- by Vika
Exhale the BS
Every babe in town has demanding social and professional life. You need to accommodate wishes and asks from your boss, boyfriend/girlfriend, always missing you horribly mum and uncle, your bestie and her pet gold fish. At times shit just hit the fan big time and you repeat like a mantra ‘BREATHE-IN. BREATH-OUT.’ That’s right babe, absolute cooperation with unavoidable.
What’s next in your coping with overwhelm arsenal? A brisk walk around the block. Blood circulation, fresh air and all that blame - we all know is great for clearing one’s head, just as it’s vital for a healthy skin. Or you might hold that outrageous yoga asana you finally can fold into like one mean origami. Inhale the light, exhale the BS, right? Hang on. Have you heard that indoor pollution levels can be even higher than outdoor levels? A plant in your home or by your desk at work will act as an air filter.
The NASA Clean Air Study was led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration almost two decades ago. Its results suggest that certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing toxic agents from the air, helping neutralize the effect of sick building syndrome (huh! who knew buildings can catch bugs too?!) - which is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason.
The symptoms tend to increase in severity with the time people spend in the building, and improve over time or even disappear when people are away from the building (duh! I thought everyone calls it TGIF). The main identifying observation is an increased incidence of complaints of symptoms such as headache, eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, and dizziness and nausea.
The first list of air-filtering plants of the study was published in 1989, which researched ways to clean air in space stations. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide (excess of it in a poorly ventilated area makes you feel tied and sleepy) and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene (damn it sounds like a double layer of swearing 🤬). NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet (about 9 square meters) of home or office space. Other more recent research has shown that micro-organisms in the potting mix (soil) of a potted plant remove benzene from the air.
Here are some of your future green clean air freaks to help you breathe freely.
BAMBOO or RED PALM (pictured on the left): filters carcinogen benzene from the air, as well as trichloroethylene emitted by solvents and dry-cleaning.
DRACENA: clears air pollutant emitted by vanishes and lacquers by removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
UMBRELLA PLANT (pictured on the left): eliminates benzene from the air.
PHILODENDRON: removes high concentrations of formaldehyde coming from sources such as particleboard.
ZANZIBAR: gets rid of carbon monoxide from the air.
POTHOS: filters car exhaust by clearing formaldehyde efficiently, as well as carbon monoxide.
SPIDER PLANT: clears a range of air pollutant, including benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
CHRYSANTHEMUM: eradicates benzene that comes from glue, paint, plastic, ink and detergents.
IVY: prevents asthma and allergies, battles airborne mould, benzene from cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides, formaldehyde and fecal particles.
PEACE LILY: clears benzene, mould spores, alcohol, acetone, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
ALOE VERA: removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air.
SANSEVIERIA: excellent air purifier, absorbing formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide.
CHINESE EVERGREEN: emits loads of oxygen, removes formaldehyde and benzene - plus it battles more toxins with time and exposure.
GERBERA: removes benzene and trichloroethylene, and improves sleep as it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night.
FICUS OR WEEPING FIG: clears airborne pollutants accompanying carpeting and furniture: formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
Have NASA sold it to you yet?
Now your la jungle will sky rocket 🚀 making your appartement look smoky hot! And not just because of looks, tho it’s undeniably crazy sexy green. We’re all big girls and boys here, and know by now that sexy is really about attitude, not looks. That’s what plants got. One badass attitude of ‘I’ll give it the best shot, everything I've got’.
Have you ever heard of ficus calculating his chances to succeed in a new terracotta pot? The light in his new spot is not ideal to thrive and reach full potential. Should he even start growing?
Or monstera that totally doesn’t believe in your affection or trust your ability to manage basic watering, so she cut you loose right at the beginning, unfollowed, so to speak, and refuses to grow. Nada. At all.
Of course not! Plants practice badassery!
Always. And forever.
They will give it the best try no matter what.
Poor quality soil, ugly looking pot, girlfriend/boyfriend who often neglecting time together for watering, trims and occasional baths, dodgy light - none of it will stop little green fellow to give life his best shot. The only one shot he’s got...ummm like all of us. One life, one planet, often only one in a life time opportunity.
And check this out. Did you know that if not for pests, diseases and other natural events trees can grow forever?!
Now that’s badass!
Imagine all of us will never stop growing (spiritually that is, accomodate 4 meters tall humans would be rather unpractical). Imagine all of us give anything that happens in our life the best try.
New job landed on your lap, but not at exactly the most desirable location or with a company of your expectations? Give it the best shot.
