Some of us, no matter how good our intentions, just can’t keep a plant alive. Each and every year, we “black thumbs” decide we’re going to give that basil plant another shot because it’s so worth it to have fresh herbs to sprinkle onto our food in the summertime. Each and every year, we give careful attention to the plant for all of two weeks but then forget to properly care for it. We fail to water, and tend to overcompensate by drowning it and rotting its roots. We leave it to fry in a sunny window in July. Before long, it’s a pot of dead brown stems surrounded by a pile of leaves.
It’s almost like we need plant babysitters to come along while we’re at work and take care of our plants for us, so we can enjoy the lushness, improved air quality, and culinary augmentation indoor plants can provide. Maybe most of us don’t have the excess capital for such a proposition, but luckily technology is here to help.
Say hello to the Botanium, an all-in-one plant nanny using a soil-free system to water your plant automatically. All you have to do is fill the water tank occasionally and add a little bit of the included nutrients. It comes with a growing medium, all you have to supply is either seeds to sprout or a small plant. Botanium suggests choosing basil, oregano, mint, and other herbs, or you can grow compact food crops like tomatoes, strawberries, or chili peppers. The included Botanium User Guide will even specify how much of the nutrients to add depending on what type of plant you choose.
The Botanium was developed in Sweden, which doesn’t exactly have a sunny growing climate. In fact, some northern parts of the country above the Arctic Circle get as little as three hours of sunlight per day in the middle of winter. But the creators of the Botanium note that it’s easy to get around this problem using a standard CFL, fluorescent lamp, or LED light.
Made of a porous stone, the soil-free growing medium was specially developed to retain moisture without drowning the roots. This hydroponic growing method can help avoid soil borne pests like fungus gnats, transmit more nutrients, and prevent overwatering. A special watering ring around the rim of the Botanium pot flushes the roots with water several times a day, collecting the excess in the water tank to be reused.
Growing hydroponically tends to encourage leafier, denser plants that put their energy into producing foliage instead of searching for water and nutrients with their roots. The soil-free medium also allows air to reach the roots, something many novice indoor gardeners don’t consider when packing their pots full of dirt.
The Botanium made its debut on Kickstarter, exceeding its fundraising goals. Early bird specials are still available if you want to preorder one or more kits, set to ship in the third quarter of 2017. If you’d rather wait for this all-in-one plant growing system to be available on the market, the estimated retail price is $79.