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foliage plants

Plants for Clean Air

PLANTS CLEAN THE AIR WE BREATHE
Common indoor plants clean up the polluted air we breathe inside our homes, offices and other buildings. According to a 2 year study conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), indoor plants can drastically reduce toxic chemical levels inside buildings with poor ventilation. To clean and refresh the air in an average 1800 square foot home, NASA recommends placing about 15 plants in areas where the air circulates well. You can maximize the effectiveness of your natural air freshener by keeping your plants fresh. When a plant no longer looks fresh, discard and replace with another vibrant plant.
According to NASA, plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing toxins from indoor air. Plants take in toxins and process them into “food” through a process called photosynthesis. Then, they expel oxygen into the air for us to breathe.

THE AIR WE BREATHE INDOORS MAY BE 100 TIMES MORE POLLUTED THAN OUTDOOR AIR
In fact, indoor air is often so polluted that it exceeds unhealthy levels for pollutions set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). An EPA report states that “indoor air pollution represents a major portion of the public’s exposure to air pollution and may pose serious acute and chronic health risks.” The EPA also estimates the economic impact of indoor air pollution to be in the tens of billions of dollars per year.
Scientists have labeled the acute build-up of indoor air pollution “Sick Building Syndrome,” since most Americans spent up to 90% of their time indoors, many are suffering health problems created and/or aggravated by Sick Building Syndrome. One way to protect yourself from Sick Building Syndrome is to place several plants in your home or office. They will breathe toxins for you and replace your air with fresh, healthy oxygen!

PLANTS PROTECT US FROM HARMFUL CHEMICALS
Indoor plants are particularly effective in filtering chemicals from the air that can cause many health problems.

Benzene is a common solvent and is present in gasoline, inks, oil, paints, plastic, rubber, detergents, pharmaceuticals and dyes. It irritates the skin and eyes, and chronic exposure to relatively low levels of benzene causes headaches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, nervousness; psychological disturbances, and diseases of the blood system, including anemia and bone marrow disease. Evidence also links benzene to cancer, leukemia, liver and kidney damage, paralysis and unconsciousness.

Formaldehyde is found in almost all indoor environments. Major sources include urea-formaldehyde (UF) foam insulation, particle board and pressed wood products. Consumer paper products, including grocery bags, waxed paper, facial tissue and paper towels are treated with UF resins. Formaldehyde irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes and upper respiratory system. Recent research also suggests it may cause a rare form of throat cancer in long-term occupants of mobile homes.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is used in metal de-greasers, dry cleaning agents, inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives. The National Cancer Institute considers TCE a potent liver carcinogen.

NATURE’S BEST POLLUTION FIGHTERS
Chinese Evergreen
Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen’
EASE OF GROWING: Very easy to grow
LIGHT: Low light location is ideal
WATER: Moderately moist soil is preferred
TEMPERATURE: Warm – prefers 70-75°F daytimes and 65-70°F. nights
KEY FOR SUCCESS: Remove overgrown shoots to encourage new growth and keep the plant bushy. Possible problems include scale and mealybugs.

Spider Plant
Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’
EASE OF GROWING: Very easy to grow
LIGHT: Indirect or bright-diffused light is best
WATER: Moderately moist soil is preferred
TEMPERATURE: Moderate – Prefers 65-70°F. daytimes and 60-65°F. nights.
KEY TIPS FOR SUCCESS: Dry soil, over-fertilization, low light, fluoride salts or excess boron could cause leaf tips to brown. Watch for spider mites and provide good drainage.

HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL POLLUTION FIGHTERS WE OFTEN CARRY

*denotes seasonal availability
*Florist Mums (chrysanthemum morifolium)
Red Edged Dracaena (dracaena marginata)
English Ivy (hedera helix)
*Gerber Daisy (gerbera jamesonii)
Flame Flower (anthurium andraeanum)
Pothos (epipremnum aureum)
Weeping Fig (ficus benjamina)
Bamboo Palm (chamaedorea seifrizii)
Kimberly Queen Fern (nephrolepis obliterata)
Boston Fern (nephrolepis exaltata)
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Variegated Snake Plant (sansevieria trifasciata)
Cornstalk Dracaena (dracaena fragrans)

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