Introduction: DIY Smart Plant Pot

Picture of DIY Smart Plant Pot

hello world,

please support our mission;

it was one year ago that i have published the plant pot - world's first stand alone smart plant pot that can email you when it's thirsty, cold, hot, sleeping etc.

a lot has changed since the first release. today I would like to share with you our latest and most stable version yet.

the plant pot is still,

open source hardware + software

solder-free, suitable for any age group

an all around educational tool

once completed the end user will know how to build circuits, write code and end up with a finished device that can teach you how to garden. no prior electronics or gardening experience needed.!!


here is a list of what we will be using;

wifi microcontroller - updated to wifi nodemcu

battery pack


RGB led module

temperature/humidity module

light sensor

water sensor

jumper wires



-- project kits available --


let's build..>

kits are now available on ebay, including the frame + all electronics. comment or message here or on facebook for more info

Step 1: Glue the Frame

Picture of Glue the Frame

download the laser cut frame here;

download 3D printed covers here;

ponoko online laser:


the assembly is very straight forward. hot glue one piece at a time, making sure all your joints are water sealed to protect the electronics


don't forget to place the magnets for the door

Step 2: Water Sensor

Picture of Water Sensor

before inserting the water sensor, first carefully bend the connector legs to a 90 degree angle, this will help when wiring the circuit.


after this put the sensor in to the leg slots and hot glue the openings so they are water sealed as well.

Step 3: Battery and Arduino

Picture of Battery and Arduino

the powerbank comes with a short usb cable that you can use to power the microcontroller.


for a more discrete look, you can hack the power bank and connect it to the microcontroller internally on the breadboard.

Step 4: Temperature, Light Sensors + RGB LED

Picture of Temperature, Light Sensors + RGB LED

now hot glue the remaining sensors, light and temperature.


RGB LED goes on the magnetic door.

Step 5: Wiring + Code

Picture of Wiring + Code

wire according to the schematics above

connect the usb cable to laptop

scroll down to upload sketch,

remember to change wifi settings on lines 18 & 19

choose "lillypad arduino usb" and the correct COM port and click ->run on arduino

you should see the data uploading on your thingspeak channel now (allow upto 2 minutes)


line 22 is the online webpage address so we can see the plant data on the internet;

1. go to & fill out the form to create an account

2. once the account is created, the page will change to your channels, click "new channel"

3. change the channel name and type in the fields that you want to record (temperature, light, humidity etc.) - save channel

4. click to "API Keys" tab and copy your write API key, this will be inserted into the code. - we are now ready to upload and capture data to our online channel where it will be graphed automatically and can be downloaded later on in excel format. - after you have created your channel you can also set e-mail alerts where the web page will automatically tweet "alarms" -

5. go to and create an account

6. go to and create a "new react"

7. name your react and change the alarm values, choose thing tweet as your action and add a twitter account (link your accounts). condition type: numeric, test frequency: on data insertion etc.. for more help:

8. once your react is saved and your twitter account is linked everything should be working, and you should be getting the alarms on your twitter channel/phone.


you can adjust light, temperature and water levels within the code (lines 119, 129 & 144) you will learn about the pattern of the location where your plant pot will be staying. and eventually get the settings just right. the pre-set numbers should be good for many plants. read more here;

Step 6: Paint + Logo

Picture of Paint + Logo

make sure to put tape around the openings to protect the electronics. i have used white matte textured spray paint. apply minimum 3 coats waiting in between minimum 30 minutes. make sure to paint outside.!!


download the official logo here;

Step 7: Soil + Seeds or Plants

it is now time to add soil and seeds or plants depending on which route you would like to take.. here are a few good instructables on how to start plants from seeds;



here is another instructable on showing you how to transplant an already grown plant;

Step 8: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

my dream is to teach the world how to garden and build electronics. combining the two just makes things better. i believe that in the future (very near) all plant pots will be "smart"


i already have a few companies as competitors, million dollar companies.. however the plant pot still stands as the most advanced one of them all because it is made by YOU and the open source community we have here at !!


thank you everybody for your support. please favorite and share this post with friends + family. also like us on


love & peace



IddhamS (author)2016-06-19

do you have the coding in wifi shield ?

Akin Yildiz (author)2016-06-14

hello, sry for late response. there are too many different possibilities why it might not be connecting. do you get sensor data readings.? your wiring maybe wrong..

if the wiring was wrong at first, sometimes it does brick the board. that's a possibility. i'm pretty sure name with spaces are ok. at home i have spaces and it connects.


please consider upgrading to nodemcu board, $5. i havent done a new instructables yet about this topic but if you follow the facebook page you can see more recent updates; &


hope this helps..

saivani007 (author)2016-06-06

what is the ideal moisture limit for a plant when it is watered sufficiently??

where zero being full moisture and 1023 being no moisture(readings in my sensor are reverse)

Akin Yildiz (author)saivani0072016-06-06

when its not reversed, 0 being the driest. i set mine to <300..

so in your case you can try >700 - to get a good adjustment. fully water the soil, until water comes out of the bottom of pot. and then don't water for 3-5days and check the numbers once/day same time at 3rd day and on. you will understand the number

RossN4 (author)2016-06-04

Is it possible to connect a ds18b20 sensor to this as well? I've tried a number of different wiring and code methods. Anyone able to do a guide on how to do this? I have my plant pot using water from my fish tank and I want to read the water temp with my smart pot.

