Healthy Shiny Houseplant Leaves

Healthy Shiny Houseplant Leaves

Keep your houseplant leaves happy and healthy with regular cleaning. 

I keep a lot of plants on my screened porch. At last count, there were 13 plants—from floor palms to stag horns to orchids. I live near tall long-leaf pines and in spring they send their yellow pollen falling down like powdered sugar onto everything below. The pollen even works its way onto the leaves of the plants in my screen porch.

So after the pollen falls, I take my plants outdoors, line them up on the deck and give them a shower. The pollen rolls off the leaves, but sometimes I’m left with a little residue which causes water spots. So I gently wipe down each leaf. It takes a while to cover some of the multi-leafed plants (I’m looking at you, Schefflera), but in the end, everyone looks happier, healthier, and shiny.

Do you get water spots on your leaves? If you water from above (and water hits the leaves), you might. 


So what causes water spots? If you have hard water, you may see lime deposits on the leaves. See the faint round white circles on the leaf above? This white crusty residue can be removed by wiping leaf surfaces with soft cloth dipped into a solution of vinegar and water (1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 quart of distilled or rainwater).

What not to use when cleaning plant leaves:

  • Baby wipes
  • Cleaning wipes with alcohol
  • Glasses lens cleaner
  • Mayonnaise
  • Windex

Wiping leaves clean once in a while also helps them healthy—whether you see spots or not.

Learn more about watering plants indoors--and out.