Greenhouse or Conservatory: What’s the Difference?

We are often asked about the differences between our conservatory designs. There are many words associated with a glass-enclosed room including conservatories, greenhouses, orangeries, sunrooms, and enclosed porches.

While all of these terms are related, it is important for a homeowner to identify how they would like to utilize the space. Typically, a conservatory is a glass-enclosed living space for people in which plants exist. A greenhouse is a more rugged structure, a place that plants can nurture and grow and people visit.

Orangeries originated in the Victorian era when British aristocrats wanted to grow the mysterious fruits and vegetables that tradesmen brought with them from their countries. In the winter, the trees would be brought inside the warm enclosure while still having access to the natural sunlight. In the summers, the doors would be pulled open and the trees would be rolled outside, leaving a stunning entertainment space for the wealthy to enjoy. They are most similar to the modern hybrid, a greenhouse conservatory, which performs the functions of growing plants but most importantly looks beautiful and becomes a living space for playing, dining or relaxing. It also becomes an asset to the property that will add value to the home.

So, is it a greenhouse or conservatory? Let’s discuss the similarities between the two:

  • All are glass structures
  • All provide an ideal location for plants to grow
  • All can be attached to your house (but greenhouses seldom are)
  • All have the ability to be designed using solar energy to be environmentally sound
  • All can be customized with Conservatory Accessories to add style and design intrigue

Features of A Conservatory

  • Crafted of eco-friendly materials, such as mahogany or sustainable aluminum
  • Incorporates many automatic components without detracting from the visual appearance
  • Used mainly as a living space, but still integrates plants into its design
  • Interior décor includes conservatory furniture and accessories

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Features of A Greenhouse

  • Built economically, using some automatic conveniences
  • From the exterior, the greenhouse will appear to be quite utilitarian
  • Crafted to meet climatic and environmental needs

Greenhouses are an ideal place to grow out-of-season fruits and vegetables in cold weather. Americans today are more health conscious and choose to live and eat more organic food. As horticulturalist, we praise the effort of sustainable, local food. Greenhouses are an emerging market as our clients are looking for a place to grow and enjoy plants, grow winter edibles, and start their own plants for spring and summer gardens.

4 Tips on Keeping A Conservatory Cool

Keeping a conservatory cool begins with planning. Before the first nail is hammered, heat control must be incorporated into the conservatory’s design. Doing so without one is a surefire plan for an uncomfortable conservatory.

4 Tips on Keeping a Conservatory Cool

  • Natural shading from surrounding trees
  • Solar glass
  • Automatic or roller blinds and shades
  • Ventilation systems

As soon as the warm season begins, we know that if it’s hot outside it’s going to get even hotter in the conservatory. When I sit down with our clients to do a conservatory design, we evaluate four specific conditions:

Exposure

What natural shading occurs during the day? Does the conservatory face directly south? Does the house shade the conservatory for a portion of the day? Be mindful that the sun changes in altitude. In the winter, the low sun shines in through the side windows. In the summer, the heat gain comes through the roof.
Being a Horticulturalist, the first assistance I look for comes from plants. Deciduous trees (ones that lose leaves in the winter) to be more specific. Deciduous trees are your best friends.

They shade the room in the summer, and allow sun to shine through in the winter. What a great relationship you will have with trees, well placed near your conservatory. A note here, if you are not a tree expert, get some expert advice. You do not want softwood trees that easily lose branches in storms or winds. You do not want trees that make a big mess with seeds. You also want to make sure your tree is not ‘sappy’ or a tree that attracts insects that produce sap. Sound impossible? Not at all. Just get good advice.

Glass

Glass is rated by experts in two ways. Solar gain and heat gain. They are different entities. Without going into a deep discussion, what you want is to control heat gain, and that is with shading coefficient. We can get shading co-efficiency to a point where the glass can be 75% shading. This may cause a loss of visibility, so look at different glass options and decide what level of shading you want in the glass.

Blinds

Well, you may call them shades too. We love the conservatory blinds that we use and we take great care to match them with your interior decor. Blinds have multiple functions. They do the obvious thing of shading out the sun, but in the winter, at night, they hold heat into the room. A great plus when its below zero like it has been for us so many times this winter. Consider automation. We can motorize the blinds so you can control them many ways. Sensors in the room can raise and lower them based on time of day, temperature in the room or sun intensity. We can also allow you to manually operate the blinds from your laptop whilst on a sunny beach in the Caribbean!

