Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Benefits of Plants in the Workplace

Time spent in nature is well known to provide many physical, mental and emotional benefits, but what if your work schedule and career keep you in an office without many opportunities for heading outdoors? You can bring the outdoors in and reap many of the same benefits.

Plants Can Improve Your Workplace

There has been extensive research done regarding the benefits of plants in the workplace. With full time employees spending approximately one-quarter of their lives at work it is important that these buildings provide an environment of beauty, health and comfort. Studies confirm that there are both physiological and psychological benefits to surrounding yourself with nature at work. An eight-month study conducted by a Texas A&M University research team has concluded that plants significantly reduce workplace stress and enhance employee productivity, a win-win situation for both employer and employee. Other studies have verified those findings, as well as expanded the list of benefits plants can provide when used judiciously as part of an indoor workplace.

The presence of plants in the workplace can…

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase humidity
  • Reduce illness
  • Purify air
  • Reduce dust
  • Lower energy costs
  • Quicken employee response time
  • Enhance problem solving ability
  • Spark creativity
  • Increase brain activity
  • Provide a positive outlook
  • Act as a mood elevator
  • Have a calming affect
  • Boost learning
  • Contribute to noise reduction
  • Improve office appearance
  • Reduce distractions

With so many obvious benefits just by including plants in office décor, every office – whether it is a large corporation, a simple business or a cozy home office – should include at least a few plants.

Bringing Plants to Work

There are many easy ways to blend plants into office décor. Popular ways to integrate plants into the office include…

  • Larger potted plants or containers in a greeting or reception area.
  • Ferns or hanging pots in broad windows.
  • A ficus tree or other large pot near a water cooler.
  • Pothos or other trailing plants on top of cabinets in a break area.
  • Small plants and flowers on individual desks.
  • Decorating for holidays with seasonal plants.
  • Giving office plants as gifts for work anniversaries, welcomes, etc.

When choosing plants for the office, be sure to opt for plants that will function best in the environment. Take into consideration temperatures, light levels and humidity so the plants will thrive. Selecting low-maintenance plants that can withstand good-natured neglect is also wise, so they will still thrive even when project deadlines, committee meetings and vacation days may make their care sporadic. Fortunately, there are many great plants that can liven up an office, and each one will bring great benefits to the workplace.



Size Up Your Site: A First Step in Planning Your Landscape

Whether you plan your garden from start to finish or use a professional designer, a few simple steps can help you assess your property’s potential to develop the landscape of your dreams. By getting involved in the landscape design process, you can address practical problems, structure your outdoor living space and develop a plan that will reflect your taste and lifestyle.

Surveying Your Site

Every yard, garden and landscape site will have differing light conditions, grade changes, varying soil conditions and existing plants and structures to consider when planning changes and expansions. Using a loose-leaf binder, take notes on each of the following:


  1. What are your favorite spots in your yard and why? What your least favorite and why?
  2. In landscapes, do you generally prefer open on enclosed spaces?
  3. What existing plants do you want to preserve, and which do you want to remove?
  4. What is the architectural style of your home? What is your decorating style?
  5. Are you planning any additions to your home that may take away yard space?
  6. Do you want special areas for children, entertaining, pets, recreation, vegetable gardening, water features or composting?
  7. What is your time frame? Do you want a short-term or long-range plan?
  8. Which building materials do you like – brick, wood, stone, pavers, etc.?
  9. Is your outdoor lighting adequate for your use?
  10. Do you need to screen an area for wind, noise or an unwanted view?
  11. What is you landscaping budget (both short- and long-term)?
  12. How will your landscape use change over time, such as when children grow up?

Specific Areas:

  1. What is the light condition of the area? How does it change seasonally?
  2. How is the soil – well-drained, poor, heavy clay, poorly drained, etc?
  3. What are the dimensions of a confined area that could affect plant size?
  4. What are your favorite plants or types of plants?
  5. Would you like a garden accent or other feature in this area (trellis, arbor, sculpture, bench, pond, etc)?
  6. What is the pH and general condition of the soil?

