Lifestyle

The Tiny Garden That Cares for Itself

Being the owner (or father) of a plant is quite a responsibility. You take the life of a living thing into your own hands and when you leave the nursery with your shrub you promise to keep the stems growing and eventually flowers showing. Some of us are naturally good at plant fatherhood and some wouldn’t know their azaleas to a cactus. Just like parenting children, sometimes the kids need minding, for the plant world we have a nanny and it’s called the Parrot Pot.

Parrot Pot

The newly planted Impatien

The Parrot Pot might look like an ordinary pot from a glance. It holds a typical household plant and has a drip tray, a typical pot. Where the Parrot Pot distances itself from any other boring terracotta or plastic pot though is in the technology it carries. The Parrot Pot is capable of monitoring the plant for moisture, acidity and sunlight. It can feed that data to your smartphone and inform you of what the plant needs, the best conditions for the plant all via bluetooth.

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The Pot is powered by four AA batteries and needs that power to do all that but also to do one more thing… If the plant needs water, it will water it for you. Yep, the Pot has a 2L reservoir holding water to feed your plant from four jets around the rim. If the Parrot Pot detects the need for water, it will trigger the jets(see it in action here). If you want total control and set it to manual, you can tell the Pot when to water your plant (eg every 12 hours only), alternatively you can water it when you wish via the phone or even on the Apple Watch.

Care via Apple Watch

Care via Apple Watch

Through our testing we found that automatic mode meant that the Parrot Pot was watering our Impatien far too often and it exposed a fundamental flaw in the smart pot. The drip tray on the Parrot Pot overflowed all over our desk in the office due to excess watering but the issue is more that Parrot overlooked two missing features. The Parrot Pot should have a sensor to pause watering when the drip tray is full, or at least notify the owner that the tray is full. Secondly, we have around 300ml of water in that drip tray, how about reusing that water for the plant? Why is the plant throwing the water away? This is something we hope Parrot does in the Pot 2.

Flowers, all hands-free

Flowers, all hands-free

For us the plant has survived a number of weeks and grown into a three flower Impatien. It looks great on my desk and is a fantastic talking point to visitors. If we were going on holidays we know the plant would still survive, set the plant to water itself once a day and that 2L reservoir would last a whole month with ease. It is the most care free plant we’ve ever had and makes gardening feel easy.

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It doesn’t come cheap though, at $229RRP we could have bought 15 Impatiens from the nursery, but we would have to care and water them ourselves. We would need to have knowledge on what conditions suit the type of plant and we would essentially be gambling with it’s life. When you’re new to gardening there is a fantastic sidekick on the market, it’s called the Parrot Pot and it’s basically going to do the job for you.

Living in Sydney his entire life, Geoff has always had a close eye on technology. Through school and immediately after, tech held his focus. Attending University later in life, Geoff began his IT career immediately after leaving high school and has been in the industry ever since. In his spare time he launched a YouTube channel focused on consumer tech that had millions of views. This led to work on community radio talking tech every week and has now stepped him into the studios of 2GB / 4BC every Saturday helping people with tech problems and reviewing the latest gadgets.

When Geoff is looking away from the screen he can be found holding a glass of red wine, spending time with friends and/or watching the Formula 1.

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