Clean Indoor Air with Succulents

Here we have an interesting discussion of how your home or office can be polluted with toxic substances in the air.  This video mentions how to clean indoor air with succulents and other plants.  Plants that clean the inside air are beneficial for your home or office.

We’re on the road again today and we’re at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and it is the perfect place to be with frigid temperatures outside and it’s nice and toasty in here.  We’ll learn all about houseplants not only how to take care of them but how they purify the air.  Let’s meet A. J. Ewing and he’s the outdoor display foreman here at Phipps and we’ll talk to him next.

Stag Horns the Christmas Fern – so the original study was performed by NASA in the early 80s and they took what was then common household plants that you could buy at a nursery or local garden center.  And they created this bio home which they put plants in it and – materials – household materials – that have VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are known neurotoxins, carcinogens.  Yeah, they are everywhere.  They’re in carpet fibers.  They’re in staining – wood stains – glues for baseboards – floor boards.  They’re in your paints – anything plastic.  I mean your TV or entertainment center – anything that you’re holding – your remote.  I mean all these things are off-gassing at surprising rates.

Clean Indoor Air with Succulents

How do the plants purify the air?  Essentially through the photosynthetic process of taking in carbon dioxide in exchange for sugars and in that process they’re taking in through chemical exchange and the stomata under the leaf and they’re helping to purify the air and release oxygen.

So let’s talk about some ones that are easy to grow, that anybody can grow that will purify the air.  Yeah, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Sansevieria, the Snake Plant, very easy to maintain.   Yeah, there’s the Gold Edge.  There’s the Gold Twist. There are different varieties that can – are nice to accessorize in a container that isn’t where you traditionally think of as a Snake Plant.  Christmas Cactus is an easy one to maintain.  I’m a big fan of the Philodendron Prince of Orange.  I think you can get some really neat textures out of it and color; easy plant to maintain.

Let’s talk about a couple other plants and one that’s right behind me here – the Flowering Maple.

It needs, if it’s indoors, I think the sunniest area you can find.

Ferns?

Ferns are easy to maintain.  There’s all sorts of different varieties – different cultivars.  I like Staghorn Ferns, Bird’s Nest Ferns.

What’s the number one thing that kills houseplants?

Over-watering is the number one culprit.  My rule of thumb is when in doubt let it dry out.  Plants can always recover from being under watered.  It is very difficult for a plant when over watered to bounce back to vitality.  The best method is just a fingertip method putting one or two fingertips onto above the soil rim and feeling if it’s moist.  Sometimes it can feel cold and it’s not moist.  If that’s the case actually just lifting the pot and feeling the weight of the pot and that’s a pretty good indicator if it’s retaining water or if it needs water.  I like to completely flood the container you know.  Maybe put it in your sink if you have a mud sink or wash sink.  Just let it rinse and drip out and then put it back on your saucer back in that spot in your house.

So we practice integrated pest management.  There’s several different methods for which you can control pests.  And the primary one is mechanical which means just physical removal of the plant debris.   If it’s scale on a leaf it’s removing the leaf.  If it’s a mealy bug perhaps just a wet cloth and removing the mealy bug.  So those are very simple non-chemical ways of dealing with the pests.

Plants will tell you when there’s something wrong.

Just looking closely a lot of times at the plant, right, with a magnifying glass?

Yeah, just with a simple magnifying glass but it’s pretty easy to begin to distinguish what the problem is, if it’s a nutrient deficiency or if it’s an actual disease.

So with the magnifying glass you’ll see the bug.

Right correct.

So you’ve got an office in there that has no VOC’s that’s packed with plants.  What are the other benefits of having all those plants in there?

It helps with productivity.  It helps with well-being.  This time of the year when you look out and it’s a grey and cold and snowy and you know you have something living and green and growing next to you can help you get through the season.

For more information about everything we talked about today, including a complete story on house plants, and a really cool photo gallery of the different varieties check, me out online.   That’s also a place where you can see lots of other garden stories and even a picture of the first flower from space.  Now until next week, there’s no way I’m going back out there it’s too cold.  I’m gonna stand here and poke around.  It’s my job.

Enjoyable video to watch on a cold winter afternoon.  This should motivate you to add some air cleaning plants to your home and office as soon as possible.

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