Cleanliness

It is far more enjoyable to neglect housekeeping chores in favor of plant watching. Unpleasant tasks have to be scheduled; otherwise, one does not do them. Failure to keep a growing area clean will invite problems. Dead tissue serves as an entryway for bacteria, fungi, and viruses. A medium-sized hemostat works well for removing spine-covered dead flowers and may be purchased at pet supply stores or surgical supply houses. Spilled soil and plant debris accumulating around work areas should also be removed frequently. It is a bad habit to dump waste in a can and let it stay in the plant area for several weeks. Insect pests use decaying organic matter as a place to lay eggs.

Clean growing areas will reduce dust in the air. Plants covered with dirt are not capable of using sunlight efficiently. Dust can be removed efficiently with a soft-bristled brush or a spray bottle filled with distilled water and a drop or two of nonphyto toxic soap such as Ivory. Water spots maybe cleaned from the outside of plastic pots with a paper towel dampened a cleaner such as Armor All, a product found at auto mobile supply stores. Do not let any of it get on plant surfaces and never use it on the inside surface of a pot.

Keep yourself clean. If you have been doing general garden chores, wash and change clothes before tending to plants. Thrips, for example, may hitchhike on your clothes. Keep only as many plants as you have time to care for; enjoy each one.

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