There are some very worthwhile apps out there for anyone interested in growing marijuana. Unless stated, all of the apps below are available for iOS or Android, prices listed are for the Android version and testing was carried out on the Android platform.
Some of the most visible marijuana apps out right now are what tend to be called strain guides, but could go equally well under the banner of “bud porn”. We all love bud porn and it fulfills the much needed role of helping to plan several lifetime’s worth of strains you want to grow, or even just which strain to start out with.
Fallacy Studio’s Smoker’s Handbook Lite (free, $2.99 for full version) rates highly. Fallacy have put a lot more than pictures into their product: beyond the strain guide lies a wealth of information including a whole section on tobacco and despite its general smoking theme there’s a marijuana recipes section for the non-smokers.
For a more community based app Weed Strains 3D (free, $3.99 for full version) from alphakua gives a more interactive shine to the strain guide format by adding social networking for its users and 360 degree panoramic bud-porn to the more traditional content like a cookbook.
Moving on from there we have even more useful apps, more specifically made to help marijuana growers: bridging the gap between a more general strain guide and a true grower’s app is Degauss Press’ Cannabis Pocket Reference ($2.99 – Android only). Boasting a full grow guide, example grow diary, nutrient charts and a pest control section on top of the standard strain info, this app’s reviews are overwhelmingly positive and the amount of content makes it well worth a look despite having no free option.
The grow-guide section of Cannabis Pocket Reference is extensive, detailed and well written. While the approach of dividing a marijuana plant’s needs into the four classical elements (Earth – roots & medium, Water – water & nutrients, Fire – lighting & electricity, Air – ventilation & temperature) may seem a little odd at first it plays well to the style of the guide which makes a solid effort to be readable as well as technically informative.
The guide covers everything from seed germination to harvest and every section is well laid out with useful images, links to real world products and many handy items such as example feed charts and soil mixes.
Moving on to the Cannabis Pocket Reference’s other sections, the strain guide is decent (but of course you’ll always be able to find one or two of your personal favorites missing from any strain guide) although the Visual RX section detailing common pest and nutrient deficiency problems could be a little stronger and more detailed, what information and images it does have are useful.
The Alchemy section of the app is another out and out winner; mirroring the grow guide’s level of detail on subjects from vaporizing, culinary uses and the production of hash and hash oil.
All things considered, there’s more than enough help and information in this app to get a new grower up and running, and even seasoned growers should find the alchemy section a good way to pass some time and wet their appetites before harvest day.
If you are put off by pay-only apps but want some of the features of Cannabis Pocket Reference then Medical Marijuana Grow App (free, $2.48 for full version, Android only) by MMC Software has also been very well received so far and offers some similar core features. The full version also includes some handy calculators.
The style of this app is a little drier than Cannabis Pocket Reference and although it does cover much of the same information in it’s ‘How To Manuals’ it doesn’t feel as detailed or as enjoyable to read as its competitor.
Medical Marijuana Grow App’s strain database could be very useful in helping medical users select the correct strain for their symptoms as it is searchable by condition (including insomnia, migraine, chronic pain and many more), however the database is lacking in pictures or any other information on the strains featured. It’s also not clear how these recommendations by condition have been generated; user recommendations, breeder’s descriptions, medical trials? A little more detail would go a long way here to make this feature truly successful.
Further features of this app include a searchable dictionary of terms relevant to growers, calculators for required CO2 volumes and electricity costs and a grow journal. These features may be helpful to some but they feel a little like bolted-on content to justify the cost of the premium version: the grow journal in particular is weak and (apart from possibly the ability to link entries to photographs) isn’t really anything you couldn’t accomplish with your phone’s calendar/organizer.
Where Medical Marijuana’s Grow App does shine somewhat with its extra features is the Nutrient Problem Solver. This section takes you through a set of questions about your plants (are the leaf tips yellowing, is new growth failing etc.) and at the end provides you with the most likely reasons related to nutrient and water levels. Unfortunately this section is also noticeably lacking in pictures, which would improve its usefulness immensely.
