Cleaning Your House Plants

House Plant Bath - Pam Beck
Spray your favorite houseplants off in the sink or shower to keep their leaves healthy and dust free.

The cold months are the perfect time to wash away dust and grime that may have accumulated on the leaves of your houseplants by giving them a gentle hosing with tepid water in your tub, shower, or kitchen sink. Washing them will clear the pores on their leaves (called “stomata”) that are responsible for gas exchange and photosynthesis. It will also keep your plants looking attractive. This refreshing bath is especially beneficial to smooth-leafed houseplants, but it is not recommended for succulents or hairy-leaved plants, such as African Violets. Succulents and African violets can be gently cleaned with a brush or a barely damp, gentle cloth to keep their leaves dust and dirt free.

Large-, waxy-leaved plants may develop calcium or other difficult-to-remove grime build up. These can be also be treated with a make-your-own leaf cleaner. Add a drop of dish detergent to a half-gallon of water and add this to your spray bottle. Spray and wipe the leaves off with a gentle, soft cloth and then rinse them with tepid water. A 10% solution of vinegar added to water can also be sprayed on leaves to help remove difficult build up.

After a good wash, your plants will look and perform better.

About Pam Beck

Pam Beck began her gardening education in 1987 by volunteering in a public herb garden, which inspired her to join the Master Gardeners and take horticulture classes. She has worked in garden center retail, learned plant production hands-on in a nursery, created designs for landscape contractors and homeowners, and was an assistant with Cooperative Extension for a short time. She has scouted and styled for Better Homes & Gardens magazine; served on the Board of Advisors for two university botanical gardens; and, taught Adult Education landscaping classes for Wake Tech; but, you probably know her best as an award-winning freelance garden writer, lecturer, and photographer. Pam is the co-author of Best Garden Plants for North Carolina, regularly contributed articles in Carolina Gardener Magazine for 16 years, and for 5 years she was a monthly garden columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer. Currently, her busy speaking schedule takes her throughout the Southeast enthusiastically sharing her love of plants, gardens of all kinds, and the people who tend them.

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