Ask a Question forum: Safe to rub indoor house plants with coconut oil

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Name: Blocherr
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Jul 8, 2016 6:06 PM CST
I have many indoor house plants (jade plant, money tree, ponytail palms, aloe Vera, climbing aloe, zz plants and succulents). I read that rubbing coconut oil on leaves would help keep pests off them and also make them look shiny so I did rub all of my plants with a coat of coconut oil front and back. Then after reading more about it online, I'm worried that I clogged their stomata and now they can't breathe. Is it safe to put coconut oil on both sides of indoor plants? If it's unsafe, how can I save my plants? Please help.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jul 8, 2016 11:33 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA


Oil (diluted with water) is often used as a dormant spray - they key word there being dormant. Dormant spray smothers any insects or eggs wintering over on outdoor deciduous plants. And plant leaf polish used to be popular but I don't think it did much for the health of the plants.

The best way to keep your plants happy and healthy is to keep them clean. A little soap and water goes a long ways. I think its time for you to use some soap and water on your house plants and get rid of the coconut oil. It probably is smothering your plants - I don't know for sure but oiling your plants doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Deer Region: New York Birds Cat Lover
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Jul 9, 2016 7:57 AM CST
Welcome! ditto to what Daisy said Thumbs up
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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Jul 9, 2016 10:52 AM CST
I do clean my orchid leaves with a mixture of mayonnaise and water. This has oil in it and does make the leaves shine and also the vinegar in it removes any hard water deposits from the leaves (which really do clog the stomata up). But I also wash the oily residue off the plant after a few hours, and never leave oil on any leaves that may be in the sun. The leaves can burn. People who show their plants do use things like mayonnaise or oil/water to make their plants look nice, but I'm sure they wash it off after the show, too.

A very mild solution of dish soap, sprayed on your plants top and bottom, then rinsed off with plain water will get rid of the oil residue. The amount is no more than 1/2tsp. of dish soap to a quart of water. More is not better when it comes to soap, as it is salty and very alkaline.

The soapy water spray is also what I use to control insect problems if I have any. Again spray all parts of the plant, and rinse off with water.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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