How many pot plants have you killed? Go on, count. Yes, that includes water-wise cacti and aerophytes (which don’t even need soil) ☹.

Most of us have, at one time or another, neglected a pot plant and suffered a loss for it. And while plant boffins know that you can still compost the dead stalks and use the living soil, it can be daunting to raise a plant family.

Plants are as particular as people, and need just the right balance of food, water, rest, light and other elements (like music[1]) to thrive. And they’re all different. A few casualties are to be expected.

If you get green envy from videos like this


or want to turn a pot plant into a pet plant, you’ll need the help of a few emojis.

Thanks to clever design, everyone can have green fingers.  Enter Lua, the pottiest addition to a smart, designer home.

Lua is a smart planter that comes in butternut and puce colours. It takes a universal problem of plant particularity, applies technology, and helps your household plants thrive in a proprietary pot plant holder with a mind of its own.

It pairs your mobile phone with a smart planter that reads the vital signs that keep your house green inside. The planter itself also has a 2.4-inch LCD screen at the front which will ‘talk’ to you in a range of expressions. Lua senses moisture, light exposure, temperature, movement, and QR codes and translates these into needs that you can respond to.


Lua’s ‘language’ is plant language



The first problem of pot plant club is that pot plants can’t talk. To solve this, the Lua LCD screen has expressions instead of text or sound which means anyone – including little ones and those hard of hearing – can understand it. Its lifelike prompts are a lifeline for pot plants in need. You probably know when a plant is thirsty because it wilts but you might not know when you’ve given it too much water. The ill face will alert you, because some plants get sick from too much water. Then there’s the ‘I forgot to water you for a while’ scenario. Lua will give you the dry face when you’ve done this.  Did you know that too much light can harm some plants? If Lua is squinting, close the blinds for a bit.  The Vampire emoji warns you that your plant is starved of sunlight and you’ll know to switch on the daylight (electronic light won’t do). It’ll squint to let you know when it wants more shade or indirect light and a cold face notifies you that the room is too chilly. It gets hot in the pot, sometimes, so a sweaty face helps you figure out that your plant needs to be put in a cooler spot.


Lua’s emotions aren’t just biological



The smart planter has a wide range of emotions that go beyond the basics, fifteen in total with a few jokes in between. The software behind it is responsive, so it wakes up if something moves in front of it, winks in thanks for a QR code to help it along and shows a confused expression if it can’t read the QR code. And while it can’t read your facial expressions just yet, it certainly knows how to express itself for the good of your little growers.

Want one? It seems a lot of people do. The Indie Go-Go crowdfunding campaign has already garnered R2,9 million in support. Looks like those clever Mu Designers in the microstate of Luxembourg are putting down roots with this lil’ device. It will be launched in December 2019, so back it ASAP if you want in.

Viva, house plants, viva!