The bird of paradise is a gorgeous tropical plant known for their giant leaves and unique flowers. Since they have large leaves, they get dirty quickly, and therefore regular cleaning is important to help the plant photosynthesize better. But how do you clean the leaves of your bird of paradise?
The bird of paradise plant has larger and fewer leaves, so the best way to clean the plant leaves is by wiping them with a wet cloth. Some other cleaning methods include showering the plant, misting leaves, cleaning leaves with a brush, and dunking the plant in water.
This article will provide detailed information regarding the various ways of cleaning a bird of paradise plant.
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Why cleaning the bird of paradise plant is important?
The bird of paradise plants is popular for their large, waxy, oval-shaped leaves.
They are amazing houseplants, but the only problem with these plants is that their leaves get dirty quickly.
If you don’t keep the leaves clean, they will catch dust, dirt, and germs, due to which the stomata pores will get clogged.
The dirt, dust, and mud will block the sunlight, so the plant will not photosynthesize at the optimum level.
It will slow down your bird of paradise’s growth and put it under stress, causing serious illness and other problems.
Also, the dirt will attract various pests and diseases to the plant.
So, cleaning the plant is very important to avoid all these problems.
It is important to keep the leaves clean and dirt free so that they can perform the following processes properly.
- Photosynthesis process: It is the process by which plant uses sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to prepare food and energy.
- Transpiration process: It is the process by which a plant releases water vapor through the stomata pores present in the leaves.
- Gas exchange process: It is the process by which plants exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide through leaf stomata.
Therefore, if you do not keep the leaves clean, they will not be able to perform these important functions, due to which your plant will become weak and will slow down its growth.
I had to go out of town a few months back for office work.
And I left my bird of paradise plant on my patio and told my husband to take care of it and clean it regularly.
When I returned, I noticed that my plant leaves were covered with a thick layer of dust.
I asked my husband about it, and he said that he didn’t notice the plant as it was on the balcony.
I felt so bad for my plant; it looked limp and weak, so I cleaned it and helped it recover without wasting time.
I used some methods to clean my plant, which I will share in this article. So, let’s start reading.
Signs of a dirty bird of paradise plant
If your bird of paradise plant is dirty, you will notice the following signs:
- The leaves might get covered with a thick layer of dust and dirt.
- The plant’s soil will get covered with dead leaves, flowers, and dirt particles.
- You may notice various pests like aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, etc., feeding on the leaves and other parts of the plant.
- The plant will appear limp, weak, wilted, and dull.
Materials needed to clean a bird of paradise plant
You will need the following materials to clean a bird of paradise plant.
- A spray bottle
- Stiff brush
- Sprayer nozzle
- Soft damp cloth
- Household bleach
- Dish detergent or soapy water
A step-by-step guide to cleaning a bird of paradise plant
There are various methods to clean a bird of paradise plant, such as:
- Washing the plant with a shower
- Misting the leaves with a spray bottle
- Dunking the plant in water
- Wiping the leaves with a damp cloth
- Cleaning the plant with a soft brush
- Spraying the plant with soap solution
Let us now understand each of the following cleaning methods in detail.
1. Wash your bird of paradise plant with a shower.
If your bird of paradise plant is too large to dunk in a bucket or sink of water, you can shower the plant instead.
Shower your plant in the bathtub by spraying lukewarm water on the leaves.
Ensure the spray is not forceful; otherwise, the leaves will get damaged.
After showering the plant, allow it to air dry before moving it to its original place.
You can dry the leaves using a paper towel or soft cloth if they are still wet.
Since I have a large bird of paradise plant, I shower it once every month to keep it dirt free.
2. Mist the leaves with a spray bottle.
Misting the leaves is a great way to clean and raise humidity for tropical houseplants like a bird of paradise.
You will need a spray bottle and clean distilled water to mist the leaves.
Fill the spray bottle with water and spray on the leaves of your bird of paradise plant.
You can add neem oil to the water, as it will help keep the pests away.
I mist my bird of paradise plant every 2 to 3 days to keep it humid and dirt free.
3. Dunk your plant in water.
If your bird of paradise plant is small, you can clean it by dipping it into a bucket of water.
You will need a bucket, water, and a plastic sheet for this cleaning method.
You can also dunk the plant in your sink with water if you don’t want to use a bucket.
This method of cleaning the leaves is a little tricky, and you will need to be very careful.
- First, fill the sink or bucket with lukewarm water.
- Water the soil to prevent it from sliding from the pot when you will invert the plant upside down.
- Wrap the plant base nicely with a plastic cover to prevent the soil from falling out.
- Now, invert the pot carefully by holding the pot with one hand and the plant’s base with the other.
- Dunk the plant into the water and wash them.
- After this, flip the plant and allow it to dry before moving it to its original place.
- If there is a lot of water on the leaves, use a paper towel to blot the excess water from them. Drying the leaves will prevent the formation of water spots on them.
4. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.
Wiping is the best way to clean plants with larger and fewer leaves.
Since the bird of paradise is one such plant, you can use this method to clean it.
