Caring for houseplants usually just involves watering them regularly and occasionally adding some fertilizer. While this caters for their basic requirements your plants will also benefit from regular cleaning. I found an article by Marion Owens over at the Plan Tea website which contains detailed instructions on how to clean your houseplants.
Erma Bombeck once said, “Never go to a doctor whose houseplants have died.”
Erma’s columns were entertaining, and her wisdom went beyond words. But what she’s really asking is, “Why would you want to see a doctor who couldn’t even keep a simple office plant alive?”
I’m sure the good doctor never intended to kill the plants. They probably perished from neglect. What he didn’t realize, is that a little preventive maintenance goes a long-g-g way for humans as well as plants.
Take cleaning, for example.
You wouldn’t want to go months without taking a shower, would you?
Neither do your house plants. (Or is it houseplants?)
Why dirty houseplants lead a tough life
Plants growing outdoors are washed regularly by rain and feather dusted by the wind. But it’s up to us to clean indoor plants, especially the hard-working ones–houseplants that clean air. Dust, grease, oil, and other airborne particles settle on leaves, making them unattractive and dull-looking. Leaves that are dirty can’t absorb as much sunlight as clean ones.
This affects overall plant health because plants sustain themselves through photosynthesis, a process in which the leaves absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide to make their food. When plants are coated with residues, their stomata (stoh-MAH-tuh), the openings through which they exhale oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide, become blocked and they have a difficult time with this critical process.
Imagine trying to eat a sandwich through a strainer. . .
Peridically cleaning your houseplants improve their appearance (we all like to look our best, right?), stimulates growth, and helps to control insects and other pests. One more thing. No plant likes to be left in the corner and fogotten. They thrive when you putz around and and pay more attention to them. Try it! (To learn more about caring for houseplants, check out my articles, Houseplants That Clean the Air and Aquarium Water and Coffee Grounds: Unusual and Healthy Houseplant Foods That Are Right Under Your Nose.)