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Indoor plants create clean air

Research has shown that indoor air pollution is now becoming one of the major threats to our health. These health issue include: asthma, allergies, chemical hyper-sensitivity and cancer.

NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Lucky for us the plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air. Houseplants were able to remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.
Other studies have since been published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science further proving the science.

Google Office - plants display

Google Office – plants display

Indoor plants improve air quality

We all know that plants are the lungs of Mother Earth and they are a very simple and effective way of treating and recycling air and water used by NASA to improve astronauts’ life quality when spending months in a small space station, surrounded by synthetic materials that constantly emit chemicals into the cabin. Astonishing, however, was the discovery that plants can remove many of the more than 300 chemicals found in the air of a spacecraft.

Plants and chemical pollution

The NASA study has proven that plants can remove airborne chemicals to some extent. But where do these chemicals go? Scientists of the German National Research Centre for Environment and Health exposed popular indoor plants to formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor air pollutant. They reported that enzymes in the plant leaves break down the toxic chemical into non-toxic components that can be used by the plant. This process is similar to the way a human liver rids the body from toxins. Research also shows that chemicals are translocated into the root system and the adjoining soil, where soil micro-organisms can break down the substances even further.

Plants as dust removal

Airborne chemicals aren’t the only health hazards indoors. Scientists of the Washington State University conclude that foliage plants can reduce indoor dust levels by up to 20%. And you don’t have to plant a jungle either. The plants they added to an office room occupied only around 5% of the volume.

Do plants promote biological pollution?

A concern could be the growth of fungi in the soil and on decaying plant matter. As long as the plant is healthy, however, this is not the case. The plant has its own defences against micro-organisms. It releases small amounts of its own disinfectant essential oils to control or destroy bacteria and fungi that invade the space between the leaves. We make use of this ourselves whenever we use disinfectants or room deodorizers that contain natural plant oils from, for example, citrus or pine trees. Experiments have shown that plants significantly reduce the number of microbes in indoor air. For example, when pots of citrus trees were added to a room, the air became almost sterile.

Do plants contribute to high humidity?

Another point of concern is the increase in humidity levels. Yes, plants transpire and increase the amount of water vapour in the air. The good news is that the increase depends very much on the humidity level that is in the room in the first place. On humid days, the rate of evaporation is very low and the humidity increase is only marginal. On dry days the plant ‘sweats’ significantly. This is to our benefit, because the indoor air is very often below the comfortable humidity level, as during the heating period. Cooling a room with an air conditioner also reduces the humidity significantly. Besides dehydration, dry air promotes cracked skin and lips, the drying of the mucus in airways and sinuses, and is a recognized trigger for asthma attacks. Allergens, bacteria and viruses can get easily past the dried-up defense mechanism. There is evidence that cases of the common cold are more frequent when the humidity is low.

The best indoor plants to improve air quality

By adding house plats to your living / work space, you improve the air quality and greatly enhance the health of your and your family. Many houseplants will purify the air in your home, but some more than others. Here is a list of some of the best plants and very popular for your house or office:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
  • Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

 

Houseplants

houseplants for improving indoor air quality

The list can continue on and on again. The rate at which the plants metabolizes the substances depends on the growing conditions, such as the available light, the temperature, the humidity, and the nutrients that are available to the plant. Please be aware, however, that plants don’t remove the chemicals completely and different plants have different capabilities. A particular plant may be very good in removing formaldehyde, while another is better in destroying benzene.

Studies show that Americans spend ninety percent of their lives indoors, which means that good indoor air quality is vital for good health. Indoor plants will help reduce pollutants and purify the air in your home or office. The more plants you have, the better you will feel! By having plants in your home or office, you create your own micro-climate – the indoor weather.

Recommend number of plant: at least 15-18 good-sized plants (203mm (six- to eight-inch ) pot diameter) for a house or apartment of 167 square meters (1800 square feet).
According to the NASA study, the plants listed below proved effective in removing certain indoor air pollutants.

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants



General Information ,

Syngonium podophyllum

Family: Araceae

Synonyms: Nephthytis podophyllum

Distribution & Habitat: is a perennial vine native from Mexico to Panama.

Common Names:
Arrowhead plant, Arrowhead vine, Arrowhead Philodendron, Goosefoot, Trileaf Wonder, African evergreen

Description:
Syngonium podophyllum usually produces medium green, rounded leaves 15 cm long and 10 cm wide with three deep-cut lobes when the plant is young. Mature plants produce leaves up to 30 cm long and wide divided into five or seven segments. There are a number of interesting varieties of Syngonium podophyllum as Syngonium podophyllum neon with extremely bright solid pink – richly saturated colour on each arrowhead leaf.

Syngonium podophyllum

Syngonium podophyllum

Proper Care:

Light: Give Syngoniums bright filtered light throughout the year. Never subject them to direct sunlight.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are ideal. Syngoniums cannot tolerate temperatures below 13 0c.

