Monday, February 26, 2024

Brushing leaves

Question:  I’ve been told that my violets shouldn’t be brushed, as this might scar the leaves, and that I should wash them instead.  I’ve seen others brushing the leaves of their plants, though.

Answer:  It’s all right to brush your violet’s leaves.  We’re big believers in regular brushing.  A clean plant is a healthy plant.  Why wait until showtime to clean a plant, when regular brushing makes washing unnecessary?

It is true that leaves can be scarred, if the improper brush is being used.  A member in our local club, taking our advice, regularly brushed her plants.  They arrived at the show with little brown “pimples” on their leaves.  It turns out that the brush she had been using had bristles that were too stiff and hard, and had scratched the plant’s leaves, particularly those with glossy or pebbled foliage.  Use a brush with very soft bristles, but bound thickly enough so that it will effectively remove dust and dirt.  Personally, we use a sable-hair brush, and have never had problems, and we brush more often that anyone.  Cosmetic brushes are also good, and are probably cheaper.

One possible hazard. If you have an existing pest problem (like mites) brushing would be a means for spreading this problem among plants. You want to brush only plants that are pest free.

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