|(Natural News) During a recent “town hall” event hosted by CNN, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders took a page from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s infamous eugenics doctrines by openly declaring that “population control” measures need to be implemented on a global scale in order to fix the problem of “climate change.” In his own…|
The dahlia plant produces flowers in a range of colors, shapes and sizes.1 The flowers are often loved by gardeners as they have one of the longest blooming periods compared to other plants.2 Dahlias will start blooming in June and many continue to flower until the first frost.
The dahlia plant is native to the high plains of Mexico. Some species have also been propagated in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.3 The dahlia has been grown in Europe since arriving at the botanical gardens of Madrid during the 18th century. The original flowers had an open center but it wasn’t long before gardeners found they could hybridize the plant and change both form and color.
You can find dahlia plants in the form of water lilies, peonies, chrysanthemums and anemone.4 They’re grown as flat broad petals, rolled pointed petals or globular flowers. The flowers may be the size of a dinnerplate or a small pom pom.5 In other words, no matter your preference for shape and form, there’s likely a dahlia plant to suit your taste.
The plants are often grown as ornamental flowers and belong to the aster family,6 which also includes zinnias, safflower, ragweed and dandelions.7 The dahlia is the national flower of Mexico.
Familiar with cultivating the plant, the Aztecs were the first to discover a dahlia tree known to grow approximately 20 feet high with a hollow interior.8 They were able to use the flowers for water. When the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs, they brought seeds back to Spain, where they were cultivated.
Planting dahlias in your garden offers you some of the most spectacular views throughout the summer. According to The American Dahlia Society,9 there are now 42 recognizable species and several more subspecies. Growing dahlias is easy and they often yield beautiful blooms beginning in the middle of summer. This can go on well into the fall months.
Learning how to grow dahlias requires a few steps before you plant. It’s important to choose the right type and size for your garden. Large plants can grow as high as 5 feet tall10 with flowers of up to 1 foot in diameter. Their height and blooms look best at the back of a perennial border. The larger plants require some staking to support the stems during wind and rain.11
Medium dahlias grow up to 2 feet in height and can be grown in containers. The smaller ones reach 20 inches and remain fairly compact, which makes them a perfect addition for a window box, container or the edge of a border.12
Each dahlia grows from a tuber and can be found at most nurseries and garden centers.13 If you’re interested in a plant not commonly found in the garden center, nearly every local dahlia society has events where guests are welcome. The benefit to purchasing tubers or plants from a club is the ability to speak to experts who can answer your questions and help you through your first season.
The dahlia is a perennial plant in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11. In cooler areas, gardeners may plant the tubers and either allow them to die at the end of the year or dig them up and store them for winter.14 When choosing your tubers, avoid those that look wrinkled and instead choose the ones that have a little bit of green growth or buds.15
Dahlias appreciate well-drained, rich soil with a neutral pH near 6.5.16 If your soil is clay or heavier, consider enriching it with plenty of organic matter, even when planting in containers or window boxes. You may also add sand, aged manure or peat moss for better drainage and to keep the texture loose.17
Bone meal may be added as you plant the tuber, but if you have animals in the yard that are attracted to bone meal, they may dig up your tubers!18 In containers, use two parts garden soil with one part potting soil,19 which helps with moisture retention as potting soil dries quickly.20 Dahlias grow from tubers that form at the base of the stem in the fall.21
In addition to rich soil, your growing dahlias will do best when regularly watered.22 Although the plants appreciate a drip irrigation system, if you’re hand watering, water at the base of the plants to keep the foliage dry and reduce the risk of fungal growth.
Select a site in full sun as your plants will produce more blooms when they have up to eight hours of direct sunlight.23 In a less sunny location the plants will grow taller but have fewer blooms.24 Look for a location protected from the wind as the larger plants may take a beating during inclement weather.25
Your dahlias will do best in plain garden soil without using potting soil mixes. Weed killer can burn your tubers before they sprout and cause them not to grow at all.26 If you’re planting in a container, it should be no smaller than 12 inches by 12 inches for each one you plant. The larger dahlias could be grown in a pot the size of a whiskey barrel. Do not use prefertilized potting mix because it may burn the tubers.27
If you’re planting directly in the garden, the soil should be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.28 If you live in cooler climates, you can start your plants indoors four to six weeks before you expect the last frost. Start them in containers with the same proportion of garden soil to potting soil.
