5 apps that will help you identify unknown plants and flowers

Has a new plant popped up in your garden that you're not sure about? These apps can help!

man identifying a plant with his phone
(Image credit: Bernadett Pogacsas-Simon / Alamy)

Whether you are an avid plant lover or just someone who would like to know what’s growing in their back garden, it can be frustrating when you’re not sure what they are. It’s also hugely beneficial to know exactly what you have, especially as it allows you to care for your plants and flowers properly. 

A plant identifier app can help you do exactly this. They usually work in the same way, requiring a user to submit a photo of the unknown plant and perhaps a little bit of information as well. The apps then either identify the plant or flower using AI image recognition or sending the photo to an expert. 

To help you out, we’ve selected 5 of the best apps that will help identify your unknown plants and flowers at the click of a button. We’ve already had a look at garden planning apps, but now it’s time for the plant identifiers! 

Before we begin, have you seen the important gardening jobs you need to complete in June? Quick, there’s only a few weeks left!

1. PlantSnap

You may have heard of this one before and it’s because PlantSnap has partnered up with Snapchat, allowing users to identify 600,000+ plants in 37 different languages. All you have to do is take a photo of the unknown plant and it should be able to recognise it within seconds - super easy!

It's apparently able to recognise about 90% of all known species of plants and trees, making it easy to determine what you're looking at. However, whilst there is a free version and a paid version, some of the best features of PlantSnap are only available on their paid version. You’re also limited to how many photos you take on the free version. 

2. PlantNet

Similar to PlantSnap, PlantNet is also identifies plants through image search. It has a wide ranging database that is scanned through when you submit a photo, comparing images to find a match. The app then shows the results of the search, giving you identifying characteristics and information on the plant. 

What’s even better is that PlantNet is completely free! It is entirely dependent on its users for growing the database which in turn identifies the plants. 

3. PictureThis

PictureThis is a paid plant identifier app that uses advanced artificial intelligence to help identify plants. When there are free apps on the market, you may want to avoid the ones with a cost attached. However, PictureThis has identified more than 27 million plants and apparently as a 99% accuracy in detecting them. 

It also does a lot more than just identifying them, it also gives tips on caring for plants as well as offering a social network for users. If you’re looking for something a bit more developed, then this app might just be worth it!

4. LeafSnap

LeafSnap also uses artificial intelligence to identify plants and flowers, but usually does this by the look of their leaves. The app is a result of a collaboration between Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. The designers used similar techniques developed for face recognition and applied these to species identification. Every leaf photograph that is uploaded is matched against a leaf image library so that the best matches are ranked and noted for verification.

This app is also a free one, and is said to recognise 90% of all known species of plants and trees!

5. What's That Flower

What’s That Flower works a bit differently than most others, and is only available for Android devices. Rather than taking a photo, you select the colour of the plant you wish to identify. You then select the where you viewed the flower, such as a meadow, the woods etc and then you select the number of petals. After this, you’ll be presented with multiple potential options. 

It may seem a little more complicated than the previous apps on the list, but it could be a helpful one if you are unable to take a picture of the plants or flower you want identified. 

If you think these apps are cool, check out our thoughts on Mr Vine. It’s an app that lets you find, choose and buy wine from independent merchants scattered around the UK!

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.