It is my favorite method of cleaning my bird of paradise plant, and I use it whenever it gets dirty.
You will only need a soft damp cloth and water to clean your plant by this method.
I suggest you use a microfiber or washcloth.
You can use other clothes too but ensure it is soft enough not to harm the leaves.
Take a bowl of water and dampen the cloth.
Then, lightly hold the leaves from the underside and start wiping them.
Be very careful while wiping the leaves to prevent any damage.
When you finish cleaning, take a dry cloth and wipe the leaves again to remove the excess water.
5. Clean your plant with a feather duster.
It is impossible to clean the bird of paradise leaves regularly with water as water takes longer to dry.
Also, cleaning the plant regularly with water can cause white spots in the leaves and attract various pests and diseases.
So, whenever you find dust accumulation on the leaves, you can use a feather duster to clean it off.
Start cleaning the leaves by gently brushing the foliage to remove as much dirt as possible.
Make sure not to be rough on the leaves, as you might end up snapping the leaves from the stem.
After dusting the leaves, make sure to go outside and shake the duster or soft brush vigorously to clean the dust from it.
This method will not remove all the dust and dirt from the leaves but will prevent excess dust build-up next time.
I use a natural lambswool houseplant duster for dusting my houseplants.
You can check it too.
6. Spray your plant with a soap solution.
If your bird of paradise plant is considerably dirty, you will need a more effective method for cleaning your plant.
You must prepare a soap solution to remove the dirt from the leaves.
Create a soap solution by adding 1/4 teaspoon of liquid soap per quart of water and filling it in a spray bottle.
Mix it well and spray it over your plant.
After that, rinse your plant thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove the excess soap residue from the leaves.
Allow the plant to air dry and keep it in sunlight for a few hours before moving it to its original place.
Precautions to take while cleaning your bird of paradise plant
Whatever method you choose to clean the leaves of your bird of paradise plant, you must keep a few things in mind.
- Check the underside of leaves, stems, and stalk whenever you clean the leaves. Pay attention to these plant parts, as dust can accumulate there too. The dust will not get collected the same way as on the leaf’s upper side, but it can still get collected.
- If you want a cleaning method that requires water, use lukewarm or tepid water. Don’t use cold or hot water, as cold water will form water spots on leaf surfaces, and hot water will shock the root system and damage the plant. Only use room temperature or lukewarm water for cleaning your bird of paradise plant.
- Avoid using tap water for cleaning the plant. The tap water contains lots of minerals that can develop spots on the leaves. So, use clean distilled water or rainwater for cleaning your plant.
- Never use coconut milk, wax, and mayonnaise to clean your bird of paradise plant, as it can clog the leaf stomata.
Cleaning tips for different types of bird of paradise plants
Below I have mentioned some cleaning tips which you can follow for your bird of paradise plant.
- Inspect the plant regularly for any dust accumulation on its leaves.
- Clean the leaves of your bird of paradise whenever you find dust accumulation on them.
- Use room temperature or lukewarm water for cleaning your plant.
- Allow the plant to air dry after you clean it with water.
- Keep your bird of paradise plant away from a windy area or dirt road.
- Be gentle while wiping or cleaning the leaves, as it will stress and damage your plant.
How often to clean your bird of paradise plant?
There is no fixed time for cleaning the bird of paradise leaves.
You can clean the leaves whenever you find them dusty and dirty.
If you live in a windy place near a dirt road, your plant will get dirty quickly.
Also, if there’s ongoing construction near your house, you must clean your plant more often as they will get dirty faster.
You can touch your plant’s leaves to determine whether it needs cleaning.
If the dust sticks to your fingers, you can clean your plant.
How to remove the water spots from my bird of paradise plant?
Using tap water to clean your plant is very harmful as it leaves mineral salts like magnesium and calcium after evaporating from the leaf surfaces.
As a result, the leaves will get tell-tale spots that are difficult to remove.
In that case, you must remove these marks by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth.
If the marks are still not going after wiping the leaves, you must prepare a vinegar water solution to remove the hard water spots.
Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 quart of water and dab this mix on the spots.
Wait 1-2 minutes, then wipe the leaves with distilled water.
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Cleaning is essential for maintaining a plant’s healthy growth. Cleaning the leaves will help the plant to exchange gases, transpire and absorb sunlight at an optimum level.
Hence, you will need to clean your bird of paradise plant regularly. Make sure to follow the correct cleaning method and precautions. Avoid using any wrong product on your plant.
While cleaning, be gentle on your plant. Never rush to do things; otherwise, you will damage your plant.
Can I use commercial plant cleaners for my bird of paradise plant?
No, I don’t recommend using commercial cleaners to clean your bird of paradise plant. Commercial cleaners have harmful chemicals that can clog the leaf stomata, preventing gas exchange, transpiration, and photosynthesis in your plants.
Is leaf shine good for a bird of paradise plants?
The leaf shine is a commercial product used to get a shiny, glossy finish in plants. I don’t recommend using this product on your plant as it contains waxes that can clog the stomata.