Whether planting in a container or in the ground, be sure the soil is loosened at least 1 foot deep. As you plant the tubers, keep the stems or sprouts upright and position the top of the tuber no more than 2 inches below the surface.29 They should be 18 to 24 inches apart.30 If the soil is dry, water it sparingly but do not soak it.
Most outdoor areas have enough rain in the spring to meet the water needs until your dahlia plant is fully established. Be careful because overwatering can cause rot.31 If you add mulch to the base of the plants it helps retain moisture and keep the soil cool.32
Experts disagree on the amount of fertilizer dahlias require. Most recommend using a low if you choose to use any at all. It’s also commonly suggested to be careful not to overfertilize because this can make the plant develop weak tubers at the end of the season and have smaller blooms as well as fewer blooms.33 The American Dahlia Association34 believes the best strategy is to test the soil to determine the specific needs.
As you discover some of the tricks on how to grow dahlias, you’ll find the plants do well when you spend a bit of time through the summer months deadheading and pinching them back.35 Cut the flowers back to the main stem to stimulate the growth of longer stems. The longer stems are better for cutting and displaying in your home.
If you’re intent on producing large show blooms, you’ll want to remove the outer two buds of the three that develop. Although this reduces the number of blooms, the ones that develop will be larger.36
Cutting or pinching the plants may help promote a shorter, bushier plant, according to Swan Island Dahlias.37 You can accomplish this by either pinching off or cutting the center shoot slightly higher than the third set of leaves. Also, if you expect any plants to reach 3 feet or higher, staked them to support the stems and flowers.38
The type of weather your dahlia withstands depends on the cultivar, but most are grown as perennials in hardiness zones 8 to 11.39 Although they originated in Mexico and Central America, hot climates can be challenging for current cultivars because they need additional water.40
As the winter season approaches, you may need to make some accommodations so they overwinter successfully. Outside of hardiness zones 8 to 11, dahlias are grown as annuals. After the first fall frost blackens the greenery, cut each plant down to 4 inches above the soil. Carefully dig around the plants and pull up tubers without damaging them.41
Keep them out of direct sunlight and in a frost-free area to dry for a few days. Once the tubers have dried, carefully remove any excess soil and keep about 2 inches of the stem.42 Store the tubers in a ventilated box or in a basket filled with sand, peat moss or vermiculite that is slightly moist.
Place the container in a cool, dry area where temperatures stay above 45 but not more than 55 degrees F. Check them from time to time to make sure they’re not rotting or drying out. If they start to shrivel, mist them with water. If you find rot, trim that portion so it doesn’t spread.43
In spring, separate the healthy areas from the parent and plant as described above. Each tuber you use must have at least one piece of crown attached to it or an eye; otherwise it won’t develop. The eye looks like a little pink bump at the base of the stem.44
If you live in zones 8 to 11, the tubers can be left in the ground to overwinter, covered with a deep layer of dry mulch after cutting the stems 2 inches above the ground.45
Deer don’t particularly care for dahlias, so there’s a good chance they’ll leave your flowers alone.46 Dahlias are prone to fungal diseases, though, so keep the greenery as dry as possible when watering and the plants well-spaced for good air circulation to reduce the potential for fungal growth.47
When it comes to bugs, the biggest pests are slugs when the plants are young and tender.48 You can get rid of them naturally by setting up a beer trap.49 Bury a shallow container until the rim is at ground height. Put about an inch of beer at the bottom. The slugs are attracted to the liquid and will drown when they fall in. Clean it out every morning.
If you drink coffee, use coffee grounds to deter slugs and feed your plants as they decompose.50 You can mix egg shells with the coffee grounds as well.
