Bleach is one of the most trusted disinfectants for house cleaning the world has known. When it comes to plants, bleach is just as indispensable. From disinfectant to pesticide, bleach with proper usage keeps house plants healthy.
Bleach has been used as a disinfectant and laundry whitener since 1913 with primarily commercial customers. During the penicillin shortage of WWI, bleach was used to disinfect wounds. This brought bleach to the attention of the individual. Since then, bleach has been rediscovered. From pots to tools and more, bleach and house plants have teamed up to keep both plants and people healthy.
Using a weak, 1 tsp. of bleach to a quart of water solution, bleach makes an excellent leaf cleaner. A gentle swipe with a sponge dampened in the solution effectively removes dust and small pests without harming the house plant.
Stronger solutions, as much as 50-50, can be dabbed with a cotton swab directly on insects or larvae to kill the pests. A quick shower or spray from the sink hose rinses off the dead bugs and removes any residue from the bleach.
A 10 percent solution can be used to treat mold growth on the top of soil. Hold the plant sideways to rinse it off after allowing the solution to set for 5 to 10 minutes. If the solution penetrates the soil, rinse by showering the plant for 15 to 20 minutes.
When separating plants, a 10 percent bleach solution can be used to dip the root systems. This kills any fungus that may be present. Rinsing for a few minutes after dipping keeps the bleach from harming the plant.
Pots should be scrubbed clean before use with a 10 percent bleach solution. Again, rinse thoroughly.
- Better Homes & Gardens: Containers for Houseplants
- University of Arkansas: Mold
- Clorox: Fun Facts About Bleach
- Gov. of Alberta: House Plants Diseases
- Ortho Book of Houseplants; Ortho Group; 2004
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