Showering house plants

CactusBoss(Zone 5a)August 14, 2013

I feel like this may be a dumb question but I've never showered house plants before. How do I go about doing this. Do I just stick it in the shower or should I place it right next to the shower. Would hot water be a problem?

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Hot water would definitely be a problem, unless you are thinking of steaming a spinach plant for dinner. (Hmm, wasn't there a Seinfeld episode where Kramer prepped his veggies in the shower?)
(Soap and shampoo are also ruled out.)
It's not a dumb question but who suggested you shower your plants and why?
It is generally a method of convenience for large house plants that have a heavy build-up of dust on their leaves.
It should be done in such a manner as not to drown the plant or splash soil all over the place (some covering of the pot surface first is recommended). You also then need a plan to transfer wet plant somewhere else to dry off, without swamping your bathroom.
The same benefits can often be achieved in other ways, so please expand on your reasons.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:01AM
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I use the shower method once a year and I use tepid water at a slow stream, just enough to clean off the dust & dirt, other times I'll lay out a old shower curtain liner and use my spray water bottle.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:35AM
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My larger plants get a good shower once or twice a year. (I do avoid doing it in the colder months.) It gives them a nice dusting/cleaning and a good soaking.

I place the plant in the tub. I run the water until it's just tepid and then spray the plant. I, generally, come back after 15-20 minutes and do it again. I time it so that the plant can stay in the tub overnight so that it can dry off. Still, I have an old towel handy to wipe off the bottom of the pot. I do the same for my smaller plants in the kitchen sink.

I've been doing this for years and my plants always look great afterward. They love it!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If taking a plant outside to be rained on (without getting sunburn, drowned by a really hard deluge, or blown around and tattered,) is an option for cleaning dusty leaves, I would encourage that instead, assuming there's a drain hole in the bottom of the pot. If not, please do not use hot water, or even water that feels warm to you. It should be cool, like rain, and never necessary unless leaves are very dusty, or there is a spider mite infestation. Wet leaves can allow fungus and bacteria spores to 'come to life.' Plants that are always inside and aren't used to being wet, weak from lack of building up resistance to wind, might not be up to the task of dealing with the added weight.

If a plant is small, or you just have the time and patience for a big 'un with a lot of leaves, a cotton ball damp (not dripping) with diluted rubbing alcohol (for smooth leaves only please,) might be a safer, easier way to clean leaves (as well as remove any spider mites that might be present, usually on the bottom of leaves, not the top.)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:11AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

I wanna shower to increase the humidity a bit. Along with a pebble tray, grouping plants, and misting.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Humidity and wet are 2 vastly different things. Being in the bathroom while you're taking a shower would be a 'humidity treatment.' A shower, is just a shower.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 12:35PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

I was maybe thinking more along the lines of putting it in the tub(with the drain unplugged) and putting the hot water on full blast so the mist travels to the plant but the hot water does not.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Alison...Yep, Kramer washed veggies while showering. lol.
Remember, the woman Elaine worked w/was a germaphobe?

Cactus Boss. The best way to prevent soil from going down the drain is placing a fine, net plug in the drain. I also place a couple paper towel sheets over the netting.
The paper towel stops larger mediums, 'bark/pebbles' from running down the drain.

There are two ways to shower plants.

1. While in the shower or standing beside it, allow water to run over foliage w/o wetting soil. Some water will hit dirt, but your plants will not be harmed.

2. Set plant/s inside tub. Do not use hot water; adjust to warm.
I usually place more than one plant in tub, 'small-med sizes,' then rotate shower head over each plant.
Afterwards, I close the shower curtain and the bathroom door, so plants get a good shot of humidity.

You'll notice a difference..plants perk up. Plus, water washes off dust particles that accumulate on leaves.

I used to shower plants every other week, but our bathroom is upstairs, so can't do it anymore.
However, I still shower palms, coffee, and other humidity-loving tropicals.

During winter, on sunny mornings, I soak plants in the kitchen sink, using a hose attachment.
Showering is done less in winter, and the only plants that are showered are those that continue growing.
Succulents are not showered in autumn or winter.

Sorry Alison, but I disagree about using soap. A couple drops of dish soap not only clean foliage, but imo, keep insects at bay.

Have fun, Toni

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Toni, I do remember that, u know I love that show!

I'm glad you jumped in here. I'm generally against showering plants if they're only inside for winter especially, but don't think CB said which. Anyway, no doubt enough has been said from me about my opinion. If one wants to do it, getting advice from someone with as much experience doing it (and great plants) as you is no doubt best.

