Inside Out Blog

15 Jan

Importance of Hygiene in Office Plant Maintenance

When you hire an interior landscaping company, you are contracting not just design and installation, but healthy plantscapes that should continue to look good over time. Plant replacements cost money, take time, and may disrupt business.

A professional office plant maintenance firm takes special care to use hygienic practices that in turn keep plants in good health. Look for these characteristics:

  • Healthy plants from reputable growers
  • Clean prep and staging areas
  • Plants matched to environment: light, water, humidity, and temperature
  • Proper watering, grooming, pinching, pruning; sanitized tools and equipment
  • Regular inspection of plant material
  • Correct identification of pests and disease
  • Prompt response to pests and disease; use of least toxic control methods

Plantscaping prep

It stands to reason that the best looking plantscapes begin with pest and disease-free plants. Before installation, plants should be unwrapped, inspected and wiped free of pesticide and mineral deposits. The top layer of soil often contains spent fertilizer granules and sometimes insect pests. Removing it and adding a new layer of soil or compost topdressing gives plants the kickstart they need to look great in the interior garden.

interiorscaping plant topdressing for hygiene
Applying top dressing

Indoor plant grooming and hygiene

Plant maintenance professionals keep indoor landscapes healthy with regular “grooming” techniques. They remove faded foliage, spent flowers, weeds, and other debris. They also trim any browning leaf edges and tips and remove flower buds or berries.

Since dust interferes with regular leaf function, technicians wipe and often wash and rinse plant foliage. Application of horticultural oil not only adds some shine, but adds a fungicide to protect against pathogens.

interior plantscaping tech shining leaves
Mario giving things a good shine!

Fresh cloths or mitts and sanitized tools are key in preventing the spread of dust, pests, and diseases. Good plantscaping sanitation includes wiping scissors and pruners with water and alcohol between plants, planting beds or client locations. This regimen also includes frequent washing of other equipment and clothing that come into contact with plants.

indoor plantscaping hygiene cleaning tools and shears
Regular pruning prevents disease

Regular pruning and shaping helps maintain plant size and appearance, but can also enhance air circulation and light exposure. Attention to shaping keeps plantings uniform and aesthetically pleasing.

Preventing indoor plant disorders and disease

Commercial building interiors are can be rather harsh environments for plants. Poor light, low humidity, minimal air circulation and cramped conditions can invite a host of ailments. Poor plant culture, like overwatering, a dirty tool or other environmental factors can make indoor gardens vulnerable to pests and disease.

Your horticultural technician inspects beds and containers to monitor for the following more common interior plant problems:

Insect pests – some of the most common indoor plant pests are very hard to see.

  • Fungus gnats are tiny mosquito-like insects that thrive on wet soil.
  • The tiny red spider mite leaves white eggs on the back side of leaves and characteristic webs.
  • The very visible cottony white mealy bug does not appear to move but sucks sap.
  • Pear-shaped aphids can be yellow, green, black or blue and usually appear in large numbers.
  • Scale, wingless and legless, appears as brown, black or white speckles.
  • Aphids, mealybugs and scale leave a sticky substance called honeydew, which in turn attracts mold.

Bacterial, fungal or viral diseases – indoor landscapes can suffer from a variety of plant diseases. Symptoms include wilted, deformed or discolored leaves and leaf spots, blotches, halos and streaks. A well-trained technician will spot these issues early and trim, treat or remove the plant. Untreated disease can make a plant more vulnerable to pest infestations, so quick and efficient action is key.

It’s easy to see that there’s a lot of consider when selecting, installing and maintaining a commercial interiorscaping installation. But rest assured, the Inside Out Services Interior Plantscaping team has all the bases covered!

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