Magazine article Sunset

A Leaf Shine for Indoor Plants

Magazine article Sunset

A Leaf Shine for Indoor Plants

Article excerpt

A leaf shine for indoor plants As the weather warms up, take your house plants outside for spring cleaning; they'll look better and be healthier. Dust on leaves reduces the amount of light available to a plant, and increases the chance that some pests, such as spider mites, will appear.

Plants with large, smooth-surfaced leaves (such as rubber plants and philodendrons) can be gently wiped clean with a soft, damp cloth or sponge. But few of us have the patience--or time--to wipe each leaf of a Ficus benjamina or similar plant with dozens of small, smooth leaves. How should you clean them, and with what?

Also, what products make any smooth leaf shine like the lower one shown in the photograph? A new study by Pamela Elam-Wenzel, cooperative extension horticulturist for Fresno County, California, helps answer these questions.

Of seven products tested,

which ones worked best?

For her study, Elam-Wenzel applied seven products to leaves of a rubber plant (Ficus elastica), then judged them for appearance and shine.

Three products came from nurseries: summer oil (1/8 teaspoon oil diluted in 1 cup water), and two spray-on leaf polishes. …

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