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Fiddle leaf fig plants can be cleaned in one of three main ways: dusting, showering, or hosing. Which method you use depends on how much time you want to dedicate to it and how big your plant is.
In this article, you’ll find some tips for cleaning and shining up those beautiful fiddle leaf fig plant leaves.
You’ll also learn some seemingly odd tips for getting the best shine from them. But first, let’s talk about the importance of clean leaves.
Clean leaves aren’t just about good looks. It’s actually quite important to a plant’s overall health that leaves are kept clean, especially indoors, which is actually an unnatural environment for a plant when you think about it.
Leaves are used by the plant to assist with absorbing energy from the sun. This helps with photosynthesis. When leaves are dirty or damaged, it can prevent this process from taking place effectively.
This doesn’t mean that a normal amount of dust here and there will kill a plant. But without the benefit of natural presences like wind and rain, dirt will build up on plants. Over time, this will become a hindrance to the plant’s “breath of life”.
Dusting the leaves of a lovely fiddle fig leaf isn’t hard. But you can take it a step further than just using a dust cloth.
One of the safest ways to clean the leaves is by using water and a cloth. You could spritz the leaves with a spray bottle, and use a soft damp cloth to wipe them down.
You could also use a pre-dampened cloth without the spray.
It’s probably safest to use plain water unless you’re treating the plant for specific ailments like fiddle fig leaf diseases and pests.
Some owners like to use a mild solution of standard dish soap and warm (not hot) water. But bear in mind that some substances like soap can clog parts of the plant over time as well.
If you are uncertain about the water in your area (whether it is heavily treated or hard water), use distilled water.
You can also fill a container with water and leave it overnight. This may help to settle some of the chemical content.
Tip: Take care not to damage the plant as you handle it. Cleaning the leaves this way does carry the risk of over-handling the leaves and tearing them.
It may also be a little time-consuming as you spray and wipe each leaf. Remember you will also need to wipe the undersides of the leaves. Of course, if you don’t mind spending a little time with your plant, it’s great!
If you can move your fiddle leaf plant outside for a day, do so and apply a light setting on your garden hose.
Give the plant a good rinsing, and then leave the plant outdoors for a few hours to let it dry thoroughly. Take care not to leave it in direct sunlight that is too hot, and for too long.
This sort of simulates a good rain, which is a natural occurrence for a plant in the wild. You should also consider this part of the plant’s watering regimen, as the soil will be well soaked in the process.
Bear in mind that some fiddle leaf fig plants grow very large. If you anticipate that this will be your preferred method, but feel your plant will be too large to move, consider a wheeled platform for your plant container.
It may sound odd, but one of the best ways to get your fiddle leaf fig plant clean is to shower it. Much like a human, a plant can benefit from a good shower.
Unlike a human, the plant will not enjoy hot water. So make sure that the water is cool, or at most, at room temperature.
You will also want to make sure you leave the plant in the shower to allow it to drip for a while. Besides, it may be quite heavy, due to water in the soil.
Whereas you can move around a plant with a water hose, you will need to move the plant around in the shower to ensure all the leaves are watered. If you like, you can use a soft towel to wipe down any excess water from the leaves.
Something to note: A shower isn’t recommended if your home uses a water softener. Water softeners use salt, which can damage your plant.
Aside from dusting, hosing, or showering your fiddle fig leaf plant, there are other things that some owners use to enhance the shine on their leaves. One common recommendation is a formulated plant leaf shine.
A good plant shine leaf polish will also contribute to protection from pests like spider mites and mealybugs, and even some fungi.
It’s not really essential at all, but if you want to try it, be sure to use a reputable brand and look into its effective uses and dosages.
Neem oil is another popular supplement that owners recommend. It is an effective pest combatant as well, although it does sometimes carry a smell that lingers for a short while.
Now here’s a tip about shiny leaves that seems a little out of left field. The interesting thing about this tip is that it seems to be traced back to a reputable source – the Reader’s Digest from some years ago.
As far as anyone can tell, this seems to work. And the secret sauce – literally – is mayo.
Take note that this is not an endorsement. But yes, ordinary mayonnaise is said to give leaves like those of the fiddle fig leaf plant a glamorous shine. Apparently, it’s an old professional growers’ trick.
Another one of these industry tricks is to use a solution of milk and water. You can apply both this solution or the mayo with a cloth or paper towel.
It should create a rather impressive sheen on the leaf, which lasts for several days or even weeks.
Of course, it’s best you apply this magic trick after you’ve cleaned them in one of the ways mentioned previously. Come to think of it, who doesn’t enjoy a lotion after a shower?
One more tip for shiny leaves is mineral oil. This is a solution that’s only really recommended for really experienced growers. It only requires usage once a year.
However, it’s a complicated option because mineral oil combined with certain direct sunlight situations damage leaves irrevocably.
Here are two more tips for how to make plant leaves shiny:
First, keep the plant a good distance from climate control devices like air conditioners, radiators, and heaters. You should also keep it away from doors and windows where drafts are likely to affect it.
That’s the rundown on how to make plant leaves clean and shiny. As you can see, cleaning your fiddle fig leaves isn’t hard to do. It’s important to keep them spotless in order to ensure your plant stays healthy.
Your plant can be something special to behold – more than just fig leaves. Choose whichever method feels most appropriate for your situation and enjoy your fiddle fig leaf’s radiant shine for years to come.