Once you have taken adequate notes, you’ll have a much better understanding about the overall layout of your landscaping site. This can help you plan the best options without making costly or time-consuming mistakes, such as planting the wrong tree that will outgrow a corner in a few years, or choosing building materials that won’t stand up to your climate.

More Tips for Landscape Surveying

You can never have too much information at your fingertips when you are surveying your site for landscaping changes. More techniques that can give you all the information you need include…

  • Photographing your property. Snapshots can reveal what the eye may overlook, and can be useful to show others to get their unique perspectives. Take views from your house and various areas of your property. Include photos from different times of day.
  • Measure everything and mark it on a map. You can use graph paper to create a simple sketch that will show dimensions so you can properly size your landscaping plans.
  • Make a sketch that shows what is existing (plants & structures) and where it is located. This will help you figure out what features you want to preserve, what you may want to expand and what you would rather remove and how the space will change.

Still need help? Bring your information in – we can help you choose the best plants, accents and accessories suitable to your needs, style and budget for the landscape of your dreams!


Creating Humidity for Houseplant Health

Have your houseplants been looking dingy and dry no matter how much you may water them? Have they lost the lustrous glow their foliage first had when you got them? Poor humidity may be the cause. Many of our houseplants hail from the tropics and grow in humidity of 50-80 percent, considerably more humid than typical homes. The trick is to know your plant’s preferences and be able satisfy it. Putting a cactus in the shower will cause it to rot, while a fern is perfectly happy.

But what can you do if you really want that fern in the family room where the humidity may only be 20 percent in the winter? If your plant has brown leaf tips or margins it probably needs more humidity and is asking you to increase it. Luckily, it’s easier to add humidity than it is to take it away.

Easy Ways to Increase Humidity

There are several ways you can easily increase the humidity around your houseplants. If they only need the air a little more humid, just one technique may be sufficient, but if they are humidity-loving plants, you may want to try several options at once to really give them a humidity boost.

  • Pebble Tray
    Place an inch of small pebbles, marbles, shells or gravel in a 2″ deep tray, half fill the tray with water and set your plant on the pebbles. Don’t set the pot in the water, as the wicking action will saturate the pot soil and could lead to rotting roots and overwatering. As the water in the tray evaporates, it increases the humidity immediately around the plant. When you water the plant, pour out the water from the tray to prevent mineral buildup, algae and insect growth.
  • Plant Grouping
    Rather than spacing plants throughout the room, group them together to take advantage of the moisture each plant produces through transpiration. Grouping plants can increase humidity by as much as 15 percent. Place the entire group on a pebble tray if additional humidity is required. Allow air circulation between the plants by ensuring the plants are not touching each other, and rotate individual plants periodically to encourage straight growth and distribute humidity absorption.
  • Misting
    Use a misting bottle daily to increase humidity and cleanse leaf pores, which tend to clog with dust. However, to prevent leaf rot, do not mist plants with “velvety” leaves such as African violets. Do not over-mist plants to the point where their leaves are dripping wet, or else they may suffer from overwatering.
  • Humidifiers
    Available in a variety of sizes, humidifiers increase the humidity in a larger space. You may also find yourself breathing better when using a humidifier. Our houses become very dry in the winter because of furnaces, heat pumps and fireplaces, and humidifiers can not only help houseplants, but can also help alleviate dry skin, limp hair, chapped lips and hacking coughs.
  • Terrariums
    If your house is just too dry for the plants you would like to grow, try planting them in a terrarium. These nearly enclosed vessels create miniature environments perfect for humidity-loving tropical plants such as ferns, orchids and mosses. You will still need to water your terrarium, but because much of the moisture is trapped, the humidity in the enclosure is much higher.

Keeping your humidity-loving houseplants happy in the winter isn’t difficult. Come in and see us to ask questions, get answers and pick up the simple supplies to make your home a houseplant haven.