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Product Review: iPhone Plant Light Meter

Written by Mindy on March 24th, 2018

Ok, now there is a technology that can answer the burning question every gardener has when it comes to indoor light. Is it very low, low, medium, or high? While the latter two may seem simple to answer, the very low to low can be confusing. What is the big hype about the light requirement? Well, believe it or not, improper sun exposure is a leading cause of plant death, which ties with overwatering. The problem is this, if your plant does not receive enough light it will grow spindly and the stem will continue to be smaller and smaller as the plant tries to reach more light. The leaf nodes will also be spaced farther and farther apart. Once your plant reaches this point, the only thing you can do is take a cutting and start over.

iphone.plant.meterOn the other hand, too much light can burn it up like a piece of paper in a campfire. To prevent either one of these situations, one must know what level of light you have in your planned space and now you can find out with just an app called “Plant Light Meter.”

How this app works is simple. You aim the camera on your phone at the natural light source and take a “picture.” From this “picture” the amount of light is measured and classified as very low, low, medium, and high. All of this with a simple click of your phone camera and the guesswork is done for you.

Another wonderful feature to this app is what if you do not know what light level is required for your houseplant. Well, this app has a data base by which you can search for your plant and its light requirement. Keep in mind though that there is no way of encapsulating all the houseplants in the world so you may find that your plant is not listed.

As wonderful as this app is there are a few problems. First, it only works on IPhones, which I do not have and had to borrow one to test the app out. Second, this app can give a beginning gardener a bit of falsehood when it comes to measuring the light. As outdoor light can change as trees leaf out or fall due to seasonal change, so can the indoor environment.  A windowsill that was once consider high light can change with the tree right outside the window leafs out and shades that space. While an experienced gardener knows this, one less knowledgeable may not think about this fact.

All in all, this is a fun gardening app to play with. It is inexpensive but do not solely depend on technology to read the sun.


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