July 28, 2021

Biology Reporter

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Botanist: Interest in exotic plants in Poland is growing

Botanist: Interest in exotic plants in Poland is growing

In Poland, interest in the cultivation of exotic plants is growing. It was also affected by the epidemic, as a result of which people were locked in their homes for a long time and longed for nature, believes Joanna Bogdanovic of the Botanical Garden of Warsaw University.

“In my opinion, this trend will continue to grow and there will be more and more of these plants – both in homes and gardens. First, the pandemic has contributed to our longing for nature. In addition, more and more people are interested in climate change and environmental protection, and therefore are trying to address it. In a way, for example by growing plants in their surroundings” – confirmed the Tropical Plants Trustee, one of the many experts involved in the #OaniNasoos campaign.

Global warming also contributes to the increase in the popularity of exotic plants, as the current temperature conditions allow plants such as banana trees, fig trees and Lebanese cedars to survive all year round in our area. “These plants require protection for the winter, but in our garden we planted banana and fig trees that survived until this past winter,” she noted.

Also, the slightly different conditions prevailing in the apartments from before contribute to the fact that the “group” of cultivated plants is changing. “We used to have cooler houses in the winter, and the houses were not as heated as they are now; it was also more humid. At that time, for example, fuchsia, bush or citrus could be grown. Now, all year round, we have the same warmth in Our homes, and for this reason, we choose plants from a tropical climate, which, in addition, will adapt to the low humidity of the air in our homes in winter, ”- reported the botanist.

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In her opinion, fashion is also of great importance in this matter. Recently, plants from the family of photos, such as monstera, philodendrons and wingflowers, have become very fashionable. This family has many representatives in the tropics, subtropics and in completely different habitats – they can climb trees and grow on branches, but also in wetlands, in water and, of course, in soil. It is relatively easy to grow many of these plants indoors if their basic needs are met. I have noticed that there are great fashions for different varieties with colored leaves.

When a botanist was asked if it was a good idea to introduce exotic plants into local gardens, he replied that they are certainly interesting, because these plants are different from those of our native lawns or forests, which adds originality to the garden.

“Above all, however, we must remember not to select large-growing plants that may pose a threat to our species and our local communities. Many of them become invasive, like the Jerusalem artichoke – it is a beautiful plant with edible tubers, but which escapes cultivation and covers vast areas Likewise, Goldenrod – beautiful and healing, but also able to quickly take over the area where our native plants grew. ”

According to her, the cultivation of exotic plants purchased in Poland does not represent a significant threat when it comes to pests and pathogens that do not exist in our country, and imported plants must have a phytosanitary certificate. “However, after bringing a new plant into our collection, it is a good idea to monitor it, for example, if there are any signs of pest feeding (even if we know known pests)” – she added.

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Bogdanovich reminded that before buying a plant, it is worth reading where the plant comes from, what conditions exist in the natural environment – in order to adapt your cultivation to what you like most. “People sometimes think that when a plant loves moisture, it is enough to water it abundantly, and this is not the case. Sometimes they like high humidity, but high humidity,” she asserted.

One of the tips for growing exotic plants in gardens is to choose the most secluded places for them, on the south side, and protect them in winter, for example by covering them.

“Being close to nature is great and I am not surprised that people are turning to plants in homes and gardens. Times are tough and being among the plants is really relaxing.”

As part of the #UWażniNaSuszę action, interested people can benefit from the knowledge of scientists and share their own methods of protecting water resources.

Educational materials on rational water management, facts and myths about drought, and tips on how everyone can protect limited water resources on a daily basis – in homes and gardens, can be found at: https://cwid.uw.edu.pl/ and in the social media CWiD UW.

“Remember that planting plants is very useful, but let’s try to water them with rainwater and in the substrate fertilized with compost, and not peat. Let’s protect our water resources and peat bogs, the area of ​​which is constantly dwindling, which are natural retaining tanks that store water “- concluded the expert.

PAP – Science in Poland, Agnieszka Kliks-Pudlik

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