The practice of cultivating indoor plants is centuries old and most of the research now appears to suggest that the Chinese first began to grow them more than three thousand years ago. For much of that time the custom was largely seen as a sign of wealth and an indulgence that most could simply not afford. Since the 1970s, however, the desire among all sectors of the community for plants suited for growing in the home and office has burgeoned and has given birth to a multi-billion dollar, worldwide industry.
Despite this upward trend, there are still many people who harbour reservations about this practice and its possible effects on health. The twin beliefs that indoor plants act to reduce the oxygen levels in a room and that they are also a significant source of allergies is, in fact, almost entirely unfounded. In practice, it would take something approaching the density of a mini-jungle to seriously deplete the breathable air in your bedroom or lounge, when grown in the home, this tends to inhibit the production of pollen and so, unlike cut flowers, they are most unlikely to affect those who may display allergic tendencies.
More significant than either of these claims are the more positive findings of well-established research. Studies confirm that the presence in the home or the working environment of indoor plants tends to make the occupants happier and even more-productive and so their effect can be psychological as well as aesthetic. Incidentally, far from being detrimental to human respiration, many species have been found to provide a marked air-cleansing effect.
If you hope to enjoy these benefits on a long-term basis, however, you will need to begin with healthy specimens and then continue to provide them with the care needed to maintain that health. Many believe that, in addition to influencing our emotions, plants may actually share them and that they also respond to atmosphere. While you may not be keen to join the ranks of those who talk lovingly to their Philodendron, Yucca or Delicious Monster, you will certainly need to become acquainted with the physical and chemical needs of your indoor plants.
Firstly, get some help with your choice from a pro and buy only from a reputable source. For those in Johannesburg and nearby, we offer both at the Windy Willows wholesale nursery. Our stock is extensive and includes many that are ideal for growing in the home or the office. We can also provide you with all of the advice you will need with regard to where best to locate them and how to keep them healthy and looking their best.
Having said that, the needs of most indoor plants are actually quite simple – sunlight, air, water and nutrients. It is providing these in just the correct measures that will require some knowledge of whatever specific species you may decide to purchase. Low light species, for instance, may be placed far from a south-facing window and still thrive while those in need of high sunshine levels may need to be a metre or so from an unobstructed north-facing window. Consult Windy Willows for everything you need to know about indoor plants.