view:  full / summary

Tillandsias (air plants)

Posted on August 27, 2021 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (1353)

Air plants, Aerophytes or Tillandsias are members of Bromeliad family. Tillandsia species are epiphytes.Epiphyte plants are well known for their durability. They thrive on trunks and branches of trees high above ground. Their roots have only the purpose of clinging to the bark. They gain all the nutrients through rainwater and moisture in the air. Green Tillandsias thrive in tropical and subtropical climate. They should spend winters in warm (above 15°C) and bright space. Grey and silver white Tillandsias thrive in dry, steppe and mountain regions and should spend winters at temperatures above 8°C. They can spend summers outside on direct sunlight. We spray them daily on sunny days and every 2-3 days in cloudy weather. The parent plant slowly dries up after blossoming but produces several offshoots that grow on in right circumstances. They are resistant to plant diseases.

Caring for your air plants:
Tillandsias grow differently than most other house plants, so can be confusing to the beginner. They are really very hardy, and require much less attention than other house plants. The following simplifies the instruction but you can scroll down for much more specific information.

Protect them from frosts 

Most prefer cool night temperatures - below 60 degrees if it can be provided. 

Give them bright, filtered light. 

Provided the atmosphere is not too dry (as in an air-conditioned home) they require relatively little watering. 

If you are growing them indoors and the air is dry, you will need to submerge the plant in water for 2-3 hours about every two weeks. Otherwise, in a shade-house or unheated home, you can soak once or twice a week in summer, once a month in cooler weather. 

by adding a pinch of Orchid fertilizer to your water. 

keeping your plants hydrated while on vacation

Posted on August 3, 2021 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (156)

Plants are living beings and prefer regular care, but frequent or lengthy absences need not stop you from filling your home with greenery. Some house plants, such as cacti and succulents, can literally go for months without water and should be perfect for even frequent travelers. By using watering systems such as wicks, capillary matting, and hydroculture, you can keep most plants happy for two weeks or even more. The plants that need the least care are those grown in sealed terrariums. They can often go for years without water!  Leaving House Plants at Home
If you suddenly find yourself facing a prolonged absence and your house plants aren’t able to survive on their own, there is no need to panic. There are a few last-minute tricks you can try to keep even difficult house plants living during long periods without regular care.
Start by setting them in a shady spot and removing any flowers and buds to reduce the amount of water they need. Although plants normally don’t like waterlogged soil, they can put up with it occasionally, so set them in a deep tray and literally flood them with water. After this treatment, most plants can go for at least three weeks on their own.

Fragile plants can be covered in plastic when you are away from home for a long time. Since no water is lost to evaporation, plants can go for over a month without care.
Finally, you can simply leave your plants in the care of a horticulturally experienced neighbor. Have your neighbor come in once or twice a week and water as needed.

The Benefits of Indoor Plants

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (186)
The Effects of Indoor Plants on Health and Discomfort Symptoms
A Norwegian study from 1995-96 provides the best evidence for the health benefits of plants. The research team studied 60 office workers whom each experienced a plant and no plant condition during the spring months.
In the first year of the study, half of the subjects had a planter installed on their window sill and a large floor plant near their desks, while the other subjects experienced their standard office conditions without plants. The plants were grown in a mixture of Leca pears, peat, and compost. They were maintained by a professional service.

In the second year of the study, the conditions were reversed and the plants were moved to the workspaces of the no-plants group. The researchers studied health symptoms using a standardized survey instrument that measured:
  • Neuropsychological symptoms (fatigue, headache, concentration problems)
  • Mucous membrane symptoms (cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, eye irritation)
  • Skin problems (dry or flushed skin)

The analysis compared symptoms when plants were present and when they were absent. The results showed that:
  • Neuropsychological symptoms were reduced by 23% when plants were present. Fatigue reduced the most – by 30%
  • Mucous membrane symptoms were reduced by 24% overall when plants were present. Cough decreased by 37% and dry throat by 25%
  • Dry or flushed skin was reduced by 23% with plants in the workspace

The researchers suggest that health improvements were likely due to two mechanisms: improved air quality and the psychological value of being in a more pleasing environment. The presence of plants may have created a microclimate effect that resulted in increased moisture (which could influence mucous membrane systems) as well as a cleansing of the chemicals in the air.
Other studies have also found that plants can positively influence air quality, but there is much debate over how many and what types of plants would be required for effective removal of airborne toxins.

