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Attention all plant killers! Help is on the way

Company formed by U of G grads creates Plant Snorkel, addressing the age-old issue of overwatering plants

Water is a good thing so why not add a little more?

Overwatering house plants though, is one of the biggest problems plant lovers face, it can kill.

Too much water can lead to root rot, a silent killer.

But there is hope.

Ciderpress Labs Inc. in Guelph has developed the Plant Snorkel.

“Almost everyone has killed a houseplant and overwatering is one of the leading causes,” says Ciderpress Labs co-founder, Jordan Stewart.

“Our mission is to make sure that our customers never drown another plant.”

This simple device prevents overwatering of house plants and eliminates the need for drain holes in flowerpots.

“About 95 per cent of pots have no drainage. People don’t really know this and then it’s too late. Water builds up and this causes root rot,” says Ciderpress Labs Inc. co-founder, Cody Kupferschmidt.

Root rot is the decay of plant roots caused by a lack of oxygen in the soil. Just like humans, the submersion of roots in water with little oxygen causes them to suffocate and drown.

“Many new plant owners never think about drainage and by purchasing something without drain holes, sets them up for failure. We designed the Plant Snorkel so that you can use it in flowerpots you already own,” Kupferschmidt said.

“With the Plant Snorkel, instead of water draining out of the bottom of the pot, it allows water to evaporate.”

The device is designed to fit most flowerpots between three inches and eight inches deep.

Ciderpress Labs Inc. was founded in 2020 by four University of Guelph alumni, all with backgrounds in engineering and wellness.

Kupferschmidt and Stewart both graduated in environmental engineering. Co-founder, Kristina Kuffel graduated in biomedical engineering and co-founder, Katherine Vink, in psychology.

“I studied soil mechanics and hydrology. I kept thinking that there had to be a way to fix thisoverwatering problem,” Kupferschmidt said.

And the Plant Snorkel came to be.

“We’ve been working on this design for over two years. Over the summer we applied for the HUB Incubator Program at the University of Guelph and we launched the product on Kickstarter a couple weeks ago.”

The HUB Incubator program is operated by the John F. Wood Centre at the U of G.

“The University of Guelph has been fantastic in helping us promote our product,” Kupferschmidt said.

The Plant Snorkel is available online through the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, where the product has already raised more than $10,000.

Anyone can pledge an amount between $15 CAD for a single Plant Snorkel and $99 for a 10-pack.

Ciderpress Labs Inc. has run a test program with about 40 users over the past year.

“I love incorporating plants into interior design, but I find it really hard to find planters that match my aesthetic and have proper drainage,” said Julie Leeming, founder of the popular lifestyle blog and Instagram page, Lavender Julep.

“Plant snorkels are the perfect solution! I would definitely recommend one for any plant parent.”

Ciderpress Labs Inc. says that feedback has been positive so far.

“It’s been exciting, not only hearing from people, but also from companies who are reaching out wanting to carry the product. I just love knowing that people can use any type of plant pot and with the Plant Snorkel, they are having much luck in raising all sorts of plants,” Kupferschmidt said.

Sustainability is important to Ciderpress Labs Inc. which is why the snorkel is made of bioplastic.

For those who want to brighten up their homes with plants, Kupferschmidt says there is company in the misery for those plant owners who have suffered the loss of a beloved plant.

“People who try the Plant Snorkel say they are so happy with it and that it’s just what they needed. After putting so much work into a project, that feels really good to hear,” Kupferschmidt says.

“We want to make a difference especially during these times. People love their house plants.”

For more information about the Plant Snorkel, visit:

Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/codykupf/plant-snorkel

Product website: https://plantsnorkel.ca/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plantsnorkel/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theplantsnorkel/


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Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community. She joined CambridgeToday in 2021
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