Homage to the Humble Houseplant to Celebrate NATIONAL INDOOR PLANT WEEK

Snake Plant

Ok honestly when was the last time you sincerely thanked you interior plants for all the hard work they are performing on your behalf 24 hours a day.  Never?  Well let me give you good reason to think again before dismissing the thought that others will think you are crazy for talking to your plants.

Are you aware the interior air you are breathing daily is 2-5 times more polluted than the air you are breathing outside?  This statistic comes from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Since the majority of us spend more time inside than outside that is not doing your body any good.  Ok I can hear you already saying really, where are all of the toxins coming from? 

Dracaena dorado

Indoor-air pollutantscome in two primary forms: particle pollution, such as dust, pollen, animal dander and smoke, and gaseous pollutants such as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that are emitted from sources such as building materials, dry-cleaned clothing and aerosol sprays.  You are constantly breathing in common toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene.  Associated health problems range from headaches and asthma to respiratory diseases and cancer. 

So how does a humble little houseplant conquer such a daunting task of removing these toxins from the environment? Well it’s through a process called  phytoremediation which is the process of decontaminating soil or water by using plants and trees to absorb or break down pollutants. 

Houseplants clean the air, researchers say, primarily by absorbing pollution through small leaf pores called stomata, and via microorganisms living in the potting soil or medium that metabolize contaminants.  Scientists believe plants can begin removing pollution the moment they’re placed in a room and can be particularly useful in spaces where there’s little outside ventilation.  There are numerous studies that support this and can be found on the website for Green Plants for Green Building greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org

Dracaena pleomele

Dr Bill Wolverton, a former NASA scientist who pioneered and conducted 25 years of research on indoor plants and their ability to purify air in enclosed environments, wrote the book How to Grow Fresh Air (Penguin, 1997) which describes 50 plants that clean office air.  These plants include:

  • • Palms (Areca, Lady, Bamboo, Kentia, Pigmy)
  • • Pothos (Golden, Jade and, Neon and Marble Queen)
  • • Dracaena (Dragon Tree , Massangeana, Craigii and Peomele)
  • • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum  there are several varieties)
  • • Ficus (Rubber tree, Weeping, Alii, Fiddle Leaf) plant (Ficus elastica)
  • • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • • Sword or Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • • Philodendrens (Imperial Green or Red, Split Leaf and Heartleaf)
  • • Snake Plants
  • • Hawaiian Schefflera

We post pictures of almost all of these plants on our website, so feel free to take a look

Kentia Palm

Personal Plant Service ~ Plant Gallery

So this week during the National Indoor Plant Week, show a little appreciation for your hard working humble houseplants that are constantly making your world a cleaner place to breath.  Give them some water, a nice little shower to dust them off, (with tepid water of course, and no direct sun) and maybe a few vitamins like superthive to give them a boost after all their hard work.  If you don’t have a plant, go get one.  And if you need a little help or advice and you live in the Orange County Area, call us and we can assiste you with Indoor Plant Care for your home or office.  For a small investment you can do more for your indoor environment than an expensive air purifier could do, and they are prettier!

A Fresh View of Interior Plants: Plantscape Industry Expo 2011

This year I had the pleasure of attending the Plantscape Industry Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I can’t lie, I was pretty apprehensive at first.  I am only 6 months old in this industry and still learning how to maintain the plants and keep the customer as happy as possible, I haven’t even really started thinking about the business/vendor side of the plant world.  So when I was asked if I wanted to go, I was a little anxiety filled not wanting to flood my brain or overload myself with yet even more information.  I can now say after going, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made for the job.

The lectures that I attended were very informative, motivating, and had my brain thinking of new ways to improve upon not only my job but the entire company I work for.  My favorite one was about using the iPad as a business tool, I am a firm believer that a company should utilize all of the new technology that It can, it’s proven to boost sales, engage interest, and it makes you look like even more a professional when you can present something to the client that they can visualize and create changes to immediately if needed.

