Whether you are an avid plant lover or just someone who would like to know what plants are growing in the landscape, a plant identifier app can help you identify the flora in your surroundings.
These apps typically require the user to submit a photo of the unknown plant, and then the app will either identify it using AI image recognition or send the photo to their community to be identified by a human.
Because of the sheer number of plant ID apps available, however, trying to determine the best app to identify plants can be a difficult task. Thankfully, we have compiled a list of the best plant identification apps to help narrow down your search.
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Best plant identifier apps
When you search for a plant identifier app on your smartphone, you will find countless different types available. Some of the apps are free, while others require a subscription or user fee. Trying to narrow down which ones are the best can be a difficult task.
This app is powered by over 1 million naturalists, biologists and scientists that help to identify plants uploaded by users. When you need help identifying a plant, simply upload the picture and other users on the app will give you their idea of what they think the plant is.
iNaturalist (iOS/Android) was launched in 2008 by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. It has both a plant identification online website and an app, both of which are free to use. It is often considered one of the most extensive free plant identification apps available.
Even though it is highly recommended in the plant community, iNaturalist does have its drawbacks. The most common complaint about iNaturalist is that the app and website feels and looks outdated. Despite this fact, it still remains one of the most respected plant ID options available.
PlantNet (iOS/Android) is often considered one of the best free plant identifier apps available. It has a large database of user submitted photos that it uses to help ID plants and flowers. It relies on its large community of users to identify and submit photos of plants to its database.
The drawback of PlantNet is that some users have reported various glitches after adding and identifying their own plants. Some users have also stated that they receive an error message when trying to get help IDing a plant.
Even though the PlantNet app does have some issues, it is still a reliable and accurate free option for those who want help identifying plants.
How does the PlantNet app work?
PlantNet is an image search engine designed to identify plants and flowers. It uses a database of photos submitted by PlantNet users to identify flora. When you submit a photo, the app runs it against the other identified photos in its database to find a match.
The app then shows the results of the search, giving you identifying characteristics and information on the plant. This completely free app does rely on the users to grow its database, which in turn identifies the plants.
An example of this would be uploading photos of the lilac bush you have growing in your yard. You know for a fact that the plant is a lilac, so you can confirm its identity. After you have uploaded the photos and added the information, you simply confirm the plant’s ID and it is then added to the PlantNet database.
The name PlantSnap (iOS/Android) may sound familiar, especially if you use the social media app Snapchat. This is because the two have partnered with one another to help identify more than 600 thousand plants.
PlantSnap offers a free and a premium version, and can help identify thousands of plants in 30+ different languages.
Keep in mind, however, that while it does have a free version, some of the best features of PlantSnap are only available on their paid version. In fact, the free version limits the amount of plant snaps you can use.
That is, unlike other applications that charge per month, FlowerChecker charges for every correct identification it provides. But FlowerChecker doesn’t rely on a computer to identify the plant as, instead, they use experts to analyze and identify the plant.
The downside is that the identification isn’t instant like other apps, and it can take a while before you receive an identification. However, FlowerChecker states that about half of all identifications occur within an hour.
FlowerChecker may be the best option for you if you’re looking for results verified by experts. Just remember that you pay for every correct identification that the app provides you. If you think you will be trying to ID an abundance of plants, this may not be the best solution for your needs.
PictureThis is a paid plant identifier app that uses advanced artificial intelligence to help identify plants. In fact, this app has identified more than 27 million plants and PictureThis states it has a 99-percent accuracy in identification.
This app is more than just a plant ID application, it also gives tips on caring for plants, as well as offering a social network for users.
Is PictureThis app free?
The PictureThis app isn’t free, but they usually offer a 7-day free trial. After the free trial, however, you are automatically subscribed and charged for the app. So, if you forget to cancel your free trial, the application will automatically charge the payment method on file.
Something to consider before downloading this app is that some users have stated that trying to cancel the subscription is difficult. Just make sure to keep that in mind before using this app.
The LeafSnap plant identifier app was actually developed by experts from the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Maryland, and Columbia University. One thing that makes this plant identification app different from others is that it uses artificial intelligence to identify the plant based on its leaves.
Leafsnap is free and is only on both iOS and Android. Some users also feel as though the app is outdated, though it is easy to navigate. Despite these downsides, LeafSnap is often considered one of the best free plant identifier apps for iPhone.
Is the LeafSnap app free?