When never indoor temperatures are above 18°C, increase the humidity for actively growing plants by standing pots on trays of moist pebbles.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top centimetre or so of the mixture to dry out before watering again. Syngoniums normally have a short winter rest period, during which they should be given only enough water to keep the mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertilizer about once every two weeks to actively growing plants.

Potting and repotting: Use an equal parts combination of soil-based potting mixture  and coarse leaf mould or peat moss. Repot each Syngonium every spring, moving the plants into pots one size larger when roots have filled the current pots. These plants do not require large containers. A 13 or 15 cm pot or a 15-20 cm hanging basket should be the maximum required. After such a size has been reached, top-dress plants every spring with fresh mixture.

Propagation: Propagate in late spring or early summer from tip cuttings 8-10 cm long. Take each cutting just below a node, strip off the bottom leaf, and dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder. Plant two or three prepared cuttings together in an 8-10 cm pot of a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case, and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting has occurred (normally, in four to six weeks), uncover the pot and begin to give the rooted cuttings just enough water to make the rooting mixture barely moist.

After another month begin to apply monthly doses of standard liquid fertilizer. Four or five months after the start of propagation transfer the young plants, in groups, into the potting mixture recommended for mature specimens and treat them as adult Syngoniums. When transferring the plants keep them together. For hanging baskets it is effective to plant two or three groups in each basket.

Usage
Syngonium can be used as a specimen in small containers up to 22 cm in diameter and the very small plants in cell packs or small individual containers are frequently used in combination planters, such as dish gardens. One of the most popular usage of the plant is in hanging baskets from 14cm to 32 cm diameter. Commercial interiors capers use Syngonium in a variety of other cascading applications and occasionally as ground covers. Although few producers grow it as a totem, it is an excellent candidate for this application.

WARNING
All parts of the Syngonium podophyllum plant are poisonous if eaten.

 



Indoor Plants

Phoenix roebelenii

Family: Arecacea / Palmae (palm Family)

Common Names:
Dwarf Date Palm or Pygmy Date Palm, Miniature Date Palm

Distribution & Habitat:
Rainforest of Laos/Vietnam/Thailand.

Phoenix roebelenii

Description:
Phoenix roebelenii is small to medium sized palm to about 3m, although older plants can be quite tall. It has a thick crown of narrow, arching, dark green fronds, which are much finer than those of the other types and have a thin layer of white scales. The short, slender stem eventually becomes roughened as old leaf bases accumulate along its length. Although the plant normally has only a single stem, it sometimes produces several.

To maintain single-crowned plants which tend to look better as pot specimens, remove any surplus stems while they are still young. Phoenix roebelenii rarely grows taller than a metre, but it may achieve a spread of more than a metre, with 90 cm long fronds.

Cream colour flowers are held on short, 30 cm inflorescences and are followed by small black dates on the female plants (male flowers are borne on a separate plant). Although this palm is single stemmed most nurseries offer it in containers planted with 3 to 5 specimens. When grouped like this, the stems tend to curve gracefully away from the centre of the clump creating an especially attractive arrangement.

Proper Care:

Phoenix roebelinii Care

Light: Phoenix roehelenii does best when kept in filtered light, but will also thrive in full sunlight.

Temperature: All these palms grow well in normally warm room temperatures, but they do best if they are encouraged to have a winter rest period at about 10-13°C.

Watering: Water sparingly, making the mixture barely moist during the rest period. When active growth begins, increase amounts of water gradually; and water plentifully during the active growth period, giving enough to keep the mixture thoroughly moist. Never allow pots to stand in water, however. As winter approaches, begin to reduce amounts gradually once more.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertilizer to established plants once every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Repot these palms in pots 5 cm larger every two or three years just as new growth starts in spring. One sign that a plant needs a bigger pot is the appearance of many fine roots on the surface of the potting mixture. In repotting, it is essential to pack the mixture down firmly, but be careful not to damage the thicker roots. Pots from 25-30 cm are big enough for a metre or so tall specimen; small tubs should be used for larger ones. Leave enough space between the mixture surface and the rim of the pot to take plenty of water.

Once the maximum container size has been reached, an annual top-dressing with a few centimetres of fresh potting mixture will suffice.

Propagation: Commercially, phoenix palms are raised from seed. This is a slow process (they take about 3 months to germinate), however, and is not recommended for amateur growers. Some gardeners plant date stones. The stones germinate easily in spring if they are placed in a warm position and kept moist, but the first leaf is a single undivided section, and it may take two or three years for leaves with divisions to appear.

Set the stones individually in 8 cm pots or start those in seed boxes. In the latter case, pot in 8 cm pots after they have germinated and have made about 5-8 cm of growth. Thereafter their cultivation needs will be those of mature phoenix palms.

