Plants - Your New Roommate

There's a lot of talk about green living nowadays, and bringing green plants into your home can be a wonderful decorating idea. You can create lush indoor landscapes relatively easily, without spending a lot of money.

People have been bringing plants into their homes and using them as part of their decoration schemes for thousand of years. That makes sense, because people simply feel closer to nature with plants nearby.

Plants require some attention, of course, but they can be therapeutic, especially during the winter months, giving gardeners a regular "plant fix" until the weather breaks in the spring. There are also other health benefits to having plants in the house, as well. They emit oxygen and remove pollutants from the air, thereby improving air quality inside the home.

From a decorating standpoint, houseplants provide both color and texture to a home's decor, and can be used to either augment a color scheme or to cover areas that aren't particularly to your liking. For instance, trailing plants such as English ivy can be used as wall or window treatments by installing a high shelf that allows the ivy to cascade downward. Enhance the stunning effect with a plant light to keep the plant happy.

If you prefer a tall plant to create an effect in a room, consider the classical Kentia palm. which tolerates small containers and tolerates the soil drying out a bit. An excellent choice for an interior palm. the Kentia prefers some direct light through a window, but doesn't need bright light. Kentias, available in both tall and bushy varieties, create a dramatic focal point to a decorating scheme. Add an uplight, and you've created a dramatic effect with exotic shadows.

Plants can also be hung in planters from the ceiling and allowed to cascade. One popular plant for creating that kind of effect is the spider plant, which develops long tendrils. Such plants can be quite lovely when suspended near large windows as part of an overall window treatment.

Choosing various textures for your planters can also add drama and accent to your home's decor. You can find planters made of many different materials; ceramics and clay are the most common, but a clay planter can be wrapped in jute, hemp, or other material to give it a strikingly different look. You can also use different types and colors of material to suspend your planters, giving you even more decorating options.

You can even use small potted plants as accent pieces on kitchen counters, on a mantle in the living room, on the coffee table in the family room, or on a bookshelf in the den. Wherever you choose to use them, plants can provide extra drama, warmth, texture, and color to your home's decor. Plus, plants keep your indoor air fresh while connecting you to nature.

Why Are Plants Green?

With the exception of those few species of plants that have leaves of a different color, most plant are green. From the smallest kid to a mature individual, if you ask what color are plants, the answer will be, unanimously, that plants are green. Still, why are plants green and not blue, or red?

The color green comes from the cells in leaves (and sometimes stems), which contain chlorophyll, a large molecule that absorbs certain colors of light. This light allows the plant to do photosynthesis: with the energy provided by the light, the plant converts carbon dioxide and water into food. Chlorophyll uses red and blue wavelengths of light, and reflects the green wavelengths, thus the plant appears to be green.

The fact that chlorophyll absorbs green more than other colors might be a result of the evolution of plants. As the sunlight is not evenly distributed across the spectrum, certain wavelengths, especially in the red and blue regions, are stronger than others. It is possible that chlorophyll dominates, because it absorbs energy more efficiently where it is the strongest. In the case of some plants that have developed other mechanisms for absorbing light, it is likely that chlorophyll was more efficient.

Chlorophyll is the most visible compound in leaves, but there are also other compounds that give plants their color. In temperate regions, some other pigments can be seen in the fall, because when light and heat are reduced, photosynthesis becomes less efficient and the plants stop making chlorophyll. Once a plant quit making chlorophyll, the red, yellow and purple of other pigments in the leaves start being visible.

Photosynthesis is the process used by green plants, as well as some bacteria and algae, to produce glucose from carbon dioxide and water. The term photosynthesis, translated literally into "building with light", is used because the energy for the chemical reaction comes from sunlight.

Therefore, in the majority of plants, green is the defining color because of the chlorophyll that dominates over other color spectrums. And we have become so accustomed to plants being green that nobody ever questions why it is that they are green, they just are. It is the soothing and fresh green look of plants that has come to define them, and it would be hard to imagine a world less green. Just think of a lawn with any other color but green, or a Christmas tree, or a large park or botanic garden that does not abound in all shades of green. would it be the same?