Someone new and exciting is in your life? But will she/he love you or just play and break your heart?
Give it everything and see. Now you convinced to get the green guru by your bed to kick off each morning positive AF?
At GREENWASHERY we’re stoked about green babes.
Green babes that wash their butts with our soap and potted green babes that please us with their badassery everyday. We like 48 times stoked each and every day about the latter. That’s amount of pots of different caliber we have in our arsenal. Clearly GREENWASH babes can’t be trusted with a credit card in a garden department of hardware store.
So here’s our top 5 tips how NOT to love your new green sweetheart to death.
1. Don’t turn your early romance into a routine.
In other words don’t over complicate it or you're risking to make it feel like a chore.
Start small, make it simple. Same as you wouldn’t plot complicated plans how to burden yourself with mortgage on your second date, don’t rush into getting 20 plants only to find that it’s just too much, too soon.
Behavioural psychologists know that to kick any new positive behaviour in humans, and to make it last, you need to make it easy and accessible. Opposite if you need to ditch undesirable habit. Advices like don’t have cookies in your pantry to easy pig out on or put your running/gym gear right by your bed to find it quickly are based on that principle. So do the same.
Get one plant, make it supper easy to look after it, get into habit doing so, treat yourself with a new green babe in a fancy pot (outrageously expensive vintage tins from antique store are our treats).
Besides what do they say about establishing new habits?
21 repetitions? There you go.
One plant a month is your pace at the beginning.
2. Don’t cheat.
Don’t be tempted to save a buck on potting mix. Avoid gardening centres’ cheap deals 3 bags for one and a half dollar.
Not worth it.
Usually those potting mixes have poor water retention ability, which means you will need to water your plants more frequently. It might become too much for your already full schedule and lead you to give up your green endeavour.
Also from our experience some cheap potting soil can be infected with insects eggs like gnats flies or weeds seeds.
Save on a pot for your plant instead. Your new healthy babe will look great in any pot! It’s not the dress, it’s how you wear it.
3. Don’t risk your love with distance.
Yes, true love will withstand anything, but why struggle and test it rather than enjoy it? Keep your babes close where you can see them every day.
Firstly, it’s just plain rewarding to see your lush and gorgeous baby. Being always in your sight will also give you a chance to spot a problem, like pests or nutrients deficiency early, not to mention morning quicky to water your handsome.
Majority of our green babes live in the kitchen and bedroom.
4. Pay attention to what your green love of your life needs.
Didn’t you hate it in your previous relationships when they just simply wouldn’t listen and/or do things the way you like/need it? Like everything was the way they've found it easier/faster/no-brainy. Didn’t it make you scream ‘Why don’t you just ask me?!!’. Frustrating, right?
Well, don’t be that. Ask and listen. Or rather read the instructions that every plant has when you buy it.
People often think that more water is better. All plants have different needs when it comes to watering - which can depend on the time of year, amount of light and temperature. Some plants like to dry out completely between waterings, others need to be kept moist - so the safest bet is to check the care instructions.
The easiest solution to understand the moisture level of your plant is to stick your finger into the soil about 2 centimetres deep to feel whether it’s dry or moist.
Some plants, like the peace lily, are very expressive—the leaves will droop when it is in need of a good watering, and will perk right back up again once its thirst is quenched. Water the soil thoroughly each time, making sure it drains from the holes at the bottom of your pot.
5. Schedule time together.
Yep, that’s right! To sustain meaningful relationships many couples with full on professional life pencil in their dates. Like you would’ve put self care reminders of your appointments with dentist, massage therapist, spin and yoga class on your phone.
So pick a day. Place a reminder. For us it’s Wednesday - when we methodically walk around our la jungle to check which baby need TLC and a splash of water. Tiny pots which have tendency to dry out faster need to be watered more frequently than once a week, so we keep those on a windowsill, to keep an eye on them every morning when we open the curtains.
Or schedule two days, once your green tribe expended. This way you can quickly check some of them in one day and come back the next day to attend the rest, rather than do longer and thorough weekly check up for all.
And don't sweat if you missed the date with your green lovers. Their affection for you is truly unconditional and forgiving. Just don't overuse it in your advantage.
Another cool tech hack that can be handy when you starting is an app call Plant Light Meter. An app that will measure how much light is at the spot where you've planed to place your new green babe, to take guess game out. App supports only natural light investigation and can’t help you with any artificial sources.
Don’t despair if for any reason you can’t start (yet) your urban jungle. Check out Forest App that plants a tree after you spend a certain amount of hours off your phone. Huh! You can make positive impact with planting! Let's get grubby!