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The Unknown Life of Plants

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As part of our attempt to create awareness about the benefits of plants, greenery in general and how important is to understand that nature and human society are not separate things, we will present you every two weeks a plant species from our diverse plant palette, successfully used on our GVG (Greenology Vertical Greenery) panels.

Let nature be a part of our identity and transform Urban Spaces into living, thriving habitats and sustainable ecosystems!
Legend (long)Refer to this image for a legend of all the icons used!

 

Anthurium-900x500-24fps-Icon-LogoAnthurium genus

Anthurium is an evergreen tropical plant. Under the Anthurium genus there are over 800 species.

The heart-shaped flower of Anthuriums is really a spathe or a waxy, modified leaf flaring out from the base of a fleshy spadix where the tiny real flowers grow.

In the NASA Clean Air Study, Anthurium andreanum can remove from your household harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, ammonia.

 

 

Begonia-SlowMo---900x500-Icons-LogoBegonia genus

Have you ever wondered why is begonia variegated?

Foliar variegation is recognized as arising from two major mechanisms: leaf structure and pigment related variegation. Variegation in Begonias can be of these two types.

Of structural nature, light areas in leaves are created by internal reflection between air spaces and cells.
Pink, red or purple colour in leaves is caused by the presence of pigments called anthocyanins. These pigments can mask the chlorophyll and other pigments present in the leaf. Nonetheless, the plant undergoes the ususal photosynthesis process.

 

Philodendron2-23fps--60%speed-900x500-small-cut2-Icon-LogoPhilodendron genus

The Philodendron Scandens is a beauty to behold for its simplicity and matte leafy appearance, and is also known as the heart-shaped Philodendron.

Often mistaken for the Epipremnum aureum (or money plant) due to their similar appearance and climbing growth pattern, the Philodendron Scandens have a more elongated drip tip that allows rain water to flow smoothly off its leaves, an adaptation common to rain-forest species.

 

 

 

Philodendron2-23fps--60%speed-900x500-small-cut2-Icon-LogoMonstera genus

As visitors stroll along our nursery, a certain plant species would often turn heads and make them go, ‘Oh no, insects have eaten through the leaves of this plant!’.

But do not be mistaken. Naturally formed and part of healthy development, the holes in the leaves of the Monstera obliqua prevent the plant from being ripped by strong winds in the upper canopies. They also let rain pass through more quickly while allowing more light to reach foliage below. Relatively easy to maintain with partial sunlight, the Monstera obliqua is a popular choice that lends our greenwalls an exotic touch.

 

 

 

Philodendron2-23fps--60%speed-900x500-small-cut2-Icon-LogoAdiantum genus

Characterised by its black-stemmed fronds and fan-like plantlets, the Adiantum peruvianum is a plant that stands out from the crowd when put on a greenwall. In our designs, we try to inject character into a greenwall by considering the growth pattern of each plant species—and with its delicate cascading foliage, the A. peruvianum reacts easily to the winds to bring any greenwall alive.
The genus name is derived from the Greek word adiantos which means unwetted, in reference to the water-repelling properties of the fern’s fan-like foliage. In the wild, the A. peruvianum is native to some parts of South America so like most ferns of tropical origin, it grows most splendidly under cool, shady surroundings with evenly-moist media.

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Research post on Hydroponics

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Have you ever wondered why the vegetables sold in supermarkets appear largely identical in terms of their sizes and taste? Hydroponics is a technique of farming food crops using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without the need for traditional soil-based growing. Over the years, hydroponics farming has been refined to allow food crops to grow at an efficient rate to meet the increasing demand for human consumption. Food crops grown are high on food quality standards as they are free of pests, soil diseases or harmful chemicals. Hydroponics vegetables appear more uniform with considerably higher yield than conventionally soil-grown crops as they are exposed to uniform, controlled growth conditions. With the aim of producing a sustainable food source for Singapore’s growing population, six different hydroponics systems have been identified to be able to support farming a variety of food crops, depending on their needs for healthy growth.

 

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Figure 1. Commercially-viable setup of Greenology Vertiponix™ system that utilizes Nutrient Film Technique.

Greenology Vertiponix™ (Figure 1) adopts the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) of growing plants in a thin layer of nutrient solution (Figure 2). This technique of hydroponics is most suitable for plants with smaller roots, including most fast-growing herbs and leafy vegetables. Because the crops are grown under Greenology Grow Lights™ that are used to provide optimal photosynthetic flux for vegetable growth, a faster harvest of crops is made possible without compromise in food quality. Using power generated from solar panels, this closed system reticulates water and nutrients with minimal water wastage to ensure low carbon footprint. Given the space-constraint that Singapore faces, growing tubes are stacked vertically on a lightweight aluminium rack to increase food production per square meter. Greenology Vertiponix™ system is scalable for commercial, schools and even home settings, making it an ideal solution for small-scale urban farming.

 

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Figure 2. Basic illustration of Nutrient Film Technique as used by Greenology Vertiponix™.

Hydroculture or water culture, as implied by its name, is a system where plants are grown by soaking the roots in water. Would this result in over-watering and subsequently root rot? It has been found that when water is aerated sufficiently and kept at the right temperature, plants will thrive because of the uptake of oxygenated water from the roots. This system provides a continuous supply of water for food crops by suspending plants in a pool of nutrient solution, allowing the plants to take in as much water as it needs (Figure 3). An air stone is also placed in the reservoir tank to incorporate oxygen into the nutrient solution. With this large supply of water, the system allows crops that require large amount of water to grow well. Examples of these plants include tomatoes or even pumpkins!

