Top 10 Reasons for Including Plants in Buildings

We have all seen an increase recently in the need and availability for “green products”.  Green, Organic, Biodegradable, Recycled, Sustainable, Non-Toxic, Environmentally Safe – these are terms we see everywhere now.  Being a wholesale interior plant supplier, we’ve always known the value of incorporating plants into buildings, but the recent “green”Interior Plants push has led to an increase in research and education on the subject.  The public is becoming more aware of the value as well!

A great resource for interiorscapers, florists, interior designers, and anyone else needing to sell the value of plants should check out Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB)The website includes links to the latest research, marketing collateral to support why your customer should use plants indoors, and a provider search for the public to find vendors (YOU!) that provide interior plant services.

GPGB does a great job of summarizing the top 10 reasons for including plants in your interior design.  Here they are:

  1. Increase productivity and worker satisfaction
  2. Reduce absenteeism
  3. Improve the indoor air quality
  4. Make buildings more welcoming
  5. Increase tenant occupancy and retention
  6. Make a design statement
  7. Increase retail spending
  8. Direct pedestrian traffic
  9. Soften less attractive building features
  10. Reflect the holidays and changing seasons

You can read more information about these benefits on GPGB’s website.  Plants have a such a positive effect on people that we can’t imagine any office or home without plants!

Ready for poinsettias?

Marble Poinsettias

Our poinsettia price lists are ready!  If you are on our email or fax list, you should have received a copy yesterday.  We are also mailing out the price lists this week, so you should get a paper copy also.  Let us know if you do not receive a price list and we will send you one.

If you are in the plant industry and have not purchased from us before, contact us to find out how to get started!

Labor Day Weekend Hours

Labor Day is coming up and we get to celebrate!  Note the following holiday closures:

Dallas Location– CLOSED Monday, September 7th

Austin Location– CLOSED Saturday, September 5th, through Monday, September 7th

Hope you have a safe holiday weekend!  We’ll see you when we re-open on Tuesday, September 8th.

National Indoor Plant Week

Did you know that National Indoor Plant Week is the 3rd week of September?

The Goal:  To increase awareness of the benefits of live plants and how they positively impact indoor environments. 

The third week in September has been designated as National Indoor Plant Week.  For one week each year, interiorscapers, foliage growers, florists, garden centers, etc. can showcase the value of indoor plants.

For ideas on how to showcase your plants or plant services, visit http://www.nationalindoorplantweek.com

Do you have any other ideas on how to market the value of indoor plants for this event?  Feel free to share!Alocasia

In need of dead trees & lots of leaves for a movie in Austin!

There is a new movie being filmed in the Austin area and the greensman is in need of large amounts of the Driftwoodfollowing for a jungle scene: burned/dead trees or parts of trees, cypress, driftwood, large leaves in any condition (likes magnolia but will take anything), and any other dead foliage/branches/etc.

If you know of anyone or anywhere that might have a bunch of stuff that can be hauled off, please let us know. Thanks!

What are the white beads on my tetrastigma?

Pearl Bodies on Tetrastigma

We often get this question from customers who have purchased a Giant Grape Ivy (tetrastigma voinierianum).  The underside of the leaves on this plant have numerous white, glossy ‘pinheads’ which are often mistaken for bugs or large sand particles.  So what are they?  These are known as pearl bodies and they contain lipids (oils) that are presumed to be produced by the plant in an attempt to attract ants.  The ants get a nice meal from the plant while they protect it from would-be herbivores. 

Here is a little more information about this plant:

During the growing months from late spring through summer, you will be treated to a vibrant display of velvet-like hairs on newly unfurled leaves and tendrils.  The color of these hairs is reminiscent of fox fur.

