Take this test: Swipe your fingers along the leaves of the jade plant you’ve got stashed in a sunny window. What about the Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue in your bathroom? The Fiddle Leaf Fig in the living room? Does your fingertip come away clean, or is there a telltale trace of dust left behind?
If you don’t dust your houseplants regularly, consider taking up the habit. Houseplant owners are usually pretty good about providing the requisite water and sunlight to keep their green charges alive, but dusting houseplants is a task that can get forgotten. Unfortunately, the same dust that settles on your computer screen also settles on your plants and inhibits the leaves from properly photosynthesizing. Dusting houseplants can be accomplished with a damp cloth and some patience, but for the gadget-happy there’s a special brush that will do the job in half the time.
Above: Made by German brush masters Redecker, the Leaf Brush combines two goat hair brushes in one, so that the top and underside of leaves can be dusted at the same time; $44 from White Flower Farm.
Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.