Sometimes there just seems to be dust and dirt everywhere! Dusty Dracaenas, forlorn Ficus, splattered Spathiphyllum and cobwebbed Clivias. Keeping your plants clean is just as important as making sure they are properly watered. The health of the plant depends on your attention to their cleanliness.
Use Your Cleaning Tools
It’s time for a thorough cleaning, so gather up your supplies and start to tackle all those dusty, dirty plants! With proper planning and scheduling, you should be able to get them all clean during the month. If you clean 1/4 of your plants every week, you’ll be finished in no time!
Begin by making sure you and your vehicle are properly stocked with all the supplies you’ll need for cleaning the various types of plants. It’s important to always have the following supplies so you’ll be ready to clean any leaf type.
Leaf cleaner concentrate
Mitts or tube socks
Bucket or Watering can
Washing and wiping individual leaves by hand removes dust, dirt and grime. It gives the foliage a healthy, natural shine. Soap and water kills insects and mites, provided it comes into contact with the pest. This by far is the most thorough way to clean a plant! Since washing foliage by hand with sponges or cloths can be time consuming, it’s best to only wash Aglaonemas, spaths, F. lyrata, Aspidistra and other large-leafed plants in this manner.
To wash a plant leaf by leaf, spray the plant down with liquid leafshine mixture whenever possible. Rest the leaf gently in one hand and wipe the leaf with the other, squeezing out the sponge’s excess moisture and rinsings in your water bucket every few leaves.
Every nook and cranny
If you are about to attack the dirt build up on a Schefflera arboricola or F. benjamina, start by carefully laying down those towels you remembered to bring! Next, spray the plant thoroughly with a soap and shine mixture, letting it sit for a moment. Then, give it a gentle shake (not too hard or those drips will fly out of towel range) and use your duster to finish up.
To wash palms, rest the individual palm fronds in your hand and use the duster to wipe away the dirt. Place the duster along the center of the palm frond and wipe to the ends. The larger lambswool dusters work best here and you can clean a 17” Kentia in no time! Be careful when using a shine mixture on palms because it may cause burns. It’s safer to use a soap and water mixture.
Cleaning D. marginatas requires a more specialized manner. As with the others, spray the plant with a soap/shine mix. Use handi wipes to wipe the plant leaf by leaf by gently pinching each leaf near the cane and pulling ever so gently downward. You can also lay the handi wipe over the “head” and gently wipe downward, getting the undersides by doing this step in reverse. The key to both of these cleaning methods is to be gentle or you can snap the heads, or damage the leaves.
In some cases you’ll need to make a judgment call about how thorough a cleaning you will need to undertake. Some plants will need only a light dusting and others may require a more detailed cleaning. Use your best judgment and remember to keep your tropical plants clean!