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The Indoor Garden: Plants that Clean the Air
There are many reasons for creating an indoor garden ? significant among them is the need to clean the toxins from our homes and offices. As a consequence of the energy crisis in the 1970's, today's homes and offices are built to conserve energy and the outcome has been a lack of air exchange, with the resulting increase of indoor air pollution. The World Health Organization has stated, "there's probably more damage to human health from indoor pollution than from outdoor pollution." Symptoms associated with indoor pollution include allergies, asthma, eye, nose, and throat irritations, fatigue, headache, nervous system disorders, respiratory and sinus congestion. In today's society more and more people exhibit these symptoms as a result of staying indoors the majority of the time.
One of the ways we can change this predicament is to become knowledgeable about and responsive to the environment that we live and breathe in. Foliage plants give us the opportunity to not only provide the calming influences of nature in our homes and workplaces, but also provide us with the oxygen we need to live. In a study conducted by N.A.S.A., researchers found that plants also clean the air inside our homes, buildings, and offices. The sources of chemical emissions that cause indoor air pollution include: acetone, alcohols; ammonia; benzene; chloroform; formaldehyde; and xylene.
These chemicals are found in cosmetics, nail polish remover, office correction fluid, pre-printed paper forms, adhesives, carpeting, caulking compounds, ceiling tiles, floor coverings, paints, particleboard, stains, varnishes, cleaning products, electrophotographic printers, microfiche developers, photocopiers, photography supplies, plastics, spot removers, solvents, tobacco smoke, wall coverings, carpet glue, draperies, fabrics, facial tissues, furniture made from preserved wood, gas stoves, grocery bags, paper towels, permanent-press clothing, plywood, upholstery, computer VDU screens, and community water supplies that add chloroform to chlorinated tap water.
Researchers have discovered the most effective plants are: Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) ? removes chemical vapours; Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum) ? removes chemical vapours; Azalea (Rhododendron simsii hybrids) ? removes chemical vapours; Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') ? the best fern for removing air pollutants; Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) ? removes chemical vapours; Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera 'Bridgesii') ? removes chemical vapours; Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) ? removes chemical vapours; Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig') ? best of the dracaenas for removing chemical toxins from the indoor environment; Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckii') ? especially effective for the removal of benzene; Dracaena (Dracaena marginata) ? among the best plants for removing xylene; Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana') ? especially effective at removing air toxins such as formaldehyde; English ivy (Hedera helix) ? particularly effective at removing formaldehyde; Florist's mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium) ? one of the best flowering or seasonal plants for removing formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from the atmosphere; Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) ? removes chemical vapours; Miniature date palm (Phoenix roebelinii) ? one of the best palms for removing indoor air pollutants, especially effective for the removal of xylene; Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) ? excels in the removal of alcohol, acetone, benzene, and formaldehyde; Red emerald philodendron (Philodendron erubescens) ? one of the best philodendrons for removing indoor air pollutants; Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) ? good for removing chemical vapours; Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum') ? effective for removing indoor air pollutants as well as chemical vapours; and Wax begonia (Begonia semperflorens) ? good for removing chemical vapours.
These are some of the plants known to contribute to healthy air quality in our homes, buildings, and offices. Some plants may be better than others are but all plants clean the air as they beautify our surroundings and add oxygen and humidity to the indoor environment. Horticulturist Ken Beattie suggests, "The next plant you buy may save your life."
Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace ? Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul and the booklet Non-toxic Alternatives For Everyday Cleaning And Gardening Products. She owns the website Gwen's Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the books and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca
Gwen Nyhus Stewart © 2004 ? 2005. All rights reserved.
External vs. Submersible Pumps. Which One Should You Use?
For many people, it's never been a question of whether to use a submersible pump vs. an external pump because most people have smaller ponds and are used to just using a submersible pump. They're easy to install, and are pretty reliable - so why even consider an external pump?
Gardening--Fun and Frugal!
Whether you are an avid vegetable gardener, a beginning herb gardener or just like to have a pretty yard, these frugal tips may help you save a little money!
A Compost Primer
Most gardeners and landscapers will agree almost unanimously that the single best thing you can do for your lawn is to add compost. Good, organic compost can remedy almost any problem you have with your soil. If you soil is too acidic, adding compost will help neutralize it and bring it back to a proper pH level. If your soil is too alkaline, ditto! Adding compost will help balance the alkalinity in the soil. If you live in an area with a lot of heavy clay, adding compost will help loosen and aerate the soil. If you live in a coastal or southern area with a lot of sand, adding compost will help bind it together. Soil lacking nutrients? Add compost to add new life to overworked soil.
Online Garden Seed Exchanges
If you've been gardening for any length of time you have probably realized a couple of things.
Lawn Care Information
Recent lawn care information reports that a lot of us might be guilty of over-kill when it comes to tending our family turf. What may be the most effective way to solve problems may not be the best way for the long-term health of our lawns and safety of our families.
