Indoor plants improve air quality, help people relax

Ever walk through a public building and take time to look at the indoor plants?

Ever walk through a public building and take time to look at the indoor plants?

They’re placed in buildings for two reasons: ambiance and air quality.

Indoor plants take away the institutional feel of buildings, which in turn help people relax and feel more comfortable. People that are relaxed are much easier to deal with as they are more likely to think logically and understand what is happening.

Commercial buildings such as malls add indoor plants, seating and art to encourage people to relax and spend time, which can increase the amount of money people spend in the stores.

Plants improve air quality by removing toxins during photosynthesis cycle. Carbon dioxide is taken in and broken down into components that are used by the plant. The waste product, oxygen, is released back in the atmosphere while the toxins remain in the plant.

Public buildings have large spaces, which call for large plants or planters. The initial cost can be expensive but if they are properly cared for, the plants will last for years.

Indoor plant companies are hired to maintain the plants. They have the expertise to place the plants in proper locations and choose the correct plants for the building.

In Red Deer, Plant Décor maintains many of the indoor plants that are in public places. Bryan Nelson started the business in the 1980s when the economy was booming and has kept the business going through all the economic cycles.

Indoor plant maintenance companies are very flexible and customize the contracts to the companies’ or individuals’ needs. Plants can be purchased or rented. Existing plants will be used if they are deemed healthy and attractive.

It is best to use a company that guarantees their plants, which means if the plant dies as a result something that the maintenance company did, it will be replaced. When plants die because someone other than the maintenance company tries to care for the plants, they should be replaced at cost.

Indoor plant maintenance companies water, fertilize, prune, clean and repot plants to keep them healthy. When plants are given the correct cultural conditions — light, heat, water and nutrients — insects are rarely a problem. Make sure the contract states how a company will deal with plants if they become infected by insects. The choices are to spray the plants, bring in predator insects or replace the infected plants.

Many different plants can be used in indoor landscaping but Plant Décor finds that the most popular ones are: peace lily, spathiphyllum, umbrella plant schefflara, Chinese evergreen aglaonema, and pothos, epipremnum aureum. These plants are attractive, easy to maintain, thrive under most conditions and are known to clean the air.

Plant Décor has contracts that are as low as $50 a month up into the thousands. For the minimal rate, a person will come into the building once a week and care for three or four plants. Price increases depend on the time required to maintain the plants properly.

It isn’t just companies that hire people to maintain their indoor plants. Homeowners who like plants but do not have the time or knack to make them thrive also use the service. Prices compare to or are less than hiring a cleaner.

Next time you walk through a public place, look for plants. They are put in place and kept healthy for your enjoyment.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist who lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.com.