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App-Ed: The Slow Grow

Grow succulents on Viridi — an app that will test your patience (and green thumb)

Meet Doug.

It’s Doug!

Doug is my pot of succulents. He houses such plans as Al, Larry, Glen, Ken, Garry and Dennis. Doug and his plants live in an app called Viridi, which in turns lives on my smartphone. No, my succulents don’t give off any helpful oxygen, nor do they require any sunlight. But they do ask me to water them every once in a while, and pluck weeds from their pot. And if I do that — very slowly, but surely, my succulents will thrive.

Viridi is made by a company called Ice Water Games. And while most game companies seek to tempt a player spend as much time actually engaging with their app as humanly possible, Ice Water Games has designed Viridi so that you really only have to tend to your prized succulents twice or three times a week. In fact, that’s exactly what will make them grow the healthiest:

Nurture a small pot of succulents that grow in real time. Viridi is a safe haven, a place you can return to for a moment of peace and quiet whenever you need it.

If you overwater, they’ll drown.

That’s a lot like caring for real-life succulents:

What makes them the perfect plant (well, at least for a notorious flora-murderer like me) is that you don’t really have to take care of them.

According to the Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose:

While growing, cacti and succulents should be watered at least once a week. Some people water more often than this. During each watering, give the soil a good soaking, so that water runs out of the ‘drainage holes’ of the pots.

The same goes for Doug, my virtual Viridi plant.

He’s making progress, and even if I forget to water him for a few days (like you would, go on vacation and forget to ask a neighbor/roommate to water your IRL plants), he still thrives. No matter how accurate Viridi wants to be, it knows that it’s awfully depressing to kill even a virtual plant.

Perhaps one day Doug will flourish like the pots in Viridi’s promo video:

Perhaps I’ll forget about him for a few days and he won’t. Either way, it’s an app that doesn’t cry out for my attention. If anything, it seeks to keep my ego as well as my green thumb intact.

Lindsey Weber is an editor at MEL. She has two real-life aloe plants that don’t have names.