Rid your home of toxins by adding houseplants to your decor

Toxins are present in your home in the form of cleaning products, paints, furniture, synthetic building materials such as particle board and insulation, carpets, and even your printer and photocopier!  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful gases released by all of these common household items listed. Exposure to these VOC gases can cause lethargy, skin rashes, headaches, drowsiness, itchy eyes, asthma-like symptoms and even cancer.

My body reacts to these toxins with cold and asthma-like symptoms.  Almost immediately upon exposure, I start off with a heaviness in my lungs, a vague headache and a tickle in my throat.  I then develop a dry cough which can last up to four days after the exposure, as my lungs try to eliminate the toxin I have inhaled.  I have learned to avoid many of the toxins I was exposing myself and my family to by switching cleaning products.  Since switching to non-toxic cleaning products my mild asthma symptoms have disappeared.  Please visit the Melaleuca page on my website to see the products I now use, all made with tea tree oil, an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, natural ingredient.

You can also make your home healthier by adding house plants to your decor. This will help remove toxins you have less control over.  Not only do plants look nice, they can help keep your family healthy.  Carbon dioxide and the VOCs described above, as well as other harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene are absorbed through the roots as well as through pores in the leaves on plants.   In exchange, beneficial and healthy products like oxygen and moisture are released into the air for us to breathe.

Choose plants such as spider plants, dracaena, English ivy, mother-in-law tongues, bamboo palms and other tropical plants; they are all easy to grow and readily available.  Tropical plants are suitable for indoors in homes and offices because they are used to growing and processing gases in reduced light under the canopies of jungles and rain forests.  Water your plants thoroughly with warm water and let the soil dry out between watering; too much water is the easiest way to kill your house plants.

These houseplants are suitable for a bright, sunny room…

 

and these are more suitable for rooms with less natural light…

 

Fifteen medium to large houseplants (greater than six-inch pots) can greatly improve the air quality in an average sized 2000 square foot home. What are you waiting for?   Get growing and remove the toxins from your home!

please be sure to visit my slightly more humorous blog YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE  It is guaranteed to make you LOL.

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How Disposable Diapers can Help Your Plants

This video describes an amazing way to keep your existing plants hydrated and to germinate any new plants. Follow the simple video instructions to cut back watering of houseplants, container plantings or even plants in your garden…

Play Video

watch the video here and be amazed at how the gel in disposable diapers can help hydrate your plants.

Your houseplants benefit from repotting every few years as the nutrients in the soil get depleted.  I plan to repot my houseplants as soon as the weather here permits me to take the plants into my garage or out on the back deck to do so. If your houseplants do not need repotting, try adding some of the gel from the disposable diapers to the existing soil as demonstrated in the video.

The soil in your gardens should also be amended (nutrients added to it) every year or at least every second year.  Good soil is the number one requirement of a great and successful garden.  This spring I plan to add some of the gel found in disposable diapers as suggested in the video, especially in the hot and dry areas of my gardens.

In the meantime, I will buy some diapers!

Winter Gardening c/o Home Depot

The latest Home Depot newsletter for garden club members has some great indoor gardening ideas for these cold winter months…

The first project is a garden dish, or a mini garden, suitable for any room in your home:

for this project you will need the following items:

  • horticultural charcoal to keep the soil smelling fresh
  • gravel for drainage
  • a shallow, low sided, heavy (ceramic is good) dish, with no drainage hole in the bottom.  You can use your imagination here to repurpose an old  container.  Any shape or depth will work with similar instructions, just use thicker layers of charcoal, gravel and soil.
  • plants, such as coleus, succulents and cacti
  • potting soil
  • moss or sand to cover the soil
  • decorative items such as shells, pretty stones, pine cones etc

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle less than an inch of gravel and charcoal over the bottom of container. (thicker if container is deeper than a shallow dish)
  2. Un-pot your plants, and position them as desired, keeping in mind that you are trying to create a miniature landscape. Be sure to use plants with the same light and water requirements in one container. For example, succulents and cacti like bright light, but require very little water.  In fact they will rot if watered too frequently.
  3. Surround the root-balls with soil, including a thinner layer over the non-planted gravel areas.
  4. Add a thin layer of moss or sand to ensure soil is covered.
  5. Tuck decorative items into moss or sand.
  6. Moisten your garden with a watering can or in the sink. Let it soak for a few minutes, then carefully tip out the excess water while holding the arrangement in place with your other hand. Repeat this procedure once a week or when the soil feels dry. Make sure your garden never sits in excess water.
  7. Given bright but indirect sunlight, most houseplants will thrive for months or even years in containers. Replace any overgrown or sickly plants as needed.

The next idea is for the transformation of a sunny window into a mini greenhouse that can showcase herbs and houseplants:

You will need the following items:

  • measuring tape, ruler, electric drill, level, pencil, hand saw
  • sand paper, wood putty, paint, moulding
  • 1/2 inch thick piece of glass
  • felt dots or plastic slide

Directions:

1.  Measure the depth and width of the window frame, and subtract half an inch from the width to determine      the dimensions of the shelves.

2. Have a glazier cut a 1/2”-thick piece of glass to size for each shelf. For a more finished look, have the edges sanded. Using a level and a ruler for precision, make pencil marks where each shelf support should go, starting from the top of the window frame.

3. Make supports out of moulding by cutting two lengths of moulding for each shelf (the moulding length should equal the depth of the frame). Sand the ends smooth.

4. Drill three evenly spaced holes (just bigger than the head of a wood screw) in each support. Hold a support against the appropriate mark on the window frame, insert the bit of an electric drill through one of the holes, and drill a starter spot into the frame. Repeat for the other holes, and then countersink screws so the heads don’t show. Repeat for remaining supports. Fill holes with wood putty, sand smooth, and paint supports. Once paint dries, attach a felt dot or plastic glide to each support end, and set glass shelves in place.

Filling your home with houseplants, tropicals or locally grown, is a great way to detoxify the air in your home, especially in the winter when windows and doors are shut tight against the cold.  Read this previous post to see how this works.  To increase your collection of tropical houseplants, take advantage of Home Depot’s current offer:

home depot tropicals pic

Click on this link to download and print the coupon Home depot tropicals    

There are many varieties of tropical houseplants to choose from, including the ever popular orchids.  Orchids are easy to care for, providing colorful and long-lasting blooms.  They are ideal for the indoor environment of your home and are sure to brighten up the dreary winter months.  The biggest challenge when buying orchids is what color to choose as they are all beautiful!

orchids copy