Akin Yildiz (author)RossN42016-06-05

hello Ross, sorry to hear that.. yes it is possible and it should be fairly simple. can you share what wiring you have followed to test and the code. there are many instructables on ds18b20, i'm sure you are already aware of.



let me know how it goes.. which microcontroller are you using.?

bookeater26 (author)2016-05-25

Could you upload the 3D covers template in .stl instead of .skp form?

Akin Yildiz (author)bookeater262016-05-26

here you go, please share your work with pictures.!!

KMLKGN (author)2016-05-09

i wrote on Facebook if my teacher accept this project i'll start. thx for everything.

RossN4 (author)2016-04-03

My sensor readings don't make any sense,

Temp: 1023
Light: 877
Water: 876

I don't know what units any of these are in, I'd like to be able to see Temp in C. Anyone know what units these sensors are in?

Akin Yildiz (author)RossN42016-04-03

hello Ross, numbers you are seeing are raw readings, limited to 0-1023. 0 being most dry/cold/dark and 1023 being the most wet/hot/light (or vice versa).


if you look at this article; you can see an example of how to convert this data into C or F or basically anything that you want. even a 0-100% " float temperatureF = (temperatureC * 9.0 / 5.0) + 32.0; "


that being sad, i'm glad to hear that you have successfully connected your components. congrats.!! the reason why the temp is saying 1023 is that because it is actually a digital sensor. you can connect it to a Digital pin on microcontroller and actually get both temp/humid reading from it, both in C and F in a different way. the code needs to be adjusted;

RossN4 (author)Akin Yildiz2016-04-03

I followed the guide and downloaded the library as well changed my data wire to use SCL/PIN 3 (according to this diagram: now all I get for Temp / Humidity is 0.0 not sure what I did wrong or what port to use?

Here is my code:

RossN4 (author)RossN42016-04-06

Any help @Akin Yildiz?

Akin Yildiz (author)RossN42016-04-08

your shared links are not accessible..

RossN4 (author)Akin Yildiz2016-04-08

Akin Yildiz (author)RossN42016-04-09

try changing lines

120 - Serial.println(DHT.humidity, 1);


Serial.println(DHT.humidity, 3);

122 - Serial.println(DHT.temperature, 1);


Serial.println(DHT.temperature, 3);
in the beginning of the sketch, you defined pin 3. also you can delete all the analog temp read lines as well

dkhushairi (author)2016-02-22

Hi Akin,

Im on my way in doing this project but I couldnt find the microcontroller that you used. Instead I found something else but not sure if it will work. Its the WiFi Serial Transceiver Module w/ ESP8266. So im wondering if you could tell me if this module can act as same as your microcontroller and if the programmings are the same.

Thanks :)

Akin Yildiz (author)dkhushairi2016-02-23

the microcontroller i use already has esp8266 onboard, ready to use. you can't just plug&play program esps. you will need usb UART cable and esp board module for consistent power requirements. the microcontroller i use above is the cheapest way to go at the moment, or you can take a look at this board;
however wiring and code will have to be adjusted

hakim h (author)2016-01-31

very nice it. i think i can make it for my project.but i would like to use ordinary microcontroller instead of wifi-microcontroller. thanks a lot.........

Akin Yildiz (author)hakim h2016-02-01

great, give it a try.!!
have you seen this; , thank you for your interest.

hakim h (author)2016-01-31

very nice it. i think i can make it for my project.but i would like to use ordinary microcontroller instead of wifi-microcontroller. thanks a lot.........

RodrigoP24 (author)2016-01-05

what is the wifi module that you used the link isn't found because the seller stoped selling it?

Akin Yildiz (author)RodrigoP242016-01-05

helllo Rodrigo,

it's not a module, its an actual arduino with built-in wifi, i will check the link but here you can find the board, it's called "cactus micro"

it's amazing.!!

AndreasB21 (author)2015-12-28

Can you tell me wehre i have to put the light Sensor? Cant See where u glue it

Akin Yildiz (author)AndreasB212015-12-29

top left above the computer, just make sure it can see outside for light.!

RaviP6 (author)2015-12-13

Too elegant, loved the design and idea.Thanks for sharing this awesome project

Akin Yildiz (author)RaviP62015-12-13

you are welcome, thank you for your interest Ravi.!!

caylem (author)2015-11-28

Is it possible to do a terrarium version of this?