Mechanics

How do commercial greenhouses keep them cool? A simple thing: moving air. We like to move a lot of air through the conservatory. When it is 75 degrees outside and the conservatory has just hit 90, you can control the temperature by simply moving air. We call it air exchanges. If you exchange the air in the room 6 times in an hour, you should be what we call ‘ambient’.

Moving air is cheap. You notice I have not talked about air conditioning yet. That is the last option on my list. You can use roof vents with automatic louvers to open side windows and roof vents to create a chimney affect. Have a ceiling fan below pushing the air up to the roof. The natural movement of hot air is up, so let it go up, and get it out!
We also use attic fans that take the air from the conservatory, up high, and expel through the roof of the house or a soffit on the conservatory. This is a bit more complicated, so rely on your designer to get you through this one.

OK, now the air conditioner. I only use mine as a last resort. I think the mini-split is the way to go. Look into Mitusibishi or Fijitsju for a couple of great products that can cool a conservatory in no time. They just cost more to run.

So I read the internet, and I see many frustrated, unhappy people trying to cool their conservatory. You know why that happens? They bought from the wrong company. They bought from a company more interested in closing a sale than educating the buyer as to the many solar options they have and a conservatory design that meets their expectations.

How to Germinate and Grow Your Plants from Seeds

Let’s talk about gardening and how to germinate and grow your plants from seeds. In short, the hard carbohydrate in that seed must dissolve, turn to sugar and provide energy to the endosperm in the seed. This process takes from 3 to 25 days to take place. Through that period, all seeds must be kept moist to dissolve the carbohydrates. If they dry out, they die. Starting over again by watering a dry bed will not bring them back to life. Seeds are not Lazarus. Remember this when seeding your lawn or any other seeds you might plant.

OK, enough Biology for the day. Salvia is one of those plants that require light for proper germination. If you have a growth chamber for germination, set it so the lights are on 16 hours per day. As you know from this post, it has been requested for my daughter’s wedding.

We know from our research that Salvia requires 10 days to germinate. I plant them around April 1st and note on the seedling flat the date of expected germination. Keep this seed on the surface. Remember, it needs light to germinate!

How To Germinate and Grow From Seeds

  • I usually cover the flats with Glad Press and Seal, to keep moisture inside. Once sprouted, it is now time to remove the cover, and watch for the seedlings to grow. We have our growth chamber set up in the conservatory on the heated floor
  • Keep the flat moist, not wet, and water from below (like setting the flat in a pan of water) so the seedlings don’t get knocked over. They can’t get up again! Watch for the fungus called ‘damping off’. It happens to tiny seedlings that are too wet, and you will see the cotton like fungus at the base of the plant. Some people water their seedlings with chamomile tea (cold of course!). There are elements of the tea that prevent the damping off fungus. Just avoid damping off. Keep plants moist, never dry out, never too wet
  • Once there are at least 4 permanent leaves on the plant you can transplant to the 4 pack you will use for garden transplant. This time of year, the conservatory can get quite warm on a sunny day, so make sure to watch the temp in the in the growth chamber. Excessive heat will also set the plants back
  • Be sure to ‘harden’ the plants outside, during the day, for at least 3 days before transplanting outside. A fan, set on low speed over the plants, while still in the conservatory, can do the same thing if you have too many flats to take in and out
  • Make sure you are well past the last frost date before planting in the garden. Plants that are too cold will stunt and take a long time to re-start. There are many clever ideas for keeping the plant in the open during the day and covered at night

Often, a cold frame is the answer:
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Other times, just a plastic hoop around the seedling is enough. I have learned to wait to plant my peppers until the soil is warm and the days are too. Yet, we all know that onions should get in the ground as early as possible.

Since starting this blog, many of my seeds have already arrived! I have planted the lisianthus and have a schedule of all the plants in the garden and when I will plant the seeds.

Stay tuned for seedlings as they grow and the designs we have made for the flowers this year!

A Conservatory Wedding! OMG!

Well, my youngest, Allison, has announced her plans to marry Daniel Johnson on September 6th of 2014. What great news for our family! She is so happy, and Daniel is really a fine gentleman. As a dad, I could not be happier or luckier.

Or, so I thought. The next piece of news from her smiling face was “and we are having the wedding in the conservatory!”

WHAT?!! Oh boy. I could see my wife, Mary Jo’s eyes and I knew right there what she was thinking. The longest most extensive ‘Honey Do’ list history! I mean if I had all 3 beehives that I own helping me, there would never be as much Honey Do!