These two apps appear to be the best grow guide apps; it’s unfortunate that neither seem to be currently available for iOS. The makers of Cannabis Pocket Reference claim their app was delisted from iTunes by Apple because the grow guide content was not acceptable. If this is the case and continues to be a policy for Apple then quality growing app availability is likely to remain more limited for iOS users.
Comparing these two guides and especially considering their minimal price difference, we’d have to recommend Cannabis Pocket Reference over Medical Marijuana Grow Guide.
Offering the opportunity to satisfy the organizational streak (or mild OCD) in many growers is Grow Buddy (free, $2.99 for full version) from Fred Tarasevicius. This organizer and tracking tool helps a grower take total control of their operation with the ability to record, chart and analyze an array of critical data (pH, temperature, feeds and more) and work on custom feeding schedules.
The level of control you can achieve with Grow Buddy is simply astounding: It can track and assign schedules for individual plants as they move from your cloner to the main veg room, between tables within a room and between rooms as they switch from veg to flower. Notes and schedules can be added individually to plants, to every plant in a room or every plant on a table within a room with ease. With an additional download (free) of Zxing Team’s Barcode Scanner you can even assign scan-able barcodes to rooms and plants for that final level of tech geekery.
When setting up your feeding schedules Grow Buddy comes loaded with a good variety of some of the most common nutrients available (Canna, Bio-Bizz, Technaflora and many more) and can automatically generate feed schedules based on the products you have. Alternatively you can set all values yourself, and manually complete any nutrients you use which Grow Buddy doesn’t already have an entry for.
The tracking doesn’t end there though: Grow Buddy also allows you to record and add notes to your equipment, which can be invaluable in monitoring when warranties expire, when you think your carbon filter is likely to need recharging or HPS bulbs replacing.
Grow Buddy won’t be for everyone: some growers never keep a note of anything and decide nutrient mixes as they go along, but for those of us who need to be more thorough this has to be the most useful app released so far. The reason being it’s the best use of the technology: all of the other apps listed here could work about as well in another format (like a book or website) but Grow Buddy makes a routine chore measurably easier and more enjoyable in a way that only a smartphone app can.
For those who are interested in Grow Buddy, it can and will become the main management tool for every single aspect of your grow. No more scrappy bits of paper, no more Excel spreadsheets on a computer in a totally different room to your plants, just a hugely useful and powerful tool in your pocket as you work.
Once you’ve finished developing that secret formula nutrient formula, it might be a good idea to further protect it. DoMobile Lab’s App Lock (free, Android only) lets you protect access to individual apps with a password or unlock pattern. Well worth getting if you’re going to be storing much information on your grow with any of these apps, and no need to panic about who might pick up your phone.
Weed Maps (free) offers medical-marijuana users the ability to search for a licensed dispensary or doctor nearby. A great example of how legal programs can make the process of acquiring marijuana safer and a lot more convenient for medical users. Hopefully the list of states where medical marijuana is legally available will only increase and Weed Maps will grow along with them.
Turning away from the more obvious marijuana apps again there are some other tools which might be useful to you when setting up a grow space: Jinasys’ Noise Meter (free, Android only but other similar apps available for iOS) could be very handy if you’re trying to cut down on fan noise to improve security, but we recommend staying away from the numerous light meter apps available: they are not designed to measure the high intensity light of grow rooms and there are many complaints about reliability.
On the lighter side Highdroid Lite (free, $0.99 for full version, Android only) from HowBig Studios offers entertainment in the form of thoughts, ideas and stories posted by users around the world, while high. Next time you’ve had that world-shatteringly important epiphany under the influence of the marijuana-muse you’ll have somewhere to share it with this app.
The most impressive apps we’ve seen so far on the market are unquestionably Cannabis Pocket Reference and Grow Buddy. Between these two a grower can plan and execute a rewarding grow from start to finish and both apps have something to offer growers regardless of their existing level of knowledge and skill. Less than six dollars for the two is an absolute bargain for the level of information in Cannabis Pocket Reference and the functionality of Grow Buddy. It never hurts to have as much information as possible so there’s no reason not to get other apps too but in terms of premium apps for growers if you’re looking to get the most back for the least investment then these apps are the clear leaders.