Akin Yildiz (author)caylem2015-11-29

yes it is possible. but terrariums require barely any temp and water, in most cases. so all these sensors would be useless.
however a nice light to illuminate the plants for better display might be a more interesting solution in your case. what exactly did you have in mind.? i make custom lights for terrariums and can mail you a usb powered light kit. are you in us.?

g_j_clayton (author)2015-10-27

Hi Akin,

Do you have a drawing showing the dimensions for the frame? I could get these parts water jet cut. I would be happy to share an engineering drawing for the assembly and a dxf file for anyone who wants to get the parts profile cut.

Akin Yildiz (author)g_j_clayton2015-10-28

well if you open this file with a vector drawing software (coreldraw, adobe illustrator etc.) you should be able to see the dimensions exactly. not sure if this is what you need. you can also send this file to and get it cut&shipped online.!

CynthiaR20 (author)Akin Yildiz2015-11-23

I contacted ponoko and sent them the above file. They came back that it wasn't uploadable. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Akin Yildiz (author)CynthiaR202015-11-23


sorry about that, i updated the link above as well. check this out;

it is $30 with shipping just for the frame from them. however we are now offering full kits including frame+all electronics for $35. are you living in usa.?

CynthiaR20 (author)Akin Yildiz2015-11-23

Hi Akin, Yes we are in the USA. On what site are you selling the kits? My son loves to build and tinker and with your step by step instructions I thought I might be able to keep up with him. Put in a catcus, orchid or a Venus fly trap that doesnt grow to big to fast. Thank you.

Akin Yildiz (author)CynthiaR202015-11-23

please private message or contact on
thank you for your interest.

balbonPH (author)2015-10-01

Hi Akin,

I followed the same circuit using the Cactus Micro Rev. 2 but I am not getting any data into my Thingspeak account. Did you have to re-flash the Cactus Micro Rev. 2 board or just used it out of the box after installing the connecting headers to it?

Also, can you explain why did you use these pins in the code using Cactus Micro Rev. 2?

#define _rxpin 11

#define _txpin 12

Akin Yildiz (author)balbonPH2015-10-01

cactus micro uses pins 11, 12 to communicate with the onboard wifi chip (esp8266) that is why we define rx/tx as 11 and 12. they are hard wired. and pin 13 turn on/off the chip. no reflashing needed but a code change may be required, try this: dont forget to change your SSID, password and thingspeak API key (must create an account).

thebrophet (author)2015-09-20

hey please provide me with the code for aurduino UNO.

other wise i like all the design and its utility. very very useful really.

i really like ur views

Akin Yildiz (author)thebrophet2015-09-20

hello brophet,

the code is shared under step 5: wiring + code. here is a direct link;

thank you for your interest.!!

thebrophet (author)Akin Yildiz2015-09-20

is the code same for aurduino ide and aurduino UNO?

Akin Yildiz (author)thebrophet2015-09-20

arduino ide is the name for the software on your computer. all arduinos (uno, nano, mini etc.) use arduino ide to program.

BUT arduino uno does not have wifi connection. in this instructable i'm using a board called cactus micro, which does have on board wifi for only $10;

if you want to just use arduino uno and not worry about the wifi, then use this code;


let me know if you figure it out.

mkp2 (author)Akin Yildiz2015-09-22

if I use aurduino UNO, how can I get the emails?

Akin Yildiz (author)mkp22015-09-22

hello mkp2,

arduino uno does not have internet capability. you have to purchase a wifi; OR ethernet shield;

OR you can just purchase an arduino with built in wifi, this is what I use and is the chepaest, best option;

thank you for your interest

netrix (author)2015-09-15


Maybe I missed this but can you explain how does the 'email system' works? All i saw in the code was an IP but not much of ab explanation if whats going on.

Akin Yildiz (author)netrix2015-09-15

hello netrix,
the data is sent to (free data plotting webapp) and when an alarm is triggered it sends out a tweet. and you get an email. anyone that is following that twitter account will get an email. you can learn more on the code upload step, more info

netrix (author)Akin Yildiz2015-09-15

Got it. Thanks for the explanation.

I'll probably try to do a similar project in the next few weeks so I'll post back with the results hopefully soon.

jayeltee (author)2015-09-05

Akin, I'm wondering if there's a single source for all those parts. Seems to me that shipping will quadruple (at least) the cost of the project. I'd like to make this one.

Akin Yildiz (author)jayeltee2015-09-05

hello jayeltee,

including everything, even soil & seeds, the project cost is $19.82 for local only and $27.97 for wifi version. here you can see detailed breakdown with links to each component; almost all the parts are shipping free on ebay.


but i am working on putting together kits and also trying to find a single source supplier to provide these kits.. will keep you updated. this would be the best solution.

jayeltee (author)Akin Yildiz2015-09-07

Thanks, Akin. I have it all now.

jitu7600 (author)2015-09-03

great ,,,, idea i will try it.... thanks .. for giving unique ideas..... best of luck..

About This Instructable




Bio: Please support & share our mission; . the Plant Doctor is a non-profit, open source online research laboratory specializing in electronics+plants. Our vision is ... More »
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