Well, the shock has eased some and it’s time for reality. One thing I know for sure, if there is going to be 100 people in this conservatory garden, it is going to be spectacular! All my garden design days are going to work to support me as I re-think every plant in the garden. They must all earn their keep to be in this big show!

So out come the sketch pad and the plant manuals. Brew a cup of tea and nestle into the conservatory for a journey through the photos of flowers and plants in a land far from a January night in Minnesota!

Though the temperature hovers near zero outside, the conservatory is warm and snug.

A bit of Garden music and my laptop; we begin the process of shopping the seed catalogs. Now we get into the bread and butter of what this story is all about today: how and what to shop for in a seed catalog. (to be continued…)

Seed Starting in the Conservatory

The Holiday season is over, the decorations are down, the winter has a firm grip on life, and minds begin to dream about the next season. Spring!

Last year was not a kind spring. Everything was late. I had to feed my poor bees until the third week of June before pollen finally was available in the typical spring blooms.

This year will be different. We are all hoping for that. So, let’s make a list and go seed shopping! Here are some helpful gardening tips that will guide you through seed starting in your conservatory. Please check back often and follow my gardening journey!

1) Avoid the impulse to buy seeds at the ‘box store’. Nothing against box stores, but a lot of impulse seed buying. I did this for years and then after it was too late, regretted the plants and the harvest. You put a lot of time (all summer) into growing the plants, why not take a couple of minutes and study the varieties available and make good choices. The University of Minnesota will help you! http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/vegetables/suggested-vegetables-for-minnesota-home-gardens/ is a great place to start. Check with your local Land Grant University for suggestions.

2) Be sure to stay ahead of the season. Or pay the price of expensive potting plants, with little variety to select from. Many garden centers spray growth inhibitor on the seedlings to they stay full and don’t get long and leggy in the garden center. Problem is, they stay stunted and are poor producers. So there are several reasons to start you own seeds: cost, quality control, and fun! Not all plants transplant well into the garden (beets, carrots). Make a calendar and plant your seeds by the clock!

3) Do not use seed ‘Catalogs’? The internet is a better source for a seed shop. Avoid companies, just because they offer a sale. Not saying it won’t be a good deal, but seed quality is the most important. Note, I am not saying don’t buy seeds from companies who send catalogs, what I am saying is study the plants on the internet for full information. I recently looked at a seed catalog. It offered 9 seeds in the pack, for $3.49! After careful shopping, I was able to buy the same variety with 150 seeds in the pack for $1.49.

4) Design your garden. Impulsive gardens that result from buying plants at the nursery never work out. When in doubt, try ‘Square Foot Gardening’, but be sure if it’s vegetables or flowers, you have a plan on paper first. Go on YouTube and look at time-saving techniques like ‘how to make your own seed tape’. It saves seeds and gets a fun project for the kids to do with you while you wait for the last frost of the year.

5) Organize. I make up a 3 ring binder and keep my notes in it from year to year. Plan the garden and follow the plan! I have a mixed light exposure around the conservatory. Lots of suns, some morning sun, and some shade. I love it. I have a full pallet to paint with.
Water plants in the morning. Keep the young tender plants out of direct sun.


6) Coordinate.
Look at plant options. I Google things like “purple flowers that grow in sun“. You get to see lots of photos of plants that inspire. Pick a plant. Let’s say you are attracted to Salvia, a great plant that has great cut flowers that grows in the sun, and of course I selected a purple variety.
Now, Google ‘Salvia’ and many suppliers will pop up. Look at their options. Now you can compare various promotions the companies offer, and order your seeds.

7) Track. Start a chart either on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet. List the plant, where you are ordering from (I bought mine from Swallowtail), the length of time to germination, and instructions on germination. This is important and often overlooked. Some plants do best planted in the soil where they go through the process and send up shoots. However, due to hormones in the seeds, some plants germinate in light and require being at the surface of the planting to be successful. Make this note on your spreadsheet.

I can’t wait to get my seeds in the mail next week. Gardening is an enjoyable hobby, but like the professionals say it is 50% planning and 50% luck and I wish you all the luck, my friends!

Stay tuned for germination!

Can A Conservatory Weather a Hurricane?

There is no doubt that storms are becoming stronger and that the destruction weather can cause is getting worse and worse.

