‘Can suffocate the plant’: Houseplant expert explains why you should ‘clean’ your plants

House plants: Expert gives advice on cleaning plants

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Houseplants often add colour and a touch of intrigue to our homes. However, just like other furnishings and decor, they can become dusty and dirty. Plants with large leaves like peace lilies and monsteras are especially prone to dust and dirt.

While cleaning your houseplants may not sound like a priority, it can actually be damaging to the plant.

Alice Vincent, a plant expert and journalist, has explained in a video for Patch plants why it’s worth cleaning your plants from “time to time”.

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

Alice said: “It’s worth cleaning your plant from time to time.

“Not only will this keep it healthier but it also encourages you to check in with your plant gang to spot any signs of illness or unhappiness.

“Dust on your plant’s leaves prevents sunlight from reaching them which will affect their growth and it can also block the pores on leaves which suffocates the plant.

“I’d recommend cleaning the plant every month or so using a damp cloth.”

Plants that don’t have smooth leaves need to be tackled in a different way.

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Those with fuzzy leaves can be done with a soft brush.

A paint brush or an old makeup brush are the best way to clean them.

Alice said now is a good time to examine your plants too.

Alice said: “While you’re doing this, take the opportunity to examine your plant for any signs of stress or disease.

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“If there are dead, brown or yellowing leaves, you can gently remove them and trim brown leaf tips, making sure not to cut into the healthy part of the plant.”

If you have a large or complex houseplant that could take a while to clean, you can try and clean them in the shower.

Some examples of larger or tricky plants to clean include the Boston fern or a bigger one such as the Kentia palm.

When you pop your plant in the shower, ensure you use tepid water and don’t hold the shower head too close to the plant.

Alice said: “Use tepid water to clean the leaves making sure not to hold the shower head too close to the plant.

“The force of the water could upset it.”

Some people clean their houseplants by supporting them and their soil with their fingers and turning them upside down.

When they’re upside down, you can swish their leaves with tepid water.

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