For those struggling to make their garden thrive in the colder weather, there is a smart option to help you along.
The French manufacturer Parrot has developed the Parrot Flower Power: a waterproof battery-operated, smartphone-enabled tool that measures whether or not your plant is flourishing.
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor plants, the premise is simple. Download the free application the gadget comes with, insert the AAA battery included in the pack, and stick it two-thirds of the way into the soil of the potted plant of your choice. A green light shines when the unit is switched on, and the battery power is expected to last six months.
Remember the gadget should not be covered or hidden by leaves to ensure it works properly.
Then, whenever your smartphone is within a five to 25-metre range of the plant, it sends out a signal that lets you know how the plant is faring such as whether it needs more nutrition, water or sunlight.
Priced at Dh289 and available at Sharaf DG, Dubai Duty Free and Virgin Megastore, the gadget is handy and even comes shaped as a twig to make it more appealing. The gadget I reviewed was light blue in colour, but it also comes in brown and green colours to allow it to blend in with the hue of your plant.
The app can monitor more than one sensor and each sensor has a range of five to 10 centimetres within the pot itself.
The application also offers access to a library of 7,000 plants, useful for those looking to understand the basic requirements of a particular plant or wanting to know more about its origins.
For those with knowledge of gardening, the limited range of the device means you might as well check the soil yourself. However, for those lacking in the green fingers department, it offers a helping hand to ensure your plants not only stay alive but thrive too.
What type of phone do I need to operate the Parrot Flower Power?
Your smartphone or tablet must be enabled with Bluetooth Smart and be connected to the internet. To start, log in to the App Store and download the application. It is also expected to be available on Google Play.
Where do I start?
To get going, activate the Bluetooth function on the smartphone and open the Parrot Flower Power application. Create an account and connect with the My Garden function. Tap the plus (+) sign on the top of the screen to add plants to the account. Enter the information, select your tool and watch your plant get connected to the phone. You need to wait 24 hours for the gadget to gather data, analyse it and report back to you with advice on how to care for your greenery.
When was the gadget unveiled and why bring it to the UAE?
Parrot Flower Power was launched in Dubai this month and is capable of working in extreme temperatures of up to 55 degrees, making it ideal for the UAE’s long, hot summer, when plants and flowers need most attention.
What went on behind the scenes to develop this tool?
Parrot teamed up with Wageningen University monitoring hundreds of flowering and ornamental plants at the university’s Greenhouse Horticulture Research Institute. The Dutch public university studied 596 plants such as Begonia, Dracaena and Ficus as well as tomatoes. These were tested for light, level of fertiliser and water intake.
Top 5 green gadgets of 2013
1 Yeti 150 solar power generator
2 Belkin WeMo Insight Switch, helps to control energy usage of home electronics
3 Mophie's Juice Pack Helium, provides battery life
4 Parrot Flower Power App-controlled Bluetooth plant monitor
5 Impecca Bluetooth bamboo keyboard, aims to reduce e-waste