Across New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, fifteen conservatories built by Conservatory Craftsmen experienced full force winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy. None of our structures suffered any wind or water damage. One of our conservatories, under construction, had a small leak, and this was quickly repaired. This isn’t because of luck. Before we started building, we ensured that our engineering took into account the location and topography of the project.

“Leak” is a 4-letter word in the construction business.Water is the silent killer of anything structural, particularly conservatories. Anybody who says they have never had one is simply not telling the truth. However, Conservatory Craftsmen has only experienced a small number of leaks over the last 23 years, and there has never been a leak left unattended.

After Hurricane Sandy, our phone and email had a constant flow of pleas for help from conservatory owners looking for a repair service. We are happy to visit and repair many brands of conservatories, even if they were not built by Conservatory Craftsmen.

Frankly, these homeowners couldn’t reach the original company because that company had gone out of business!

Three Lies Told by Unscrupulous Conservatory Repair Companies:

1. If you have a sunroom, greenhouse or conservatory that has clear polycarbonate on the roof and you want to simply replace it, that’s your decision. However, I am telling you right now, even new polycarbonate will never stand up to extreme weather. I was at a conservatory in New Jersey that was knocked over by a snowdrift from a heavy snowstorm. That’s right… a snow drift knocked over a conservatory! Ask yourself, “Would I prefer glass on my roof?” If the repair company tries to talk you out of glass or tries to tell you that your structure’s roof is for polycarbonate only, they are not telling the truth. Why would they teel you that? Because polycarbonate is much cheaper than glass and it will keep their repair bid down while they still make high margins on the material.

2. Ask about “stamped engineering.” Many localities today require stamped engineering. It’s a good thing but it will probably add several thousand dollars to the cost of the conservatory. The engineer, who takes legal responsibility for the project, has a lot of calculations to do to deliver stamped engineering. If the company is unable to provide stamped engineering, walk away. Conservatory Craftsmen provides stamped and sealed engineering for any project if needed. “YES,” it will cost more, however, in the long run you’ll have a much higher-quality product.

3. Some companies like to tell you their glass is the best on the market and it’s made with a “top secret” process that no one else can do. Ridiculous! We can match any glass efficiency made, and likely surpass it. Get a written verification of the U-value of the glass. U-value is the energy efficiency of glass. Unlike R valve, the lower the number, the more efficient the glass is. We can provide glass with the lowest U-value on the market.

Hurricane Sandy Conservatory in NYC

The tragedy of hurricane Sandy is finally starting to melt into memory for most of the unfortunate folks on the East Coast who were affected by it.

For those of us in the building and construction industry, we are still amazed by the staggering after effects from the super storm. The wide-spread devastation is astonishing. In New York State the U.S. Department of Commerce is estimating construction costs of $41.9 billion to repair and replace the damage caused by the storm in lower New York alone. If all of this money is spent on reconstruction, the influx of new spending will generate $53.1 billion and 352,000 new jobs, the majority in construction. A blessing and a curse.

In the aftermath, we were contacted by a family in Yonkers whose home was hard hit by falling trees and high winds. The homeowners were nearly crushed by a falling tree, as it landed on the house.

Another tree fell on the large greenhouse, attached to the other side of the house. This East River Bluff home, built in the 1880’s had a lovely greenhouse that was added in the 1920’s. However, the location of the home made it a direct hit with winds traveling up the side of the bluffs at over 100 mph. This greenhouse was completely destroyed by the storm.
sandy_greenhouse
The homeowners loved their greenhouse and knew that replacement was the only option. After much searching on the internet for a suitable company to repair the greenhouse, the owners contacted us at Conservatory Craftsmen and we began a discussion.

I was able to share information on conservatory materials, glass options, and structural designs. We were working on Long Island, at the time, and I was able to stop by the house in Yonkers and visit the building site while having a face to face meeting with the homeowners.

After answering their questions, and noting their expectations, we came up with a custom conservatory design plan for the new structure.

We discussed options between aluminum and mahogany. The functional aspect of the aluminum, along with its never need maintenance powder coated finish was a clear choice. The aluminum is thermally broken, and very energy efficient, along with its other obvious qualities.

We decided to install two ventilation louvers in the roof and designed the side wall to have 10 opening windows, on which we would install our Clear View retractable screens.

Since the door would be open much of the time in the summer for added ventilation, we also installed a Clear View retractable screen on that as well. The color choice was black, an elegant choice for the house. Measurements were taken and pre-construction began.

