Dusty leaves

Dusty leaves

Dusty leaves can look unsightly, but they can also potentially cause problems for your plants

WHY IS DUST A PROBLEM FOR MY PLANT?

Just like how dust accumulates around your home, it can also settle on your plants. If left alone for some time, it can coat the leaves entirely. While it most likely won’t lead to the death of your plant, dirt and dust can actually prevent transpiration (the process by which plants release water from their leaves), as it clogs the leaf’s pores and blocks moisture release. This could impact your houseplant’s health, as well as making them look less appealing. Additionally, dusty leaves can encourage certain types of pest infestations, and can also inhibit your plant’s ability to absorb light, which it needs in order to photosynthesize.

So, just as you clean your home, you should also clean your plants. How often you need to do this really varies for each person - some homes are simply dustier than others, and it can even vary from room to room. Keeping an eye on your plants and checking on their wellbeing even between waterings is a good practice to maintain good plant health, and will help you to identify problems before they progress. However, as a general rule, it’s a good idea to give your plants a quick clean at the same time as you clean the rest of your home.

Cleaning plant

WHAT TO DO NOW

As soon as you notice dust accumulation on your houseplant, you can take action to clean it. If the buildup is extensive, you could place your plant in the shower or sink and wash any debris off the leaves. Check to make sure that the water pressure isn’t too harsh - you don’t want to risk damaging your plant in the process, or making it excessively wet. Once you’re done, let it drain for a while to ensure that your plant gets the chance to dry a bit and won’t be sitting in water once you’ve put it back where it belongs. If water still begins to accumulate in the dish under your pot afterwards, be sure to empty it out.

If the plant is too large/heavy to move in this way, you can take a damp cloth or dust wiper to gently clean the leaves individually. Make sure not to be too forceful while cleaning - some plants can be more sensitive to being handled than others, and you don’t want to stress them out!

Some plants have furry/fuzzy leaves that can be difficult to wipe clean. In these cases, you can lightly brush them using an extra soft brush. For example, a natural mushroom brush (the kind that is designed to clean mushrooms without damaging them) is a very gentle option, so will minimize the risk of scratching or tearing the leaves when brushing them.

HOW TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN

Planta will tell you when it’s a good idea to clean your plant. Not all plants require this, so if you never receive a reminder for this, then don’t worry - it’s just because it’s not needed for that particular plant.

Additionally, regularly misting your plant can help to prevent dust buildup, so be sure to follow Planta’s misting schedule (again, not all plants require misting - you can check this under the plant’s ‘Info’ tab).

Try to get into the habit of checking on your plant when you’re cleaning the rest of your home, and, if the leaves appear to be dusty, then just give them a quick wipe.