Deep cleaning your environment in the pre-summer days is a tradition for many of us. It’s debatable whether it’s an onerous task or a meditative activity, but there’s no disputing the satisfaction of doing it and seeing your area transformed. Granted that most most part of the year is summer with the scorching heatwaves notwithstanding, having and taking care of indoor plants is a much needed stressbuster.
When it comes to pre summer cleaning, our houseplants are most often forgotten. Sure, we all know to adjust our plant care regimen in the spring, but did you know that houseplants might benefit from a little elbow grease as well? Let’s look at why you should clean your plants and how you should do it.
Plants collect Dust!
Physically and chemically, plants purify the air they breathe. They filter the air because they have a static charge and function as a dust cling. That’s why some plants become so dusty—they’re actively eliminating physical dust particles from the air!
Dust particles can accumulate on your plants’ surfaces over time, clogging their stomata holes (singular “stoma”). These tiny pores are necessary for a variety of plant functions: they allow oxygen to flow through during respiration, carbon dioxide to pass through during photosynthesis, and water vapour to pass through during transpiration. When stomata become clogged with dust, these vital gas exchanges are hampered, and your plants’ health suffers as a result.
If you can, clean the leaves every season.
Wipe your houseplants’ leaves with a soft, damp cloth or a light duster to remove any debris and keep them happy and healthy. It’s acceptable if you want to use soap on your cleaning cloth; just remember to dilute the soap with water and avoid using harsh cleansers. You shouldn’t use it to wash your plants’ leaves if you wouldn’t wash your hands with it. Always avoid leaf shine products, as they might clog stomata just like dust.
Although the amount of dust on houseplants varies depending on the plant and its surroundings, washing the leaves every few weeks can help your plants. That’s a best practice—you may go longer between cleanings, for example, just cleaning them in the spring, but it’s a good idea to examine your plants’ foliage every few weeks for dust buildup, signs of pests, or anything unusual. Giving your plants some tender loving care is sure to be calming and fulfilling.
There are several methods for cleaning your plants.
You can either rapidly wipe leaves with a moist cloth or duster, or you can be more thorough. To thoroughly clean the foliage, gently support each leaf with one hand beneath it and wipe the top with the other hand, going away from the stem. Wipe off the underside of the leaf after that. Use a soft bristle to make delicate or little leaves.
If you are pressed for time and are conscious that your plants’ leaves could dry out rapidly due to the amount of light they receive, you can gently rinse them under the tap when you water them.
Even cacti can benefit from a spring cleaning.
Even prickly houseplants can be cleaned. Your cactus and dwarf varieties may be accumulating less dust. They only open their stomata at night to hold water, which really is essential in their native desert habitats, and they don’t have broad leaves on which dust particles can land. If your cactus appears to be dusty, you’ll want to remove that coating of filth so it can thrive. Use a soft paintbrush or a can of compressed air (available at most hardware stores) to paint around their spikes.
Clean out the planters for your houseplants as well.
You may detect white powdery buildup around the planter’s borders if your plant has been in the same pot for a prolonged period. Material deposits (sometimes known as calcium or lime deposits) from the tap water used to water your plant have built up. It may appear unpleasant, but it is completely harmless—you did nothing wrong by caring for your plant!
Wipe down the planter’s edges with a moist towel to clean it. If it doesn’t eliminate the buildup, you can scrub the planter with vinegar and water or bleach and water solution the next time it’s empty. If a plant is still in it, wait until the next time you repot.
Pre Summer is the best time to repot plants
It might be mineral deposits or mold if you notice a similar-looking development on top of the potting soil. Brush away the top layer of soil as gently as possible. If you’re removing a lot of soil, add some new soil on top to balance it out and cover all plant roots.
Your plants can also be repotted. A popular myth is that “repotting” your plant always means replacing its planter, but it can also mean simply changing its soil or potting mix. The new combination adds new nutrients to your plant, allowing it to thrive. Because it coincides with the start of the growing season, repotting your plants (or fertilizing them to supply those nutrients) is a terrific early summer activity.