Now Your Plants Can Call or Twitter You


Botanicalls is a project by students at the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program. It’s “a system that was developed to allow plants to place phone calls for human help. When a plant on the Botanicalls network needs water, it can call a person and ask for exactly what it needs. When people phone the plants, the plants orient callers to their habits and characteristics.” Botanicalls Twitter DIY is a version for Twitter so your plants can send Twitter updates when they need water, or send you their thanks.

According to the site, the system provides five different status updates, based on the plant’s current conditions:

1. When the moisture level of the plant’s soil drops below the satisfactory threshold, it will send a status update that the plant needs to be watered.
2. If the soil moisture drops below a critical level the plant will twitter that it is urgently in need of watering.
3. Any rapid rise in soil moisture will be detected as a watering event. The plant will then determine if the soil moisture has risen to the desired level for a proper watering. If it has, then it will twitter its thanks.
4. If a watering event occurs, but the soil moisture has not reached the desired level, the plant will twitter to report that it was watered, but not sufficiently.
5. Likewise, if a watering event occurs, but the plant was not in need of water yet, the plant will twitter to complain that it is being over watered.

Check the site for detailed steps on what hardware and software you’ll need to build your own. If you’ve set this up, definitely let me know in the comments. I love this! Time for a trip to Radio Shack and Ace Hardware.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Brian McNitt
February 26, 2008 at 2:32 am

Awesome. Think I would be prone to abuse my plants so they would Twitter me more often though.

chris finlay
February 26, 2008 at 9:11 am

Hopefully my plants can join some sort of plant focused social network now. Our conversations have been a bit lacking lately. mmmm

February 27, 2008 at 3:52 am

Wow, finally we can communicate with the best savior of the earth planet. That is so cool and sci-fi to real. So maybe in future we will start hearing voices of animals, birds, bugs…and may be fishes too.

Ottila Jordan
February 29, 2008 at 1:12 am

Great! Every plant has a social life. Is this future of the web?

Sukhi Dehal
March 6, 2008 at 3:25 am

Cool! My plant will probably have more twitter followers than me

March 12, 2008 at 10:33 am

In my opinion there are already a lot of plants on Twitter ;)

John Paul
March 16, 2008 at 5:29 am

That is such an interesting concept.  I am glad some plants I have had in the past weren’t given a voice.  Maybe I would be a better gardener if my plants could yell at me.

April 29, 2008 at 4:50 am

Wow, now that’s forward thinking…a real useful and ultra cool application of today’s technologies. I can totally see this being a common thing 20 years from now. It’s exciting to be in today’s world :)


May 3, 2008 at 3:38 am

It would be cool if i could twitter a system to give the plants water.

Otherwise they would end up like before, without water.

July 29, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Very cool use of Twitter and technology.