February in the Garden
Often in February there is a surprisingly warm day. Everybody sheds their coats and puts a bounce in their step. The next day they hear a snow plow at 4 AM. But the brief warmup gets you thinking "what is there to do in the landscape?"
Balcony, Patio, and Courtyard Gardening
People choose balcony, patio, and courtyard gardening for many different reasons. Some are moving from a large house to smaller accommodation, some don't want the hassle of a large property, and some chose to live in rental property to avoid the high-cost of owning a home. Whatever the reason, this doesn't mean we can't garden. No space is too small for a small space garden. One plant in a container is a garden. In fact, ever more gardening options are available in terms of pots, half-barrels, window boxes, troughs, cast-iron planters, recycled materials ? the list is unending with possibilities.
Tranquility in Your Own Back Yard
A garden fountain can add beauty and serenity to you yard or garden. It's long been known that running water can aid in relaxation. The addition of a water fountain can not only add a stunning center piece to you landscape design but also improve your overall experience of relaxation.
How to Grow Bananas
If your grocer says, "Yes, we have no bananas. We have no bananas today," it isn't surprising since the banana is the world's second favorite fruit, surpassed in popularity only by the apple. Once only grown in tropical climates, the good news is that several varieties can be grown in northern areas as well as in the south.
Teak Adirondack Chairs
Outdoor furniture constructed with teak wood is a favorite among consumers due to the beauty and durability of the individual pieces. For this reason, a wide variety of outdoor furniture is made using teak ranging from teak Adirondack chairs to classic, formal furnishings.
Preliminary Considerations Before Building Your Own Backyard Garden Pond
This article is geared towards the beginner water gardener, who is comtemplating the installation of his/her first garden pond. The key to a successful do-it-yourself project is to gather as much relevant information that you can. To follow are some preliminary considerations and design tips that must be taken into account, before embarking on a water gardening project.
Liner Ponds versus Folding Preformed Ponds
Come With Me To The Casbah!
A ripe persimmon is a thing of beauty ? sweet, succulent and an amazing shade of orange-red. Orange and red continue to be popular colors in decorating this year but 2004's shades are softer and more vibrant, like ripe persimmons and pomegranates.
Selling Your House? Mow Your Lawn!
A property that has a well manicured lawn has one of the best chances at showing pride in ownership than any other outdoor technique.
The Advantages of Silk Flowers
The silk flower is growing in popularity among young couples and families for many different reasons. Many event hosts or planners struggle over whether to choose fresh flowers or artificial flowers. Silk flowers are non-allergenic, will never wilt and can be maintained as keepsakes for years. There are many more positive effects in ordering or owning silk flowers.
7 Factors Needed for a Compost Pile
Compost, made from decomposed grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and branches, becomes a dark, crumbly mixture of organic matter.
Plant A Simple Tea Garden
Materials Needed 1 decorative clay or metal planter 1 package of clay pellets (approx. 30 pellets) 3 packets of organic tea leaves seeds (YOUR CHOICE) Grow-rich or nutrient-rich potting soil (ASK YOUR NURSERY FOR THE BEST RECOMMENDATION FOR YOUR AREA) Directions 1. Spread the clay pellets evenly along bottom of planter. These will absorb water and promote healthy root development of the tea plants. 2. Moisten potting soil in a large plastic bag and then spread mix over clay pellets in planter, leaving 1/2 inch at top of planter. 3. Sprinkle seeds on soil, leaving about 2 or so inches between different varieties. 4. Lightly cover the seeds with dry soil, and then moisten slightly with a spray bottle or a few drops of water. 5. Label the varieties of tea on the bottom or side of planter, or create popsicle-stick signs to place in the soil. 6. Move planter to a warm place in indirect sunlight until germination takes place. After germination, relocate planter to a warm area with natural sunlight. 7. When tea leaves reach a height of about two inches, thin out seedlings across the total planter surface to provide adequate space for future growth. 8. Water periodically, only when the soil is moderately dry.DO NOT OVERWATER!!)
The String Algae Blues
Now that Spring is upon us and things are coming back to life in your pond with the warmer weather, many of us are battling with string algae. String algae is caused primarily by a combination of the buildup of organic nutrients in the water, and sunlight.
Want a Garden, But Don?t have Enough Dirt Or Space? Hydroponics Gardening Is The Answer!
Hydroponics gardening is the perfect solution for anybody who wants a garden, but does not have enough space or dirt. Hydroponics gardening is, simply put, a method of growing plants using a nutrient solution instead of dirt. With hydroponics gardening, you are able to grow beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables virtually anywhere you want.
Easy Care Of Phalaenopsis
Do you have a knack for being with moths? Most people would say, "no way". Yet, the moth orchids that I am talking about are the ones that sway nicely in the breeze and some of the newer hybrids have a nice fragrance. These moths are easy to care for, especially a beginner. These moths are found very frequently in gardens. These are the phalaenopsis orchids.
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