Aug 5, 2010

Dust -- A Plant's Ultimate Nemesis

Dust is a dangerous thing for your houseplants, yes...really -- and for one key reason: accumulated dust on a plant's leaves can prevent the plant from getting good light. This means your plants can't properly photosynthesize, and that's no good! Photosynthesis is the process by which a plant creates its own food, and let's face it: sun is the catalyst of this process! If we could photosynthesize, do you think I'd want to be covered in a layer of dust?

Maybe you're a lot like I am when it comes to dust -- you just don't like doing it, and it gets the better of you time and again? Well then, what to do if your Croton is getting dusty? Philodendrons a bit on the grey side? Plants that have big, broad leaves (like Janet Craig Dracena or Corn Plant) will tend to trap and hold onto dust particles more than others. Here's what you can do:

A. Misting the plant beforehand will help cut through the layer of dust and make wiping it away easier on you.

B. Use a sponge or damp paper towel to lightly wipe the leaves...use caution so as not to break or damage them. If this method has little to no effect on your dust disaster, it's time to get serious!

C. Take your plant to the shower or sink and spray it down lightly with tepid (room temp) water. Pat dry with a towel to avoid water spots (if they drive you nuts!).

Hint: Your African Violet prefers not to get water on its leaves, so in case of dust or dirt particles, use a dry paintbrush or artists' brush. I suppose even a new makeup applicator would work....

So there you have it -- a few simple steps to help ward off the dust! Trust me, your plants will be happier for it!

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