Over-watering will begin to rot the stems at the soil.  Under-watering will prevent new growth from forming.  When keeping this plant indoors, keep the soil evenly moist (similar to that of a rung-out sponge).  A low number fertilizer (like a 4-4-4) will be beneficial.  If planted outdoors, be sure to cut the plant back to the ground before the first hard freeze and do not plant in areas that will drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.  Medium to high indirect light will keep it happy and full of new growth.  As stated above, you may see ants on this plant because of the pearl bodies.

Latest in the DISD school issue

We got some media coverage this week for the current eminent domain issue with our Dallas greenhouse and the Dallas Independent School District.  Here are the links:

Dallas Morning News Article – 7/19/09 – http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/071909dnmetdisdland.3ce5959.html

Video Story from CBS 11 in Dallas – 7/21/09 – http://cbs11tv.com/video/?id=44511@ktvt.dayport.com

Dallas Morning News – Letter to the Editor (response to above article) – 7/23/09 – http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/07/vickery-valuabl.html

Something loves the heat and it’s not me…

The endless days of summer heat are not only challenging for us humans, but the heat also brings on additional problems for houseplants.  One of the challenges in taking care of houseplants during the summer is fighting off the heat-loving pests that start appearing.  We take great care to buy our plants from the best growers to ensure the highest quality, but even the best plants can be susceptible.  Some of the most common bugs found on houseplants during the summer months include aphids, spider mites, thrips, and mealybugs.  Here is a quick overview:aphid

Aphids are small white, green, brown, or black bugs that are easily visible and are usually found on the new growth of the affected plants.  These often are found on the buds of hibiscus, gardenia, and mandevilla. 

spidermiteSpider mites are tiny bugs that are usually white, but can vary in color.  These can be more difficult to see with the naked eye.  Mites are most often found on the underside of leaves and damaged leaves may look like they are losing color as tiny yellow or white speckled areas appear.  You may also see fine webs on more infested plants.  Spider mites can be found on many different houseplants, but the most common items to be attacked are hedera (English ivy), mini rose bushes, and various palms including neanthebella and ravenea. 

thripsThrips are long narrow insects that are usually brown, black, or white.  These are not seen as much as the other insects mentioned, but we do periodically see these on chrysanthemums and ficus (mostly benjamina) during the summer.  On chrysanthemums, they are fairly easy to spot quickly climbing around the blooms.  You may also notice the petals near the center of the bloom starting to curl or twist on a mum that has thrips.  Thrips are more prevalent on ficus benjamina during the hot summer months and are usually found in the new growth on the plant.  Infected leaves on a ficus will start to curl up and slightly resemble a shriveled pea pod.

mealybugMealybugs appear as white, cottony little oval mounds on houseplants.  These usually hide where the leaves attach to the stem of plants, but they can also be seen on the undersides of leaves.  Mealybugs can be found on many different plants, but dracaenas and aglaonemas seem to be more susceptible than other plants. 

There are many websites that have more information about these insects and how to treat them, but the City of Austin has a Grow Green program that has helpful information on how to treat for these common insects.  You can find more info here:

Aphids –  http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/downloads/aphids0408.pdf

Spider Miteshttp://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/downloads/spider_mites.pdf

Thripshttp://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/thrips.htm

Texas State Florists’ Convention in Dallas

The Texas State Florists’ Association’s 96th annual convention and trade show is coming up later this month!  It will be held July 24-26, 2009 in Dallas at the DoubleTree Hotel near the Galleria.  We will have a big booth with lots of bloomers, foliage, bromeliads, and orchids for you to peruse!  We’ve won awards in the past for our booth displays at this event, and we’ve got big plans for our booth this year.  You’ll definitely want to stop by and check us out!  For more information on the convention, visit http://www.tsfa.org/default.aspx?p=ConventionFloristInformation.

Red, White, and Blue Mums

We still have a few 6″ red, white, & blue mums left if you need any for the 4th of July weekend!  Come and get ’em!6in_mum-redwhiteblue-v

UPDATE:  The Dallas location is now sold out of these!  Austin still has a few left!