app that we used by quite a distance was Picture This. Both the free and paid versions of the app were great, with enough in the free version of the app for people who are just wanting to quickly check a plant as a one-off. The app is very easy to use - once you've given it access to your camera, you can simply point your phone at the plant and take a photo. The app will then scan the photo and try to match it with a species of plant. What's really impressive is that you don't just get the name of the plant. You get a huge amount of information, including details about what countries it is native to and how to care for it.
We're not plant experts, so we couldn't be sure that what the app was telling us was accurate. But luckily at the botanic gardens we visited, every plant, flower, and tree had a sign next to it with the name of the species. We were impressed that with every plant we checked, the app successfully matched the details that were on the sign, as shown in this picture. You can download Picture This from the Apple App Store here and the Google Play Store here.
Plant Net is another plant identifier app with a great free and paid version, and similarly to Picture This, it's very simple to use. Once again, you simply point your camera at the plant that you want to identify, and you take a photo. The app will then scan the photo and provide you with some information about the plant. We'd say that Plant Net definitely didn't provide as much information as Picture This, but it did provide quite a bit and still impressed us. Download it from the Google Play Store here and the App Store here.
We had a bit of a mixed experience with Plant Snap - at first, the app was struggling to identify a number of plants that we were taking photos of. In fact, it took about 3 or 4 times to identify the plant we were taking photos of, but eventually when the app recognised the plant, we were impressed with the information we were given. The app claims to be able to identify over 90% of plant species, and it has more than 40 million downloads, so clearly it's a popular app. Learn more and download it from the App Store here and Google Play Store here.
The Blossom app claims to be able to identify more than 12,000 different types of plants, which is an impressive database, but not quite as impressive as some of the other options we've included in this guide. The Blossom app worked the same as the other plant identifier apps that we tried - you point the camera at the plant you want to identify, and the app will try to figure out what type of plant it is. We noticed with the Blossom app that it asked you to select which plant it was from a selection of options that the app gives you, but the correct plant was always within the list of options, so that wasn't an issue. Download it from the Google Play Store here and the App Store here.
The Planty app has a range of features, and almost tries to gamify taking photos of plants and flowers. But we've included it in this guide because the identification element of the app is very good - we took a photo of a Blue Poppy and the app immediately identified what species it was. The free version of the app is good but limited to just 5 photos per day. There is a free 3 day trial of the premium version of the app, or you can pay monthly for the premium version which is currently £9.49 per month. Learn more and download it from the App Store here.
Hopefully, this guide helps you to find an excellent plant identifier app. Let us know if you've tried any of these or if you have any other suggestions for us to try! If you want read something similar, check out our guide to the best mushroom identification apps you can download.