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One of the most natural and aesthetically pleasing ways to reduce the amount of your EMF (Electromagnetic Field) radiation exposure in the home is to have lots of plants. Your house plants will absorb the radiation just like any other toxin, keeping you safer. But the obvious problem with this solution is that it is bad for the health of your plants.
Does EMF affect plant growth? Yes, plant growth is reduced, in varying degrees, from household EMF from the following radiation sources:
- Electrical wiring
Keep reading to learn more about how these EMF sources affect plant health, and by how much.
Does WiFi Radiation Hurt Plant Growth?
Perhaps the most significant source of EMF radiation in your home is from WiFi. Why? Well, nobody really feels like running Ethernet cable all over their house anymore. Why do that when WiFi routers are super-fast and efficient at handling, all at once, the connection needs of household electronics like:
- Personal Computers
- Video Game Consoles
- Cell Phones
- Smart Watches
- Smart Lightbulbs
Let’s face it: this is not the nineties or early 2000’s anymore, and home internet usage nowadays is not one computer hard wired into a modem. We are moving into a world where every home will soon be a “smart home.” Every single appliance we use will be connected to the internet, allowing us to control everything from a tap of our phones.
That makes WiFi signals much more than a minor occurrence in the home. WiFi and, therefore, radiation, are ubiquitous. Unless you live in a cabin in the woods, however, you need internet to conduct daily life.
For your own safety, take measures to shut off WiFi connected devices when not in use, and use Ethernet connections when possible. Also, you may want to consider shutting down your router at night while sleeping.
Plants specifically can be greatly damaged by WiFi EMF radiation. One of the most common mistakes people make is putting a plant in front of their WiFi router. Yes, routers are unsightly but need to be out in the open in order for you to get better service.
To make that look more aesthetically pleasing in their living rooms, people often stick a plant in front of it. Unfortunately, that will hurt the plant if it is too close. Plants within 1.5 feet of a router have been scientifically shown to have a significantly harder time growing than plants outside of that environment.
To keep your plant vibrant and healthy, try putting at least a couple feet between it and the WiFi router. Even just a little bit of space like that will make a huge difference.
That goes for all sources of WiFi EMF: not just the router, but anything that connects to it. If you choose to have plants throughout the home, place them at least two feet from household electronics like those listed above.
Electrical Wiring EMF
While EMF is typically more prevalent in wireless devices, the hard wiring throughout your home’s wall is not innocent either.
Typically, the insulation and sheetrock create enough of a barrier between the wiring and living things where this is not as much of an issue. Keep in mind though that plants are typically displayed on dressers and tables against walls, where they are potentially vulnerable.
The issue arises more often where your home’s hard wiring reaches the surface:
- Light switches
- Light fixtures
- Ceiling fans
Allow two feet between any of these components and your household plants to reduce EMF exposure. Odds are you already have, as keeping them too close might also pose a fire hazard.
After WiFi radiation, phones are the second biggest EMF hazard to household plants. This can happen from both:
- Cell phones
- Landline phones
1. Cell Phones
Even if your cell phone is not connected to WiFi, I am sure you do not have it on airplane mode all the time at home. Your phone sends and receives cellular data through the air and communicates with your local cell tower.
Doing so is, of course, another method of EMF exposure for your plant. When browsing the internet on your phone, stay away from your plants. Since it is mobile, that should be pretty easy.
The same goes for actual phone calls. Even though you are not actually connecting to the internet in most cases, you are still sending signals over the air. Any time you are using an electronic device, you are creating EMF, regardless of what you are using it for. Even in airplane mode, you are producing EMF (granted, to a lesser extent). Keep plants away from:
- Any other spot you frequently use a cell phone
Check out my guide on cell phone radiation protection.
2. Landline Phones
Although quite a bit less than cell phones by design, landline phones still produce EMF radiation and can be harmful to your plant. If you already know where telephone wires are, keep plants at a safe distance from there. Keep this in mind: where are landline phones typically located?
