If you’re anything like us, you’ll be torn between your mobile device and your gardening gloves with these fun, smart iTunes apps that help you do everything from previewing perennials in your garden to diagnosing plant problems.
Whether you need help deciding on the ideal plants for your particular zone, soil or light conditions, or you simply want visual help designing a garden, there are plenty of apps to help. But with so many out there, it can be hard to decide which are worth the time (and money). That's why we’ve created a shortlist of great gardening apps.
1 Perennial Match
Perennials can be pricey, so it’s great to get a hand planning what they’ll look like and if they’re suitable to your garden site before you buy them. If you don’t know what to plant, one of the best features of this app is that it will give you a list of plants suitable to your outdoor space. iTunes, $4.99.
2 Garden Compass Plant / Disease Identifier
While this app isn’t going to win any supermodel contests, its no-frills appearance belies a powerhouse of information. Snap a pic of a plant, pest or disease and an expert gardener from Garden Compass will identify it for you. iTunes, free.
3 Gardening Toolkit
Do you love making lists? Then this app is for you. It’s inexpensive and easy to use. Track what you’ve planted with the ability to make notes, see a countdown of days to harvest or bloom for each of your plants, and get care tips. iTunes, $1.99.
4 Grow Planner for iPad
Backyard vegetable growers, take note. This app was created with you in mind by Mother Earth News. It’ll tell you how many vegetable, fruit and herb crops will fit into the area you specify, and is flexible to encompass raised garden beds and square-foot gardening. iTunes, $7.99.
Take a photo of a leaf from your garden and Leafsnap will identify its plant. This isn’t groundbreaking in a garden where you’ve planted everything, but is quite handy if you’ve inherited a mature garden and don’t recognize some of the plants and trees. iTunes, free.
6 The Plant Doctor
Spots, yellowing leaves, wilted leaves ... if you don’t know what ails your plants and crops, the Plant Doctor probably does. Simply enter in everything you know about your plant and its problem, and you’ll get a free diagnosis from the Plant Doctor. iTunes, free.
7 Eden Garden Designer
Take a pic of your garden and this affordable and highly rated app allows you to design a super-realistic layout. You can see what your yard would look like with a rock garden or a water feature, or new plants, or how it would look if you got rid of certain plantings, too. iTunes, $1.99.
8 Dig My Garden
This app is something of a media darling, having been mentioned in the New York Times and other notable journalism outlets. What makes it special (and fun) is its Bloom Bar, where you can use a slider tool to see how your garden will look in various stages of bloom throughout the season once you input the plants in your garden. iTunes, $3.99.
9 Gardening Reference Guide!
Sometimes you don’t feel like digging through Google when you just need a quick, reliable reference app when you’re outside, iPhone in hand. This inexpensive app is perfect for those times and features a comprehensive database of over 1,500 plants. iTunes, $0.99.
Influential British garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair created IntoGardens as part magazine, part app (the seasonal “episodes” are $4.99; they are basically mini magazines). Learn about subjects as diverse as gardens in the Loire valley and moss gardens from Japan, but the real reason to pay for this app on a subscription basis is to be inspired by gardens far away and be immersed in the cheeky, authoritative tone and keen observations of the writer. iTunes, $4.99 per episode.