I was also very motivated and inspired by the keynote speaker, Mark Hoog who encouraged all of the attendees to find the leader within you as a person.  What struck me about the presentation is that it wasn’t directed to just us as a plantscape community, it was directed to everyone, no matter what you wanted to do or were doing.  He inspired the audience to always be true to yourself and your passions no matter what they may be and use that as a catalyst to unlock and create a leadership role for yourself to motivate, encourage, and inspire others to obtain the most out of their jobs not only in work but in life as well.

The last thing that I learned at the expo was actually something I never even thought of this whole time that I have been working for a plant company and that is, that there are other businesses and people out there just like me.  It was so refreshing to hear stories from other people within the plant world, not just technicians, but vendors, business owners, next generation horticulturists, and plant lovers.  I was able to get a whole other view on my job and I learned that it’s not just about my company, it’s about everyone as a whole, we all make up this beautiful industry and each of us keep it beautiful by coming together to share ideas, stories, and lessons that we can reflect back on the world.

Written By: Michael Dykhoff ~ Interior Plant Technican for Personal Plant Service in Orange County

Get the Facts: How Interior Plants Benefit Employees in an Office

Do plants really make a difference in the work place?

In this fast paced technical age, employees are still a company’s  most valuable asset but they are also the most expensive. In terms of the cost per square foot, the human asset is 10 times more expensive than building operating costs, and nearly 100 times more than energy cost.  When a business  takes the steps to keep its human asset happy, everyone wins!

Our love for nature or Biophilia is now being recognized as an important factor when creating interior environments.  It is my hope in this short article that you will see more than just a plant the next time you enjoy the interior greenery that enhances your office space.

Employee Benefits

As an employee you may not be aware of the individual impact the plants in your interior environment are providing you.

1.  The installation of plants in an interior setting makes our everyday workplace a more desirable place to be. Having a pleasing environment gives us greater job satisfaction, and creates an atmosphere which inspire us and help us to be more creative and productive.

2.  Interior plants are natural air purifiers. In a NASA study interior plants were found to reduce airborne molds responsible for sick building syndrome in sealed office environments. Plants reduce the levels of carbon dioxide, increase relative humidity, reduce airborne dust leaves and reduce gassing levels of common interior pollutants such a  formaldehyde, benzene, and nitrogen dioxide.

3.  Interior plants reduce symptoms related to Sick Building Symptoms.  In a 2 year study in Norway in 1996 the following ailments:

Fatique  20% reduction
Headache  45% reduction
Sore/dry throats  30% reduction
Coughs  40% reduction
Dry facial skin  25% reduction


4.  It is widely known through the respected research that plants significantly lower work place stress.  Visual exposure to plant settings has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes.

If you currently have an Interior Plant Service for your office, tell you Boss Thank You for providing for your well-being!!!

~The information shared above was gathered from two major sources.

The Green Plants for Green Buildings which is an international education and marketing operation dedicated to raising the awareness of the benefits of plants.
Their website http://www.greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org is full of articles and research.

The National Foliage Foundation is administered by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape foundation and provides financial support for the foliage industry.
Their website is http://www.nationalfoliagefoundation.org

Plant of the Month – Succulents Indoors

In what other plant group can you find such an assortment of foliage shapes from green globes to finger-like forms to tree types? The patterns and colors of leaves or stems are amazingly varied, and the often-spectacular flowers; some like water lilies or daisies; appear in striking contrast to the fascinating plants.  Succulents Indoors has got to be one of the most unique plant families that can create spectacular arrangements your guest will without a doubt “oooooow” and “ahhhhhh” over.

Many succulent plants come from the Tropics and Subtropics such as semi-deserts and high deserts, so they have a tolerance for surviving longer in dry conditions and little soil. This makes them low-maintenance, tolerant and easy to care for, perfect for the stress a home or office can take on a plant!  Succulents like bright indirect light indoors, if exposed to direct light they can sometimes sunburn.   Water these gems thoroughly, but let the soil completely dry before watering again.  Avoid soils with high organic content and stick with a fast-draining cactus mix.

