My spring cleaning is done in January and every year I free up more living space than I realised I had by packing up gadgets and gizmos and finding good homes for them. Last week confronted by a tidy, bare looking room I decided it was time to add some plants. It took some time to settle on a Royal Blue orchid but the choice of plant pot was easy.
Parrot, famous for making easy to fly drones and Bluetooth car kits, have developed a burgeoning connected gardening business and following the release of their Bluetooth soil sensor, have introduced a plant pot that automatically waters your plants, as well as acting as an expert and plant-sitter.
The pot arrived nicely packaged and assembled and is accompanied by four AA batteries and a simple user manual. The inner container needs to be lifted out of the water reservoir and the batteries fitted. As I put clipped the pot back together, the LED status light flashed green to advise me that there was no water in the reservoir.
I filled the pot with soil, patted it down and made my new Spider Orchid comfortable. There is a maximum filling level indicator on the inside of the pot and it’s important not to overfill the container. Also on the inside lip of the pot is the water filter. The filter-lid removes easily and I filled the reservoir with just over two litres of water, which is enough for around a month of automatic watering. As soon as the pot has water, the green flashing light goes out and the pot will take over, automatically watering the plant as required.
With the plant set-up, it as time to move on to the smart features, which involves downloading the Parrot Flower Power app to a Bluetooth enabled smartphone or tablet. The app contains data for hundreds of different plant types and after selecting your plant from the list, you can name it and take a photograph to be displayed on the apps info screen.
After selecting the plants environment, indoor or outdoor the app finds the pot and compeltes the configuration. The app then displays the status of the plant, with water and soil moisture levels highlighted instantly. After around twenty-four hours the app will start to display other live data including fertilizer level, sunlight and temperature.
On the app also is a large button that waters the plant from the pots own water reservoir but the cleverest part of this gadget is the automatic care mode. You can select a mode called Perfect Drop which waters the plant automatically, with the right amount at the right time. As well as that, there are custom and manual modes for watering and a clever Plant Sitter mode that optimises the available water, while keeping your plant healthy while you’re on holiday.
More info: global.parrot.com
An edited version of this review appeared in The Irish Mail on Sunday, 15-January-2017.