Are you a #PlantMom? Here are some startups helping you in your journey as a plant parent!
To beat the boredom of being stuck indoors during the pandemic, most of us have picked up a hobby or another. Some started house renovation projects, some began reading more and some took to buying plants. Yes, buying and tending to plants is one of the most popular hobbies people started when the pandemic first broke out. Plant parents from the U.S. have spent US$8.5 billion more on gardening-related items in 2020 than they did in 2019.
Taking care of plants seems like an easy enough hobby, right? You give the plant water and aerate the soil occasionally, and that’s it. And yet, speaking from personal experience, plants are really easy to kill, particularly when you shift from working from home to going back to the office. If this sounds all too familiar, don’t worry, startups have stepped up to the challenge and created products and services that help you keep your plants healthy. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Agro2o is an India-based startup that has created a technology to grow plants without soil. The company has created a soil-free planting device using hydroponics technology, which uses water, nutrients and an alternative growing medium, such as coconut fiber, sand and rockwool. This technology reduces the amount of water wastage by recycling unused water and gives the plant parent additional control over the plant’s environment. Agro2o’s planter eliminates the risk of any soil-related diseases in the plant and leverages hardware integrated with Internet of Things solution (IoT), like a touch screen and WiFi connectivity, to completely automate the process of growing plants. The company suggests that in the future, it might be possible to integrate Alexa into the planting device.
Greensens is a German company that creates plant health monitoring sensors that help you check up on your houseplants remotely using a companion smartphone application. The sensor is able to track sunlight, temperature, moisture and how your plants are feeling overall. The sensor is charged by solar cells, so the user doesn’t have to charge them manually. The companion app has more than 5000 plants in its database and can thus provide you with the requirements for a large variety of plants.
The India-based startup Lazy Gardener is making gardening simpler for people who are too busy to spend time on plant upkeep. To do so, the company has created plant food sticks, GreenStix for leafy plants and BloomStix for flowers and fruits, that claim to keep plants nourished for up to two months. Once you put the sticks into your planter, it will gradually dissolve every time you water the plant. Besides these, customers can also purchase plant propagation stands, gardening mats as well as plant-related decor at Lazy Gardener.
No matter how easy and simple it is, sometimes we just forget to water our plants—it just slips our mind. Well, worry no more! Pikaplant’s smart watering devices are at your rescue. Pikaplant is a Netherlands-based company creating a self-watering plant system. The company’s ecosphere jar is an upside-down sealed mason jar with a plant inside it that constantly recycles the water from the plant. Pikaplant is also working on an automatic watering tray called Pikaplant Tableau. The Tableau consists of two plants and a water reservoir. The tableau has a valve that regulates the supply of water from the reservoir to the plants, opening up when the plant dries up and shutting off when the soil is fully wet.
Neverland is a U.S.-based startup meant to connect small-scale plant sellers to budding horticulturalists (experts or students in plant cultivation). It is a marketplace for gardening shops that allows them to sell their products online without going through the process of setting up their own personal digital stores. Having compiled 24,000 U.S. plant sellers, Neverland is also great for plant buyers because it takes away the tedious task of going on one website after another to find a plant or a gardening product. Another plus point of buying from Neverland is that it uses customer data, such as geographic location and the kind of plants customers want to grow, to give users advice on how to optimize their gardening efforts.
Is being a plant parent just a pandemic’s fad?
The pandemic has turned many into plant parents, and the trend is here to stay. The global home and garden products e-commerce sector is expected to grow by US$26 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 9.64% between 2021 and 2025. Besides, social media analytics paint a clear picture of the surge in popularity of houseplants. As of July 2021, plants were mentioned 3000 times a day on Instagram, and the hashtag “plant mom” was used more than 2.6 million times.
That the home and gardening industry is witnessing robust growth is not the only reason why the trend will remain. Over the past couple of years, people have become more acutely aware of the growing threat of climate change. The pandemic intensified the fears surrounding climate change and thus, people started bringing the great outdoors into their homes. Interestingly, of these people, millennials are the major group spreading the plant craze and showering its love and affection on plants, as it gives them a chance to connect and nurture. A millennial therapist and plant enthusiast, Lily Ewing, explains that young people are turning to plants because they are more affordable and “require less attention than other living things”, like pets and children. According to a study by Nielson, two-thirds of millennials are renters. Often renting can come with strict pet policies and thus, plants are the next best alternative to filling the need to care for something. Caring for plants also helps them relieve stress in a healthy manner.
With more startups cropping up to help plant parents, we would likely see a fall in plant murders and perhaps a continued interest in the space over time.
Header image courtesy of Freepik