- End tables
- Corners of desks
Plants are almost always located next to these objects. Keep that in mind before you install a new phone or find a pretty spot for your plant.
One particular problem with landlines are the cordless headsets that remove from the base. It should go without saying that the constant back and forth in wireless communication between the two will cause a significant amount of EMF.
Lots of people put plants in the empty space next to entertainment units. The units house massive televisions, which of course put out a lot of EMF. So just in that regard, you may want to consider not putting your plant there if you want it to be healthy.
Not to mention televisions do not produce their shows on their own; they connect to the outside world through different methods that produce various amounts of EMF radiation:
Probably the safest of the three, a cable TV connection still produces a certain amount of EMF, so keep plants a couple of feet away if possible. Not exactly electrical, but a lot of similar components and signals regardless. About as safe for your plant as a landline phone.
If you are still using some variation of the rabbit ears or digital tv antenna like me (hey, it is free), watch where you are putting them. For rabbit ears, those extra long antennas produce a fair amount of EMF and can get physically caught up on stuff too.
Digital antennas need to be put up high and in the window. In winter time, in an attempt to keep your plants alive until warm weather comes back, you may be tempted to put your plants on the windowsill. Just take care not to put them in the same window as your antenna.
Generally, since the wiring for satellite TV is the same as cable TV until it gets to the outside of the house, this EMF will not be as much of an issue. However, if you keep plants on your balcony, you may want to think twice before installing your satellite dish out there too.
Radios and speakers also traffic in wireless signals and therefore produce a significant amount of EMF radiation. Do not keep these next to your plant.
What Happens to Plants with Too Much EMF Exposure?
If you do not heed these warnings and still keep your plant too close to EMF sources, your plant’s growth will be affected. Besides simply growing more slowly, here are signs to look out for that prove your plant is truly suffering from EMF:
- Leaves show a metallic luster: The leaves will not be a strong, healthy green. Instead, they will exhibit discoloration.
- Leaves simply drying out and dying at an alarming rate: Leaves falling off and new ones getting added is a natural part of a plant’s life. But if this seems to be happening at a much faster rate than it normally would, that is a major sign of EMF overexposure.
- Abnormalities: You would not see anything too crazy (this is EMF not Chernobyl). Still, any minor abnormalities in your plant’s growth could be a sign of too much EMF.
What Specific Biological Life Processes in Plants Are Affected by EMF Radiation?
To dig deeper and learn a bit more about why these symptoms occur in plants exposed to EMF, let’s learn a little more about the biological processes that are being interrupted and disturbed.
Why exactly does the plant not grow as fast under EMF exposure? The healthier a plant (or any living thing for that matter) the easier it is for its cells to focus on reproduction and keeping biological processes moving.
Under perfect conditions, with plenty of sunshine and water, a plant can reproduce its cells faster, resulting in more structure. The more branches a plant can grow, the more leaves and, therefore, the taller it gets.
When exposed to radiation like EMF, new plant cells are more likely to be killed off before they can do anything significant, like add to the overall growth of the plant. When this keeps happening again and again, it reduces how many cells there are too aid in growth, which in turn results in a shorter plant.
Not all cells damaged by EMF die off. Some live on but are mutated thanks to chromosomal aberrations from DNA sequence errors. When these wrong cells reproduce over and over, it can cause noticeable abnormalities on your plant. A wrong copy of a wrong copy of a bad cell only becomes a compounded problem.
Direct Burn Damage
Microscopic exposed tissue can sometimes pop up due to such abnormalities. This is usually invisible to the naked eye. However, this can cause leaves to burn more easily in the sunlight, which you will definitely notice over time. Starting to see brownish burn marks on your leaves, even though you are giving the plant plenty of water? This could be a sign of too much EMF.
