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House Plants : Sufficient Air

Fumes | Dust


Plants need carbon dioxide from the air for growth. The old notion that it is dangerous or unhealthy to have plants in the bedroom at night is not true. Plants marginally increase the carbon dioxide level at night, having reduced it during the day – another person sleeping in the same room increases the carbon dioxide level many times more.

Roots need oxygen to live and for the uptake of nutrients. Air is excluded by excessive water in wet compost, causing the roots to die and eventually to rot. The roots ‘drown’ for lack of air, but this will not happen if the compost is open enough to allow air to reach the roots. Open, well-aerated compost is essential for healthy growth.


Air-borne dust is another pollutant that affects plants. House air invariably carries a lot of dust from open fires, clothing and furnishings. A thick layer of dust not only spoils the look of the plant but it reduces the amount of light reaching the leaves, which reduces growth.

Leaves should be cleaned from time to time, especially at the start of the growing season, by spraying with clean water or sponging large leaves. Leaf shine products, such as Bio Leaf Shine and Kerishine, can be used to enhance the shine of leaves, but only on naturally shiny-leaved plants. Do not use household polish, cleaners, oil or milk on house plants.


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