If sucker shoots at the base of Phoenix roebelenii are carefully detached, they should have some roots already formed, and such shoots can be used for propagation. Pot each shoot in an 8 cm pot of the standard potting mixture, place it in bright filtered light, and water it sparingly-just enough to keep the mixture barely moist. After new top growth indicates that the shoot is well rooted, treat the young plant in the same way as a mature phoenix palm.

Usage
Pygmy date palm excels in containers of all kinds. Also looks great by patios and entry ways. Use clumps of these palms as specimens and to serve as focal point in a mass planting of annuals. Also nice combined with evergreen shrubs in a mixed hedge. This rugged little palm looks great indoors – just give it a bright spot and keep it out of drafts (and away from where someone could brush against the spines – see Warning).

Phoenix roebelenii is said to remove formaldehyde and xylene (a chemical found in plastics and solvents) from the air.

WARNING
Many palms are armed with dangerous spines and other sharp edges. But we are most likely to come in painful contact with those of smaller stature like the pygmy date palm. This palm has sharp needle-like spines arranged near the base of the leaf stem. These can easily penetrate skin, tissue – sometimes even protective clothing. This often results in painful infections and possibly other, direr complications. Keep this plant away from children’s play areas and walkways. Use caution and sturdy protective clothing when gardening near this and similar palms.

Summary:

Phoenix
These plants require some special conditions and are unlikely to thrive without them.

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7C  max 16C
Temperature in active growth period – min 16C max 24C
Humidity – low

 



Palms, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , ,

Indoor Plants

It matters little whether an indoor garden is a few pots on a window-sill or a luxuriant garden room. Whatever the size of a collection of indoor plants, it adds a bright new dimension to the domestic scene. Even if you live in the country and have the green outdoors at the threshold, indoor plants bring a different view of the outdoor world into your home. Centuries of exploration, experimentation and imagination have culminated in today’s richness of choice for indoor gardeners. No matter what the outdoor climate, we can now enjoy the brilliant colours and fragrances of a great variety of plants from tropical rain forests and arid desserts. And we can do so simply by staying home and tending our indoor gardens.

Indoor Plants

Indoor Plants

The range of plants suitable for growing indoors is so vast, and widens so swiftly as commercial growers produce more and more exotic varieties, that the choice can be bewildering. What plants should you acquire? Should you narrow down your collection and begin to specialise in cacti, or orchids or bromeliads? Or should you broaden your horizons and search for splendid and startling new forms? In the end, of course, the answers to such questions must be dictated by personal tastes. Assuming that you can provide the right growing conditions for a plant, the ultimate decision as to whether it is right for you and your home is bound to depend on your instinctive reactions to one or more of the plant’s attractive features.

When considering a plant in a florist’s shop or at a nursery, however, do not forget that it is a living thing. Life means growth, and growth means change. You may find the current shape and size of the plant pleasing. Will they remain so? Only rarely do we buy mature plants, and a young specimen can shape up in surprising ways as it ages. A palm can take more than a decade to grow impressively tall and elegant. Some plants improve with age, but others deteriorate. The constant attraction of most permanent indoor plants lies in the foliage, but it sometimes lies in the flowers as well. Is the plant that you are contemplating buying going to flower attractively? When, and under what conditions? What will it look like during the annual rest period, if it has one? Questions like these are always worth asking. And there remains that basic question for the truly concerned gardener: how will this plant relate to the rest of the collection?

Plants Greats for Pots

Plants Greats for Pots

There is no reason why an outstanding collection of indoor plants should not include a broad range of different species. Certain colours and textures clash with one another or with room furnishings, however. Moreover, attractive-looking combinations can work badly just because the various plants require different amounts of warmth and light. For these and other reasons, relationships among plants are more important than is realised by the person who casually acquires a plant just because he or she ‘likes the look of it.’ An informed interest in relationships often inspires the indoor gardener to begin to concentrate on cultivating a single type of plant.

Some people are cactus or orchid enthusiasts, others are bromeliad or fern connoisseurs, still others specialise in gesneriads, and so on. This type of specialisation can be fun even on quite a small scale. In the genus Peperomia, for example, you can find infinite variety. Peperomias have leaves varying in shape from round to heart-shaped, in texture from smooth to hairy to quilted, in colour from dark green to olive and grey, in pattern from variegations of silver and cream to pinks and purples. A Ficus collection would have even greater possibilities. The genus includes creeping and trailing plants, shrubs and trees. And the foliage is as diverse as the natural habitats of the species, which come from such places as the rain forests of India, Malaysia, Africa and South America, and the cool, high altitudes of the Himalayas and northern China.

Variety. Diversity. Change. These words and what they stand for are at the heart of the world of indoor plants. A potted plant is not a dainty objet d’art. It is a fascinating organism, which will respond dynamically to all the appreciative care you can give it.
There are few reason to be surrounded by indoor plants:
– Indoor plants help people relax and increase speed on computer tasks involving mental concentration.
– Indoor plants reduce dust and increase relative humidity.
– Indoor plants reduce physical discomfort and do more than just give you something to focus on other than pain.



General Information

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