Plant Society (Hardie Grant, 2018) by Jason Chongue is an essential guide to bringing plants into your home, using them to decorate, and most importantly, keeping them alive. Chongue covers everything you need to know to be sure that you best incorporate plants into your home and lifestyle. The following excerpt is his guide to cleaning your plants.
Just like any surface in your home, houseplants collect dust, which over time blocks a leaf’s pores and suffocates the plant. In their native habitat, plants are naturally cleaned by rain and wind, but since these forces are absent in our homes, indoor plants need a regular clean to keep them healthy. This maintenance is extremely important.
When you notice dust on the foliage of your plants, clean the leaves with a damp cloth or shower your plants in the bathroom to remove the dust and toxins sitting on the foliage. Yes, this literally means putting your plants in the shower and turning it on. This will allow your plants to breathe freely again.
While cleaning the foliage, also loosen the soil with a trowel or skewer. This will aerate the soil and reinvigorate the roots. It is also important to flush the soil with water every few months. Place the plant outside or in a sink and drench the soil so that water runs freely from the drainage holes. This aids in removing toxins in the soil and cleanses the root system.
On occasion, your houseplants will benefit from a visit to the outside world. Consider it a holiday for your plant friends. Sit them out on a balcony or in front of your home, but always check the weather first – it’s important to acclimatize your plants and ensure they are protected from dramatic temperature changes, high winds and harsh sun. Remember, your plants normally live in a sheltered environment and are therefore more susceptible to being shocked by external conditions and get sun or wind burn.
With regular maintenance and optimum growing conditions, your indoor plants will stay healthy and flourish.