Is The PictureThis App Worth The Money?

Have you ever paused on a hike to wonder what kind a plant your ankle just brushed against? PictureThis app can help you determine whether to prepare for hours of itching (thanks, poison ivy) or take a breath and enjoy the natural vegetation. Unless you're a trained botanist, you probably won't be able to identify the many plants within your area — there are approximately 390,900 known plant species around the world, after all (via BBC).

PictureThis houses a massive database of worldwide plant life. If you're wondering whether the leaves in your garden belong to a weed or an annual flower sprout, PictureThis can both identify the species and tell you exactly how to care for it. How does it work? Simply aim your camera at — or upload a picture of — the plant in question. The app's artificial intelligence technology will tell you exactly what you're looking at in a matter of seconds. Given all it has to offer, PictureThis Premium has a yearly subscription fee of $29.99. So is the service worth the money?

PictureThis has a limited free version

You don't have to pay for PictureThis Premium, but given the number of adds that accompany the free version, it just might be worth it. According to Common Sense Media, users who don't pay the yearly fee are subjected to frequent adds and are required to share photos on Facebook to earn more identification credits. However, the free version does offer plant scans and care guides, letting users know how much to water, auto-diagnosing potential issues, and suggesting methods for controlling disease. With the "light meter" feature, users can even track how much sunlight their plant is getting. If you're a beginner still sorting out what indoor plants work best for you, the free version might be a good choice. 

However, if you want a full-time "pocket botanist" without interruptions, Common Sense Media recommends investing in PictureThis Premium. For $29.99 a year — or $0.1 a day as advertised by the app — you'll get access to unlimited identification scans, in-depth guides on how to best care for your plants, and round-the-clock access to a team of trained botanists. Premium even offers personalized plant recommendations, taking into account skills and gardening space in order to advise users on their next plant purchase. As noted by digital trends, PictureThis is endlessly educational, identifying problem areas in your garden down to the leaf. Also curious about local insects and birds? Premium's got your back.

Not many apps rival PictureThis

There's quite a few plant identification apps on the market — PlantSnap and Blossom to name a few. But PictureThis gets the best reviews, earning a total of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Apple's App Store. In a report comparing PictureThis to its competitors, digital trends gives it the best rating, arguing that paying for Premium just might be cheaper than regularly replacing dead plants.

According to one reviewer via Common Sense Media, "The premium version is well worth the $30/year if you are really interested in getting the best IDs. I've tried many plant ID apps. This is by far the best." However, casual plant owners stand by the free version. According to one App Store reviewer, "$30 a YEAR is much too steep for me." And, as noted by another, "When you first open the app, it looks like you need to buy a subscription to use it, but that is not the case."

The bottom line? If you're a plant enthusiast or avid hiker, it's best to splurge on PictureThis Premium. Who knows, if you get stranded in a forest, it just might save your life. However, if you're a casual hobbyist, stick to the free version. Not only does it offer high-tech features beyond a standard google search, but it also allows you to keep track of your plants, setting daily water reminders and sunlight recommendations. Whatever your level of interest, having healthy plants indoors is great for your health.