For instance, a 1989 study assessed the use of plants to remove formaldehyde and zylene from the air in test chamber studies. This research was prompted by an EPA study that found high levels of these chemicals in newly constructed office buildings in the 1990’s. The chemicals are commonly found in building materials and furnishings.

The researchers found that plants were effective in continuously removing the chemicals from the air in the test chambers. Both the plant leaves and the micro-organisms in the soil contributed to the improved air quality.

A more recent study in 2004, also conducted in a test chamber, found that plants removed airborne doses of benzene within 24 hours. Both the leaves and soil microorganisms proved effective in removal of the chemical from the air. The authors concluded that “the findings demonstrate the capacity of the potted plant microcosm to contribute to cleaner indoor air and to lay the foundation for the development of the plant system as a complementary biofiltration system.”

The Air Purifier Plant

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (12421)
Sanseviera is, in my opinion the most modern looking and befenficial of indoor plants. It's unfortunate this plant is given dreadful names,   “Snake Plant”,  which is due to  its variegated scale-motif colors of dark green, light green, white and yellow,  and  another horrible  name,  ” Mohter-in-law’s Tongue”, which is named after its bladelike shape leaves.
Sansevieria as an Air Filter
This amazing plant gained its popularity in 1999,  when after a 25-year research, NASA revealed that Sansevieria has an excellent capability of absorbing 107 unknown air pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen monoxide.   Another study by Wolverton Environmental Service found that Sansevieria, the Mohter-in-law’s Tongue, absorbs formaldehyde, chloroform, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene. Thus Sansevieria does the job of purifying the indoor air.
There are about 15 plants that NASA recommended as pollutant absorber plants, but Sansevieria is apparently the most ideal, as this plant is easy to grow, has a  long life  time with an excellent capacity to absorb many household toxic airborne pollutants and convert them to harmless substances. A study found that Sansevieria can absorb up to 80% of air pollutants. Just 2 potted mature Sansevieria can clean the air pollution of a 100 sqft room. Another virtue of Sansevieria is it has  CAM metabolism (crasulaceaen acid metabolism);   releasing oxygen to the air at night, and not consuming it like other plants commonly do.  This makes Sansevieria ideal to be used as an indoor plant, as a natural way to fight Sick Building Syndrome.
Considering the kind of toxic airborne substances  this Mohter-in-law’s Tongue can absorb, by using Sansevieria as an indoor plant you will be saved from a wide range of health risks such as,  irritation to skin and eyes, dizziness, weakness, euphoria, headache, nausea, blurred vision, respiratory diseases, tremors, irregular heartbeat, liver and kidney damage, and even paralysis.
Many proved that Sansevieria does not only absorb the indoor pollutants, it also eliminates bad odors. So if your new furniture still has a strong adhesive smell, or you just painted the wall, or your room constantly smells bad, 2 pots of  mature Sansevieria probably can  free you from suffering undesired odor.

