Archive for May, 2014

Dare to wear green

May 28, 2014

ImageI’m amazed at how some people can come up with original ideas like this one by Egle Cekanaviciute. He mixes plants with his designs and turns clothes into couture. His clothes have pockets or compartments where you actually put the soil in and grow the plants. But would you wear one of his creations? I’m not that brave yet and I know I’d be getting strange looks from everyone.

Here are some more logical takes on what we in the plant industry have contributed on a Pic 2real level to fashion. Some are very obvious. Cotton is spun from the fibers attached to the seeds of the cotton plant. Linen is made from the woven fibers of the stems of the flax plant. Some are not so obvious. Silk comes from silk worms. But silk worms eat only the leaves of the white mulberry tree and without this plant, the silk industry would not exist. And you only have to look at a field of cows or sheep grazing on lush, green grass to find the source of wool and leather!

eglece (3)But what about man-made fibers? Well, fabrics such as acrylic and polyester are made from processes that have crude oil as a raw material. Crude oil is formed from the compression over millions of years of tiny marine animals and plants!  http://www.insideplants.net

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Summer Care Tips, Part IV

May 23, 2014

Its hot out there! And getting hotter! Its hard trying to remind ourselves to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen but its harder to know how to care for your plants. Here is our info on taking care of your leafy green friends during this time of year.

humidityHouseplant tip #5: Humidity
During the summer most homes (without air conditioning) have humidity levels in the 40-60% range. This is perfect for indoor plants. It is dry enough to inhibit fungus, but moist enough to keep them comfortable. Desert air has 10-30% humidity…much too dry for all but the cactus and succulents. Rooms, such as the bathroom or kitchen, which tend to have a little higher humidity, are a little more plant friendly. If you want to keep your plants in drier areas, there are some things you can do; adding a humidifier to a room will definitely help, but there are easier ways. In addition begin fertilizing houseplants now that they are actively growing again. If you want to take your houseplants outdoors, keep them out of full-sun locations until they are fully acclimated to outdoor conditions. Monitor houseplants that are outside for insect problems. Hose them down regularly if you notice spider mite feeding. Houseplants can be combined with flowering annuals in container plantings.  www.insideplants.net

Summer Care Tips, Part III

May 22, 2014

Its hot out there! And getting hotter! Its hard trying to remind ourselves to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen but its harder to know how to care for your plants. Here is our info on taking care of your leafy green friends during this time of year.

watering-plants-lgHouseplant tip #3: Water
Plants need water. Plants tend to need less water during the winter than when they are actively growing. However, different plants have different water needs. During their active growing season, most tropical plants need moist, but not soggy soil.  Consistently moist is a phrase I use many times each day.

Houseplant tip #4: Pests
Monitor houseplants kept indoors for mealy bug, spider mites, aphids, whitefly and scale. If spider mites are a problem consider spraying with a labeled horticultural oil or soap and pyrethrum mix. If the plants are large do your spraying outdoors.  www.insideplants.net

Stay tuned for Part IV

Summer Care Tips, Part II

May 21, 2014

Its hot out there! And getting hotter! Its hard trying to remind ourselves to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen but its harder to know how to care for your plants. Here is our info on taking care of your leafy green friends during this time of year.

ImageHouseplant tip #2: Light
Plants need light, but different plants have different requirements. Try to match indoor plants to the environmental condition of your home. There are 3 key aspects of light to keep in mind: Intensity, Duration and Quality. Intensity is the strength of the light. Duration is the length of time the light is available. Compare an east window with a south window. Quality – there are many artificial light sources, but nothing beats the natural light of the sun! Another often overlooked secret is to clean the leaves. Dirty leaves block sunlight, glorious sunlight. Wipe the leaves with a damp sponge, or if your plant is easy to move, simply put it in the shower for awhile. Keep the temperature of the water tepid, not warm or cold. Another benefit of showering your plants is that insect populations might be reduced as they might go down the drain with the dust. If you do notice bugs left after you have given your plant a shower a great way to help kill them without harming your plants is to use an insecticidal soap. www.insideplants.net

Stay tuned for Part III

Summer Care Tips, Part 1

May 20, 2014

Its hot out there! And getting hotter! Its hard trying to remind ourselves to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen but its harder to know how to care for your plants. Here is our info on taking care of your leafy green friends during this time of year.

ImageHouseplant tip #1: Warmth
Since most houseplants are tropical, temperatures are important. Most of our homes are warm enough (although cooling it off by a few degrees at night would actually help our little green friends). Most common houseplants dislike hot and dry conditions. They prefer a cooler, more moist condition than is typical in our homes. If you have a thermostat that allows you to adjust the settings, drop the temperature about 10 degrees at night and you will find some plants will reward you for it. For example, Phalaenopsis (or Moth) Orchids tend to bloom with short days and cooler nights!  www.insideplants.net

Stay tuned for Part II…….

Healthy Environments Part III

May 15, 2014

When you embellish interior spaces with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery. These living organisms interact with your body, mind and home in ways that enhance the quality of life.

ImageSharpening Focus
A study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Circencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70 percent greater attentiveness when they’re taught in rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

How Many Plants?
The recommendations vary based on your goals.

  • To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) every 129 square feet. In office or classroom settings, position plants so each person has greenery in view.
  • To purify air, use 15 to 18 plants in 6- to 8-inch diameter pots for an 1,800-square-foot house. That’s roughly one larger plant every 100 square feet. Achieve similar results with two smaller plants (4- to 5-inch pots).

To learn more about office plant maintenance services, or discuss any indoor plant maintenance issues, please contact us. Inside Plants has been providing premiere home and office plant maintenance in Southern California for over 35 years. www.insideplants.net

Healthy Environments Part II

May 14, 2014

When you embellish interior spaces with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery. These living organisms interact with your body, mind and home in ways that enhance the quality of life.

2011-12-15_10-16-10_441Purifying Air
Plants remove toxins from air – up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents and paint). Benzene is commonly found in high concentrations in study settings, where books and printed papers abound. Modern climate-controlled, air-tight buildings trap VOCs inside. The NASA research discovered that plants purify that trapped air by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant.

Improving Health
Adding plants to hospital rooms speeds recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner. The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In another study by the Agricultural University of Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants.

Stay tuned for part III tomorrow……..

www.insideplants.net

Healthy Environments Part I

May 13, 2014

When you embellish interior spaces with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery. These living organisms interact with your body, mind and home in ways that enhance the quality of life.

ImageBreathing Easier
When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This opposite pattern of gas use makes plants and people natural partners. Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels. At night, photosynthesis ceases, and plants typically respire like humans, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. A few plants – orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads – do just the opposite, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Place these plants in bedrooms to refresh air during the night.

Releasing Water
As part of the photosynthetic and respiratory processes, plants release moisture vapor, which increases humidity of the air around them. Plants release roughly 97 percent of the water they take in. Place several plants together, and you can increase the humidity of a room, which helps keeps respiratory distresses at bay. Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.

Stay tuned for part II tomorrow……..

www.insideplants.net


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