Ethylene gas from ripening fruit - distance from house plants?

orchidlilyDecember 5, 2013

I understand that ethylene gas is like nature's "death" hormone, and that it can cause bud drop and other house plant problems like yellowing leaves. Does anyone know what the safe distance is for house plants to be from a constant ethylene gas source, such as ripening fruit? The gas source is coming from fruit bowls with an average of 12 ripe bananas and 4 avocados (our apples are stored in the fridge).

I read that ethylene gas is slightly lighter than air, so does that mean it would rather float up and out, instead of sinking down into an area?

The space is a 400 sq ft studio with giant windows, so there is a tiny draft even with windows closed. We have an air filter turned on low. Humidity levels indoors in the winter are 30-55% with temperatures in the 70s (due to our radiator). Summers are hot and humid.

So my question is, how far away do I need to place my house plants in order to not be affected by ethylene gas? This question was prompted because I moved a Pothos next to the ripe fruit, and it started having yellowing leaves, slowly getting worse over 5 days.

I'm hoping there are some botanists and/or chemists out there who can help me understand how ethylene gas works. I'd love to know more about the science!

Thank you!

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orchidlily, I know of its effect on a banana farm. It causes the banana fruits to ripen in geometric proportions.
However, here might be some information that you can use.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Thank you, this is very helpful.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 12:41AM
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