Plant tags go high tech

For many of us gardening is welcome escape from the excess of technology that has because a necessary evil in our daily life. Gardening at home is as simple as it comes. Use basic tools. Dig in the dirt. Put a plant in the ground and water it. It's nature at its finest.

And I would argue that that's one of the best parts of gardening. But there are times when a little bit of technology is a great thing.

Imagine yourself at your favorite local garden center. You're looking at a pretty little hosta when across the way something catches your eye over in the annuals section. It is a brilliant clear blue flower and you've never seen anything like it before. You run over to check it out and start reading the tag. You will probably find about a 15-word description, that it likes sun and how big it gets. But you don't know if it will bloom all season, or if it will fade out in heat. You're not quite sure what plants would compliment it in a container. You're left with two options: buy it and take a chance or go home and research it further and then hope it's still available when you get back to the garden center. Of course you could always ask an employee, but what if you went on Saturday and every employee is up to their ears in people asking questions.

I'm thrilled to say that this scenario is now a thing of the past. Proven Winners is now putting QR codes on their plant tags. If you don't think you know what a QR code, you've probably seen the digitized little squares before, perhaps in a magazine. Using a smart phone, you scan them (I downloaded the free "Scan" app onto my iPhone) and are immediately taken to a "microsite" on your phone for that plant. There you'll be able to read much more about it and see photos. In other words, you're going to get a lot more information about a plant than they could ever fit on a plant tag.

Wanna give it a try? OK, go get a QR scanner for your phone. There are tons of apps out there for this, some paid, some free. The one I downloaded seems to work just fine and got good reviews. Now activate your app and just hold your phone's camera in front of the code on the tag below. It should take you right to a site with container gardening tips (obviously on the real plant tags it will take you to a site about that plant, but this one is just a generic one to show you how it works).


That was fun wasn't it? Do you want to try it again?


That one will take you to Tim Wood's blog The Plant Hunter, which you can now read on your phone. Pretty cool, right?

See? A little well-placed gardening technology isn't such a bad thing after all.


  1. You can also get an app for MIchael Dirr's great book on trees and shrubs which we always hauled around with us when we went to nurseries. We started doing that when we discovered that often we knew more than the summer help. Now we just need the phone!

  2. Helloooooo Sister! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have found your blog! I saw your comment over at Remodelaholic and the name of your blog was enough to get me over here. I'm also a Zone 5 gardener, but I honestly haven't found many good gardening blogs that aren't well...fuddy duddy. Frumpy. You know what I mean. And unfortunately, my husband thinks I'm a frump too, for liking to putz in the yard! Anyway, I'm looking forward to exploring your blog. Mine is a DIY blog that includes house and garden stuff as well, so feel free to stop by and maybe we can share some Zone 5 ideas. - Katie

  3. This is seriously so cool. Thanks for sharing. I don't have a smart phone (still working on that one), but I think this would be an amazing resource if I did. (Or I'll have to go shopping with a friend with an iPhone.)

    I always get a little overwhelmed when I'm just browsing at the garden center. Usually, I go with all plants I need in a list. Otherwise, I come home with things that don't always work.

  4. We've just launched a company called Hortycodes which specializes in the production of these QR code plant labels. In addition to horticultural information, it also gives consumers an audio pronunciation of the latin name, links to thousands of images and a sweet forum feature...


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