MONDAY 10.09.17 MYTH: You should use leaf-shining products
We do not recommend using leaf-shining products on your houseplants. PERIOD.
Image via Jeannie Phan
Sadly though, you can still see many commercial plant shine products on the market, or retailers who use it to beautify their plants today. So why are leaf-shining products bad news? Because they can potentially suffocate a plant by clogging its pores. Think of a leaf’s surface like your skin – you can get blemishes when you have too much residue on the surface blocking your pores. For plants, congested pores are even worse. They may even be life-threating because the plants can not properly breath and photosynthesize!
In addition, the high shine looks very artificial. It makes your living plant look almost plastic and fake. And the glossy look actually draws clouds of dust and requires more maintenance afterward. We always say that a happy plant should have healthy leaves that are free of dust and calcium residue. Learn a few easy and gentle methods to achieve that natural, shiny-leaf look that you love below:
This is an oldie, but a goodie. Wet your cloth (or sponge) and wring out any excess water. Support each leaf with one hand, and wipe down away from the stem very carefully with the other. Make sure you get to the undersides too, which is where pests usually like to hide! For delicate or very small leaves, try using a soft brush.
Soap + water
Another foolproof method is to try a mixture of liquid dish detergent and water. There are two ways to do this: you can either dip a soft cloth in the concoction and wipe the leaves carefully, or lather your hands with soap/water and gently apply it to the plant. Either way, be sure to clean both the top and bottom of the leaves, because it will also help to remove pests like spider mites. Thoroughly rinse the plant and you are good to go.
Vinegar and water
Mixing vinegar with water is especially effective at getting rid of residue buildup on leaves. However, do not overdo it! This one is not meant to be part of your routine plant maintenance, but instead only when needed. Start by mixing one teaspoon of the vinegar with about a gallon of water. Then dip the cloth in your concoction – and apply to gently to your plants. An added bonus, the vinegar scent is great at repelling pests or your naughty pets!
Use a dusting feather to gently sweep through your plants’ leaves. Obviously, this one will only work on larger, leafy plants. For example, a Monstera deliciosa, ZZ plant, or Bird of Paradise. Make sure you get the undersides as well. FYI, we do not recommend this method with a fern, since you may disrupt its spores. Try using a soft makeup brush or paint brush for smaller, more delicate plants.
Keep in mind that it is imperative that you treat plants as carefully as possible when implementing any of the methods above. Steer clear of leaf-shine products, which will clog leaf pores. Keeping your plant’s leaves shiny and clean the natural way will also help to keep pests at bay. You can use this maintenance time to inspect the plant for damage, disease, or any early signs of an unhappy plant. Natural means may not leave the glossy appearance leaf shines do, but we do what’s best for our plants so they can thrive.
P.S Did you think this was awesome and informative? Then you may like more of our Plant Myth Monday Series!