Spider mites are another pest that can attack your dahlia plants. These are not true insects but, rather, relatives of spiders and scorpions. They live in colonies on the undersides of leaves and are more common in places that are hot and dry.51
Address this problem by pruning the leaves or stems of infected parts of the plants and washing the tops and bottoms of the leaves with a strong stream of water.52 Do this in the morning to allow the foliage to dry out during the day and reduce the chance for fungal growth. Another option is to bring in natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewings.
Aphids are another bug that ladybugs like. Aphids can also be dislodged from the plant with a strong stream of water. Cut infected parts away and discard them. If pruned parts are infested with insects or mold, don’t put them in your compost pile.53
Dahlia plant blooms look beautiful in both your garden and in your home or office. They make wonderful cut flowers, and the more you cut, the more blooms the plant produces.54 The best time to cut your flowers is early in the morning, placing them directly into a bucket of cool water.
Remove the bottom leaves from the stems so they don’t rot in the water or take up any nutrients from the plant. Be sure to place the stems in a vase. Put the vase in a cool spot away from direct sunlight and change the water every day. If you take care of your flowers this way, the blooms should last a week or a little longer.55
To preserve your flowers, consider drying them.56 Dahlias, zinnias and marigolds with thick heads or delicate blooms respond best to a drying agent such as borax or rice. Spread the drying agent in an airtight container — preferably glass — about an inch deep. Don’t use wood or cardboard because they draw moisture.
Remove most of the foliage and place the blooms on the top. Next, cover the blooms with more drying agent and seal the container. Put it in a cool, dark place for about a week. Gently remove the agent and the dried flowers and spray them with a fixative from a craft store or hairspray.57
Have you ever noticed that when you walk into the home of someone who keeps a lot of plants, you feel just a little bit calmer? Researchers1 who evaluated the effects of indoor plants on 24 young male adults found active interaction with plants reduced their physiological and psychological stress. Participants were left feeling comfortable and soothed.
Research has also demonstrated that university students taught in classrooms where tropical plants were present gave higher ratings to both the course and the instructor.2 One group is so convinced of the power of plants to reduce stress that they’ve made it a mission to bring plants into every classroom.3
Plants may sharpen your attention capacity,4 reduce sick leave and improve productivity.5 They may also speed recovery from surgery.6 In a study from the University of Exeter, researchers found adding greenery to an otherwise austere office could increase productivity by 15%.7
While each of these benefits improves your overall health, you’ll also likely benefit from the specific improvements that snake plants make in reducing indoor air pollution.8
Many are aware that outdoor air pollution carries dangerous risks. Some of the more common pollutants include particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide,9 formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds10 such as benzene.11 The American Lung Association says these common pollutants trigger asthma episodes and shape how children’s lungs develop.
The World Health Organization says air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. In 2016, WHO found that outdoor pollution caused 4.2 million premature deaths around the world.12 While dangerous, indoor air quality can be just as destructive. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some pollutants are two to five times higher indoors.13
Those who are most vulnerable are the young, old and those who are suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory disease. In the past decades, concentrations of some pollutants have risen as buildings have become more energy efficient. Some buildings also lack sufficient mechanical ventilation and use a rising number of synthetic building materials.14
The concentration of indoor pollutants rises when man-made chemicals and other substances are released in or near your home. A number of common sources, such as household cleaning products, building materials, pesticides, air fresheners and space heaters are responsible.15
These pollutants have both short- and long-term health effects. Short-term exposure16 may increase your risk for allergy reactions including worsening asthma, headaches, fatigue and dizziness. Long-term health conditions may include acute lung infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer,17 high blood pressure and diabetes.18
In this short TED talk environmental activist Kamal Meattle, CEO of Paharpur Business Centre in New Delhi,19 spoke about how he successfully improved the indoor air quality in his business using three plants, of which a snake plant was one. He had a bad reaction to the air pollution in New Delhi and was told his lung damage was killing him.
