Gardening: Plant identification and advice at your fingertips – 4 of the best free apps

Gardening apps can help identify plants and offer care advice

WANT to identify a plant? Need advice or just want to connect with other gardeners? Here are four of the best apps to save you time and answer those gardening conundrums...

1. SmartPlant (Android, IOS, This app used to be known as PlantSnapp but is among the best of the bunch for plant identification and advice. Take a picture of your plant for identification, or scan the barcode of a plant (partnered with various garden centres and nurseries) you've bought to give you monthly care information, identifying your plant's maintenance needs, possible pests and diseases and searching for plants to add to your collection. It's also now linked to Alexa. Although the app is free, you can upgrade by paying for membership.

2. Garden Tags (Android, IOS, A great way to connect with other gardeners, who can share their knowledge with you. The community of more than 100,000 gardeners not only helps identify plants, but offers advice, tips and ways to tackle tasks. Unlike other apps, when you take a picture of your plant it will ask you to share it with the community or with friends on Facebook and Twitter for identification or advice. You can tag a question with the picture, then wait for the community's response.

3. RHS Grow Your Own (Android, IOS, From the world's foremost horticultural charity this app offers easy-to-access advice about all manner of edibles, month-by-month growing, planting and harvesting guides, plus information about common problems, along with help in choosing varieties depending on space, time you have to tend your crops and your experience. It also offers reminders of what to do when.

4. Garden Answers (Android, IOS, A really easy-to-use plant identifier that gives you an instant answer from its 20,000-plant database. Take a picture of the plant, or load it from an existing image on your phone, and it will come back with an answer in seconds. I found it wasn't always completely accurate, but most of the time it got it right. For £1.99 you can upgrade to ask a horticulturist for advice.

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