The Feng Shui Symbolism of the Money Plant Tree

Posted on May 31, 2011 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (167)
The money plant tree is a special type of bonsai plant by the name of Pachira Aquatica and is commonly used in feng shui practices. This tree is actually a combination of separate plants, usually five,  intertwined or braided at the trunk. The term was coined in the 1980’s after it grew in popularity across Asia. The first money tree was created in Taiwan by a man who had a few of these individual plants braided while it was still in the growing stage. It has become a common household plant throughout the world.
This plant comes in a small pot, its trunks intertwined and the leaves grow out in different directions. It is fairly easy to grow and care for. Like any other indoor plant, a little watering and sun exposure will do. Not enough water will cause the leaves to dry out and crinkle. On the other hand, too much water will cause the stems to rot and the leaves to brown and fall out. It’s also important to never mist the leaves directly. Water as needed and allow the plant to dry between watering. The money plant tree is able to thrive on little sun exposure, they have trouble tolerating extreme heat so do not place it under direct sunlight. If well cared for, a money tree can grow up to 6 to 7 feet.
A money plant tree is said to attract wealth and prosperity, and bring good luck to those who have it. The plant is symbolic, because there are five leaves stemming from each branch and that basically represents the five elements of feng shui, wood, water, earth, fire and metal. It not only adds life to a room, which is an important principle of feng shui, it also helps maintain balance and harmony in a given space where an element may otherwise be lacking. This makes the money tree a great addition for a feng shui home office.
There are many places suitable for placing a money plant tree, however the most ideal places include areas where money is kept, such as cash registers and safe deposit boxes. It’s an ideal gift idea for new businesses to help attract wealth. Other places to prominently display this plant are areas where there is an unbalanced energy according to the feng shui compass, and the wealth and prosperity corner of a room according to the map bagua.

6 Houseplants You Can't Kill

Posted on May 21, 2011 at 8:37 AM Comments comments (309)
The following 6 houseplants pretty much grow themselves. In fact, your biggest problem my be what to do with all the baby plants they’ll produce. All 6 can be grown in the indirect light from a window and like the same indoor temperatures as most people (55 - 75 degrees F.)As with any houseplant, there is always the threat of insect pests like aphids, scale, spider mites and whiteflies. But disease-wise the only things you’re likely to incur is root rot, from too much watering. So these 6 indoor plants are perfect for someone who always forgets to water their plants.Easy Houseplants
  1. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) Earned its name by growing under the worst of conditions, even outdoors in deep shade. Prefers low lights. Grows in a clump. Leaves are sword-like, pointed, about 4" wide & 2' long. Occasionally flowers indoors. A variegated version is available with white stripes.
  2. Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus orSchlumbergera) A trailing member of the cactus family that produces deep pink / red flowers in early winter. Seems to do its best when ignored. Can handle low light, but you’ll get more flowers in bright light. Pruning after blooming with keep the plant bushy. You can force your Christmas cactus to bloom in December by keeping it in complete darkness for 12 hours a night, beginning in about mid-October, until buds appear. An even easier method is to subject it to cool temperatures (50 - 55 degrees F.) starting in November. Just leave it on a windowsill at home while the heat is off, because you’re at work.
  3. Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) & Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderian)Dracaena have long been the centerpiece of container plantings. Street plantings in towns across America feature 1 spiky dracaena stuck in the center of red blooming geraniums in a half whisky barrel. But there is actually a good amount of variety in dracaena and most make excellent, easy care houseplants. In particular, Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) which resembles a small palm tree and can reach heights of 10 ft. and Lucky Bamboo, which isn’t bamboo at all. Both have stems that can be trained to bend or spiral hin stems are topped by clusters of slender arching leaves with narrow purple margins. They grow best in bright light and if allowed to dry out between waterings. Even if allowed to wilt, dracaena will spring back after watering, although the leaf tips may turn brown. Will tolerate low light. Lucky bamboo is often grown in water, but once substantial roots have formed, it is happier planted in soil.
  4. Mother-in-law's tongue or Snake plant or Bird's-nest plant (Sansevieria) Called Mother-in-law’s tongue because of its long, sharp, pointed leaves and because it never leaves. These are long-lived, easy care houseplants. Very tolerant of low light. Water sparingly or it will rot. Only 1 or 2 waterings are necessary indoors during the winter, depending on the humidity. Variegated forms need more light and can be more difficult to grow. There is also a dwarf variety, Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, called Bird’s Nest.
  5. Pothos (Epipremnum) One of the easiest houseplants to grow; almost impossible to kill. Trailing plants that just keep on growing, 10+ feet. Pruning the plants will keep them fuller at the base and each cutting can be rooted in water to create more plants. Pothos like to dry out between waterings, but if left dry too long, leaves with wilt and eventually dry and fall. Very tolerant of all types of light conditions, even artificial office lights. You can let them trail down or secure them to a support or trellis. There are many variegated and golden varieties available.
  6. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Spider plants just keep on giving. You almost never see a spider plant that doesn’t have babies attached. Often grown in hanging baskets, spider plants will get 2 to 2½’ wide and 2 to 3' long. Their roots tend to fill a pot, so repotting may be necessary every couple of years. When dangling babies start to form roots, they can be cut off and planted on their own.