I don't take all of the advice I'm given, discard what is certainly perfectly good advice sometimes, and who knows how often I'm operating under false assumptions I really should ask about but don't think necessary? Certainly not offended when it's the other way 'round. I'm not in anyone's shoes but mine, and find it inspirational when things I think are not for me/my plants work great for others. So, more power to the shower for those so inclined, and hope your plants love it!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:31PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

I just decided to move the parlor palm to the bathroom(with windows) instead of having to move it all the time. I hope high humidity from around 7:00 to 11:30 is enough.

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 14:54

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:49PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

Is this enough light for these two?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:38PM
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Purple, between you and me, we could act out every episode made.
After reading Alison's comment, I thought of YOU. So, yes, I know you love Seinfeld.

Purple, hope you know I respect your opinions. Sometimes we disagree, but if everyone thought alike it'd be one, boring world. Same clothing, shows, music, books, same, 'one' plant.

I appreicate your kind words, Purp, but you know way more than I do about plants. You experiment, create and make up your own medium.

I learned about misting via plant books, the showering idea was something I did on my own...started many years ago.

Purp, no matter which season, whenever 'tropicals' were showered in sink or tub, none were lost. In fact, they honest to God, perked up.

Showering/misting cactus and succulents during autumn-winter is a no-no, as I mentioned in the above post.

We do what works for us, right?

I agree..I learned not to take advice on a certain forum, 'not house plants,' the hard way. If I had left plants as they were before 'taking advice,' those plants might be alive today.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

High-5, Toni! Thanks for the compliments. Yep, we're doing what we can with what we got (and think we know.)

CB, that looks fine. Lovely, in fact. What a great wall too. Ooh I like your bathroom more than mine.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:08PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

purpleinopp, I have more light than most bathrooms, and I'm pretty sure the plants will love it! Plus I'm a huge Seinfeld fan as well. There should be some sort of Seinfeld themed thread of some kind.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

...stick around, Seinfeld comes up a lot! Did you choose the color for that wall? (Just say yes.) Looks like there's tons of room for hanging baskets in there.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:43AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

purpleinopp, it's not my house lol cause I'm 17.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:53AM
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That is a beautiful place for those plants! I love the look and colors..Look at all that bright light.

By the way, I shower my plants in the winter, in the bathtub, to not only to remove dust but to prevent mites too.
But I will also spray the mix heavily rinsing any supposed salt residue from fertilizers, sort of a flushing out half way through winter for those of my plants that never get to go outside, mostly palms, pothos, cane plants, peace liliy's,ect......

Then outside all the time with my hose.....I must say that my plants are very shiny and clean since we barely get rain here.


This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 13:14

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:08PM
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CB...didn't see your photo.

Yep, between both windows, your palm and Agleo will get adequate lighting.
Plus, 'depending on how many showers are taken per day,' the room should stay fairly humid.
I leave the toilet lid up, 'hoping' for extra humidity. lol.

Purp, High-5 back at ya.
Yep, we do what we feel works.

Hey Mike, How ya doing? Glad you dropped by.

Yep, flushing is needed, but in my case, since plants aren't fertilized in winter, winter flushing isn't necessary.

Summer is different...Flushing is done with the hose. Outside of course. lol.

When you think about it, Mike, when a plant is thoroughly watered, and water flows through drainage holes, the plant is being flushed. Right? Agree or disagree?

Another way to prevent salt build-up is fertilizing with urea-free fertilizers. I bought a couple bottles some time ago.

Glad to see you. Heck, glad seeing everyone...Toni

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Hey Toni!!!

Yes in some ways but if one use a very heavy mix and still fertilizes during the winter, this is a very good practice...In my case, most of my plants don't need this, even if I fertilize because you know my mixes are porous like yours, but for those I was to lazy to repot before the winter, a
It is these plants in heavy peat mixes that never let go of any of the residues from my fertilizers or tap water because I only water only until a little water comes out from the bottom all winter....

By the way, it is not just the fertilizers salts that build up in my pots, but the residues from my tap water, which will ruin my clay pots if left unchecked, and for the plastic, flushing, helps a lot...

It is great to see you too. You are so kind and I wish you all the best!!! Thank you:-)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 3:09PM
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I "shower" my plants 2-3 times a year. I just noticed that the stems on several of my plants have salt-like particles on them. This article explains it all.
I just stick my plants in the sink or the shower, soak em down, leave em sit for a while until they stop dripping then put them back. It's always a good idea to switch locations unless a certain plant is thriving in it's spot.
Doing this a few times a year cleans up the plant, wipe down the planter and clean up the saucer.
Don't forget to read this article!

Here is a link that might be useful: soluble salt damage to house plants

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:42PM
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