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Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
neversay
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Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

#262594

Postby neversay » November 6th, 2019, 3:11 pm

Confirmation that the main benefit of houseplants is our psychological health rather than improving indoor air quality:

"Potted house plants are commonly thought to purify indoor air, often finding themselves in homes and offices for this reason. But scientists now believe their powers might be wildly overestimated.

Plants are known to soak up volatile organic compounds (VOC), a type of indoor pollutant. But simply cracking open a few windows or fitting an air handling system in an office can clear the air faster than plants, according to researchers at Drexel University, Pennsylvania."

Depending on the size of the space, the researchers calculated it would take between 10 to 1,000 plants per square meter (10.7 square foot) of floor space to clean the air at the same level as an open window or specialized equipment.

Waring told Newsweek he partly traced the overegged idea back to an oft-cited 1989 NASA study, which looked at how to purify the air of space stations.
"

https://www.newsweek.com/house-plant-ai ... dy-1470046

bungeejumper
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Re: Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

#262948

Postby bungeejumper » November 8th, 2019, 9:06 am

Not only that, but quite a few house plants are actively toxic in the air. My wife's fondness for keeping hydrangea heads in the kitchen looks a little less healthy in the light of the discovery that they emit cyanide compounds. :shock: Then again, ficus will give you skin burns, chrysanthemums give some people terrible skin rashes, and the less said about that vase of daffodils, the better. (Just don't let the baby chew them.) Personally, I find that lilies make me sneeze violently, which can't be good for anybody.

Seriously, though, my home office wouldn't be the same without a dozen or so plants, and great trays of seedlings. They help keep my spirits up during the dark days of winter, and they affirm the imminent arrival of spring. The first week of January, I sow my first batches of leeks in the heated propagator; second week, it's maincrop tomato plants and sweet peas in deep root trainers. Third week, I start in with the chillis.

This year I also have a banana plant on my desk! I dutifully chopped it back to a foot or so, in preparation for its winter rest, and within a week it had shot out two new leaves. It just doesn't want to go to sleep. I like that. :P

Air quality? There are enough healthy draughts at Bungee Towers.....

BJ

sg31
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Re: Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

#263000

Postby sg31 » November 8th, 2019, 1:01 pm

bungeejumper wrote:Not only that, but quite a few house plants are actively toxic in the air. My wife's fondness for keeping hydrangea heads in the kitchen looks a little less healthy in the light of the discovery that they emit cyanide compounds. :shock: Then again, ficus will give you skin burns, chrysanthemums give some people terrible skin rashes, and the less said about that vase of daffodils, the better. (Just don't let the baby chew them.) Personally, I find that lilies make me sneeze violently, which can't be good for anybody.

Seriously, though, my home office wouldn't be the same without a dozen or so plants, and great trays of seedlings. They help keep my spirits up during the dark days of winter, and they affirm the imminent arrival of spring. The first week of January, I sow my first batches of leeks in the heated propagator; second week, it's maincrop tomato plants and sweet peas in deep root trainers. Third week, I start in with the chillis.

This year I also have a banana plant on my desk! I dutifully chopped it back to a foot or so, in preparation for its winter rest, and within a week it had shot out two new leaves. It just doesn't want to go to sleep. I like that. :P

Air quality? There are enough healthy draughts at Bungee Towers.....

BJ


That seems very early for tomato seeds. Do you move them on to a heated greenhouse?

Can you explain your tomato regime?

I aim to put mine in an unheated greenhouse in mid to late May. So far I've been very late with sowing due to lack of time. This year I hope to do better. I'm sure a few pointers from you would be very helpful.

richfool
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Re: Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

#263019

Postby richfool » November 8th, 2019, 2:37 pm

Bungeejumper wrote:Not only that, but quite a few house plants are actively toxic in the air. My wife's fondness for keeping hydrangea heads in the kitchen looks a little less healthy in the light of the discovery that they emit cyanide compounds. :shock: Then again, ficus will give you skin burns, chrysanthemums give some people terrible skin rashes, and the less said about that vase of daffodils, the better. (Just don't let the baby chew them.) Personally, I find that lilies make me sneeze violently, which can't be good for anybody.


Don't houseplants also harbour fungus, mould and mildew spores, which are less than ideal for people with allergies, asthma or indeed generally breathing in the stuff.

bungeejumper
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Re: Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

#263026

Postby bungeejumper » November 8th, 2019, 3:05 pm

sg31 wrote:That seems very early for tomato seeds. Do you move them on to a heated greenhouse?