Some More Easy Care Houseplants Worth a Try :
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia)
  • Aloe (Aloe)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
  • Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)
  • Jade plant
  • Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Prayer plant (Maranta)
  • Rubber plant or Rubber tree (Ficus elastica)

The Top 10 House plants For Preventing Diseases, Including Cancer!

Posted on May 5, 2011 at 9:09 PM Comments comments (69)
Often people do not understand why they feel sick on a regular basis and why we develop symptoms that worsen over time. We hardly know that inside our house, various toxins are present at any time: toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate, methylene, acetone and chloroform, none of which are healthy.
Among other toxins present, three are of major concern: benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which could lead to serious health problems like asthma,cancer and various allergies.
In recent years, scientists at NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) have discovered that there are various houseplants that keep our household air clean and pure and balance indoor humidity. Not only do these plants absorb pollutants, they also scrub harmful gases out of the air and help fight pollution. How incredible!
Let's visit a gallery of a few of these beneficial types of houseplants, which can take good care of indoor pollution.
10. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
A beautiful houseplant with long grassy leaves, the spider plant is also a rapidly growing plant. This elegant plant is great at removing poisonous gases as well as other impurities like formaldehyde and xylene. For better effect, it should be kept in the kitchen or near the fireplace as these are the places where carbon monooxide accumulates a lot.
9. Boston fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata bostoniensis)
An exotic plant that has gracefully arching fronds and frilly leaves, the Boston fern also acts as a natural humidifier. Boston ferns grow better in filtered sunlight and in humid conditions. By releasing moisture into the air, they remove nasty air pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and xylene, and provide clean air inside the home.
8. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Despite its poisonous leaves, English Ivy is a very popular houseplant and best suitable for patients with asthma and allergic conditions. Easy to grow in bright sunlight, the plant has the amazing capability of removing benzene, formaldehyde as well as off-gassing various chemicals released by synthetic materials. So, it keeps the inside air non-toxic. With its ground-covering property, the plant often serves well in landscaping.
7. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
This very sensitive plant with feathery fronds is best known as a humidifier. Therefore, it is best in places where winters can get quite brutal. Though the plant grows slowly and needs year-round care, it can be kept anywhere in the house, especially next to newly varnished furniture or in carpeted areas. The areca palm helps remove deadly toxins like formaldehyde and xylene.
6. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Also known as Devil’s Ivy or Silver Vine, the Golden Pothos is a highly invasive plant. With evergreen leaves and progressive stems, this hardy plant easily overtakes its surrounding area. Yet it is also very efficient in removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and xylene. But, care should be taken as the plant is toxic to small animals such as dogs and cats, and even kids.
5. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
We all know that aloe vera is present in many skin care products. Not only does it help with skin burns but also with filtering various gas emissions from dangerously toxic materials. Claimed to possess tons of medicinal properties, this incredible plant can also be grown as an ornamental plant.
4. Chinese Evergreen (aglaonema modestum)
An excellent air-purifier plant, Chinese evergreen is a herbaceous perennial plant. A very common houseplant with shiny, green leaves that have interesting markings on them, it grows even better with less water and minimum light. It can filter out airborne toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.
3. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Widely used as an ornamental plant, the snake plant is an evergreen perennial plant that is tolerant of irregular watering and less lightning. Scientists at NASA have found out that this plant has the amazing capability to absorb formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides and a variety of other chemicals present in the air.
2. Marginata (Dracaena marginata)
One cannot ignore the beauty of Marginata, a plant that has glossy thin leaves with red edges. It is a very famous, slow-growing flowering houseplant with very few growing requirements. It removes not only formaldehyde and benzene from the air, but is also capable of filtering other toxins present there. However, proper care should be taken while placing the plant inside, as it could be poisonous to dogs.
1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Our top houseplant is the peace lily, best known for reducing harmful indoor toxins that may cause cancer. An easy-to-care-for houseplant, the peace lily is a great pollution fighter and air-purifier. It helps in removing benzene and formaldehyde present in the house. No doubt this plant is recommended for homes that meet the term ‘sick building syndrome’.
Life on Earth depends on plants, whether directly or indirectly. We can’t ignore the fact that plants do keep the air clean and pollution free by absorbing the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
"We feel that future results will provide an even stronger argument that common indoor landscaping plants can be a very effective part of a system used to provide pollution free homes and work places", says Dr. Bill Wolverton, former senior research scientist at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center.
Today, we can see the effect of global warming and pollution on human health as well as on plants. Why not call me today and decorate your house with some life-saver plants?

