The Best Plant Identification App – A Review

You see a succulent in the store that you just LOVE but you don’t know what it is or what care it requires! Ugh! Will it work in your low light office? Can it stand being neglected? How much light does it actually need? If you buy it are you just dooming it to die an early death?

Fear no more! We are going to review the best plant identification app, starting with 12 and narrowing it down.

The Criteria

I did my initial plant identification app research on Apple because, well, I have an Apple device. There are so many plant identification apps, wow, it was overwhelming.

I wanted to use similar criteria I use when I review other items, the app had to have at least 4.0 stars and normally a minimum number of reviews but I decided against that part. I was worried that people could bribe their friends and family for at least 100 reviews but then I also figured most things can be improved upon and wanted to give newer apps a chance.

All the apps have instructions and usually a guide on taking the pictures. Some could identify bugs and more and some were restricted to indoor plants (no trees, etc.). As long as they could, or said they could, identify succulents, I tried them.

If an app could not identify the plant by the first picture (aerial view), I took a second picture (from the front) to give it a second chance.

The PlayersPictures of 12 apps

For all the apps that offer a subscription, they require that you cancel 24 hours prior to the free trial end date and you must authorize purchase before installing. Meaning, you have to enter a credit card number in advance, not after the free trial. Also, if you got the free trial on November 4th, it would end on November 7th but in order to cancel and not to be charged, you have to cancel on the 6th.

Here are the players. There are probably more that fit the criteria of over 4 stars but I had to stop (seriously, couldn’t do anymore) and felt like an even dozen would be fine.

  1. PictureThis – Plant Identifier – 4.7 rating and 64,000 reviews. One week free trial and then $29.99 per year.
  2. PlantI.D: Identify Plants – Yearly fee of $19.99 with a three-day trial. 4.3 rating with 66 reviews.
  3. Plant Identifier – Leaf Snap – 4.5 rating with 1,400 reviews. Three-day free trial and then $59.99 per year.
  4. Smart Identifier: Plant + Insect – Free three-day trial and then $2.99 per week (yes, week) or $29.99 per year. 3.6 rating with 1,100 reviews.
  5. PlantSpot – Plant Identifier – 4.1 rating with 858 reviews. Free three-day trial and then $49.99 per year.
  6. Plant Identification – 4.2 rating with 274 reviews. Free for three days and then $39.99 per year.
  7. PlantSnap Plant Identification – 4.6 rating and 21,000 reviews, the app has ads, you can upgrade to the below one.
  8. PlantSnap Pro: Identify Plants – 4.4 rating with 34,000 reviews. You can upgrade from number seven and the cost is $12.00 per year.
  9. PlantNet – 4.6 rating with 248 reviews, with a donate button.
  10. Planta: Keep your plants alive – 4.7 rating with 1,856 reviews. They have a free version that just allows you to set a schedule to care for your plants but to identify plants, it is $35.99 per year.
  11. Plant Identification: Plant ID – 4.5 rating with 30 stars, has ads.
  12. PlantDetect Lite – Identifier – 5.0 rating with 94 reviews, has ads.

I started with the Crassula ovata, jade plant because I felt it was an easy one. All the apps except Plant.ID (number 2), Smart Identifier (number 4), PlantSpot (number 5), and Plant Detect (number 12) identified it correctly.

For Smart Identifier, maybe this was user error because I could not get it to identify a single plant, it would say “plant” but not specifically what any were.

Here are what the four that either had no answer or the wrong answer. I added the app name for easy identification.

Screen shots of apps

Quarter-Finals

  1. PictureThis – Plant Identifier
  2. Plant Identifier – Leaf Snap
  3. Plant Identification
  4. PlantSnap Plant Identification
  5. PlantSnap Pro: Identify Plants
  6. PlantNet
  7. Planta: Keep your plants alive
  8. Plant Identification: Plant ID

The second plant was the Cotyledon tomentosa, bear’s paw. I thought the distinctive leaves would also be an easy one.

I can’t really give a win to PlantSnap (basic), I took three pictures and it identified a very similar variety on the last picture but was way off on the first two. Also, I used up my allotted snaps for the day so I couldn’t take any additional pictures after these.

PlantSnap screen shots

Plant Identifier (number 3) and Plant ID (number 11) also were wrong and are now out.

screen shots of wrong answers

Semi-Finals (Sorta)

Well, there are five in the semi’s instead of four, can it still be called a semi-final?

  1. PictureThis – Plant Identifier
  2. Plant Identification
  3. PlantSnap Pro: Identify Plants
  4. PlantNet
  5. Planta: Keep your plants alive

For this one I used Crassula muscosa, watch chain. I thought it would be harder, and it was.

Plant Snap Pro (number 8), PlantNet (number 9), and Planta (number 10) all missed this one.

I was really rooting for Planta, I feel the app offers a lot of additional information value by offering reminders to take care of your plants.

PlantNet appears to me to be a community of people who upload and share pictures. It is a free app but limited.

Screen shots of incorrect answers

Finals

A true final…between two!

