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Christmas Gift Guide
Small Appliances

Dear plant killers: Here's the easiest way to keep your plants alive

Do you have a black thumb? Here's a quick solution for getting your plants the right amount of water.

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Alina Bradford

I love for my house to be full of plants. Unfortunately, I tend to get busy and forget to take care of them. For people like me, smart devices (here's a review of three) can monitor a plant and send alerts to the user on their phone.

But if you're not ready to adopt another device, there are a few other ways you can ensure your plants get the right amount of water.

First, look up how often you should water your plant online. If you don't know what your plant is, let an app figure it out. There are several apps that can identify a plant using your phone's camera. Some good ones are Garden Answers Plant Identification for iPhones and PlantNet Plant Identification for Android.

Next, set up multiple, reoccurring alerts on whatever calendar app you use to remind you, incessantly, to water your plant.

Here's how to set up recurring reminders on Google Calendar:

  1. Go to your calendar and tap on the first day you will need to water your plants.
  2. Under the heading type in "water (name of plant)."
  3. I like to make my event color green, because I want my plant to stay green, but that option is up to you.
  4. Make the event "all day" by sliding the option to the "on" position.
  5. Click on the "repeat option."
  6. Choose daily, weekly or the customize option, depending on how often your plant will need to be watered.
  7. You can leave the notification set to 10 minutes before, which is the default, or you can schedual it for a time you know you won't be busy.

Here's how to set up recurring reminders in Outlook:

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+K to create a new task.
  2. In the subject box, type "water (name of plant)."
  3. Set the start date. The due date field will automatically set to the same day.
  4. Go to the Task tab, then the Options group and click Recurrence.
  5. Choose the frequency. Do not select Regenerate new task, or your task won't pop up in regular intervals.
  6. Type the amount of time a new task must be generated. Remember, if you don't mark the item as complete, the next reminder won't appear.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Add a reminder alert by selecting the Reminder check box and entering the date and time for the reminder.