In the Harmattan season there is much dust in the air, plants gets covered with dust in the yard and indoors. I t doesn’t take long for dust to accumulate on every surface. A layer of dust on the leaves of your house plant will block sunlight and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis is how the plant feeds itself, without it, you will have a stressed plant.
A clean plant that’s photosynthesizing at optimal level will be a healthier plant and healthy plants don’t get diseases and pest infestations as readily as stressed plants. The best way to tell if a plant needs cleaning is to rub your fingers on the leaves.
If you can feel or see dust , more dust than you can blow off the leaves, it’s time to clean. You probably are thinking you have enough to clean in your home without worrying about cleaning your plant, plants grow in soil so why do you need to bother keeping it off their leaves? Now you know the reason that it will block sunlight and reduce its ability to photosynthesize and feed itself.
So periodically cleaning the leaves of your house plant actually makes less work in the long run for you and it will make your home look better.
How to clean your houseplants: spray the whole plant
The easiest method for cleaning house plants is to move them to the kitchen sink or shower and hose them off. Test the water that it is lukewarm. Both hot and cold water can injure the plants leaves. If the plants are really grimy, you can spray them with a dilute soapy water mixture and then hose them off. Use one-quarter teaspoon dish soap per 1 quart of water.
Small plants that can’t handle the force of a spray can be cleaned by holding the base of the plant at soil level, inverting it into a bucket of water and swishing the leaves about. Watering the soil beforehand will help prevent the soil from falling out when the pot is inverted. You can also wrap plastic around the base of the plant, to contain the soil while cleaning. Again be sure to use lukewarm water. Let the plant drip dry before moving them back.
Wipe individual leaves
For plant that are too large to move, simply wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth. After the initial cleaning, you can help keep dust from building up on the leaves by raising a soft duster on them whenever you dust your house.
Brush off the dust
Some plants have sticky or fuzzy leaves that just don’t lend themselves to easy cleaning. And in the case of plants like African violets, that don’t like getting their leaves wet, neither spraying nor wiping is the answer. For fuzzy leaved plants, use a soft brush, like a mushroom brush to gently coax the dust from the leaves.
Trim and clean-up leaves
While you’re cleaning your plants, you can further tidy them up by getting rid of dead, brown or yellowing leaves. If the leaf fall loosely easily, you can remove it by hand, otherwise use scissors, never pull resistant leaves off a plant. You can also prune away browned leaf tips, from plants that were left too dry. Carefully cut away just the dry, brown portions. Your plant will look more natural if you follow the natural contour of the leaves when cutting.
Clean the plant’s pot
Since you put all this effort into cleaning your plants, you might as well make sure the pots are in shape too. If salt or minerals have formed a white layer on the outside or rim of your flowerpot, you should remove the plant and thoroughly clean the pot. Wash the pot with a dilute bleach solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. Scrub the entire salt residue with a stiff brush and rinse the pot well before repotting your plant.
Prevent future build-up on pots by periodically flushing the soil in the pot. At first it might sound like a lot of work to keep your house plant clean, but you’ll find that an occasional cleaning is not really that much effort and it will keep your houseplants looking good and growing better.