There are so many uses for such a large family of plants from the Cactaceae Plant Family.  But as always, I have to give my two cents and let you know my personal favorite use of Succulents Indoors is in orchid arrangements.  They make the perfect pair not only visually, but also their light and water requirements are surprisingly similar.  A delicate Phalaenopsis (Moth) Orchid planted with trailing and rosette-formed succulents at the base of it’s graceful stem keep your eyes in a constant state of attention.  You can match the rainbow of colors that an orchid comes in with the equally colorful foliage of the succulents or create a sophisticated arrangement with a simple white orchid and succulents in various shades of green.   Mixing and matching is part of the fun and the possibilities are endless.

Other great ideas for Succulents Indoors:

  • Dish gardens – create a miniature landscape of texture and form.
  • Low table arrangements – Pick 1 variety of succulent and repeat it in small individual containers or a long thin container to give a modern appearance.
  • The Vintage Look – Use soup cans or mason jars as containers for succulents and it will give your plants a rustic look.
  • Modern Succulents – Plant succulents in a clear glass vase, it can be short or tall, but be sure to fill the vase with some charcoal at the bottom and sand or small pebbles at the top with soil in between.
  • The Finishing Touchdon’t forget to top-dressed your creation with large or small stones, river pebbles, designer glass pieces (upscale nurseries carry this in various colors), black, white or colored sand, lava rocks or sea-shells for a beach feel (it’s amazing how much succulents looks like coral and sea anemones).

Customer Survey Results shows that we are a Plant Service living up to our name

First off we would love to thank all of our clients who participated in our survey!  As Interior Plantscapers in Orange County we understand how important it is to keep business standards and values at the highest level possible and what better way to know this than to ask our clients!  We  appreciated all of your feedback and felt very warm and fuzzy with the pleasing results.

Our conclusion is that we are living up to our name:  The Personal Plant Service is providing quality work with a personal touch.

Below is a detailed summary of the results of our survey, please feel free to leave us any comments you have.  We are always striving to serve our clients the best way we can, so any feedback is always welcome at the Personal Plant Service.

~ Highlighted in BLUE are our top scores!  (the ratings are based out of 5 total)

OUR PEOPLE

Poor ~ Fair ~ Good ~ Superior ~ Exceptional ~ Rating

Professionalism                     0%       0%      2.2%       20%              77.8%           4.76

Plant Skills & Knowledge      0%        0%      2.2%      23.9%            73.9%           4.72

Tech’s communication          0%        0%      4.3%      23.9%             71.7%           4.67

Account left in good order    0%        0%      6.7%      26.7%             66.7%           4.60

Courteous & Friendly           0%         0%     0%        13%                  87%              4.87

OUR PRODUCTS

Poor ~ Fair ~ Good ~ Superior ~ Exceptional ~ Rating

Cleanliness & Health of          0%    0%      8.7%      34.8%              56.5%        4.48                your plants

Quality of plants &                  0%    0%      6.5%      28.3%               65.2%        4.59             containers  offered

Current design achieves         0%    0%      8.7%      30.4%              60.9%         4.52             desired results

Timely color rotations            0%    2.4%    9.8%      24.4%              63.4%         4.49

OUR PERFORMANCE

Poor ~ Fair ~ Good ~ Superior ~ Exceptional ~ Rating

Service is personalized        0%     0%       0%         28.3%              71.7%         4.72            and meets your needs

Quality of service                  0%     0%       0%         37%                  63%           4.63           meets expections

Timely response to              2.2%   0%      0%        21.7%                 76.1%        4.70            requests

Overall performance            0%     0%       0%         26.7%              73.3%         4.73

PUBLIC RELATIONS

1.  How likely are you to refer Personal Plant Service to a friend or relative?  Would you say the chances are:

Excellent        76.2%

Very Good      21.4%

Good              2.4%

Fair                  0%

Poor                0%

2.  May we use you as a reference?

Yes                   95.2%

No                    4.8%

As you can see from these results, we were thrilled to know that our customers feel that we are doing our job as Interior Plantscapers in Orange County exceptionally and living up to our name.

The highest compliment our customers give is to recommend us to family and friends, and 95% who responded said they would refer our service to others.  We are always interested in any referrals and would love to enhance your family or friends home or office.  Please let us know how we can help make more environments clean and beautiful places you’ll love to be!