‘Can hinder growth’: Gardening expert explains why you should clean your plants

Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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Houseplants are a low maintenance alternative to garden plants as they can withstand the changing temperatures of our humid homes. These plants can add colour and life back into homes. Although, just like other decor and furniture, they can easily get covered in dust. Houseplants with large leaves, such as the Swiss cheese plant, are especially prone to dust.

Whilst cleaning houseplants doesn’t sound like much of a necessity, it can actually be crucial to keeping them healthy.

The leaves of your houseplants can be a dust magnet and cleaning them will help your plant thrive.

Sarah Raven, gardening expert, has explained why “dust” can “hinder” a plant’s growth.

She said: “The Swiss cheese plant likes a well-lit place out of direct sunlight, and you should let the compost dry slightly between watering. 

“Wipe dust from its leaves, as dust can hinder light from being able to get through and hinder growth.”

It’s recommended that plants should be cleaned using a damp cloth every month or so.

Sarah explained the importance of using a mossy stick for some plants to help them thrive.

She said: “This plant needs a support to climb up, such as a mossy stick which is also ideal for its aerial roots to grow into. Grows fast, and will need repotting every two years.”

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A mossy stick is used to support the growth of plants, train their growth habits and provide extra micronutrients.

Ficus Lyrata are also plants that need regular cleaning as they gather a fair bit of dust.

The gardening expert said: “These plants are happiest in a sunny room with no cold drafts.”

Plants need light to survive but they also need watering.

The expert added: “Make sure the compost dries out slightly between watering, as overwatering is the most common problem with these plants.”

A plant that’s not in desperate need of cleaning is Devil’s Ivy.

Sarah explained how the plant loves light areas and doesn’t need a lot of watering.

She said: “The Devil’s Ivy loves a well-lit spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight. 

“You should water just as the compost begins to dry out, which may be once a week in the summer but far less in winter.”

Misting is a great way to avoid overwatering.

Sarah added: “Mist the leaves occasionally.

“This plant can grow up to 1.5m or more – pinch back its stems for bushiness, allow them to trail down a shelf or provide a mossy pole for them to climb up. 

“Repot them when they get cramped.”

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