At the moment, AI is understandably a major topic. While we haven’t quite reached The Jetsons level of robot housekeepers, we might be onto some technology that's just as great. Beloved plant subscription company Horti just launched Hort-AI: the brand-new, artificial intelligence-powered plant doctor.
These days, it seems like most homes have at least one houseplant. But, even as our own collections grow, we can’t all be experts. Enter Hort-AI, Horti's newest—and free—AI-powered plant doctor that "provides expert-backed houseplant advice in a matter of seconds,” according to the brand.
We spoke with Puneet Sabharwal, the CEO and co-founder Horti, to learn all about the plant site's newest innovation.
Horti Hort-AI Plant Doctor
Trained by a Natural Language Processing data scientist and some of the top botanists in the world, Hort-AI is here to answer any and all plant questions—from essential care tips to deeper explanations of how your plant functions and what it requires to thrive.
With the primary goal of supporting plant parents, Hort-AI is both free and easily accessible. You can type in literally any houseplant-related question and in one click, all your potential plant problems could be solved instantly.
“From advice on how to care for certain houseplant varieties to identification and discussion about plant structure and more, Hort-AI is a mini botanist in your pocket,” says the brand.
While Hort-AI might be easy, Sabharwal says that doesn’t mean it’s just for newbies. Tools like ChatGPT are becoming a resource for those looking to gain answers to complex questions, and it was this need that gave Sabharwal the idea in the first place.
“While we take great pride in responding to every single query from our customers ourselves, it takes great time and energy,” he says. “The idea for having an AI-powered plant doctor available to plant parents was born to ensure they’re never without the resources they need to take care of their precious plants.”
We want to empower the planting community by giving them quick access to help any time they feel stressed about their plants.
Hort-AI gets its knowledge from books, websites, and other regularly updated sources, but the team at Horti still spent months testing and training their plant doctor. According to the brand, training questions included things like “What are these white spots on my plant's leaves?” and “What are the five best plants for a low-light bedroom?”
Sabharwal says that identifying pests has been one of the biggest ways Hort-AI has helped users. “A lot of users get worried about pests and strange markings on their plants,” he tells The Spruce. “The tool gives them a helpful response so they can dig into further to solve the issue.”
Best of all, much like Horti’s human customer service reps, Hort-AI is here to help any and all plant parents—with any and all kinds of plants.
“Plant difficulty usually is tied to a person’s temperament and indoor environment,” Sabharwal says. “One person may find tropicals more difficult than succulents, but others tend to overwater and kill their succulents. I think plants that are more prone to pests, like the alocasia family, will be good candidates for Horti-AI.”
As for what’s next for Horti in the AI space, Sabharwal has big goals for his robot plant doctor. In the near future, the brand hopes to add the newly released GPT4 features, which will enable customers to upload photos of their plants and get an even more accurate diagnosis.
"Hort-AI is designed to be there for them in any time of need. As the technology evolves, we hope that Hort-AI is the one-stop shop for all plant care questions.”
In the meantime, Sabharwal just wants owners to gain the confidence and knowledge they need to know they’re doing great. “We want to empower the planting community by giving them quick access to help any time they feel stressed about their plants,” he says.