We've pushed 'foliage cleaning' before on this blog, but the Monstera - with its large, fenestrated leaves - deserves its own post. Larger leaves naturally gather more dust, which not only effects the aesthetics of the plant but also its health. To keep them thriving, regular cleaning is required.
Good thing is it's not hard. There are a few different ways to keep your Monstera's leaves dusty-free and vibrant. The simplest way is to simply take a damp cloth and wipe down the foliage while supporting the underside with your other hand.
The following blog should answer all your monstera-leaf-cleaning-related questions, but as always if anything is still up in the air, drop a comment or shoot us an email.
The Benefits of Cleaning Your Monstera's Leaves
There are a number of key reasons as to why you should clean your Monstera's (or any!) foliage on a regular basis. The most common reason is just because it looks better. Why go to the trouble of cleaning your home but leaving the foliage looking like a cellared bottle of wine?
The second reason is plant health. As mentioned above and in an earlier blog post, keeping the foliage clean and dust free allows the plant to photosynthesize better as there is no layer making it more difficult for the light to get through. Keeping dust away also allows the plant to breathe - plants have tiny pores on their leaves called 'Stomata', and if left alone in our homes they can be blocked with dust and dirt. A dust-free monstera is a healthy monstera, and a healthy monstera will reward you with faster growth and larger foliage.
Finally, regular cleaning is an opportunity to check for any pests and diseases, and to deal with them before they get out of hand.
Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer here. Cleaning will depend on you, your home and the health of your Monstera. We suggest cleaning your plants foliage on a weekly basis...but in practice I'm more of a once-a-month kinda guy. Everyone's home is different, and the more people in it will make a difference as to how often cleaning is required. Children and pets create even more dust, as do windy areas, nearby construction sites and open fireplaces. Weekly cleaning will mean your Monstera is always happy, but don't stress too much if that seems excessive. Just add wiping down your plants foliage to part of your regular cleaning routine - however 'regular' that may be.
1. Shower: If you're looking to replicate real jungle cleaning, then shower is you're best bet. In nature, plants stay dust-free as they have the wind and rain doing all the hard work. Bringing your Monstera into the shower is an easy way to get any dirt and dust off the foliage, and give it a drink at the same time (Hot Tip: for efficiency, try getting the whole plant fam in the shower together and save yourself a tonne of work). If you do go this cleaning route, make sure the water is luke warm. Not too hot, not too cold - juuuuuust rigght. And if you're someone who likes to clean themselves while they clean their plants, make sure you keep your soaps away from the plants (or use a Neem Soap!)
2. Spray & Wipe: The classic. Spray, then wipe. It couldn't get much simpler. Unless you're using a damp cloth, in which case its just 'wipe'. Always support the back of the foliage with one hand and be extra careful around the fenestrations (holes) so they don't tear!
3. Duster: Seems obvious right? Just give the foliage a dust down as you would the rest of the house. Its not as effective as the above two methods, but a great option if you're short on time.
It should be said, that even before you pull out the elbow grease, there are a few things you can do to ensure your Monstera outshines the others.
Proper plant care will help your Monstera look great year round.
Monsteras love bright, indirect light, so make sure they're in a position that provides it. Keep slightly moist over Summer and allow the top few centimetres of potting media to dry out over winter.
Make sure they're in a quality potting mix full of large chunk orchid bark, perlite, horticultural charcoal, compost and peat (yeah yeah we're talking Aroid Mix).
And fertilise! Monstera's will benefit from a high nitrogen liquid fertiliser, applied on a regular basis while actively growing.
If after all that, you still want a little something to really give it that glow, then Neem Oil is unbeatable. An all natural, organic product that won't block your plants pores, it leaves a brilliant shine on the foliage after wiping. When using, avoid spraying if the sun is directly on the leaves, or will be in the next few hours.
The neem can be applied by spraying directly onto the foliage, but for less mess consider spraying onto a damp cloth and then wiping directly onto to leaves.