In research commissioned by the company Parrot, greenhouse experts at Wageningen University & Research are investigating the optimal use of Parrot's self-watering flower pot; this pot has been on the shelves in the Netherlands since September 2016. The smartphone app supplied with the flower pot already uses the researchers' plant knowledge.
Since September 2016, the French company Parrot – probably better known for its hands-free car kits and drones – has been selling a flower pot that waters plants by itself when the soil in the pot is about to become too dry.
The flower pot can also inform its owner about the various requirements of the plant: water, fertiliser, temperature and light. This is done by Bluetooth and a smartphone app that uses a database containing information on all kinds of plant species. This database includes knowledge from previous studies by researchers at Wageningen University & Research.
Greenhouse experts at Wageningen University & Research are currently carrying out a number of studies at the location in Bleiswijk to determine the optimal use of the self-watering flower pots. They are studying how twelve different kinds of plants grow and develop in this high-tech pot. These studies include typical pot plants such as hydrangea, gerbera and chrysanthemum, but also outdoor plants such as conifer and maple.
For basil and spathiphyllum plants, the optimal nutrition in the self-watering flower pot is investigated. The researchers, working in a team with considerable experience with wireless sensors in greenhouses, are also looking at possible further improvement of sensor measurements.
Wageningen cultivation knowledge in app
A few years ago, Parrot developed a wireless sensor that could inform the owners of hundreds of pot plant species via their smartphones when the plants needed water or nutrition, or when the temperature or amount of light was not correct.
Parrot approached researchers at Wageningen for knowledge on various plant species, e.g. to determine limit values which when exceeded cause the sensor to send an alert to the smartphone. This knowledge has been integrated in the database used by the sensor to decide whether or not to raise the alarm.
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But the sensor, which was named Flower Power, did not provide a solution for those times when the plant owner was not available when an alert was sent that action was required. The self-watering flower pot was developed to solve this problem.
About the Parrot Pot
This self-watering flower pot by Parrot has a water reservoir with a volume of more than 2 litres around the part where the plant grows. The pot is equipped with a battery-operated pump with four nozzles, Bluetooth technology and sensors capable of measuring the amount of light, air and soil temperature, soil humidity and fertiliser level. And, of course, the self-watering flower pot also uses the database that includes the plant knowledge of the Wageningen researchers.