Raspberry Pi Zero waters your plants and records growth timelapse

We’re not going to lie — the thing we like most about this automated plant watering project is the timelapse at the very end of the build video. But we also thought now might be a good time to show you another Raspberry Pi project for keeping an eye on your plants, since some of us are getting back to something more like our usual routines and our houseplants are no longer our best friends, so they might need a little extra automated attention.

Raspberry Pi can’t make your plants grow this fast in real life, sorry

Maker Christopher Barnatt chose Raspberry Pi Zero for this project because although Raspberry Pi Pico could handle it, he needed a camera connector to record timelapse video of his plants’ growth.


Raspberry Pi Plant Watering hardware
Image grabbed from Christopher’s build video

Christopher is a gem and has included links to all the hardware he used. There are also some cheaper, smaller alternatives listed in the info section of his build video.

Kit list:

plant watering system full set up in maker's greenhouse
The full setup in Christopher’s greenhouse

How does it work?

The moisture sensor checks every half hour to determine whether or not the plant has enough water, and communicates with the Raspberry Pi. Water flow is controlled by the solenoid valve, and if the Raspberry Pi finds the soil is too dry, it opens the valve for a set amount of time to let water out.

Check out the full build video for detailed setup instructions and code tests

Code your own plant watering machine

Christopher has shared all the code you need to make your own plant watering system:

Check out Christopher’s YouTube channel Explaining Computers where he posts new videos every week on topics like PC hardware, single board computers such as Raspberry Pi, AI, Big Data, and quantum computing.


Alan avatar

I’ve been watching Chris’ channel for a couple of years – absolutely brilliant content and well worth a follow :)

Jonaz Thern avatar

I have 5 Raspberry Pi 3B I don’t use. Does it work with these, or does it have to be a Zero?

Carlos Luna avatar

This should work with your Pi 3Bs without any changes.

Carlos Luna avatar

Except for the camera. I see the camera has a flex cable that fits the connector on the Zero. You’ll have to get a replacement cable, or use another camera. The rest can stay the same.

Tom Blevins avatar

In St. Louis we have a place named the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and they use raspberry Pi’s to do this very thing. To release very specific amounts of water or nutrients, and then to take pictures of the plants and how they are growing.

shrish sunder avatar

We can also add some auto cutting extra grown plants😁

Laserskæring avatar

looking great
Hope our camera works in our project. We want to film while we laser cut for our customers

Endrit avatar

Haha this is such a cool project. I need to do something like this to wash my car when i’m not in mood to do it :D

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