 

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Figure 3. A standard setup of Hydroculture with air stone to incorporate oxygen into nutrient solution.

The Ebb and Flow hydroponics system (Figure 4) supports a larger variety of plants. Water in this system is allowed to flow freely, periodically supplying the necessary nutrients for plant growth. The open bed space permits the water to permeate the entire grow tray and reach the plants. As such, larger plants are able to grow in this setup as there is no constraint on pot size. Crops with roots that require more aeration do well in this system. Chilli varieties do best in the ebb and flow system. Also, the use of heavy media like gravel and pebbles provide adequate support for these larger plants.

 

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Figure 4. A typical Ebb and Flow hydroponics setup with periodic drainage of nutrient solution.

After covering three of the six common hydroponics systems, you might have already discerned the similarities between them. All three systems make use of nutrient solution for crop growth, without the addition of any chemical pesticides. As no soil is used for crop growth in hydroponics, hydroponic systems are a cleaner and more suitable option especially for indoor urban farming. Compared to organically grown soil-based crops, hydroponic food crops are grown in a controlled, sterile environment that is pest-free, making the possibility of better food quality likely.

 

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Figure 5. Lettuce grown using the Greenology Vertiponix™ system.

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Maintenance of Green Walls

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Myriad of Colors

The maintenance issues of green walls are new to many developers, home owners, architects and landscape architects. You cannot apply the same maintenance regimes and schedules as you would for normal horizontal landscapes.

Green walls are meant to evolve and develop naturally and with minimal intervention and maintenance. Of course this also depends on the choice of plants and how the plants are grouped on the wall. It is important to understand the plant species and their growth habits to achieve this. We have used more than 500 species in our green walls and we understand what plants do well and don’t and what plants grow well together.

It has been challenging explaining this to people. Each green wall is different and they behave differently in different orientations and sites. The green wall maintenance should be performance-based rather than stipulated maintenance regimes.

Our GVG systems have proven to require very little maintenance. Clients can appreciate that. Many misconceptions have arisen in the minds of non-specialists and this is also the result of many failed systems in the market.

Please also bear in mind that green walls with elaborate designs will cost more to maintain than green walls with a naturalistic plant mix. Plant choices should be left to the green wall specialists.

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Greenology Green Walls DO NOT USE SOIL

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The Greenology Vertical Greenery™ systems do not use soil to grow plants. We use GNanoFibre™ and GMatrix™ as the key substrates for plant roots to anchor and grow. An automated irrigation system with pressure compensated droppers and an in-line fertigation unit keep the plants watered and fed at regular intervals.

The system is by far the lowest consumer of water. This has been proven in many of our trials.

The capital investment and running cost of the GVG system is the lowest in the market. With more than 500 species of plants to choose from, we can create a Living Green Skin™ over any vertical surface or for that matter many other profiles. We customise our vertical greening solutions to suit the site and conditions.

GVG is a 100% Made in Singapore innovation!

We did not get any mileage or research funds for creating a Singapore-made Product unlike Japanese companies that NUS work with to do research on green walls!

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Benefits of Vertical Greening

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The major innovation of vertical plantscapes is fast becoming a pivotal tool for new and existing building owners to embrace environmentally sustainable development. The social, economic, and environmental value that vertical plantscapes developments has upon the urban environment is significant.

It is well established that plants provide a positive physical surrounding in which it is more comfortable to live and work by removing pollutants from the air, moderating temperatures through shade and wind blocks, reducing glare and noise, adding aromas, and screening unattractive sights.

Vertical plantscapes have now evolved as an important discipline to deal with sustainability issues in suspended sky gardens has considerable potential as mechanisms of remedial urban greening:

Improving building energy performance by reducing energy consumption
Improving air quality through pollution adsorption and oxygen generation
Mitigating the urban heat island effect
Improving visual amenity and increasing a buildings profile
Improving building lifespan
Cooling down temperatures inside and outside a building
restoring a diverse ecology to urban areas
Recycling storm water and grey water
High frequency noise abatement
Improving the psychosocial health of a buildings occupants and the general public
Addressing the aesthetics of sustainability
Improving energy consumption

Designing buildings to incorporate facade shading and biofiltration with green biomass has considerable economic value. Vegetation acts as an effective barrier to solar radiation and also acts to insulate the building from external cooling. Additionally a green wall installed as a biofilter can substantially reduce the need to duct in air from the outdoors by generating clean air indoors.

In this way, it is estimated that the application of a green wall matrix can significantly reduce ongoing heating and cooling energy costs of a building.

Reducing air pollution

A green wall offers immediate environmental advances in reducing existing greenhouses and other volatile organic compounds from our polluted cities. Plants act as bio-purifiers and can play a dramatic role in improving the quality of city air through a number of biochemical processes by removing and breaking down airborne contaminants from both inside and outside a building. When combined with plant photosynthesis, which produces clean, oxygen rich air, it becomes easy to see the value of employing living plants as bio-purifiers in polluted urban environments.

Increase property values and public profile

Plants are one of the fastest, most cost effective agents for rectifying negative perceptions of an area, enhancing a buildings public profile and significantly improving the visual amenity, economic, and social conditions of the city. The application of vertical gardens is shown to increase property values by dramatically increasing the amenity of buildings, and establishing higher public acclaim, transforming them into recognisable landmarks.

**this article was copied from a discussion on vertical greening from the internet

Vertical greened facades also allow for spaces to be opened up for public use after screening unsightly views.