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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.
Growing Your Own Herbs for Tea
If you love herbal teas, as I do, you know they are just a little bit pricey. However, growing your own herbs is easy and so much fun!Here are just a few of the herbs you might want to consider for a tea garden:Chamomile: Remember the favorite tea of Peter Rabbit? Only the flowers of this fragrant herb are used when making tea.
Hills and Holes: Not Part of Your Landscaping Design?
Do pests 'gopher' your lawn? Chances are, if you have a lawn, you risk the chance of having pests, such as the gopher and his cousin the mole. And, perhaps even those pesky six-legged creatures- ants and other insects- call your grass patches home.
A Look at Fall Flower Bulbs
Most people would think of fall as a season when trees are changing colors and dying. For many, the autumn leaves are our last dance with color before the dark, gray winter sets in.
There are several different ways to manage algae in your backyard pond. The best way however is when you have several different things all working together in harmony that will best take care of any algae problems you may have.
Composting and Composters: A Basic Introduction
Why Compost?Recent studies show that an average family throws away approximately 200 pounds of organic kitchen waste every year. Combine this with all the leaves, grass clippings and other organic garden waste accumulated over time and that's a lot of household waste being added to the already mountainous waste disposal problem.
The Basics of Growing Roses
So you want to grow roses? They are a beautiful choice for your garden and not nearly as difficult to grow as you might think. Choose a rose that is easy to grow.
Porch Swing Places: Where to Put a Porch Swing
So you've purchased a Porch Swing (or are about to) and you plan to hang it on the Porch? Not so fast!Where you install your Porch Swing is as much a function of the need you are trying to satisfy as tradition and practicality. If nostalgia is your motivator, then the porch may well be the best place for your Patio Swing.
Metal Outdoor Furniture - Explained
Mention metal patio furniture and you probably think of the light, fly-away aluminium loungers of your youth or that half-ton cast iron table and chair set on your neighbour's lawn.But metal outdoor furniture has come a long way.
Build a Rain Garden
There's a new garden in town. It is (mostly) easy to install, looks good year-round, requires almost no maintenance and has a terrifically upbeat impact on the environment.
Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (Part 3) Lighting
THE BASICS OF HYDROPONICS.An Introduction To Indoor Plant Grow Lights.
Water Ponds and Wildlife - How To Attract More Animals to Your Backyard
Wildlife require water just as humans do. Water is essential for life.
Feng Shui in the Garden
"The Ancient Art of Placement" called Feng Shui (pronounced phung schway) literally means 'wind' and 'water.' The Chinese believe this cosmic energy, called Chi or 'the green dragon's cosmic breath,' is the life force energy that pervades human existence.
Light Up the Night! Quick Facts about Outdoor Lighting
When the days start to get shorter, the darkness may drive us inside from our porches, patios or decks. Don't despair - outdoor lighting can lengthen the day and dramatically extend the potential of our outdoor living spaces.
Choosing Garden Furniture
No matter how pleasant a garden is, it is not being enjoyed to its full extent if there is no where for visitors to sit and admire the beauty of the garden. Luckily, few gardeners are willing to sacrifice design for comfort and with the wide choice of garden furniture available today, it is rare to find gardens bereft of furniture.
Want a Garden but Not Enough Room or Soil? Then Hydroponics Gardening could be for You
Hydroponics gardening is a great idea for anyone who wants a garden but doesn't have enough land or soil. Hydroponics gardening is, essentially, a way to cultivate plants using a nutrient solution instead of soil.
Cat Repellent or How to Keep Cats Out of Your Garden
Do cat repellents work? How to stop a cat from using garden as litterbox? Tell me how to keep cats out of my garden. These are common questions of concern to all gardeners but is there a real answer?The first line of defence is to ensure that your yard boundaries are secure.
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.
Adirondack Chairs - How to Care for and Clean Them
Different from any other chair, the Adirondack chair was first created in the late 1800s by Thomas Lee as a means of making something exceptionally comfortable, affordable, and a chair that could be used in the house or backyard. What makes this chair so unique is the overall design.
The Home Garden
The garden should be near the house and away from trees. If it's some distance away from the house, it will not be as well looked after, nor will most use be made of vegetables grown.
How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard Paradise For Less Than $100
Like many Americans, you may find bird watching to be a fascinating hobby. At the same time, perhaps you wonder how you can attract regular visitors to your yard without busting the bank by purchasing expensive foliage, feeders, and food.
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