Air Pollution

Air pollution cannot be escaped by bringing the landscape indoors. Pollutants in the exhaust of cars and trucks, the smoke from cigarettes, the chlorine gas escaping from swimming pools, and the chemical soup that passes for air in our major metropolitan areas are all harmful to plants when sufficiently concentrated. Some plant species are more susceptible than others.

Good ventilation is an important element in the health of interior plantings. Proper ventilation will carry away chlorine vapors, fumes from smokers and chemical cleaning agents, or the ethylene which may be present if a building is heated by some form of hydrocarbon combus­tion (fossil fuel).

Ethylene can also damage plants as they are shipped to the site. This toxin is present in vehicle exhaust, and if permitted to seep into the cabin where plants are stored, may result in injury. If packed tightly or in restrictive packaging, the plants also may injure themselves, since their own tissue produces ethylene. Because of the potential harm from ethylene, plants should be unpacked and ventilated immediately on arrival. At the time the plants are purchased, the grower or ship­per should guarantee that the transport vehicles will be ventilated and sealed against exhaust fumes.