Photo via http://ow.ly/UfSkv
I’m the first one to admire a unique houseplant with colorful leaves or flowers. I love to see the striking pink blossoms of a Christmas cactus, and I can never resist touching the soft leaves of a purple passion plant. But houseplants do a lot more than bring beauty into our homes. For one, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. Also, houseplants absorb airborne bacteria that reduce the quality of the air we breathe. Plus, a flourishing plant in a home or office can go a long way toward lifting a person’s mood. Considering all of the wonderful things that houseplants do for us, I believe we owe them the best possible care. Along with giving them adequate water and sunlight, houseplants need to be kept clean. Today, I thought I’d share some simple ways to clean houseplants so you can enjoy them in your home for years to come.
Reasons for Cleaning a Houseplant
In most houses, dust is everywhere. It gets kicked up when people walk around and blows in whenever the door opens. Unfortunately, a lot of dust ends up on our houseplants. When dust and dirt start to accumulate on the leaves of a houseplant, it can affect the process of transpiration. Water distributes minerals and other nutrients throughout a plant. Eventually, the water turns into vapor and escapes through the leaves. Dust and other debris on a plant’s leaves can clog its pores, making it difficult for water vapor to escape. Cleaning your houseplants preserves their health, and I think it makes them look a lot more appealing.
Gathering Supplies and Cleaning Your Plants
The supplies you need to clean your plants depend on the types of plants you own. Ivy, spider plants, ferns, and jade plants are all examples of houseplants with smooth leaves. Smooth leaves can be cleaned with a cloth made out of an old T-shirt or with a very soft sponge. Simply moisten the T-shirt or sponge with plain water and gently wipe each leaf. Alternatively, if you have an African violet, strawberry begonia, or other houseplant with rough, fuzzy leaves, it’s best to use a paintbrush to remove the dust and dirt. I have an African violet on my desk that I dust with a small paintbrush every couple of weeks. It looks so much better (and happier) when I’m finished. And to tell you the truth, it’s kind of a fun thing to do!
The smooth leaf of a Jade Plant can be cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge, photo via http://ow.ly/UfTI3
The fuzzy leaves on a Silver Leaf plant would need to be cleaned using a paintbrush, photo via http://ow.ly/UfTte
Making a Houseplant Shine
Wiping or brushing the dust off of your houseplants will make their leaves shine a little brighter But, if you want to add even more shine to your houseplants, put a tiny amount of mayonnaise onto their smooth leaves. You can smooth the mayonnaise onto the leaves with your fingertips. Be sure to use just a tiny bit of mayonnaise so you don’t clog the pores of the leaves.
Extra Tips to Extend the Life of a Houseplant
Cleaning your houseplants is an important step toward extending their lives. If you see any dead leaves or blossoms on the soil beneath your plant, remove them to prevent mold growth. Also, if you have a fern, look beneath its bottom layer of fronds. If you see any brown stems or fronds, cut them off to allow for new growth.
With a just a little extra attention, your houseplants can lead a happier life in your home!