After learning about a NASA20 study in which several plants were analyzed for their ability to remove toxins and add oxygen, he added three common green plants to his building and realized significant results. He used areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) and money plant (Epipremnum aureum).
Meattle conducted his studies in his 20-year-old, 50,000 square-foot building with 1,200 plants for 300 occupants. There was a 42% probability the occupants’ blood oxygen level would rise by 1% when they stayed indoors for 10 hours,21 a significant feat in New Delhi that ranks as the world’s most polluted city.22
According to Meattle, the Indian government compared the health conditions of occupants in his buildings to those in other buildings and found there was a reduced incidence of eye irritation by 52%. Respiratory symptoms were reduced by 34%, headaches were lowered 24% and lung impairment went down by 12%.23
The snake plant converts CO2 into oxygen during the night hours, which has earned the plant the nickname the “bedroom plant”. To supply enough oxygen in his building Meattle found they needed six to eight waist-high plants for each person.24
A common byproduct of respiration is carbon dioxide. Indoor levels that rise may increase the chance that those living and working in confined spaces will suffer from declining performance and learning. Rising levels of CO2 also directly affect cognitive skills and productivity.25
In one study published by the International Conference on Chemical, Metallurgy and Materials Science Engineering, researchers evaluated the ability of a snake plant to absorb carbon dioxide in the office. They found that in an office with 360 M3 airspace and three staff people where four snake plants were used, the snake plants absorbed 22.93% of the carbon dioxide.26
In addition to adding oxygen and removing CO2 in the environment, NASA also demonstrated the ability the snake plant has to reduce the levels of trichlorethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.27 When the plant leaf surface area was 2,871 square cm, the plant removed 31,294 mcg of formaldehyde and 28,710 mcg of benzene. A plant with 3,474 square cm of surface area removed 9,727 mcg of trichloroethylene.28
Trichloroethylene is a nonflammable liquid used as a solvent to remove grease. However, it’s also found in paint removers, spot removers and adhesives. Although not found naturally in the environment, the snake plant is able to remove trichloroethylene from the air. It’s classified as a volatile organic compound and is carcinogenic to humans with a higher evidence for kidney cancer.29
Benzene is among the top 20 chemicals commonly used and is found in plastics, synthetic fibers and resins. Manufacturers also use benzene to produce rubber, detergents, pesticides and drugs. It’s classified as a hydrocarbon and is considered a volatile organic compound. This known human carcinogen commonly affects the blood, immune system and nervous system.30
At room temperature, formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a distinct smell. It’s classified by the EPA as a “probable” carcinogen, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it as carcinogenic to humans. It is a volatile organic compound that affects your skin, digestive tract, immune system and respiratory system. It’s found in the production of food, paper, antiseptics, cosmetics and resins.31
Each of the substances the snake plant is known to affect in your indoor environment are dangerous to your health. However, as Meattle commented in his video, the addition of plant life to your home can create a healthy environment for you and your family without much effort.
The snake plant might be one of the easiest, low maintenance houseplants to keep as it may thrive in full sun or full shade. It’s drought-resistant and also does well when you water it consistently. The plant is found in most nurseries and one may be propagated from another. It’s a hardy plant with stiff upright leaves that range in height from 1 foot to 8 feet.32
Although most are called mother-in-law’s tongue, that variety typically has a yellow border along the leaves. The plant is a member of the Asparagacea family, which includes asparagus. It’s native to West Africa and also goes under the names viper’s bowstring hemp and St. George’s sword.33
It is an ideal plant for containers around your home, but thrives outside in Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. The snake plant may adapt to full sun conditions and will survive in the shade but it prefers indirect, steady light.34 When potting, use well-draining potting soil, avoiding those low in peat because they don’t drain well. Soil intended for cactus is a good choice.
Don’t allow the roots to sit in water as it increases the risk of root rot and fungus.35 The soil should dry between watering and during the winter months it should be watered less frequently. Protect your plants from drafts and keep it away from the air conditioner and heating vent.
