52 Improvements, 52 weeks: Week 17 – Plants

We are delighted to have introduced a new budget which will allow staff to buy new plants for their setting and office.

Toxic air is an increasingly serious problem for us and for our children.  UNICEF has made the issue their top priority for 2019 as many of us are not aware how toxic the air around us is, but did you know that the air inside is often even worse than the air on the roadside, where diesel cars, particularly old ones, are mostly to blame.  The toxic air gets into our homes and nurseries from the roads, but is added to by aerosols, cleaning chemicals, formaldehyde in some furniture, chemicals in paint and carpets, and it isn’t flushed out well due to our insulated, closed window homes.

Fortunately, there is a way to help ourselves, and that is to introduce or increase the numbers of air cleaning, growing plants in our environments.  Many of you will already have one or two in playrooms, we’d like to encourage and support you to have more plants in nurseries, staff rooms and offices.  We are going to start greenhouses both in Plymouth and in Bournemouth, where we can start off more plants for you, and get them potted, and help you look after them.  Our wonderful gardener, Lauren, is going to help with this in Bournemouth, and Rob from maintenance in Plymouth too.  You can, of course, continue to buy and grow plants as you have been doing.  Some of the best plants to grow, which are not toxic to children are:

Spider plants, with the further advantage that they produce baby spider plants that you can detach and re-plant.


Ferns, which are also a natural humidifier


Gerbera Daisies – they need partial to full sun and the soil must not get wet or their roots rot.  They are lovely colours.  How about a real one of these in the centre of the table for lunch rather than the imitation ones we often use currently?


Dragon Tree – prefers semi-shade.


Prayer Plant – the leaves curl at night, which is rather fun.  It only grows to 12 inches.  Semi shade or semi-sun suit it best.


Red Emerald Philodendron – it’s a “vining” plant, benefits from a water-absorbing pole to help water it and support it to grow upwards.

You can also grow herbs such as Basil, Rosemary, Parsley and Lemon Balm.


You need a small watering cans and a water sprayer to look after pot plants.  You will need to check what light and watering each plant prefers but generally watering twice a week is sufficient.   If they grow well they will need repotting periodically – check with a gardener!

If you have a drier that produces water, use that water for watering, or the water butt to save water!

There are many websites and plant selling sites that help with advice such as











Spare a thoughts for what you put the plants into:- don’t buy new pots unless made from recycled plastics (many are).

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