Blog, Chronic illness, Fibromyalgia, Houseplants, Indoor air pollution, Indoor plants, Invisible illness, Plants, Uncategorised

The power of plants 🌿

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Ivy Photo by Nick

This week I’m discovering why my favourite indoor plants can improve the quality of air I breathe indoors.

With improved insulation materials making our homes more energy efficient. The gases from synthetic materials and other pollutants are sealed inside our house with us.

Indoor air pollution is a major problem; as we spend a large proportion of our time indoors. Particularly those of us who suffer from illnesses like fibromyalgia.

The likelihood of developing air pollutant related illness can increase. Statistics show there has been an increase in the cases of allergies, asthma, chemical hypersensitivity and cancer due to this.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

It was NASA researchers, during the 80s who discovered that plants can purify and refresh the air in sealed compartments. During their research into life support systems for missions into space. Their findings provided the evidence that plants removed volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in a series of tests.

By introducing plants into the home the air quality is refreshed; plants act as natural air purifiers. Being in amongst nature or bringing it indoors has the added benefit of reducing stress levels.

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Photo by Serpstat on Pexels.com

If you work mostly indoors or in an office; buying some plants and keeping them in your environment can, in the long term improve mental and physical health.

Some of the best plants to choose are those that have a high transpiration rate; meaning they carry a larger amount of water from the roots to the leaves. They are more efficient at improving our indoor air quality.

I have chosen some easy to grow varieties for beginners:

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Peace Lily Photo by Nick

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

One of my favourites is peace lily, it’s a foliage plant and it looks attractive with it’s white flowers (spathes).

Peace lily requires semi-shade but not direct sunlight.

It’s easy to grow and look after; although not a good choice if you have pets or young children as it is extremely toxic.

Feeding is required in summer and remove dead leaves and flowers to promote new growth.

Water in summer keeping the compost moist and less watering required in winter. Misting the leaves occasionally will help to improve humidity. Keep out of cold draughts.

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Spider Plant Photo by Nick

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

A spider plant is easy and quick to grow and look after.

It prefers a partially sunny and shady spot, and it’s ok with dry air.

Water regularly letting the soil dry before rewatering again.

In winter less watering is required and feeding with house plant food in the summer.  Occasional misting in summer if it’s very hot. Dead leaves and unwanted runners can be pruned.

The spider plant produces runners on which mini plants form; these are great for propagating into new plants.

Wait until they have grown to a reasonable size and then cut off the runner. Plant on in a small pot with compost.

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Common Ivy Photo by Nick

Common Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy looks very attractive with its trailing foliage.  Many ivy varieties exist; including variegated versions.

Ivy is a climbing plant with aerial roots which can be trained to grow on trellis and other structures outdoors as well as indoors.

Ivy is easy to grow and care for plant.

Ivy prefers a shaded site and can be grown in full shade. Keep out of direct sunlight in summer.

Water regularly keeping compost moist and feed in summer. Regular misting in winter and summer in hot dry conditions indoors.

Dead leaves and unwanted growth can be pruned to keep it looking healthy.

Have I included any of your favourites here?  If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Bees, Blog, Butterflies, Lavender

In the flower garden 🐝

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French Lavender Photo by Nick 

With the start of summer; I’ve been contemplating which plants I’m going to choose for my summer pots. I enjoy looking at attractive plants throughout the year in my small garden.

The natural environment of our garden plants changes dramatically. If you, like me watch the seasons go by; you will have observed these changes yourself.

Plants and flowers are struggling to survive due to climate change. The bee population is in decline and this will have a knock on effect for the plants we grow in the future.

By introducing flowering plants into our garden we can help bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

If I had to choose just one plant that fulfils these objectives it would be…

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Red Admiral Butterfly on Lavender Photo by Nick

Lavender

it’s an extremely versatile evergreen shrub with a great range of uses.

Lavender looks beautiful planted on mass and it has a soothing distinctive scent.

Its latin name Lavandula angustifolia meaning narrow leaved lavender; flowers in June and July. This variety grows to form a rounded, shaped grey, leaved bush with mauve flowers on spiked branches.

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Lavender with Bee Photo by Nick

A wide range of cultivars exist from L. angustifolia including Hidcote, a slow growing variety, Folgate which is richly scented.

On Royal purple and Imperial gem the flowers and leaves can be dried and used for pot-pourri or made into dried lavender bags.

French lavender is a more ornate variety with feathery leaves on top of the flowers. With cultivars the flowering season can vary depending on plants.

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White Lavender Photo by Nick

Growing details for gardeners; Lavender requires a sunny site, with reasonable fertile, well-drained soil.

Plants should be cut back in mid-spring to the previous years growth by 5 cms (2 in). Avoid cutting the old wood.

Lavender can be grown with roses; another plant pollinators like.

Lavender flowers are blended to make lavender oil, which is renowned for its healing properties. Lavender has been grown commercially for it’s oil, for a few hundred years in Britain.

English lavender is popular because it’s oil is stronger than other varieties. Home, medicinal and beauty products are created from this to produce essential oil, massage oil, perfume, herbal tea and soaps.

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Lavender Photo by Nick
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Wild Meadow Flowers Photo by Nick