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Playing Plants

By Lee Anne Stark (threegardenersFebruary 17, 2008
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Every so often, usually on a cold and snowy, or dreary rainy day, I take a little time and "play plants". It is a great way to pass time on an otherwise unpleasant day and your house plants will love you for it.

Gardening picture

So, you're stuck in the house on a nasty, rainy day and Hubby has a full schedule of Football planned on the television. Yuck. You could scrub the floors, or polish the silver. Maybe wash the walls? I didn't think so. What I'm going to do, is take you on a virtual stroll with me on one of my playing plants days.

First thing we need to do is gather a few "tools". You will need a pair of sharp scissors, a handfull of cotton balls, a little pail (like ice cream sometimes is sold in) or whatever you use in the kitchen for mulch. Also, a bowl of warm water and an old toothbrush. Suitably armed, we will now start at one end of the house and work our way around, covering every corner and shelf and window.

Since I have so many plants, it's easier for me, and I can be more thorough, to work my way room byImage room. Starting in the living room. The first plant I happen across is a Hoya Carnosa. This is where the cotton balls and bowl of water come into play. Dip your cotton ball into the water and proceed to clean all of the leaves. Don't look at me like that!! Its the best thing that can happen to them. This removes any dust or, if there's a smoker in the house, nicotine, effectively allowing your plant to breathe again. You'll need to change cotton balls often, which is where the little pail comes in handy. I have one old Hoya, it takes me a good 45 minutes to clean its leaves. This is a yucky day remember, and nothing else to do except watch football with Hubby or mop the floors. Since I can't cover every single house plant I own, this is going to a condensed kind of tour. Any plant with relatively hard leaves get the cotton ball/warm water treatment. Hoya, Orchids, Christmas cactus and its relatives, etc.

ImageThe next plant we come to is a Philodendron "silver". In my house, no matter what I do, it has a few yellow leaves. Grab your scissors and snip off anything unhealthy looking. Oh, did I mention we will need to utilize the shower? For some plants, such as this one, I take them to the bathroom and give them a nice luke warm shower. They love it. Also removes dust, etc. Especially cat hair. You might want to stuff a cloth in the drain, or a plug if your cats haven't lost it, to keep from blocking up the drain with assorted plant debris. Hubby will not appreciate having to leave the comfort of his favourite chair to tackle the plunger. After its shower, hang it on the curtain rod to drip, and go find another. Plants that I shower regularly are Philodendrons, Spider plants, Aeschynanthus, Orchids again( just because they like it), Ferns, Ivies, Syngoniums, Begonias, etc.

I'll bet you are wondering about the toothbrush? Believe it or not, the best way I have found to remove cat hair from any of the Cactus is with a wet toothbrush. Yup, just wet the brush and comb the spines clean. Works like a charm.

As you handle each plant, check its soil condition, look for possible bug infestations, remove anyImage unhealthy foliage or any dead leaves that have fallen into the pot. Look for signs of over/under fertilization. See that they sre not showing signs of too much/little light. Play with them!! Get to know them.They will appreciate it and you will get a sense of having accomplished something. It is a fantastic way to spend a rainy, or snowy day.

Many thanks to plantladylin for her wonderful photos.


  About Lee Anne Stark  
Lee Anne StarkI am an avid gardener who shares my gardens with 2 other equally avid gardeners. I garden for fun and relaxation, never paying attention to the rules!! During the long, cold winter months I occupy my time playing with over a hundred house plants, my six cats and two dogs.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Great idea! Great article! grampapa 7 33 Mar 21, 2013 5:51 PM
I LOVE the cat hair part... 2manyplants 0 12 Feb 18, 2008 4:35 PM
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