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Review: Flora – Let your productivity flourish

Developer: AppFinca Inc.
Price: Free
Size: 268.2 MB
Version: 3.4.0
Platform: iPhone & iPad


Flora first sprung up in 2017, since when it claims to have planted more than 80,000 trees. That’s not some tiresome management-speak metaphor either – we’re talking a bunch of real saplings, all placed into the ground as a direct result of this app.

Developer AppFinca has achieved this through a smart approach to the focus app, all built around the so-called Pomodoro theory. This principle asserts that working in snappy 25-minute chunks, interspersed by 5-minute breaks, is a sure route to productivity.

Leave your phone alone to grow your virtual sapling

Flora gives you that 25-minute timer alright (though you can adjust the time), but it also offers extra incentives. If you interact with your phone while the timer is ticking, your virtual seed will wither and die. Leave your phone well alone, and it’ll grow, complete with adorable animation.

Working with, the developer has added some real stakes to proceedings. Use the Pledge a Price feature, and killing a virtual tree in the app will charge you a cash penalty, resulting in real trees being planted somewhere in Africa, Asia, or South America. You can also sign up to a Flora Care subscription tier that will plant a real tree whenever your focus time adds up to 8, 24, or 48 hours.

Lose focus, pay to plant a tree

This is obviously a worthy outcome for something as banal as a productivity app, but it also has a very real effect on your personal objectives. AppFinca cites data that suggests adding real money and the whole tree planting angle actively boosts your productivity compared to non-paying users.

Your mileage will vary on this, of course. What we can attest to is the simple, clean UI and ease of use. Tap on a seed, type in your desired task, and set a timer and break span, then hit the Start button. Now, if you interact with your phone, you’ll risk damaging your virtual sapling.

Use your phone and risk killing your sapling

While this isn’t a hardcore productivity app, there is a handy facility to add to-do list items. We wouldn’t want to run a complex work project through Flora, but the option is there to delve a little deeper into detailed planning, at least. There is also a competitive/social element with the ability to monitor your friends’ tree-growing (or culling) progress.

The elephant in the room here is that Flora borrows a leaf out of Forest‘s book (or tree). Everything from the worthy tree-growing angle to the app icon is suspiciously familiar, and Forest did it all first.

There’s also a simple to-do system

But where Flora has an advantage is in its provision of a free tier, provided you don’t want to engage with that tree-growing side. Forest requires an up-front payment. Conversely, Forest gives you more in-depth feedback about your level of focus, and generally seems to offer more customization options.

If you’re after a simpler, cheaper focus app with a similar arboreal angle, however, Flora is a more than worthwhile way to stay focused.