The plant does not need any pruning36 but may require repotting each year as it grows rapidly. When repotting, always use fresh soil.37 The snake plant makes a beautiful addition to your home but is also toxic to small children and pets.
Keep the plant out of reach and if you see signs of toxicity, such as excessive salivation, nausea or diarrhea, seek medical attention for your child or pet.38 The plant sometimes triggers allergic contact dermatitis but it’s usually only toxic when ingested.39
The plant comes in a number of different varieties, heights and sizes. Although it improves your indoor air quality, snake plants also add a unique flavor to your decorating. Since the plant is so versatile you can choose to decorate your patio during the summer and bring it in during the winter. If you do choose this option, be sure to slowly harden the plant in the spring before it’s left out day and night. Varieties of snake plants include:
- Sansevieria trifasciata Black Gold — This cultivar has leaves growing relatively straight with light yellow to gold edges and dark green centers.40
- Sansevieria trifasciata Futura Robusta — This is the shortest of the snake plants with silvery green leaves.41
- Sansevieria trifasciata Cylindrica — This unique variety has round shaped stiff leaves that may reach several feet in height. The leaves resemble bamboo42 and arch outward from the center.43
- Sansevieria trifasciata Twist — This variety grows to about 14 inches, making it perfect on a table or as a hanging plant. The leaves are twisted and striped horizontally with yellow edges.44
- Sansevieria trifasciata Whitney — This dwarf variety has dark green centers bordered by silver green edges.45
One way to have increase the number of snake plants in your home is to propagate them. The plants are popular and easy to grow, so you may have a few friends with varieties you don’t already own. There are four different ways to propagate your snake plant.46
Anytime one gets too big for the pot, you can either choose to repot it in something larger or split it and divide the plant. Remove the plant and use a knife to cut the roots and separate the stalks. Once it’s repotted and the roots covered with soil, mist the plant with water.
Another option is to pull out the young shoots, or rhizomes, which are often found below the soil when you’re repotting. Pull the shoots apart by the roots. You can plant each one individually in a separate pot or you can plant several of the largest ones together in a large pot.
You can also propagate the plants by taking a cutting of a leaf close to the base. The cutting can either be placed in a fresh pot of soil or in a vase with water. If you choose water, change it every few days and then once the roots begin to develop, pot in some fresh soil.47
|(Natural News) Sweating is a perfectly natural process that your body needs to do on a regular basis in order to stay healthy. It helps to regulate your body temperature and allows your skin to expel harmful toxins from your body. The only downside to this is that bacteria tend to thrive in the sweaty areas…|
|(Natural News) Opioid drugs have laid waste to the United States, there is no doubt about that. Over 47,000 people die an opioid-related death annually, and estimates suggest that half of those people died using a synthetic opioid known as “fentanyl.” While the corrupt pharmaceutical industry may have created the prescription opioid epidemic, experts say…|
|(Natural News) If you’ve been watching the Democratic “debates” recently, you probably know that most of the subject matter seems to center around climate change and what the 2020 presidential hopefuls plan to do to stop it. And Pete Buttigieg’s solution, in case you missed it, is to announce all across the heartland that carbon…|
|(Natural News) Rickets is a skeletal disorder caused by a deficiency of calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D — nutrients needed for the formation of healthy bones. As a result, children who suffer from rickets tend to have weak bones, abnormal growth, and problems with their skeletal structure. Recently, a rise in the number of rickets cases,…|
|(Natural News) Have you ever wondered how people with myopia (nearsightedness) lived before eyeglasses were invented? Experts noted that instead of treating the condition as a disability of sorts, people with myopia were valued because of their contributions to the arts, such as illustrating manuscripts. What is myopia? Myopia occurs when a person’s eyeballs are too…|
|(Natural News) A person’s diet plays a huge role in determining their overall health. Multiple studies have shown how a diet influences many physiological functions, including immune function, which the body relies on for protection against diseases. For instance, a diet rich in fiber and plant-based foods brings longevity and keeps the body in tip-top shape. However, a diet…|