My Favorite Houseplant Find of 2024 Is Just $25 and Works Like Magic

published Apr 5, 2024
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One thing I’ve learned in my time as a plant parent is that I simply cannot wing it. Some people can be fully at one with their plants or whatever, but I need to do my homework. One thing I’ve found has been an absolute game-changer is only buying two types of plants that I know can grow successfully in my home.

That means reading labels when at the store is crucial, but I find that the flimsy labels that come in potted plants don’t always survive the trip from the shelf to my cart to the register to the car to my house. And when I buy plants at grocery stores, they sometimes, to my horror, don’t even have a real label — just a sticker on the outer wrapping of their grow pot that accidentally gets tossed when I get home.

Given all this, when the cofounder of Known, Alan Johnson, contacted me about trying out their sturdy semi-smart plant labels, I was intrigued. Unlike a lot of decorative plant labels, the ones from Known are designed to fade into the background, with heads about the size of a silver dollar. That’s because you’re not meant to write on them, as you are traditional labels.

Credit: Megan Baker Detloff

Instead, via what I can only assume is magic, you tap your phone to the label to register all the necessary information about your plant on Known’s website, where you can access it later and even file away photos of your plant and include any relevant notes about its planting or care (including links!). And all this can be done, Johnson told me, without any batteries or recharging or beeps and boops. I had to try it myself.

I got two packs of the plant markers — one for indoor houseplants, and one for outdoor plants. (You can get eight markers for $25.) Because I am in Wisconsin and have recently been hit by the resurgence of our third winter of the year, I was limited to the indoor markers, which have a slimmer stake so they can fit into smaller pots. 

Credit: Megan Baker Detloff

Here’s how they work: Once you push the stake into your pot (or into the ground), you tap your phone to it with the screen unlocked. When your phone picks up whatever magic dust is inside the plant marker, you’ll get a pop-up that will allow you to register that marker with information on the plant. It took me a few minutes for my phone to get the pop-up, but once it did, the rest was easy.

When you buy Known plant markers you automatically get access to the basic plan, which allows you to log a photo of the plant and any relevant notes. That might be care instructions, or it could be a link to the site where you got the plant, or it could be notes on who gave it to you and when. I liked that the notes section allowed for a lot of flexibility. With the Plus plan — included at no charge for one year after purchase of your markers — you can also keep a journal of updates about your plant to track growth and care over time. You can always update information associated with the markers in case you want to move them to a different plant.

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Each plant entry has a space for the name, a photo, information on the genus and species, and flexible area for notes that can include any relevant information you want to catalog.

Reader, I am so into the Known plant markers. I love being able to include not just factual information about the plant, but also anything about who gave it to me, whether I’ve propagated it before, how big the pot is (in case I see a new planter while shopping!), and more. And looks-wise, they’re perfect for me. I chose the black color, which is basically completely unnoticeable once it’s in place.

These plain plastic stakes might be my favorite plant buy of the spring. I can’t wait to use them outside in my veggie garden once the snow melts!

Buy: Known Indoor & Outdoor Labels, Set of 8, $25