Hate Dusting? Get Some Plants!

Posted on April 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM Comments comments (138)
Forget about buying expensive air-purifying equipment. You can beautify your home and clear the air all at the same time by using houseplants to do the job.
According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, NASA experiments in air purification in space are showing that certain types of common houseplants do a terrific job getting rid of indoor pollutants that can cause a range of health problems.
There is a growing body of evidence that plants can reduce dust particles and contaminants such as formaldehyde and benzene that come from cigarette smoke, paint and paint thinner, furniture, building materials and other noxious sources. 
There has been mounting concern about the quality of indoor air. We spend more than 90 percent of our time inside, where levels of pollution can be two to five times higher than outside, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Indoor air pollutants come primarily in two forms: particle pollution, which includes dust, pollen, animal dander, smoke and gaseous pollutants such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that come from building materials, dry-cleaned clothing and aerosol sprays.
While there is still not enough hard evidence to make it an official mainstream policy, there is a big body of research that validates the efficacy of potted plants as air purifiers. One study suggests that six or more plants in a 1,200- to 1,500-square foot house could notably reduce contaminants. Some plants are especially helpful and target specific pollutants as indicated in this list.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) for benzene, toluene, octane, alpha-pinene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
Mother-In-Law's Tongue  (Sansevieria trifasciata) for alcohol, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) for formaldehyde, ammonia, n-hexane, and benzene.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)for acetone, ammonia, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, trichloroethylene, xylene, n-hexane and toluene.
Devil's Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) for carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene.
Flamingo Flower (Anthurium) for ammonia, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and benzene.
Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis) for trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene.
Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) for benzene, toluene, octane, alpha-pinene and trichloroethylene.
Big box retailers such as Lowe's and Home Depot are now selling plants with tags promoting their air-cleaning abilities. Going green was never so easy.

Indoor plants help you lose weight!

Posted on March 31, 2011 at 6:01 PM Comments comments (168)
house plantHouse plants have many advantages in any interior, whether at home or office. They are not only visually appealing, but offer many health benefits as well.
With so many pollutants in our environment today, it is not surprising that the quality of indoor air can be worse than the air in city streets. Most ventilation systems are designed to maintain the temperature thus recycling the same air continuously trapped with the contaminants in our homes and offices. We carry the dangerous particles in our homes, our clothes, we use chemicals, and even the furniture and paintings that we use in our homes trap contaminates. more contaminants to enter and build up to dangerous levels at times.
The addition of indoor plants can help filter the air, of course, and add a slight boost of oxygen into the bloodstream through the natural process of photosynthesis. Having a healthy environment can help give energy and vitality to lose weight, complete a project, or even start something new and help you feel good in the process. It makes sense!
Plants even help reduce or prevent colds and allergies with the addition of moisture in the air and dust.

