Battling nature-deficit disorder, plus a new living wall panel and fire ants!

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News and Inspiration from the world of foliage and tropical plants GrowerTalks MagazineGreen Profit Magazine

Friday, July 07, 2017

Debbie Hamrick Subscribe
Tropical Topics
“Nature-Deficit Disorder”
Speaking of House Plants
Taking the Indoors Up
Name Correction & Fire Ants!
Finally …

Battling “Nature-Deficit Disorder” at Work

A recent Harvard Business Review article, “Why You Should Tell Your Team to Go Outside,” touted the benefits of how a peaceful, green and calming space can boost well-being, reduce stress and—most importantly in the corporate world—enhance innovative potential. Said one researcher in the article, “Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.” 

Some of the arguments for creating green spaces within or surrounding workspaces to counteract “nature-deficit disorder” include:

  • Exposure to green spaces profoundly enhances physical and mental well-being;
  • Green spaces reduce not just everyday stress but also boost general health;
  • Nature walks lower anxiety and depression; and
  • Light exposure boosts Vitamin D levels and improves moods.

Scientists are even exploring if nature and green spaces can impact obesity, diabetes and cancer. Then there’s the calming aspect of green environments, which can help employees have better foresight—which can really help in a corporate setting.

If you’re in the interiorscaping market or want to pursue that market, this ARTICLE has a wealth of information to help you clarify your mission in providing your services—and it gives you a few facts you can share with your current and potential clients as to why your services can boost their bottom line.  


While it’s not our magazine, I’m not below pointing out some useful articles in other industry publications. With that said, you all should check out the July issue of Floral Management. It’s the “Plant Craze” issue, and proclaims that plants are “having a moment,” what with their sudden and growing popularity with Millennials, and Baby Boomers who are moving into smaller homes (hey, Gen Xers love them, too!).

One article in particular, “#PlantLovers,” points out that these “new” plant lovers are looking for the details, want something with nostalgia and “tricked out” containers, want to be hands-on when designing as they consider plants décor investments, and—surprisingly at least to me—many think a space can’t have too many plants. That’s a good thing for us!

So, for some insight into how the florist category is supporting the indoor and tropical market, give the WHOLE ISSUE a read.  

Speaking of House Plants

As the above article affirmed, folks are considering indoor plants to be décor investments. The following Top Five House Plants for 2017 from Britain’s National Design Academy adds credence to that assertion. Interestingly, the Academy ties in the design aesthetic of these hip household plants with the fact that, like we pointed out in the top item, house plants scrub the air and lend a calming aspect to an indoor environment.


The National Design Academy’s Top Five are:

  • Ivy
  • Aloe Vera
  • Cacti
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
  • Succulents

No surprises there, I might add. What I do like about their descriptions are the architectural attributes they’ve included for each. They give a reason to purchase and use these plants other than “it’s good for you.” It’s like selling Swiss chard on its nutrition levels alone. It’s tasty! Same for these house plants (but architecturally stunning, of course, not tasty). Wouldn’t you agree?  

Taking the Indoors Up

So, we’ve established that indoor plants are both beautiful and good for you. And, since a space can’t have too many plants, how can we squeeze more into an interior environment? By taking them vertical, of course.

I recently got word that Sagegreenlife, a design and manufacturing company specializing in living garden walls, has paired up with global architecture firm Gensler to create a double-sided green partition. Called Verdanta, the portable wall can be used to create those green spaces folks are looking for in work and corporate environments.

In a press release, Sagegreenlife founder and managing member Richard Kincaid said, “… we feel it’s an ideal solution for offices looking to energize and bring nature into their spaces in a way that is highly impactful but easy to maintain. The flexibility of a movable double-sided living wall is something we are eager to bring to market because it fulfills the needs of the fluid, people-focused workplaces of today.”


Each 6 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide panel holds 240 plants custom selected by the horticultural designers prior to installation. The panels use a soil-free growth material and the company’s patented Biotile hydroponic system to keep the wall healthy and growing. Is your cubicle stuck in a dark corner? No worries, as the Verdanta panel uses LED growth lights. Not only are the panels pretty, provide that much-needed soothing and peaceful environment and clean VOCs from the air, but the panels also act as a sound barrier—another key attribute for an office environment. So, talk all you want or turn up that daytime ball game you are streaming at your desk.

The Verdanta panels will be available beginning this fall. You can find more information on Verdanta HERE.  

Name Correction and Fire Ants!

In the last Tropical Topics I mentioned that Tropicanna canna bulbs could be purchased dry from … and I got the name of the company wrong. Apologies! The correct name of the company is Netherland Bulb Company of Easton, Pennsylvania. Aside from dry bulbs for IGC customers they also grow and sell them as part of their Waterplant Program. You’ll recall I had mentioned cannas can be used to clean the water. Netherland Bulb Company already knew that!

You southern nursery and greenhouse growers may be familiar with a little crawly thing called the fire ant. If you are, then you probably want some effective ways of getting rid of them. Chris Beytes recently hosted a free webinar on the topic with Lawrence “Fudd” Graham of Auburn University. It was full of good information you can use to understand and combat that scourge. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss it completely! We have the webinar archived at Just scroll down beyond the Upcoming Webinars section to find it. Thanks to sponsors BASF for putting the “free” in free webinar!  

Finally …

I’ll be at Cultivate’17 in Columbus, Ohio, beginning next Saturday, July 15, and I will definitely attend the Interior Plantscape Awards on Sunday. If you’d like to meet up at any point to discuss tropical plant-related issues or items, let me know. You can reach me at I’m happy to get together and chat.  

Comments, questions, quandries? If so, just drop me a line at

Ellen Wells
Green Profit

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