The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Indoor plants solve growing gas problem

Add a touch of green power to your home or workspace to reduce the threat of chemical nasties


WE HAVE four frangipani plants in our garden (three in the front garden on the southwest side and one in the back garden on the northeast side). Each year in autumn/winter they lose their leaves. However, as part of losing their leaves they develop a rust. These are bright yellow pores on the underside of the leaves. The leaves eventually turn black and fall off. When there are a lot of leaves on IT IS the smell you notice in a new car or the reason you feel compelled to open the doors and windows to let some fresh air into your home or office.

Off-gassing of modern materials makes many of us sick, disrupts the thought processes and concentrat­ion of others and creates red itchy eyes and irritabili­ty. Yet Australian research proves the answer could be as simple as a few indoor the plant with the spores, if you touch the leaves they give off a yellow dust.

Peter, Chapel Hill Rust disease is endemic in much of Queensland. The severity of the disease is influenced by seasonal conditions (early summer rains) and the warmth and sunshine the plant receives. You are unlikely to be able to eliminate rust disease completely, but may have some success in reducing the early onset and severity of plants. If Australia has any unsung heroes, Dr Margaret Burchett, is surely one of them.

A professor of plant science with special expertise in plant environmen­tal toxicology, she studies how plants reduce and ameliorate pollution in the soil, sediments and air. Her research is important for big business, but also has surprising relevance for the rest of us.

Our indoor environmen­ts infestatio­ns by strengthen­ing the plant’s natural disease resistance through an applicatio­n of sulphate of potash. Treat trees with a fungicide while they are dormant and when the leaves first emerge. Your local nursery will be able to advise you on fungicide products. I have a choko vine bearing fruit. When do we prune and how far back do we chop it?

Des, Crestmead are filled with volatile organic compounds found in plastics and glues, synthetic fabrics, fabric protectors, paints, cleaning products and myriad other items made from fossil fuels. It is the smell you detect when you bring a new piece of furniture home, lay new carpet or paint a room.

The smell fades after a while, but these products do not stop giving off toxic gases like benzene and toluene (they do so throughout the life of the item). The smell may fade but off-gassing still occurs at a slower, less detectable level.

The good news is Dr Burchett has discovered how these air pollutants are broken down Cut your choko back after you harvest the fruit. Vines have a large, tuberous root system that the plant can draw nutrients from in order to regenerate. If you cut the vine back to ground level, then fertilise and water it, it should reshoot, but pruning to ground level is not essential. Could you please tell me when to harvest turmeric? I waited until the flowers had died before attempting to harvest some, but it was a and used as nutrients by plants. Plants view these contaminan­ts as a source of food and it is not just plants that are involved in the process. The micro-organisms in potting mix are particular­ly effective at absorbing VOCs as nutrients.

All it takes is one healthy potted plant in each averagesiz­ed room to reduce compounds to a negligible level.

Rather than complainin­g about the cost of indoor plants in government offices, we should be insisting on more plants.

Removal of volatile organic compounds by plants from the air in indoor environmen­ts promotes better r pale colour instead of the dark orange I’ve had before.

Joyce, Caloundra The colour of turmeric varies according to the variety planted (deep orange, pale yellow and white varieties are available). While the deep orange colour is the most popular for cooking, all colours are reported to have similar health effects. Turmeric is traditiona­lly harvested during late autumn or winter or during concentrat­ion, clearer thinking and more rational decisionma­king. One good political decision could pay the cost of indoor plant hire 10 times over.

Good options for low-light and low-care situations include leafy green plants like Zanzibar Gem, spathiphyl­lum or peace lily, aglaonema, and devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum).

Flowering plants need good light, but those that cope with extended periods indoors include African violets and anthuriums and moth orchids (Phalaenops­is species). Learn more about how plants clean up pollutants at interiorpl­ant scape.asn.auscap the dry season ini theth tropics.t opics This is when the plant becomes completely dormant and the foliage dies back to ground level. However, turmeric can be harvested at any time of year simply by digging up small sections of rhizomes from establishe­d plants.

 ??  ?? FRESH AIR: Plants such as anthurium can improve indoor environmen­ts.
FRESH AIR: Plants such as anthurium can improve indoor environmen­ts.
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