The LeafSnap app is a free plant identifier app that is only available for iPhones. This app was developed by experts from various universities, and is provided free of charge. Given that the app developers aren’t paid to maintain it, this has led to some users saying that the interface is outdated.
That is, keep in mind that because it is free, the app may not be as well maintained as its paid counterparts. What this means is that there may be more glitches and bugs, and no regular updates.
Despite the glitches and bugs this app may have, it is still a free and fairly reliable plant identifier app. Because of this, every plant lover should consider downloading this on their phones.
7. What’s That Flower
Unlike the other plant identifier apps that require a photo for identification, the What’s That Flower app uses a questionnaire to help you identify the plant. This is especially useful if you forgot to snap a picture of the plant or it was sort of an awkward time to reach over and take a photo.
Some of the questions that the app uses to identify the plant are the color of the bloom, number of petals it had, characteristics of the plant, and even the environment the plant was growing in.
The What’s That Flower app is, unfortunately, only for Android at the moment. However, the app does have a free version, or you can pay for the premium that is ad-free. Both the free and paid versions help the user identify more than 600 flower varieties.
Plantix is a rather new plant identification app that is a cross between social media and forum. This type of platform is useful because it allows gardeners and farmers to connect with other like-minded individuals from all over, including regional and local.
With the Plantix app, you can identify not only plants, but also problems and diseases that plants can experience. This is great for those who want something a little more beefy than an app that just tells you what the plant is.
The downside with Plantix, however, is that it is only currently available for Android phones. Furthermore, the app is still new, so bugs, glitches, and missing data are not uncommon. Despite these issues, Plantix is still a highly reviewed plant identifier app that you should consider when deciding which one to use.
Agrobase is more than just one of the best free plant identification apps, it is a useful tool for both gardening and farming. The app itself can help identify plants and weeds, as well as plant pests and plant diseases. The database that the app relies on is rather massive and regularly updated.
The Agrobase app may be a bit overwhelming for the average user, but avid gardeners and farmers will probably find it extremely useful. It is one of the most extensive free gardening and farming apps available. Unfortunately, the Agrobase app is currently only available for Android devices.
10. Google Images
Google Images isn’t often thought of as a plant identifier app, which is a shame since it can quickly and accurately identify a wide array of plants. You simply need to open the Google Photo app, upload the photo of the plant you want to identify, and then click on the Google Lens button at the bottom of the screen.
Once you have clicked on Google Lens, the results for what Google thinks the plant is based on your photo will appear. Keep in mind, however, that results may vary and Google may or may not accurately identify the plant. Like other apps, if the photo is too dark or too blurry, Google may not be able to provide the correct identification.
Despite those points, Google remains one of the most commonly used apps to help ID plants. The Google app is user-friendly, familiar to most people, and provides pretty accurate results. When you also take into consideration that it is free to use with unlimited searches, you will quickly see why it belongs on this list.
Can Google identify a plant from a picture?
Google can identify a plant from a picture that you have saved on your camera roll. You simply need to open the photo in the Google Photos app and then click on Google Lens, which is located at the bottom of the screen.
The results of the search will appear at the bottom of the screen. Google will list what it thinks the photo is. Submitting multiple photos of the same plant can provide varying results. This is especially true if some of the photos are not in focus or too dark.
Google, however, is one of the best free options for plant identification online and on the app. In most cases, you may already have the Google Photos app on your phone, which is especially important if you don’t want to or don’t have room for another app.
11. Gardening Companion
The Gardening Companion app is more of a planning tool than a plant identifier app, but it does have the option to help identify some plants. It is a free iPhone app that allows you to track the progress of your garden, as well as create gardening maintenance and care alerts.
Gardening Companion also provides its users with a larger database of videos, tutorials, resources, and articles that can help gardeners no matter what their experience level.
Keep in mind, however, that this app shouldn’t be a stand-alone app for IDing plants and instead should be used in combination with another plant identifier app. This is because the Gardening Companion app is less of a plant identifier app and more of an all-around useful gardening companion application.
12. Smart Plant
The SmartPlant app doesn’t just help you identify plants. It also provides care guides for the plants, and even gives you the ability to add your plants to your account. While the app has both a free and premium version, the free version is rather limited.
Some users have also reported glitches and bugs that make using this app unpleasant. Though the premium version does give you unlimited plant identification and unlimited pest and disease advice, as well as the option to chat with experts. The Smart Plant app is available for both iPhone and Android systems.
