The Q&A Archives: Mayonaisse for plants

Question: A co-worker uses mayonaisse on the leaves of her house plants. She says that it makes the leaves shiney and that it is also beneficial to the plants. Is that true?

Answer: Mayonaise was once recommended to use on the leaves of houseplants to remove dust and to produce a shine. Sadly, this was bad advice. The oil in mayonaise will remove dust and produce a shine but it will also clog the natural openings in the leaves - the ones the plant uses to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen and to release tiny amounts of moisture (respiration and transpiration). Clogged lenticels will suffocate the leaves. So while they might look pretty for a few months, the leaves will die off faster than they normally would. Instead of using commercial leaf shine products or wiping the leaves off with mayonaise, I'd suggest using a soft cloth and plain water to rinse dust off the leaves and produce a natural shine.

Best wishes with your houseplants!

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