How to Clean Your Houseplants

Keep plants clean to prevent disease.


+ enlarge image Remember to use lukewarm water.

Wash houseplants often in lukewarm water to rid them of dust and insects. Don't use cold water; it may spot leaves. Place small houseplants in a sink; wash larger houseplants in a shower. Let plants drip-dry before placing them in the sun.

+ enlarge image Be gentle when wiping the leaves.

Clean the leaves of large houseplants by wiping them with a moist cloth or damp cotton. Support the leaves with one hand to avoid bruising or cracking them. Do not use oils or polishes to make houseplant leaves shine; they can block pores, which can interfere with a plant's ability to breathe.

+ enlarge image Either brush the leaves or swish them to remove dust.

Remove dust from African violets and other fuzzy-leafed plants with a soft-bristle paintbrush. Or use a soft toothbrush, pipe cleaner, or discarded fuzzy leaf. Stroke from the base of the leaf to the tip to dislodge dust and other debris.

+ enlarge image Do not use cold water when you wash your houseplants; cold water can damage the foliage.

One simple way to clean small houseplants (especially those with fuzzy leaves) is to support them and their soil with your fingers, turn them upside down, and swish their leaves in tepid water. Let the houseplants plants drip-dry out of the sun.

+ enlarge image If you remove blossoms, morebuds are likely to appear.

Remove withered blossoms to keep your houseplants healthy and encourage further blooming. Pick up any flowers that fall on the soil to prevent mold and disease.

Remove all dead or yellowing leaves regularly from your houseplants. Pick up all fallen leaves on the soil. For ferns, reach under the green fronds and cut the brown leaf stalks at the soil line. Shorten or remove any leafless, stringlike stems, too.
Learn how to grow even more plants, including orchids, as houseplants.

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