Growing Plants that Help the Environment

At Shedstore, our products are designed for the great outdoors. We love our gardens and, naturally, the environment. So here's a topic close to our hearts...

Plant, Plant and Plant Some More

One of the easiest ways that people can reduce pollution on an individual level is by growing plants that help the environment. Creating more green material helps to purify the air, which leads toward a cleaner planet through the reduction of the effects of pollution. The benefits of all things green is undeniable. The increase of flora (trees, shrubs, herb gardens, house plants, vegetable crops, and decorative flowers) does actually help to reduce pollution.

How do plants help the environment?

The process by which the plants do this is a natural one; they release oxygen into the air as they take in carbon dioxide from the air, as well as filter out and eliminate some toxins. Furthermore, green material provides nourishment for the entire food chain and not just the atmosphere. Both indoor and outdoor environments can be improved by simply growing these eco-friendly plants. There are some big environmental problems that must be solved, and this is one small way that everyone can contribute to reducing these problems that is safe and effective.

The wonderful thing about the relation between people and plants is that people need oxygen and an environment that is richly oxygenated to survive, while plants need carbon dioxide to thrive. The Earth has a natural process for releasing carbon dioxide and consuming oxygen in the atmosphere. In nature, there is a perfect balance between the flora and fauna, with consumption of oxygen and carbon dioxide by the fauna and the consumption of carbon dioxide and release of oxygen by the flora. It is a give and take relationship in which people/animals (fauna) enhance the environment for flora, and flora enhances the environment for people. However, this perfect balance has been out of sorts since the introduction of the burning of fossil fuels and from deforestation. The problem is two-fold, with extra carbon dioxide being released at levels in just a few centuries that are equivalent to that of millions of years of natural processes. Furthermore, massive numbers of trees have been felled, meaning there are fewer and fewer flora to try to absorb the extra carbon dioxide. The extra emissions into the atmosphere that are not diminished by natural means cause heat to be trapped, resulting in changes in the climate that include unnatural temperature shifts and severe weather patterns.

Fortunately, several nations, corporations, and organisations, have been taking steps to try to use plants to help reduce this pollution. They do this through large-scale reforestation projects and the creation of diverse ecosystems. However, as individuals, people can contribute to this overall endeavour by simply planting flowers, vegetables, herbs, and even trees in their communities and in their personal landscapes. Every effort helps to try to create a more natural balance and an atmosphere that is much cleaner.

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How can you help the environment?

Plant a Tree - the giant of all plants

The bigger the plant, the more filtering it can do. Trees are obviously the giants of the plant world. Plant a tree in your garden - a low-maintenance trees appropriate to the climate is best.

Plant Bee-friendly Plants

Bees are essential to our eco-system. According to Friends of the Earth: "The vast majority of plants we need for food rely on pollination, especially by bees: from almonds and vanilla and apples to squashes." The cotton our clothes are made from has to be pollinated; the plants our livestock eat need to be pollinated; and nearly all our wildflowers need to be pollinated. Bee-friendly plants include the following: lavender, allium, cotoneaster, foxglove, holly hock, lupin, lambs ears, geraniums, oregano and wisteria. There are plenty of bee-friendly wildflower seed mixes you can use too. Be very careful about your use of pesticides too. Always avoid using on flowering plants.

Indoor Plants for a Healthy Home Environment

It is easy to understand how large-scale efforts can work towards improving the large outdoor environment, but people can actually improve the quality of their indoor environment with plants as well. Just as flora oxygenates the outdoor air, so too will it oxygenate the indoor air. House plants of all varieties can help reduce negative effects of indoor pollutants. These could be from heating and cooling systems, from pets, carpets, or even from furniture. Plants will filter out noxious gasses and basically freshen the air. Some people have certain sensitivities to indoor pollutants. Some good air purification plants include English ivy, aloe vera, spider plants, peace lily, reed palm, and weeping fig. For people who may have allergic reactions to certain plants, there are plant varieties that rate very low on the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS). This is a rating scale designed by Thomas Ogren which measures the allergy potential of all garden and landscape plants.

potted primrose flowers on a white background; red, white, and purple in colour a view from above of a potted cactus desk plant

Time to get started...

Gardening and growing eco-friendly plants is something that really should be thought of as an activity that benefits everyone. Start by adding a houseplant or two, then look at your garden and see where you can add a few more plants. If you get the gardening bug, you can move on to growing your own plants in a greenhouse, growing your own fruit and veg (lowering the carbon footprint of transporting plants) and passing the message on to others. Aim to buy plants that are grown locally or at least in this country. That's better for the environmen too!

Why not take a look at some gardening products that Shedstore offer - such as planters, wheelbarrows, and mini greenhouses - and get started with creating your own eco-friendly garden?