13. Garden Answers
Garden Answers is one of the most popular and most downloaded gardening apps available. It has over 3 million users and is available for both Android and iOS devices. It offers identification of plants, pests, and diseases, as well as expert advice and answers to various gardening questions.
Garden Answers is free to download and use, though you will need to purchase their premium subscription for more accurate results. This app uses image recognition technology to provide reliable identification of over 100,000 flowering plants. You will also find gardening care info and guides written by horticultural and gardening experts.
The iPlant app is a simple but effective plant ID app that doesn’t have many frills or extras. This straightforward app is simple to use and requires you to take a photo of the plant, which it then uses to identify said plant. It is a free app and users state it is fairly accurate.
The downside to this app is that it is rather slow and only available for iOS devices. Users have also reported some glaring typos in the app, which can quickly make you question the reliability of the app.
15. Plant Identification ++
Plant Identification ++ is a fast and accurate plant ID app that is available for iOS devices only. The quickness and accuracy with which it can identify plants is what makes this app useful. Unfortunately, you will need to pay for a subscription to get unlimited searches.
Even though this is a paid app, it is one of the most highly recommended apps for quick and accurate results. It doesn’t, however, offer many other features that you often find with other paid apps. What it does offer is fast and reliable results.
This plant identification app is quite different from the others on our list. It turns plant identification into a game – think of it like Pokemon Go for plant enthusiasts! What’s even better is that it also lets you identify insects and has an extensive community.
Unfortunately, Seek (iOS/Android) doesn’t provide care information for the plants and you have to take clear and precise photos for the app to properly identify the plant. However, you should still consider this plant identifier app, especially if you’re someone who likes gaming.
PlantStory (iOS/Android) lets you identify plants using only a photo. It has a rather large community of plant lovers and has a database of over 2 million plants, which helps the application identify a wide array of flora.
This app does use your GPS so you will need to give your phone permission to share your location with the app in order to use it. PlantStory also provides plant care information and guides, and you can even set it up to send you plant care reminders.
PlantStory isn’t a free app, and does require a subscription (either monthly or annually) to use.
Plantifier is a completely free app for both Android and iOS. It is a crowdsourced app that gives the users the ability to upload a photo for possible identification. The members of MyGarden.org will then try to identify the plant in the photo.
While the app is free to use, you do have to wait for someone from the community to identify the plant. So this could take some time. However, the community doesn’t just identify the plants, they also answer questions that you may have about the flora.
Is there a free app that identifies plants?
There are several free apps that help identify plants, such as iNaturalist, PlantNet and LeafSnap. Our favorite free plant identifier app is iNaturalist, as it’s powered by over one million naturalists, biologists and scientists who help to identify plants uploaded by users.
This aligns with the fact that the best free plant identification apps are usually ones that rely on other users to identify the plant.
In most cases, a good plant identifier app will use powerful AI software or a database to identify the plant. This can be rather costly, so it is no surprise that the best app to identify plants usually requires a fee to use.
That doesn’t mean that there are no good free plant identifier app for iPhone or Android. In fact, there are several different no-cost options that can actually identify plants, as mentioned above. Some of these apps, however, are often not regularly updated.
What is the best free plant identification app (2022)?
I recommend iNaturalist as the best free plant identification app of 2022. Over one million naturalists, biologists and scientists help to identify plants uploaded by users. Available on iOS and Android, it’s owned by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.
This means that it’s definitely legit and you can be confident when you need a plant to be identified, someone will real expertise will be able to help you out through the iNaturalist platform.
Are plant ID apps Safe?
Plant ID apps are generally safe to use, with standard Privacy Policies for managing your data. With that said, however, you should always be wary about providing any website or application with your personal information. This includes how any location data attached to your plant photos are used.
One of the best ways to help keep yourself safe is to look at the users’ reviews in the app store before downloading or using the app. These reviews are left by consumers just like yourself, and they can help you decide if the app is safe to use.
Are plant ID apps reliable?
Most of the plant ID apps available today are considered reliable when it comes to their ability to identify plants. However, they tend to be more reliable when identifying a plant’s genus compared to its species, with minor differences between species sometimes being difficult for the apps to notice.
For example, one of the plant identification apps may have no issues telling the difference between the goldenrod and aster, but it could have trouble distinguishing between the different types of sunflower plants.
For the casual user, just about any of the plant identifier apps available should work well for your needs. If, however, you need assistance identifying one Echeveria plant to the next, you should consider a more advanced and paid plant identifier app.