Environmental Conditions for Interiorscaping
In order for plants to thrive and flourish the temperature levels and luminance are exceedingly important.
Many business premises and public buildings are only occupied during the five weekdays, but the plants in these buildings require an acceptable climate every day of the year.
In the winter months, when the natural daylight is at its lowest brilliance, and the day lengths are shortest, most of the interior plant losses occur. It is therefore very important to select the right variety of plant for the lowest light level likely to apply.
Plants are very tolerant in the way in which they will absorb light. Within limits, they will adjust to different light levels - hence field grown trees tolerating 40,000 Lux will acclimatise down to 1000 or 1500 Lux in shade houses over time.
Light levels for plants are based on Lux. If certain specimen plants require, for instance, 1000 Lux, this means 1000 Lux over a twelve hour period = 12,000 Lux. This could be achieved at 800 Lux over fifteen hours or 1500 Lux over eight hours. But plants do require at least 6 hours of darkness every day for a rest period.
In addition to the correct amount, plants also require the correct 'quality' of light. Although a normal lamp created for humans might deliver the necessary Lux levels - the optic light absorbed by the human eye is in the yellow/green frequency 500/600 nm - if the requisite red and blue light sections of the spectrum, (400-500 manometers (nm) and 500-600 manometers (nm)), are not available, the plant will not achieve satisfactory growth.
It is therefore essential to establish both the correct colour balance and the correct amount of Lux for good plant growth.
There are various different environments in which planting is usually featured, and these are broadly in these areas:
Atria, Conservatories, Leisure Pools, Office Buildings, and Shopping Malls and Precincts.
It is very important to ensure the light levels are high enough for the specimens to be featured. Many atria are not as light as one might expect, with roof supports and walls absorbing the light. Indeed, additional lighting might be required to achieve levels for 3000 to 4000 Lux that some tropical specimens might require.
In addition, the temperature levels need to be satisfactory, and for tropical planting schemes the ideal summer temperature should be up to 21°C, reducing to 12° at night. In the winter plants require a minimum of 10°C. Naturally, planting a low temperature atria with common temperate varieties will allow lower temperatures.
Timing is important - ideally try and plant the scheme in the June to September period, when there are good daylight hours to help the plants establish and grow. The plants must be correctly acclimatised, and as they will need holding over in European glass houses after their trip from the Americas or Far East for up to six months. So it is reasonable to expect to order plants up to twelve months prior to installation.
Glazed conservatories in full sunlight do become extremely hot during the day, and therefore venting and shading systems will be required. In addition, the plants may well require high levels of humidity, so special water features may be appropriate to achieve the desired effect and a successful planting environment.
Again 21° C for summer daytime, falling to 12°C at night and no lower than 10°C in the winter would be appropriate for a range of tropical and Mediterranean specimens.
Leisure pools can be complex environments in which to plant, as the temperature and humidity may well be satisfactory, but excess water in planting beds, with Chlorine and chemicals pollute the air, unless an Ozone pool. It is for this reason many pools feature artificial plants and preserved palms.
Most commercial interior planting is in office buildings, and the temperature tends to be reasonably constant to sustain humans - often 18/20° during the day and down to 12/16° at night, with humidity around 45%. Lighting can be a problem, with areas at 500 to 750 Lux and even down to 300 Lux in certain areas (which would require additional lighting to sustain live planting - if not artificial offer the solution).
Planting in Shopping Malls usually suffers from the dry air lacking humidity and providing an ideal environment for pests and diseases. In addition they often lack suitable Lux levels, and additional lighting may well be required.