Favourites of most flower growers, the senpole are the main flowering stars of our window sills. Not capricious, although they require special care, they captivate by the beauty of their velvet leaves no less than by the touching elegance of their flowers. Attractive look rosette leaves of indoor violets only if the owners do not forget about hygiene. The cleanliness of violet leaves is easy to maintain with regular hygienic procedures. But even with the most careful care, sometimes it is still necessary to bathe the senpillas. Washing the leaves of violets is not difficult and not at all destructive. True, the pubescence and features of the plant require great care and proper adaptation of the plant after such traumatic procedures.
Can violets be (and why) washed?
Like any other house plants, violets only look attractive when they are well cared for, growing in the right conditions. A full care that includes far more than just the basics - watering and feeding - is the main way to make sure that you never have to wash the leaves of your senpole. Regular cleaning of the leaves from dust is as important an aspect of the care of Uzambarian violets as their timely transplanting.
For violets belonging to pubescent houseplants, cleaning is not done by classical methods. Instead of the typical wiping of the leaves with a damp sponge or showering on violets, the dirt should be gently removed with a soft brush. This is not the quickest and most interesting process, but it's not hard either.
With regular removal of dust and other dirt from the surface of the velvety and so pleasant to the touch violet leaves, most problems with this small but rather demanding houseplant are prevented. And it's not just about the fact that the accumulation of dust interferes with normal photosynthesis and respiration. After all, contamination of the leaves is one of the main factors in the spread of pests and diseases.
There is no need for other leaf cleaning procedures for healthy and well-groomed violets. But there are quite a few factors beyond the capabilities of classical care.
Severe contamination of indoor senpillas is quite common:
- when buying dusty plants and new cultivars that have been damaged in transit;
- from careless watering or increased humidity when water droplets get on the leaves and dirt accumulates in these areas;
- if violets stand in rooms with high pollution (not only in offices but also in the kitchen and lobby etc.).
- when cat hairs accumulate on the leaves;
- as a result of the accumulation of construction dust during repairs etc.
The most common cause of dirt is the lack of regular cleaning procedures. Some florists refuse regular leaf care and let the dust accumulate in such quantity that it can be fought later only by bathing. Regular cleaning of the leaves and avoiding heavy soiling is the best option. But if for some reason you do not do this, then the violets should be bathed with a frequency of at least once every 3 months. The optimal frequency is once a month. But such frequent stress to the plants is unlikely to benefit.
If such problems occur in the development of senpolias, the list of procedures for cleaning the leaves is not only desirable, but should be expanded. Regardless of the cause, heavy accumulation of dirt and dust on the leaves of Uzambarian violets must be eliminated. And there is only one way to do this - bathing violets. This procedure for senpolias is quite different from showering and is more like the process of cleaning the soiling from luxurious fabrics, which require that they be very gently soaked. It is a very gentle, careful washing of the leaves without affecting the center of the rosette.
The ability to wash the leaves of a violet does not contradict the requirements to be careful when taking care, not to let water get on the leaves when watering, not to sprinkle and not to wipe the leaves. Bathing senpillas is a measure for heavily polluted plants that cannot be cleaned with a simple brush and is vital to maintain their health and beauty.
Fear not to wash violet leaves. The plant really is one of the most common indoor plants with thick pubescence on the leaves. Such crops are cleaned with water in exceptional cases. But violets, unlike many other velvety stars, are not afraid of bathing at all. If you do this procedure correctly and follow all the rules, washing the leaves will only benefit the senpole.
When can I wash the violet leaves?
The only factor that determines "possibility" of violet bathing is the need to clean them. Violet leaves can be washed whenever you want, regardless of their development cycle. If the plants are heavily dusted, it is acceptable to wash the leaves during the flowering period as well. The presence of flower stems will complicate the process somewhat, because keeping the flowers from the slightest drops of water without harming them is probably a task for very neat flower growers. But you can wash flowering violets also if you want to, and with care.
The only restriction to remember when choosing the time for bathing violets is the temperature of the air in the room. It is not advisable to bathe violets in winter, when there is a high risk that wet plants will suffer from drafts and low temperatures. But if you have stable conditions at home, a place that is protected from any fluctuations in room temperature, you can safely decide to wash dirty leaves.