If your plant’s rate of growth slows down to a halt for long enough, well, we usually call that death. Indeed, if too many things go wrong due to long term EMF exposure, your plant may die. Obviously, you want to avoid this, so keep a close look out for any warning signs and reduce its EMF exposure as much as possible.
Perhaps almost as important as mortality is your plant’s ability to reproduce. If you want more of your plants, that might not happen with too much EMF nearby. EMF radiation can affect a wide variety of plant reproduction processes:
- Producing seeds and pollen: Radiation can cause plants to not be able to produce the basic building blocks needed for production
- Sterility: If this goes on long term, the plant eventually loses the very capability to reproduce and can become dormant
- Reduced seed germination: Even though your plant is still producing seeds and pollen, they could be formulated incorrectly, reducing the likelihood of germination, the first step in plant reproduction.
- Reduced viability of offspring: Even if your plant is able to reproduce, radiation can mean that minor errors in genetic code can affect its offspring down the line. These offspring can have significant abnormalities, resulting in increased mortality and thus a decreased chance of future reduction and sustainability.
How Much Radiation is Too Much?
If you live in a small apartment or just have a lot of furniture, it is fair to say that absolutely zero EMF exposure for both you and your plants is impossible. That is ok; the whole point is to reduce exposure as much as you can. For your plant, the further you set it away from EMF sources, the better. A good rule of thumb is set your plant at least 2 feet from any obvious EMF radiation sources.
First, pick up an EMF meter. I recommend the Trifield TF2 (see it on Amazon) because it is the most useful one for its price (check out my review).
Then practice with some readings of your plant at that safe distance from various devices. Although you will notice a slight uptick on your meter when next to a router or WiFi enabled devices, you want to see a safe reading of under 1 V/m (Volts over meter).
Over 1 and it starts to become an issue. When a plant is placed just 2 inches from an EMF source, the reading radically goes up. For example:
- iPhone on WiFi- 3.5 V/m
- iPhone on 4G- 1.4 V/m
- Laptop on WiFi- 1.5 V/m
- Router- 4 V/M
As you can see, WiFi makes a huge difference and is perhaps the worst offender when it comes to EMF exposure. That is mainly because of the constant communication method that WiFi devices use.
Which Plants Are Affected the Worst By EMF?
Not all plants are the same. Some are only slightly affected by EMF. However, a few are severely affected. That is great for your health, but not so much for them. Here are a few plants that you definitely want to keep a good distance from any EMF sources:
- Cactus: The common cactus has a lot of surface area, making it more susceptible to exposure. Surface area usually does it well in the wild, but not so much next to a router.
- Aloe: Safe principle as the cactus. Its very long leaves make it susceptible to more EMF. In addition, problems like burn damage and DNA abnormalities are amplified.
- Peace lily: The prominent budding flowers this plant needs to reproduce are out in the open, usually making them unprotected from radiation.
- Chrysanthemum: A combination of both problems. The flowers are plentiful and prominent, and not to mention have a ton of surface area. Use extra distance from EMF sources when placing your chrysanthemum.
Salt Lamps- A Plant’s Best Friend When Dealing with EMF
Salt lamps are a remedy for a lot of different ailments, making them a great addition to your home. They do a really good job eliminating EMF radiation too.
By ionizing the atmosphere, salt lamps are able to neutralize EMF and other forms of radiation. This will do wonders to take some of the pressure off your plants and help them live a better life. This salt lamp is a light and easy one to install. Or try this night light version.
Keeping Plants Outside
If all else fails, you may just have to keep your plants outside. If you live in a warmer climate, this will not be much of an issue, although it may take up porch or balcony space.
Of course, in more moderate climates, this may not be possible in the winter time. Keep plants outside as long as possible during the warmer seasons (as an added bonus, if it rains, you will not have to water them).
Then bring them in during the wintertime and place them as far away from electronic devices as possible. If too many EMF culprits exist, put your plant next to one that preferably only using a fixed wired connection, not WiFi.