How Plant Data Changes Plant Care

Have you ever searched for the solution to your plant’s problem and received a plethora of conflicting advice? The problem with plant care today is that it’s reactive, treating symptoms not problems. Plant data changes plant care, and to illustrate this, we’d like to highlight two of leaflet’s first beta customers,where one received leaflet intervention, and one did not.

They both shared the same symptoms: yellowing, shriveling or droopy leaves, and were quickly dying–but was the underlying problem the same?

Let’s find out!

Before Leaflet: The Story of the Umbrella Tree 

There was once a happy Umbrella Tree that lived in an office. It basked in ample indirect sunlight and brought joy to its coworkers. While it received much love and was watered regularly, there was a problem lurking below. 

This was a very early beta, so the app wasn’t ready yet. We could only monitor this plant from afar. Through our continuous health monitoring, we discovered that this once thriving plant did not have proper soil moisture conditions. Ideally, soil moisture should be cyclical. It should increase after watering and then be allowed to dry sufficiently before the next watering. Otherwise, the plant could suffer from root rot or other problems. Instead of a cyclical pattern, what we saw was a stepwise profile. 

Over the course of at least 90 days (and likely long before we began monitoring the plant) this plant’s feet became increasingly wet. Because it was unchecked, the health of the Umbrella Tree declined rapidly and succumbed to root rot. 

After Leaflet: The Story of the Canna Lily

Sometimes knowing what a plant needs isn’t easy. It’s even more difficult to predict when things will go bad without monitoring every variable. Take this Canna Lily for example. It appeared to be doing alright—just a carefree plant companion relaxing in generous light–but shortly after we started monitoring this plant, leaves shriveled, and stalks began to perish.

A plant in a potDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

So, what was wrong? Was it being watered often enough? Was it warm enough? Looking at health metrics at any point in time wasn’t enough to reveal the true problem. Only with Leaflet’s historical data could it be seen that there were multiple culprits. Though watering was generally consistent (except when it was neglected over the holidays), unlike the Umbrella Tree,watering wasn’t deep enough, and the soil was often on the dry side. The temperature data also showed that Canna spent too much time below its comfort level (red dashed line). Canna was immediately put into rehab.

Rehabilitating a Canna Lily

The app was ready for this customer, which means they were able to use direct insights from the data gathered and begin rehabilitating the Canna Lily. 

It was moved to a warmer area of the office and was given plenty to drink at each watering. We are happy to report that new shoots are emerging, and our plant friend is even surpassing its former glory.

Get to the Root of the Problem with Leaflet

If you’ve ever felt frustrated with online advice or other plant care solutions, we can learn from these two plants. While these plants both displayed the symptoms of yellow, droopy leaves, their underlying problems were vastly different. The umbrella tree needed less water, the canna lily needed more! That’s why it’s so important to know what’s going on in the soil. To learn more about why that is, check out sensors 101. To dig deeper into the science, check out our experiement in the article: is leaflet as good as precision agriculture? 



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