Can you explain your tomato regime?

LOL, my system wouldn't suit everybody. :lol: I'm aiming to have 12-15 inch plants by the beginning of May, and I'll put them outdoors by the end of the month, but earlier than that if the frost outlook is favourable. By starting them early in heated propagators, I'm getting the production line going, and it then frees up up the propagators for beans and other stuff by the time April arrives. In the meantime, I just like having good, sturdy plants on the go in my office! It cheers me up, and I reckon sowing early also seems to result in more vigorous roots. Maybe that's just my false impression, though?

We are susceptible to blight in our garden, so I tend to major on blight-resistant varieties like Ferline, which have a fine flavour and are pretty reliable. And, contrary to what the books tell us, they don't get checked if you start them early and then give them a couple of months at room temperature. OTOH, Mediterranean varieties like Marmande or last year's (rather disappointing) costoluto fiorentino won't ever play ball if I sow them before mid-March. :( It's just too cold for them, bless their little continental cotton socks.

IME, tom thumb varieties like Red Alert or last year's (very successful) Sweet Baby can be sown as late as you like and they'll still grow fast. But sowing in heat in late Feb means that you're eating outdoor tomatoes by June, and the kids like them, and the Sweet Baby stay on the plants and don't drop off. The sooner I can have those fruiting, the happier we all are.

Note: I am a lazy tomato gardener, and I'd rather have 15 plants in the open garden and not coddle them, than to be out there five times a day catering anxiously to five precious plants. Maybe that's just me, though?

BJ

sg31
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Re: Houseplants & Indoor Air Quality

#263056

Postby sg31 » November 8th, 2019, 5:18 pm

bungeejumper wrote:LOL, my system wouldn't suit everybody. :lol: I'm aiming to have 12-15 inch plants by the beginning of May, and I'll put them outdoors by the end of the month, but earlier than that if the frost outlook is favourable. By starting them early in heated propagators, I'm getting the production line going, and it then frees up up the propagators for beans and other stuff by the time April arrives. In the meantime, I just like having good, sturdy plants on the go in my office! It cheers me up, and I reckon sowing early also seems to result in more vigorous roots. Maybe that's just my false impression, though?

We are susceptible to blight in our garden, so I tend to major on blight-resistant varieties like Ferline, which have a fine flavour and are pretty reliable. And, contrary to what the books tell us, they don't get checked if you start them early and then give them a couple of months at room temperature. OTOH, Mediterranean varieties like Marmande or last year's (rather disappointing) costoluto fiorentino won't ever play ball if I sow them before mid-March. :( It's just too cold for them, bless their little continental cotton socks.

IME, tom thumb varieties like Red Alert or last year's (very successful) Sweet Baby can be sown as late as you like and they'll still grow fast. But sowing in heat in late Feb means that you're eating outdoor tomatoes by June, and the kids like them, and the Sweet Baby stay on the plants and don't drop off. The sooner I can have those fruiting, the happier we all are.

Note: I am a lazy tomato gardener, and I'd rather have 15 plants in the open garden and not coddle them, than to be out there five times a day catering anxiously to five precious plants. Maybe that's just me, though?

BJ


Interesting. I've never considered sowing so early. I'm relatively new to tomato growing, I only started 4 years ago although I picked up a lot from my dad who was a keen grower. Completely renovating the house has meant I had little time so things often got left later than they should have and I was playing catch up. Next year will be different (he said hopefully).

I had moderate blight this year and also powdery mildew for the first time. All greenhose grown so I'm going to clean everything out and disinfect with Jeyes fluid unless someone has a better idea.

I have used growbags before but this year I used Quadgrow for some plants and liked it...

https://www.greenhousesensation.co.uk/d ... gIAf_D_BwE

The main advantage is that I don't become a slave to watering the plants. With growbags it can be 2 or 3 times per day. With Quadgrow every 2 or 3 days is fine, sometimes 6 days depending on the weather. I reckon I can fit a top up tank with enough water to last a couple of weeks or so.

I'm hoping to have 20 plants next year. I give a lot away to friends and neighbours. I like growing them and giving them away so it's good all round.

I'll make a note of the varieties you mention for future trials,

If anyone can advise on disinfecting the greenhouse against blight and powdery mildew I would be grateful.


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