I just discovered the iPhone's secret feature for identifying plants – it's a must-know for gardeners this spring

It's my new green thumb companion

Courtyard garden with fence and shrubs, plants in pots and rattan chair with cushion
(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Although the garden is open all year round, spring is the most popular season for getting back into the gardening routine – or even trying your hand at gardening for the first time.

If you're a seasoned gardener, it's easy enough to venture to the garden centre and be able to identify different plant species instantly to supplement your many budding garden ideas or even add to a growing living room houseplant collection. However, for novices (like myself), it often proves a little more difficult.

array of houseplants in coloured pots on top of wooden storage unit

(Image credit: elho)

Luckily, cluing yourself up on the ins and outs of horticulture is as easy as simply snapping a picture of it on your iPhone and letting technology do the work for you. This little lesser-known feature called 'Visual Look Up' can help you instantly identify plants on the go, providing you key information about a plant species as well as must-know care tips. Talk about an easy garden idea, huh?

We first learned about this hack for deciphering laundry care labels, so when we heard that it could also help us in the garden and even take better care of our houseplants, we were all ears.

Living room detail with exposed brick wall wallpaper, hanging plant pots over radiator and large cactus in brown plant pot

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Using iPhone Visual Look Up to identify plants

Say you're out and about and walk past a beautiful flower that you want to make note of to add to your list of things to plant in April or have been gifted a lovely (but unnamed) houseplant that you have no idea how to take care of, what do you do?

Instead of spending ages sifting through pages of search results on Google to try and identify your plant of interest, your iPhone can take all the guesswork out completely.

All you've got to do is take a picture of the plant, locate the picture in your 'Photos' app and scroll up until you see the 'Look Up' feature displaying the name of the plant.


♬ original sound - Britt | Your Plant Bestie 🌱

We know, it's a game-changer and will be referred to a lot this spring season.

No more will you be left bewildered on whether or not you should learn how to care for a monstera deliciosa houseplant or rather know how to care for a prayer plant, as you'll finally know the difference. So, it even proves itself useful if you're a plant parent who got a bit carried away and needs to decipher your collection – and fast.

I tried it for myself on some of my own houseplants and even on a houseplant I spotted at the store and can confirm that it works like a dream. The identification is pretty instant and you can browse through the top search results and similar images.

iPhone visual look up to identify plants

Trying out the 'Visual Look Up' feature on my own iPhone

(Image credit: Future/Jullia Joson)

If you want to try it out yourself, just make sure that your iPhone is updated to the latest iOS version. If you play around with it, you'll find that it also find that Visual Look Up works on objects, pets, and as we already know, laundry care labels. It's a lot of fun, to say the least.

If there's one thing for sure, it's that we'll be referring to this handy tool all season long.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.