New Study Suggests Indoor Plants Make You Smarter!

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 10:39 PM Comments comments (150)
fan palmYou are probably aware that eating plants is good for you. However, what you may not know is that plants can provide benefits even if your taste buds run for cover at the first mention of spinach. New research is beginning to show that just having plants in your workspace may improve how you think.
In a study to be published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, researchers show that the mere presence of plants in an office setting boosts one’s ability to maintain attention.
As humans spend more of their lives in front of screens, scientists have devoted more attention to the effects these artificial environments have on the mind. Sometimes, this new study suggests, it may be possible to reap benefits with simple changes in decorating strategy.
These findings build on a body of research based on Attention Restoration Theory. According to this theory, the reason why you can stare at spreadsheets for only so long before wanting to toss your computer monitor through the window is that everyone has a limited capacity for this kind of work. This limited capacity system makes use of “directed attention” which is effortful, controlled voluntarily, and diminishes with use.
You can contrast this with the kind of attention that is engaged when you are out walking in a park. Your attention is drawn first to that leaf, then to another. The shadow of a bird streaking across the green grass pulls your eyes along… until a flash of color from flowers by the path grabs your focus. This second kind of attention, called undirected attention, is effortless, automatically oriented to interesting features of our surroundings, and, according to the theory, allows the directed attention system to rest and rejuvenate itself.
Scientists have shown that exposure to naturalistic environments, such as those with much foliage, has regenerative effects for directed attention. However, much of the research in this area has been done with natural scenes on a larger scale – for example, by having participants walk through a park or look at pictures of dense plant life.
Research on whether one can still attain the regenerative advantages by simply having a few plants in your workplace has led to mixed results. For example, in one study, participants in a college computer lab with plants showed increased productivity. However, another study failed to find any benefits associated with plants. Still others have found plant-associated benefits only for men, or only for women.
The authors of the present study suggest that these inconsistencies can result from the use of different tools between labs. Just as your doctor measures your health in a number of ways – from taking your blood pressure, to determining your body-fat percentage – so too do psychologists have a number of ways to measure attention. Each measurement tool, depending on how exactly it works and which aspect of attention it measures, may lead to a different result.
For this experiment, the authors decided to use a Reading Span Task, which involves reading a series of sentences aloud and remembering the last word in each sentence. Similar to the way you might need to remember some information from a spreadsheet before entering it into a word processing document, this task requires that you fluidly switch between attention demanding tasks: from reading and memorizing at one moment, to writing and recalling at the next. The authors chose this particular measure because the ability to remember and recall information while switching between tasks taps into the “central executive processes” which are thought to be a critical component for directed attention.
To test their hypothesis that plants in an office setting would lead to benefits, the authors placed some participants in an office with four plants placed around a desk, and others in the same room without plants. All the participants first took a Reading Span Task to establish a baseline measure of attention capacity, then a proof-reading task, followed by another Reading Span Task to establish any change in their attention capacity.Results of the experiment showed that the participants working in the room with plants improved their performance from the first to the second Reading Span Task, while those in the room without plants did not.It does seem apparent that plants lead to real cognitive benefits, but researchers must still clear up some questions. For example, what is the nature of the relationship between the plants, and the breaks which lead to rejuvenation of directed attention? Do the plants cause people to rest their directed attention system more frequently? Or perhaps the plants qualitatively change the resting period, making the breaks more effective?
 Regardless, it seems clear that the presence of plants in the workspace led to direct benefits for mental functioning. So, even if you have never been one to make your mom happy by eating your veggies, it seems that you can still take advantage of the beneficial effects of leafy greens. Just put some around your desk, and tackle those spreadsheets with a refreshed mind.