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Indoor Plants Improve Atmosphere

Indoor Plants Improve Atmosphere

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Healthy plants can liven up any room in the house. Many plant lovers insist the secret to healthy plants is tender loving care, including some optimistic words spoken to them daily. There is an interesting reason why this may actually be helpful. According to ScienceNet, plants need carbon dioxide to grow, and when you talk to a plant, you breath on it, giving it an extra infusion of CO2.

Even if you don't talk to your plants the most essential elements in plant care are ensuring the right amounts of light and water. So make sure to match your plants and their locations wisely. Unless you have a sunroom you probably don't have a place with sufficient light levels to grow plants that require a great amount of light such as hibiscus, geranium or wax begonia. High light plants, such as English ivy, can usually be grown well near windows or glass doors with western or southern exposures. Medium light plants, such as African violet and Boston fern, grow well if placed within several feet of these light sources or in eastern exposures. Heart-leaf philodendron and peace lily which are low light plants can be placed several feet away from eastern exposures or put in northern exposures.

Keep in mind that the amount of light in any specific location will vary according to the time of year due to the angle of the sun and the length of the day. Other details that will impact upon light levels are: outdoor trees and bushes, window curtains, wall color and the size and direction of windows.

When considering where to place plants, keep in mind practicality as well as esthetics. For instance, large plants on the floor or coffee table are beautiful, but they are easy prey for small children and pets to knock over or pull apart. Some common house plants are poisonous and must be kept out of the reach of children (or avoided altogether). A standing planter is attractive but keep it out of heavily used areas where even adults might knock it over. When hanging plants, consider how easily you'll water them and where excess water will drip. If kept near a window, avoid freezing a plant in winter by moving it further from the glass.

After deciding on proper plants and location you'll need to keep them watered and fed. The ideal water for plants should be left to sit so that the chlorine evaporates and the water reaches room temperature. If hanging plants drip after watering, cover the bottom of the planter with a shower cap. You can also cover the floor underneath with an old plastic table cloth or put a basin down to catch the water.

Many plants also require misting, especially in hot dry climates. You can use a pump spray bottle. Mist plants early in the day so that moisture will evaporate by the afternoon. This reduces the chance of water collecting on the leaves and causing disease or getting trapped in the center of the plant and causing rot.

Feed your plants regularly. A complete fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium is an excellent choice. Choose a balanced fertilizer for foliage plants but one that is higher in phosphorous for flowering plants.

Indoor plants can become dusty or develop greasy films that affect their appearance. It is important to clean plants because cleanliness promotes healthy growth. Also, regular cleaning helps to control insects. The best way to clean leaves is to dampen a soft cloth with water and wipe the lower and upper surfaces of each leaf. The quickest way to do this is with an odd sock on your hand. This way you can get both sides of each leaf easily. Plants with hairy leaves, such as African violets, should not be cleaned with a wet cloth but with a soft cosmetic brush.

When planning a trip, give your plants to a relative or friend for care or have someone come in and water them. No discussion about plants would be complete without mentioning the extra benefits. For example, a spider plant does more than decorate your home; it also helps clean the air. Researchers have found that 8-15 spider plants (which is the amount in the typical hanging basket one buys) will purify the air in an average size insulated home. It works especially well for carbon monoxide from tobacco smokers, gas from ovens and heaters, and other harmful vapors. It is certainly a useful and wonderful gift from the Creator.

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