There are multiple considerations for all plants indoors whether it be tall trees, 5m + palms or bamboo.
IPT addresses each essential parameter to ensure a successful outcome.
- Design intent – application
- Species selection – suitability – size – height – weight
- Sourcing – availability – transport logistics
- Securing and holding – nursery cooperation
- Tree specifications – preparation
- Acclimatisation – available time
Light is the major determining factor in successfully maintaining healthy plants indoors. Incorrect lighting can result in interior landscape projects achieving limited success, or invariably failure, with possible negative impact on reputation and economic consequences. When the light requirements are not met the design concept of bringing nature indoors to create a healthy workspace will not be achieved. For this reason it is crucial for landscape designers to participate in the design process as early as possible. Identifying the available daylight, daily light integral, spectral characteristics of the glazing, and knowledge of plant species light requirements allows planning for success.
Plant light requirements
The lighting requirements for plants and the ways in which those requirements are fulfilled are related to a number of factors, including:
- Plant type(s) – species
- Level of acclimatisation
- Canopy size and shape
- Client expectations and design intent relating to plant characteristics such as canopy density, growth habit, life span and appearance.
- Light source(s)
- Direction of light
- Intensity and duration
- Light quality
- Interior design, architectural and engineering requirements.
For each plant species there is an optimum light intensity. Too much light intensity is seldom a problem in indoor landscape settings, however if light intensity is too low, the plant will have weak growth and gradually deteriorate. A clear understanding of these factors enables the correct lighting solutions to be developed to achieve healthy, thriving interior landscapes.
Designing and specifying an irrigation system that meets the specific needs of the plant, that allows the right amount of water to be delivered to the plant is absolutely essential from the time of installation through to the long-term maintenance requirements.
- Plant requirements
- Water quality – salinity – Electroconductivity – pH – temperature
- Type of delivery – sub-irrigation – water reservoir
- Frequency – rate – duration – quantity
The soil media is the foundation on which the plant can sustain itself. There are many variables depending on plant type and needs.
Some of the considerations are:
- Composition – balance of organic material to inorganic.
- Weight per volume
- Air filled porosity
- pH – alkalinity/acidity
- EC – electroconductivity (soluble salts)
- Nutrient levels
Indoor air quality can have a material effect on plant performance.
Parameters for consideration include:
- Air movement
- Air quality
- Frequency of air changes
Conversely plants have the capacity to improve indoor air quality by removing and reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) common chemical contaminants of indoor environments.