Over the lockdown period we have seen a host of new gardeners and old hands too falling in love with indoor plants. The younger generation are labelling themselves as "Plant Parents" and have rediscovered the value of having plants in the home. This month we look at some of our favourites and how to look after them.
Greening the indoors adds some positive energy and of course the air purifying qualities and the fact that they bring oxygen into the home and workspace make them a must have.
Gone are the days of having the same plant for year and years unless they look as good or better than the day you brought them home. As you change your décor plants can get repotted or moved around bringing new energy to the scheme. Flowering plants should be considered the same as a bunch of cut flowers, just more economical, to be thrown out when the flowers go and new ones brought in.
Houseplants should be more than just a trend or fashion. The benefits they bring should in fact make us consider them a necessity rather than just décor. Bringing plants indoors is actually good for your health.
Benefits of indoor plants
They give an assist our breathing - During the day indoor plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which we need. Orchids, succulents and snake plants are ideal in bedrooms as they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night making them ideal for use in the bedroom to keep the oxygen flowing at night. In addition all plants indoors add moisture back into the air indoors as part of their breathing. This helps us in a number of ways especially during the drier winter and spring months.
Removing toxic particles from the air is just another cool benefit most people don’t know about. We found a handy reference image online along with this list of the top 10 plants for removing indoor pollutants, according to NASA.
The NASA list includes: Peace lily (Spathiphyllum), Golden Pothos (Scindapsus), English Ivy (Hedera), Fall Chrysanthemum, Gerbera, Snake Plant (Sansevieria), Bamboo Palm, Dragon Plant (Dracaena) and Spider Plant (Chlorophytum). The NASA researchers also recommend one potted plant per 30M2 of indoor space.
They help you work better - A number of studies with both students and workers reveal that studying or working in the presence of plants improves concentration and memory retention by up to 20%. Productivity also improves with work normally of higher quality and completed with a much higher accuracy rate than work done in environments devoid of nature.
What do they need?
Make sure that the plant receives sufficient light. Indoor plants are categorised as high, medium or low light plants and they need to be positioned in the correct area in the home to accommodate their requirements. In general the first one and a half meters from a clear window constitutes high light. Plants with variegated leaves need a high light situation whereas plants with a dark green leaf generally will handle lover light conditions.
Ensure good air circulation is a must as it helps prevent diseases, but avoid draughts. Water thoroughly less often, rather than little amounts at regular intervals so that the whole root ball gets water not just the surface of the soil.
Keep them fabulous
Over-watering is the single biggest factor that causes the loss of houseplants. The soil should always be allowed to dry out between watering. TIP: Most indoor plants only need to be watered every ten days to alternate week!
Feed indoor plants with Nitrosol or Multifeed Classic once a month for best results.
Remember that they release and absorb all the benefits for us through their leaves. Keep them dust free with a regular shower of tepid water to allow for maximum efficiency.
Most pests on indoor plants can be eradicated with ease by applying the ready-to-use BioKill.
The most common are scale insects identified by brown bumps on the stems, spreading to the leaves and Mealy bug which produces a white cotton-wool like substance on the plants.
Problems such as brown leaf tips, yellowing and dropping of leaves are linked to incorrect watering or incorrect light position.
Famous last words:
- Make sure that the houseplants you already have, are well watered. Not over or under watered.
- Next, give them a special treat today... a little fertiliser.
- Stand by your houseplant and breathe in the air! It’s giving off oxygen ... just for you!
- Teach your kids about growing and caring for plants using indoor plants.
- Give a houseplant to a friend, especially the elderly or shut-ins.
- Talk to your plants. Yes, people believe plants respond positively when you talk to them!