Your houseplants accumulate dust, just like your floors, tables, and shelves. However, unlike non-living objects, plants need their surfaces to be kept clean not just for the sake of outer beauty, but for inner health as well.
A layer of dust on the stem and leaves blocks exposure to sunlight and thus impairs the plant’s photosynthesis ability. As a result, the plant becomes weaker and more susceptible to diseases.
Shower, Mist, or Wipe?
- The optimal method of cleaning a houseplant depends on its size, flexibility, and resilience. The easy way to deal with medium-sized plants is to take them to the shower and use a nozzle. Make sure to avoid applying too much pressure to gentle leaves and keep the water close to room temperature. Use diluted soap if there’s too much dirt buildup—just make sure to thoroughly wash it off. As an example, this method would perfectly suit your ZZ plant.
- Plants that are too fragile or small to handle the shower nozzle can be cleaned with the help of a spray bottle. Your succulents would definitely prefer this kind of treatment.
- You can dunk long and flexible branches of your houseplants in water for better cleaning. The same can be done even to whole small-sized plants. Attach a plastic wrap around the stem of the plant at the soil level to prevent the soil from pouring out. Next, carefully turn the pot upside down, dunk the above-soil part of the plant in the water, and gently swirl.
- To clean very large and heavy plants, such as a tree-size Monstera, mist their leaves with tepid water and wipe them with a soft cloth.
- For plants that don’t like moisture on their leaves (e.g. African violets and cacti), use a dry paintbrush or a feather duster. In fact, a soft duster may be enough for most types of foliage, if you use it quite often and don’t let the dust build up.
Make your plants look even neater by removing dry, yellow, and brown leaves. For broad-leaved plants, you may opt to use scissors to remove the edges of leaves that have changed color or dried. If you trim off a whole leaf, try to cut it as close to the stem as possible.
The frequency of cleaning your indoor plants depends on how dusty your air is. If you live close to a busy highway or a construction site, you will probably have to do it more often than others. To check whether your plant needs a bath, rub your fingers on the leaves—this way, you will feel the dust which is not always easily visible, especially if the surface of the leaves is uneven.
Keep your houseplants clean and shiny to help them thrive and blossom!