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The Interior Use of Plants


The Interior Use of Plants. Evidence of the use of potted plants is found in ancient Chinese artifacts, on ... Spider mites. cont.'d. White Flies Scale ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Interior Use of Plants

Chapter 8
  • The Interior Use of Plants

  • Evidence of the use of potted plants is found in
    ancient Chinese artifacts, on the walls of tombs
    of the Egyptian pharaoh, and the ruins of
  • Containers of ornamentals adorned the palaces of
    European nobility for centuries and filled the
    parlors of middle-class Victorians and Americans
    more recently.
  • Potted foliage plants or house plants have had
    their place in homes for many years.

  • An unsatisfactory outcome is predictable when
    architects and interior decorators try to work
    with plant material whose qualities and
    maintenance requirements are unknown.
  • The term interior plantscaping comes from the
    demand for maintaining plants indoors. It is a
    variation on the term landscaping.
  • For now, the term interior plantscaping will be
    used to describe the work.

  • Tropical foliage plants have proven to be the
    most successful indoor plants because they do not
    require the period of cool temperature dormancy
    that often makes temperate zone plants
  • As a profession, interior plantscaping deals with
    the design, installation, and maintenance of
    plants in interior locations.

  • Five things plants must adjust to when used
  • A drastic reduction in the quality and intensity
    of the light
  • Reduction and constriction of the plants root
  • The replacement of natural rainfall by dependency
    on humans for correct watering
  • A reduction in nutrient requirements and a
    potential for buildup of soluble salts
  • A lack of air movement and rainfall, allowing
    dust to accumulate on the leaves, often plugging
    stomata and reducing photosynthesis
  • Potential damage by air conditioners, central
    heating system, cleaning chemicals, water
    additives, and other irritants.

  • To understand the lighting requirements of a
    plant you must ask
  • How much light do interior plantings need?
  • What kind of light do they need?
  • What sources of light exist indoors?
  • No matter how many windows and skylights are
    designed into a home or office
  • building, the light intensity inside
  • will never equal that outside.
  • Light intensity is expressed in
  • units of lux or footcandle.

  • A lux is the illumination received on a surface
    that is 1 meter from a standard light source
    known as unity.
  • A lux is and international measurement comparable
    in use to the metric system.
  • In the United States, the footcandle unit is more
    commonly used and understood.
  • One footcandle is equal to the amount of light
    produced by a standard candle at a distance of 1
  • A light meter is the only way to measure light
    intensity accurately.

  • A light meter is the first piece of equipment
    that should be bought by a plantscape designer.
  • The keys to a plants survival are
    acclimatization and maintenance of the minimum
    light intensity required for its survival in an
    attractive and healthy condition.
  • Acclimatization is defined as the adjustment of
    an outdoor plant to interior conditions.
  • The minimum light intensity is the level of
    illumination necessary to allow acclimatized
    plant to produce new leaves at a rate equal to or
    slightly greater than the rate at which old
    leaves senesce and abscise.

  • The term used to describe when leaves age is
  • The term used to describe the falling off of
    leaves is abscise.
  • Light intensity is reduced gradually over a
    period of several weeks or months. The
    acclimatization process cannot be rushed without
    a severe reaction (defoliation, or death).

  • During nutrient acclimatization, high fertility
    levels in the soil is unnecessary, and thorough
    soil leaching at the beginning of the
    acclimatization period and occasionally
    afterwards will prevent a buildup of soluble
  • During moisture acclimatization, the frequency of
    watering is reduced to prepare plants for their
    more stressful interior locale.
  • During temperature acclimatization, temperatures
    are gradually reduced to the range common to most
    interior areas (65 -75 F).

  • Light quality is the color of light emitted by a
    particular source.
  • Plants depend upon blue and red bands of the
    visible light spectrum.
  • The unit of measurement for light wavelengths is
    the nanometer.

  • Five questions to consider when selecting the
    proper lamp for illumination of an interior
  • How extensive is the planting?
  • Are the plants to be encouraged to grow or merely
    to be maintained at their current size?
  • Will the plants receive any sunlight? If so, how
    much and for how long?
  • How far will the artificial light source be from
    the plants?
  • What types of lamps are being used for general
    lighting of the area and what is the intensity of
    surface illumination provided?

  • Special effects such as shadows or textural
    highlights can be created with incandescent
    lights installed beneath the plants and directed
    upward. These are called uplights.
  • When supplemental lights are added for overhead
    illumination, they should be positioned to light
    the plants fully without shining in the eyes of
  • The most important of all light sources for
    interior plantscapes is natural sunlight when it
    can be planned for and depended on.

  • Sunlight entering from overhead is of greater use
    in the illumination of interior plantings than
    light entering from the side.
  • The medium that serves when plants are growing in
    a nursery field or production container is likely
    to be inappropriate for an interior installation.

  • Problems with natural field soil include
  • Too heavy to permit rapid drainage
  • Too heavy for the floor to support if the
    container is large
  • Inconsistent in composition, making standardized
    maintenance of separate planters difficult.
  • Infested with insects, pathogens, or weeds

  • Indoors, photosynthesis is reduced to
    survival-maintenance levels, so the root system
    need not be as large.
  • One of the first steps at the time of
    installation is to remove production medium from
    around the roots and prune away excess roots.
  • More interior plant deaths result from
    over-watering than from any other reason.
  • The need to water a planting can be determined by
    feeling the soil and observing its color.

  • When water is applied, it must be in a quantity
    adequate to wet the soil deeply, not shallowly.
  • Deep watering promotes deep and healthy rooting
    while providing the soil leaching necessary to
    prevent soluble salt buildup.
  • Fertilization is needed to provide the mineral
    elements required for photosynthesis.
  • Too much nitrogen may lead to spindly, succulent,
    and unattractive growth.
  • Excessive fertilization follows only slightly
    behind overwatering as a major reason why
    interior plants fail to survive satisfactorily.

  • Humidity is seldom a problem for plants growing
    outdoors, but can cause a problem for interior
  • If the correct precautions are not taken, plants
    can experience ethylene poisoning during
    shipping. This is caused by the exhaust and can
    severely damage the plants. Proper ventilation is
    the key to preventing this problem.

  • Air pollution cannot be escaped by bringing the
    landscape indoors.
  • Proper ventilation will carry away chlorine
    vapors, fumes from smokers and chemical cleaning
    agents, or the ethylene which may be present if a
    building is heated by some form of hydrocarbon
    combustion (fossil fuel).
  • Dust is an air pollutant different from the
    others in that it is a particulate not a vapor.
  • Air filtration reduces the amount of dust.

  • Pruning will not be extensive in an interior
    planting because of the plants reduced rate of
  • Repotting of plants is necessary in plantings
    where growth is allowed.

Five common pests in interior landscape
  • Aphids Mealybugs
  • Spider mites

  • White Flies Scale

  • The only real defense against vandalism to
    interior plants is public education and
  • Grouping compatible species is used often in
    interior plantscapes. By using plants which have
    the same requirements for light, moisture,
    fertilization, and soil mix, grouping helps
    simplify maintenance.

  • The success of the plantscape is measured by its
    appearance and health.
  • No greater field in ornamental horticulture holds
    greater promise than interior landscaping.