  1. PictureThis – Plant Identifier – 4.7 rating and 64,000 reviews. One week free trial and then $29.99 per year.
  2. Plant Identification – 4.2 rating with 274 reviews. Free for three days and then $39.99 per year.

I tried the Haworthia fasciata with all the apps and it proved too easy. PlantNet incorrectly identified it as an aloe plant, Plant Identifier identified it in the Haworthia genus but incorrectly identified the specific plant, all the others got it correct. These apps were already out and this just helped solidify their standings.

I think part of the decision is which style you like better, below you can see how the information pops up.

PictureThis also offers a community part on the app and a map so you can see plants that have been added (you have to give permission for your location and plants to be submitted) and you can share your plant via FaceBook, text, or download. As you can see from the picture it gives details on the plant, care instructions, and then a gallery of other plants people have posted.

Plant Identification offers details, descriptions, common names, folklore and herbalism (if applies), and references used to compile the information. Plant Identification offers the information without the community part, it is possible that they will add this once they get more users (just a guess, not something I know). It also has an ad at the bottom of the screen which is a wee bit annoying.

PictureThis is available on both Apple and Google devices but Plant Identification is (for now) only available on Apple.

Two finalists

And The Winner Is…

Well, that’s up to you. I think both of the finalists offer great information, different but great. Do you want a community? Just the information? I think it is worth getting a free trial of each to see which fits your needs the best.

Do you have experience with plant identification apps? Want to share? As always, I love to hear from you, post your comments, questions, and observations below!

16 Responses

  1. Hey thank you for the awesome review!  I really like picturethis.  It has a free seven day trial, and is very cheap.  I like how cheap it is, honestly.  I live in Kentucky, and we have a wide arrange of plant life here.  I think that this app could help someone like me, because I like to study biology when I’m not working!

    • Hi Jessie,

      Oh, you do have a lot to study in KY!  There are apps that identify more than just plants so they may also interest you!

      Cheap is always good! Hope it works out for you, let me know if you have any questions!

      Lisa

  2. How long did it take you to research all of these apps?  I love that you have done your homework on them.  The beginning of your post was really good at grabbing my attention and pulling me in.  I don’t really know how to give you more criticism on this because I think you were brilliant in your lead up and posting images of all of the apps you reviewed.

    • Hi Annie,

      It took about a week to get it done where I was finally satisfied with the fairness of my testing. It was fun and I enjoyed the experiment (though it was frustrating at times).

      So glad you enjoyed it, I appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

      Lisa

  3. Awesome review of the best plant identification app. I must say what you did wasn’t easy and you did a good job.

    Well, I have never seen any of these applications before now. Looks really nice to see that these app are effective in identifying plants and also give some information about it.

    Congratulations to both winners… 😄

  4. These apps are really amazing but I haven’t used any before. What I used to identify anything (image) I am looking for is reverse image search. You can google that. What it does is that it will match any image you took (be it plant, animal, device etc) to the documents on the world wide web and give results that are near the image that was snapped. I have been using it for a while now. Really cool.

  5. You put a lot of time into this post. That means a lot because with my busy life, I would have likely been stuck with one crappy app then downloaded another one in hopes it worked better for me then probably would have had to waste more time and money to find the one that I really liked.

    I will first give the Plant ID a try and hopefully that will work for me. I am not much into social media so the Picture This is my second choice. 

    I wonder, do you think succulents are the best plant to keep indoors? It gets snowy and cold where I live so I need to be able to keep whatever plants I have, indoors most of the year.

    Thanks in advance 🙂 

  6. My dad is a HUGE gardener and has been my entire life. He constantly had me outside with him planting his next seed. As I got older and realized how many different plants we had in our yard, I started wondering how in the world did he remember all of their names?

    It was a unique knowledge set that I was sure I would never grasp onto.

    I have never heard of these apps before, this is truly amazing and has me wanting to download so I can take a peek when I see a beautiful flower out in public.

    • Hi Kay,

      Wow, isn’t it amazing how your Dad had all that information in his head! Very cool!

      As they say, there is an app for everything! I hope that you have fun with them!

      Let me know if I can answer any questions.

      Thanks,
      Lisa

  7. Hello Lisa, I am impressed with your creativity in representing this post. I should buy you a drink for that, lol. I have always had issues identifying plants since I was a little boy and till date I find it hard giving care to some particular plants in my wife’s garden. Knowing there are apps the mat can help me id these plants is a dream come through for me. Now I can look after the garden while she is away.

    • Hi Benson,

      LOL, thank you, I try to keep it interesting!

      I’m sure your wife will be happy that you can tend to the garden when she is away! Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

      Thanks for commenting,

      Lisa 

  8. I did not know that plant recognition aps even existed.  

    Thank you for this informaion.  It is interesting to think that your phone can tell you what kind of plant you are looking at.  
    My wife and I are always seeing flower bushes and trees that we would like to buy and plant in our yard but we never know what the plant is called.

    This is a great help.

    Thanks

    Jay

    • Hi Jay,

      I know, I was shocked at how many there were!  There were even apps that were for mushrooms only, it blows my mind how many apps there are!

      Hopefully one of the apps will help you and your wife! Let me know if you have any questions.

      Thanks,

      Lisa

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