In November of this year, we had the privilege and opportunity to build a new conservatory on this fine old house. See the photos and share the joy as Sandy finally drifts away. See what the homeowners had to say about working with Conservatory Craftsmen here.

If you have questions about this project or any other that you may be considering, please contact me, jim@conservatorycraftsmen.com and we can start you on your journey.

Is your conservatory comfortable today? It’s -30 F outside!

Some days in Minnesota the word cold just doesn’t describe how it really feels. Painful is more like the correct term. The wind cuts right through your jacket. Your cell phone battery drains, the snow blowing polishes the roadways to pure ice.

The whole state is pretty well shut down today. Schools are closed; the animals at the zoo are working from home. The ski hills are shut down. No one goes out.

What a great day to bask in the sun of the conservatory and watch the flowers bloom on the Thunbergia.

Lay back with a cup of tea and a good book, or in my case, make some raisin bread! Its -30 outside but the infrared thermometer shows the floor temperature to be 78!

So, let the yeast rise in the bowl, and a few hours later, enjoy the results! It doesn’t get any better than this.
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So to those who think you can’t enjoy a conservatory in cold climates, like in January, let me just say that is exactly why we build conservatories.

January- and winter in general- is the time of year when sunlight is most important to us. We built a conservatory near Boston, MA for whom the owner has told us: “I used to have to go to Florida in the winter to escape the seasonal affective disorder. Now I spend my winter in the conservatory and enjoy it much more.”

So, what is the most efficient way to heat a conservatory in the winter?

I once had a client that said, “Jim, I want this conservatory comfortable on the coldest day in the winter and the hottest day in the summer.” Is that what you really want? If so, it can be done, but it also means designing and building the mechanical system for -30 or +110 F. This is a bit silly to me.

When the sun is out, and it’s -30 outside, my conservatory goes up to 85 degrees F. It is a very comfortable and bright place to be. When the sun goes down, the temp drops and then I have to make some decisions.

In-floor heat is a wonderful heat source. My floor stays pretty constant between 58 and 68 degrees. However, when determining the total cubic footage of the conservatory, the floor only produces about 36 BTU/SF and this is not enough.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like a cool conservatory because my plants do too. Winter days are short. Plants do not like short days and warm temperatures. It causes plants to grow ‘leggy’ and weak. They are best at 50-55 degrees.

Another thing is humidity. I have no trouble keeping humidity at 45% when its 55 degrees. However, when the temp goes up to 75, the humidity drops to 25%. That is another reason plants prefer cooler temperature.

Many conservatories are heated by independent forced air furnaces. A small heater capable of producing over 100 BTU’s per square foot can do the trick.

Do I Need to Hire an Architect to Design My Conservatory?

You have been thinking about building a greenhouse or conservatory for years. The photos of conservatories on Houzz, the photos in our gallery, all have painted a picture to you of a lovely retreat. A ‘person/plant’ cave to disappear into after a stressful day at work.

Where to start? You have read every page on the website, and reviewed all the blogs, but you’re probably still asking yourself where to start.

First step: research the process of planning and building a greenhouse.

I can’t speak on behalf of other companies, but the process at Conservatory Craftsmen begins with asking if you have an architect. If you do, we would like to work with the architect on properly designing the conservatory to suit your home. If you do not have one, we will help evaluate that need. We have worked with many architects across the country and will usually have a referral for you.

Here is an example of a straightforward design that would typically not require an architect:

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When do I suggest you hire an architect to design your conservatory?

  1. You have an older home of historic value, or in a historic neighborhood.
  2. Your project will exceed $50,000.00
  3. Your city requires an architect to obtain a building permit
  4. You have difficult architectural elements in your home that need to be resolved
  5. You are incorporating the conservatory with other alterations to the home.

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What is the architectural process? Most architects will discuss the project with you and be straight forward about whether this is the type of project that falls in their area of expertise or not. Designing and building a conservatory requires a slightly different set of skills.

Some architects only do commercial work. Each architect has a usual comfort zone of the projects they are comfortable with, so don’t be surprised if they refer you to someone else that might be a better fit for your project.

Discuss fees. Most architects work on a percentage value of the project. Fees from 4-10% are typical and they will depend on the amount of work required by the architect on the project.

Conservatory Craftsmen works to keep your architectural fees low by doing the ship drawings and details for you/them. These services are provided at no charge, for our customers.

Your architect will meet with you and discuss your expectations for the design of your conservatory. They will guide you along the way, and will also offer suggestions that you may not have considered. This is where enlisting in the services of an architect will really pay off. Their designs will be based on solid design principles and also adhere your project to building codes.

