Looking to go beyond simple automation, the Scotts Miracle Gro gardening app, simply called Gro, wants to educate as well as automate to help you become a better gardener. The iOS-only Gro will ask about your location, then let you pick a gardening project from a list customized for your local area. Gro makes recommendations based not only on your local climate, but also the types of flowers and plants readily available for purchase at stores in the area.
The type of projects available range from growing everything you need to make salsa to planting a flower garden or even maintaining your lawn. Once you pick your project, the app will walk you through every step of the process, from obtaining the supplies -- recommending Scott's lawn and gardening products when possible -- to getting the soil ready with how to videos, then it will track your to do list in a calendar and monitor the weather to help you react accordingly.
Smart gardening with friends
The Gro app will even sync with smart sprinkler controllers such as Rachio, Blossom and Green IQ as well as smart plant sensors from PlantLink or Parrot to automate as many steps of your project as possible. For example, you can assign one sprinkler zone to your budding flower bed, and when the time comes to complete that step, instead of telling you, the Gro app will send a message to your smart sprinkler controller and take care of the watering for you.
Since it's a free app, the Gro app will likely be worth a try if you want to garden but lack the knowledge to do so. Hopefully, it doesn't just turn into an elaborate commercial for Scott's gardening equipment, but the company assured me that the goal was to educate -- that if they can get more people simply interested in and participating in gardening, that the "rising tide will raise all ships."
Who's it for?
For basic maintenance, the app doesn't seem to add much to the compatible smart devices on their own. Each smart gardening product Scott's app works with comes with its own app, and you can even connect different products to each other and to local weather reports via online rule maker IFTTT.
Seasoned gardeners might find some benefit in the calendar that tracks your tasks in a multi-step project and sends you push notifications when appropriate, but the Gro app's mostly aimed at those that need help getting started with tasks above and beyond their expertise. We'll see if it can prove more helpful than a quick Google search when it hits the app store in the first week of April.