Stewarts Office Plants

We supply many businesses across the South, from Sussex and Surrey, through Hampshire and Dorset to Wiltshire and Somerset. For more information about the services we offer visit our home page, or contact us here. In this blog you'll find news, interesting snippets, stories and pictures of our staff's adventures out on the road.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

GM Houseplant to combat pollution

Epipremnum Aureum in our greenhouse

This was one of those "did I just hear that?" moments while listening to Radio 4 on my commute in.

American scientists have apparently spliced some rabbit DNA into the Devil's Ivy houseplant (Epipremnum Aureum) to make it an effective remover of indoor pollutants.

Full article here

This raises as many questions as it answers: particularly, why the rabbit, and why Devil's Ivy?

A rabbit, yesterday
 I can probably answer the latter. Devil's Ivy is a very easy plant to keep and it has long been on the list of plants that are good natural air cleaners. I don't know the science behind this, but I suspect fairly thirsty plants with large leaves are generally best. My choice would probably have been the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), as that's usually top of the list of air cleaners. Though Devil's Ivy seems to be fashionable at the moment, which probably contributes to the choice, if I'm being cynical. 

As is customary, a little care advice. Epipremnum are an easy plant to care for. They come in sizes ranging from 12cm dia. pots to specimens grown up a mossy pole. Probably the most popular is the 'hang pots' like my image above, normally a 15cm pot with a hanger attached (though sadly we almost always detach the hanger and throw it in the plastic bin on arrival). 

Water-wise they are somewhere in the middle; what they do appreciate is a fair amount of feeding, as those trails grow at quite a rate. If they get too long, follow one almost back to the soil and cut the whole thing off. The only pest they really suffer with is mealy bug, which can be treated in the normal way. 

One thing: the roots are a little sensitive: take care when teasing them out of the pot, and once replanted it's wise to leave them for a few days to 'rest' before watering in, unlike every other plant I can think of!

As for the new GM ones, maybe a nice carrot to chew on now and then?