The flowers are blooming, and the birds are singing. Spring is already here. The weather is getting nicer, and summer will soon arrive with the increasing temperature. Are you planning on taking a summer vacation? I think you know the problem with your vacation planning- what do you do with your pets and plants? Of course, you can simply take your pets to the animal boarding kennel or even on vacation with you. But you can’t just take your plants on vacation with you. Elecrow reached out to us, telling us about their latest product, the GrowCube, which could help people with that kind of problem, and we were one of the lucky few who could already test the product even before it was publicly available.
It is hard to leave the lush plants and buds behind when you go on vacation. You always fear that the plants are already dead when you come back. This has happened to me before. I had bought a beautiful rose plant, and before I left for my trip, I watered it. Unfortunately, the leaves and flowers were all dried up when I returned home. Sometimes you can only make compromises during vacation time and hope that the plants can manage on their own at home. Now you don’t have to worry anymore. Let GrowCube take care of the plants for you. You can just enjoy your vacation.
Enter GrowCube from Elocrow
GrowCube is a smart watering system for different plants. The first idea of GrowCube came from the founder of Elecrow in 2013. With the help of a DIY gadget, the vision was realized. Through the suggestions of many users, the DIY project was integrated into an All-in-One kit in 2015. After improvements over the years, the original idea is finally realized – GrowCube enters the market.
The watering system is based on four independent soil moisture sensors and offers your plants professional irrigation possibilities with the help of the appropriate GrowCube app. GrowCube app shows the soil moisture of the plants in real-time through reliable moisture sensors. Thanks to the execution of tens of thousands of calculations of various typical soil compositions, the data validity is highly guaranteed by the data received from sensors.
The GrowCube app contains more than 3000 plant datasets and can control any connected plant and device. Let the app take care of your plants carefully. Now your cultivation process is much easier and more pleasant than before.
What’s in the box?
The parts above were delivered with the product.
- 1x User guide, written in English
- 1x Power adapter
- 4x Soil moisture sensor
- 1x Filter
- 1x Water pipe 10 m long
- 4x Nozzle
- 12x Bracket
- 1x Tube cutter – The tube cutter was included with the product, so you don’t need a separate pair of scissors to cut the pipe. And I have to say: It works wonderfully.
- 13x Connector, three different types
- 1x Pin, to reset the GrowCube
Pro – What’s good about the GrowCube?
The product is white and has a simple but stylish design. It can match well with furniture, which you may already have at home or the office. The four “Soil Moisture Sensor” cables have magnetic connectors, preventing the wires from being accidentally pulled out and causing flooding at home.
Installation and operation
The manual explains not only the installation of the device but also the configuration of the app in a straightforward way. You can easily do the work within 30 minutes. The GrowCube app is also easy to use. You can understand its functions with a few taps. You can know the device’s status and water from the “Working Status Indicators.”
Video: Pupu Liang / TechAcute
For example, if the light slowly blinks red, it means the water is not enough, and you need to refill the water tank. This way, you don’t have to open the water tank often to check if there is enough water. The moisture sensor needs to be inserted deep enough. There is already a black mark on the sensor, so you can quickly tell if it’s inserted deep enough or not.
When setting everything up, I noticed the following, which you should also pay attention to:
- Put the GrowCube where you want to use it later so you can better estimate how long the pipe should be before you cut it.
- Now, cut the desired length of the pipe for your garden tool. The pipe holder (bracket) is about 10 cm long. If your flower pot is relatively low, you can’t insert the holder completely. I used a self-made paper clip to hold the nozzle in place.
- The two rows of holes on the nozzle must be placed downwards so that the water sprayed will be directly in the ground.
About the intelligent automatic plant watering
There are three options to use the smart plant watering feature of the GrowCube:
- Smart watering: Water plants according to their soil moisture levels automatically
- Regular watering: The plant will be watered automatically by a fixed time interval and for a set duration.
- Manual watering: You can also water the plants manually. Just press a button, and the water will flow.
GrowCube contains data on soil moisture from over 3000 plants, under which the plants can grow healthy. The independently-measuring soil moisture sensors show the current soil moisture levels of plants so that one can better understand whether the plants have enough water to “drink.”
There is an alternative and intelligent option that the system can avoid watering the plants during periods of intense sunlight, between 9:00 and 18:00. In the water tank, you can fill a maximum of 1.5L of water. If you’re away from home for a while or your plants need a lot of water, you can even use an external water source, such as a bucket of water, for watering.
Using the smartphone app
The GrowCube App currently offers two language options: Chinese and English. Do you have multiple GrowCube devices? No problem – you can add all of your GrowCube devices into one app. The GrowCube app shows not only soil moisture levels in the form of curves and water irrigation event records but also the current ambient temperature and humidity.
In addition, numerous plant-based data sets help users better take care of their plants. There are already over 3000 plant data sets in the app. When adding your own plants, you can simply use the search function. If your plants are exotic and no data is available in the app, don’t worry – you can even add information about your own plants to the app. You can also add photos of your plants instead of using standard photos.
Contra – What could be improved?
Of course, we also found some angles that could be improved in the future. Possibly some of these can also be addressed in the lifecycle of this particular model if they provide app and firmware updates. Let’s dive in.
The app to operate the GrowCube and monitor connected plants is still under development for iOS smartphones, and the Android app is not yet published on the Google Play Store. Hopefully, Elecrow will also push this to the app channels that most people use because not everybody is tech-savvy enough to figure out how to install software from outside the app stores.
The temperature is shown in Fahrenheit, and I couldn’t switch it to Celsius. It would be good if you could choose the unit. You can give your plant a nickname. I think that’s nice first of all. But there is a “12 maximum characters limit” I couldn’t enter the full name of my plant, so I just named it Jasmine in the end. If you want to add a plant, it may be that you can’t find it directly by name. For example, I searched for “mint,” but there were no matching results. “mint” also means “mentha.”
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When I searched for “mentha,” I could already find it. So if you can’t find your plant directly, you can try searching for another name for your plant, such as a scientific name. Even if you search like this and still couldn’t find anything, of course, you can add the information from your own plant, the name, suitable soil moisture, etc. The “avoid watering during the sun exposure period” is set for a fixed period “9 AM – 6 PM”. Of course, the time makes sense, but I think it would be even better if you could set this time according to the weather and local season.
What’s our verdict, and where to get the GrowCube?
How are my user experiences? I find that the product is easy to install and easy to control with the app. The app also offers the possibility to create your own plant database. For people who have to be away from home for a while, like for work trips, and still want to be able to garden, GrowCube with smart watering is a very good and practical solution. So whether you’re simply busy or on trips a lot, GrowCube seems like something you should consider to have your plants watered automatically.
Elecrow’s GrowCube is currently available through Kickstarter, and they plan to ship the first units later this year, in July 2022. Elecrow also has its own webstore, and they also sell products through Amazon and other marketplaces, so it’s likely that you’ll also be able to purchase the GrowCube even after the Kickstarter campaign has ended. The currently estimated retail price for one GrowCube that can be connected with up to four plants is $119.
YouTube: GrowCube – A super-smart watering kit hits on Kickstarter Now (Elecrow)
Photo credit: All photos have been taken by Pupu Liang for TechAcute.
Editorial notice: We have received a free GrowCube review unit from Elecrow, but no money was paid for the review.