At Conservatory Craftsmen, we will look at the photos of your home that you send to us, and we will put together a concept drawing for you at no cost. That is quite unusual in this industry, but a service we are very happy to offer our customers. You can use this concept drawing when meeting with your architect, to show him/her what your initial thoughts might be.

Together with your chosen architect, we create a team that works to exceed your expectations and take the worry out of building a conservatory.

NASA Says, “Grow These Plants in Your Conservatory”

In addition to the dangerous chemicals used to make carpets, couches, paint and drywall, chemicals in household products; things like pressed wood, facial tissue, paper towels, plastic, and rubber, to name a few, frequently contain traces of chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

NASA once partnered with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) to investigate which household plants best to act as natural air purifiers and found 15 common plants that effectively improve air quality. Based on ease-of-care, attainability, appearance and effectiveness, here are our top six air purifying plants.

These are the Plants NASA says to Grow in your Conservatory:

1. Bamboo Palm: According to NASA, it removes formaldehyde and is also said to act as a natural humidifier. Bamboo palm can tolerate low light conditions, but should have a bright spot in the house. When growing in the conservatory, it is a good plant to shuffle in and out. There is a dwarf version of this plant. Play with it moves it around until you find the right growing conditions for it. Do not over-water. It should be moist every day, but not so much that is standing water in the pot.

2. Snake Plant: Found by NASA to absorb nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde. This plant, originally from West Africa is also called Sansevieria or Mother-in-law’s-tongue, because it is so sharp. However, I have never told my mother-in-law what the plant is called! Do so at your own risk. This plant can go a month without water and needs very little light. If you are not a ‘green thumb’ this plant is for you. My plant has grown for years and one hardly even notices it anymore, it’s just part of the furniture. Buy one the size you want as it is a really slow grower in the house.

3. Areca Palm: One of the best air purifying plants for general air cleanliness. This palm was once on the endangered species list and is now plentiful. According to NASA and Dr. B. C. Wolverton, the areca palm filters xylene and toluene from the air. Wolverton also specifies that, at 1.8 m (5 ft. 11 in) in height, the plant will transpire 1 liter of water per 24 hours, thereby making it an effective humidifier. It is not a low light plant. It is ideally suited for the conservatory, however. Keep it moist, moist only. Do not over-water. Do not fertilize in the winter and only a few times during the growing season. This plant will achieve 7 feet in height.

4. Spider Plant: Great indoor plant for removing carbon monoxide and other toxins or impurities. Spider plants are one of three plants NASA deems best at removing formaldehyde from the air. This plant also puts high amounts of oxygen back into the air. Spider plants, native to South Africa are the easiest plant to grow. In the conservatory, find the partial light corner, because they will burn up in full light. Many windows in the house are great for spider plants. Children love spider plants because they are so easy to propagate the ‘spiders’ and they are hard to over water. Feed them frequently during the growing season. Keeping them in children’s bedrooms is a good idea because they are such workhorses for air cleaning and O2 production.

5. Peace Lily: Peace lilies could be called the “clean-all.” They’re often placed in bathrooms or laundry rooms because they’re known for removing mold spores. Also known to remove formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. The peace lily is so easy to grow. They are a beautiful lily and produce a lovely lily flower that even the most novice homeowner can grow. They do not like direct light. Do not over water, but I like to keep just a bit of water on mine all the time. Maybe 1/2 cup a day is all. It keeps the soil moist. You can grow the peace lily in a north window. This plant is always on sale at the big box stores.
Some people worry that Peace Lilies are poisonous. They are not true lilies and have a high level of oxalates, so they will irritate the mouth of a dog or cat that eats them. This usually happens quickly enough for the animal to stop eating the plant before damage occurs.

6. Gerbera Daisy: Not only do these gorgeous flowers remove benzene from the air, they remove trichloroethylene which comes home with dry cleaning. They’re known to improve sleep by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off more oxygen overnight. Though not often grown as a houseplant, they can bring a lot of joy to the home. Keep them slightly moist, not wet. Give those lots of suns for about 5 hours a day. Cut the spent flowers right away.

You can expect a Gerbera Daisy to last 1-3 years in the house, so consider it a disposable plant that brings great health and joy in a short time. Clusters of these plants make a tremendous statement in any room.

Let me know if you have other plant questions or problems. If you don’t grow your plants in a conservatory yet. we need to talk!