By Kathy Valentine
Every person has been impacted by the Covid19 pandemic. For many of us, we are spending significantly more time at our homes. Those of us with exterior greenspaces have had more time to devote to gardening, but fall brings a reduction and eventually a virtual end to most outdoor gardening activities till March or so.
As we spend more time indoors and the season of open windows ends, air quality is a concern-especially now. Indoor air is typically as much as 30 times more polluted than air outside. Adding more interior plants is a great way to improve air quality, add more oxygen and reduce airborne toxins. NASA studies show that all species naturally capture and remove toxins as they take in CO2 and emit Oxygen molecules. Some of the pollutants plants are proven to filter out include benzene, formaldehyde and ozone. What fascinates me is that the plant does this mostly through the root system and its relationship with microbes in the soil. Grouping plants at windows, especially in close proximity to one another, allows them to maintain a little more humidity. Remember to rotate and prune as needed to keep your green friends from becoming hopelessly entwined.
To assist your plants in helping keep you healthy, avoid using artificially fragranced cleaners, laundry products and air “fresheners”. These appeal to our desire that our spaces always smell fresh to visitors, but many of these products are a major part of the indoor pollution we want to remove from the air. Consider a bundle of lavender, some dried mint in a bowl, a bouquet of fresh flowers or evergreen branches, or a balsam sachet if you really need to add a fragrance to a space. Use natural plant products rather than manufactured items when possible, to work with rather than against your plants.
Remember as you add plants or bring in the beauties that summered outdoors that good natural light is the most important factor for a successful life indoors for each plant this winter. The more healthy plants in your space, the more those plants will improve the air quality for you.
Kathy Valentine enjoys gardening and her family at her Watertown Township home. Her Michigan State University Horticulture degree was a beginning for a life of learning about and working with plants. Kathy is senior partner at The Plant Professionals located at 16886 Turner St, Lansing, MI 48906.
It is an interior and exterior landscape design , installation and service firm also offering green walls and plants and flowers for events. She may be reached at