Showering with your Plants: It’s a good thing

A great way to keep your house plants healthy

Outdoor Shower
Showering with your Plants: It’s a good thing
Kerr Street Cafe
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About the Author

Sean James

Sean James

Sean James is a horticultural instructor at Mohawk College and President of Fern Ridge Landscaping. He is a graduate of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. He is Chair of Landscape Ontario's Environmental Stewardship Committee and Co-founder of the Halton-Peel BioDiversity Network. He sits on the Perennial Plant Association's Environmental Committee.

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Showering with your plants down in the bottom of the stall or tub may seem like an odd thing to do but, in the middle of winter, it serves several purposes.

By February, many of your house plants may have collected a lot of dust. Showering with them will wash that away, helping them breathe and looking their best. It also serves to reduce pest populations to levels that the plant can tolerate (two-spotted spider mite being a great example). Another challenge that house plants suffer is a build-up of salts in the soil. Giving them a good soaking will help leach those salts away.

On the topic of soils and watering, it’s interesting that more plants die from overwatering than under-watering. Try and ensure that soils dry out between waterings and avoid putting your plants on a regular watering schedule. The only way to tell if a plant needs water is to stick your finger in the dirt and see if it’s cool and moist or warm and dry. If it’s moist, leave it for a day or two and check again.

House plants use water at different rates depending on the species, exposure and the size of the pot in relation to the root system.

Now is a good time of year to check and see if plants need repotting into a larger container. With most plants if the root system is compacted and circling the pot, they need to be given a new, larger vessel to live in. When re-potting, strip away dead and diseased roots and add new, fresh potting mix.

Now is also an excellent time to clean up dead leaves and branches, making room for new growth, reducing disease and insect infestations and improving the overall aesthetics of the plant. Make sure you rotate them on a regular basis to help them grow evenly, getting full exposure to sunlight.

Your plants will love you for this extra care and intimacy. In exchange for your love, they’ll clean the air in your house of carcinogens (up to 80% in the first day).

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