Please also read this.
How to bathe violets properly?
The main thing to remember when washing violet leaves is the need to keep the growth point and leaf base dry, and especially the flower stems. With enough experience and dexterity, you can simply cover the center of the bush with your hand and limit yourself to this measure. But for better protection of indoor violets, you can apply additional measures:
- Ground in a container with a flower is better to close the film or a bag so that water can not get on it.
- Before the process of washing try to bend the violet, work out the position of the hand and find the most convenient options.
- Prepare cotton pads, soft sponges, and paper towels to quickly eliminate water in the center of the rosette or to cover it from getting wet.
Wash violet leaves always under running, warm water. If there is no access to warm water, large-volume containers filled with water are used (one container is prepared in advance for washing itself, and the other for thorough rinsing). Water temperature is important: neither cold nor too hot water will do.
The temperature should be slightly higher than the temperature of the air in the room. It is better to use a sprayer or shower, but you can also wash the senpolias under a stream of water with a weak pressure. The quality of the water also matters: Washing with hard water can leave more stains and streaks on the leaves than was done before.
Techniques of violet washing can be different. Two strategies for washing can be distinguished - without contact with the leaves and with careful washing of the leaves by hand. The first strategy is a simple rinse under running water. It is used if the dirt is not too strong, there are no streaks or it can be easily washed away and mainly for large leaves with a lot of dust on the edges of the leaf plates.
The second method involves more thorough washing and is more traumatic, but it's also better for dealing with hard spots and streaks that affect all the leaves.
Strategy 1: Soap-foam washing or wiping.
- Each leaf of the plant is washed one by one, tilting the violet slightly for ease of use. You can use a soft backing to free both hands for the work.
- If the dirt is not heavy, the streaks are left by water or spraying, there is no need to use soap, under a weak pressure the leaf is washed, gently rubbing it with your fingers and trying to move towards the growth of the hairs.
- If in addition to dust there are other impurities that do not wash out with plain water, foam neutral soap or detergent (liquid soap, shampoo, dishwashing detergent, organic cleaning non-abrasive agents) and foam is applied to the leaf surface, wiping it gently. Finish the procedure by gently rinsing off the foam with running water.
Strategy 2. Rinse with running water without hand contact.
- The violet is gently tilted and the flowers and the center of the rosette are covered with a palm or cotton pad.
- Dirty leaves are put under a weak stream of running water, not allowing it to reach further than the middle of the leaf. The leaf is held at an angle so that water flows freely off its edge.
- Gently turning and tilting the bush, wash all soiled leaves under running water.
- The plant is shaken slightly or placed on paper towels to drain the water.
The most difficult version is soiling not only the top side of the leaf plates but also the back of the leaves. To rinse the leaves from the reverse side, the plant will have to be turned over, which requires the ground ball to be held securely in place and the whole plant to be held in place. Rinse the leaves from the back side carefully, protecting the center of the plant. After washing is complete, the violet should be shaken slightly to drain off the excess moisture and only then turn it over.
Additional measures can be used to speed up the drying process of the leaves. A soft sponge or paper towel can be used to gently blot the surface of wet leaves, thus removing any excess water and reducing the risk of it spreading into the center of the rosette. Drying with a sponge or a tissue is the only method of saving the violet also in case the center of the rosette gets wet due to carelessness.
Adaptation after bathing the violets
The most important rule in washing the violet leaves is to place them in special conditions after the procedure. It is a huge mistake to simply return the bushes to their former location, much less to their former light. Violets must dry out completely and recover before they have to face the light.
Dry wet violet leaves after bathing in the dark or at least in the penumbra under diffused soft light. They are exposed at mild room temperatures and in a dark place, are not watered or subjected to any other manipulation until the leaves are completely dry and their usual velvety pubescence is restored.
Another important factor is complete protection from any draughts and temperature variations. Plants literally need to be protected from any traumatic factors.
The bathing of senpolias is better supplemented by a thorough cleaning of the growing area and other sanitary measures. Cleaning the outside of pots, cleaning trays of sediment, cleaning the window sill or shelf on which the plant stands are simple measures that are convenient to combine with washing the leaves.