Gardening: Georgina Burnett gives tips for furniture makeover
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With millions of people spending more time at home, improving the space your live, work and sleep in has never been so important. But, when it comes to caring for houseplants, while some are born with a green thumb, others find it difficult to not kill a cactus. Office Furniture Online has offered their top tips on indoor plants that are super easy to care for and only need attention once or twice a week at most.
Biophilic design, or bringing the outdoors indoors, is a super-effective way to increase performance and happiness.
The concept increases an occupants connectivity to the natural environment and thus in turn encourages wellbeing and stress reduction.
To add to this, there are many house plants that actually detox your house by releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide.
Therefore, they are a great addition to a house as they freshen up the air and eliminate harmful toxins.
In fact, research by NASA has found indoor plants can remove 87 percent of air toxins in just 24 hours and other studies have said those working in environments with natural elements report a 15 percent higher level of wellbeing, are six percent more productive and 15 percent more creative overall.
What plants should you choose?
English Ivy is a beautiful plant that can help create a real biophilic feel, thanks to its great ability to climb.
The vines can grow up to 50 feet long or more, but don’t expect quick results in the beginning as the first year after planting the vines grow very slowly and in the second year they begin to put on noticeable growth.
Put the plant in a shady area with organically rich soil and adding a stake or other vertical structure to allow the plant to climb is recommended.
Alternatively, put the pot somewhere high so the vines can tumble over the edges.
To care for it, water them twice a making sure the top inch of the soil is dry before watering.
Dracaena is one of the easiest to grow indoor plants thanks to its striking appearance and ease of care.
These plants don’t do well in direct sunlight so keep them in filtered indoor light, similar to that of an office.
The stems of the houseplant dracaena are called canes and can be pruned at any point to keep plants under control.
They also need a lot less water than most indoor plants – simply mist the soil every two weeks and always allow the top soil to dry out before watering.
It leaves start to droop or turn yellow, it’s an indication of over-watering or poor drainage.
Cacti and succulents
Cacti and succulents are a really popular choice as their colour and shape variations help them fit many different tastes and styles.
Cacti and succulents fall into the same group because they both have characteristics meaning they can survive in an arid environment and their native habitat is a desert.
There they will grow best in lots of light, good draught, high temperatures and low moisture.
Saying this, they can survive in artificial light too.
To care for them, there is a common misconception that cacti and succulents only require a small amount of water.
Even though they have water-storing characteristics in their leaves and stems which allow them to survive in dry habitats, they do not thrive off little water and watering is an essential part to how well your plant grows.
Overwatering will stunt growth, but under-watering causes shrivelling, so it is recommended to water between every one and two weeks, but when the soil is very dry.
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Peace Lilies, also known as closet plants are beautiful and really popular in offices and homes because they are excellent at cleaning the air of the room they are in.
Like many popular indoor plants, peace lilies enjoy medium to low light.
As for watering, a frequent mistake when caring for a peace lily is overwatering – a common reason for them to die.
They are far more tolerant of under-watering than overwatering and because of this, it is advised to water a peace lily as and when it needs it.
Simply touch the top of the soil to see if it’s dry and if it is, water it.
Snake plants arguably one of the most tolerant plants and due to their striking look, they make the perfect home or office decoration.
Snake plant care is very straightforward, these plants can be neglected for weeks at a time and still look fresh.
Additionally, they can survive low levels of light, drought and have very few insect problems.
During colder months, you only need to water a snake plant once a month or once it has dried out, and a little bit more often during summer.
Because of how well they grow, these are great plants to take cuttings from or divide roots and share with family and friends.
ZZ plants have been around for centuries, originating in drought-prone Africa where it thrives outdoors.
With its wide, attractive, dark green leaves, it boasts many favourable traits for offices and homes.
Surviving well in fluorescent light, ZZ plant tolerates neglect and drought – perfect for busy people and those new to plant care.
One of ZZ plant’s major drawbacks is that all part of the plants are poisonous.
Don’t eat it, keep it away from curious pets and children, and always wash your hands after handling it to avoid skin irritation.
Mark Taylor, Managing Director of Office Furniture Online, comments on the benefits of biophilic design:
“Office plants are great for decorating your space and making employees feel more relaxed and at ease. They also help with productivity, so are a worthwhile investment.
“Be sure to choose the right kind of plants for your office space, as well. Do you have lots of natural light, or do you need to consider plants that work well in fluorescent light?
“Do you have enough space for plants that grow quickly?
“Do you have an office dog that the plants may be toxic to?
“These are all things to consider when choosing your perfect office plant.”
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