Plant Care: Using Common Household Items

The World is in Corona Virus Lockdown and many of us can’t get the regular products we need in order to show our plants the love that they deserve. Luckily, some common household products will happily fulfil some common plant care tasks. Let’s take a look...


Make Fertiliser with your left over peels. They contain some essential nutrients for healthy plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium. Note though that Banana Peels shouldn’t replace your regular feeding regime. We suggest soaking the peels in water for a few days and then watering your plants with this nutrient solution. Using the actual peels and working them into the soil may attract unwanted critters!


Speaking of critters. Use a solution of dishwashing liquid to treat any infestation you might have of soft-bodied bugs, such as mealybug, aphids and mites. The soap will break down their protective skin, allowing you to simply wipe the dead critters away. Mix 1 Teaspoon Dishwashing Liquid to the Litre and apply directly to the insect, preferably with a spray bottle. You plant won’t be damaged if applied only to treat the outbreak sporadically. Add Chilli and Cinnamon to your mixture for extra vooma!

Common Household Items for Plant Care


These are often touted as excellent leaf shine agents when diluted… and they are! The oils in these goods cover the leaf surface giving it a nice and even gloss. However, they also clog up the stomata (leaf breathing hole), and they can attract dust, which can settle into a thin grime on the leaf surface. We don’t want that. If you need to shine up your leaf for the perfect Instapic, give these a try, but do consider doing so infrequently, and make sure to remove them with some diluted dishwashing liquid or Vinegar afterwards.


Yes, diluted Vinegar can make an excellent plant cleaner. Mix about 1 Teaspoon to 1.5 - 2 Litres of Water and gently wipe the leaves with the solution-soaked cloth. Definitely don’t apply direct. Vinegar is a great pest repellent too, it’ll ward off against pesky fungus gnats, and also your Cat, should it have decided to take a liking to your plant. A word of advice: If you cat does take a liking to your plant, consider soaking a rag with undiluted Vinegar, and placing it close or around your plant pot. Or get it some Catnip!


All of these common household food, fuels or fuel residues contain nutrients that can have a beneficial impact on the growth of your plants. The key is to learn how to extract these nutrients, or apply them, in a way that does not over-fertilise (and burn the roots), or cause a manky pest attraction. There are loads of excellent web resources with recipes to google, to get this “down”.



Cinnamon is a wonder spice, not only does it add that special touch to pancakes and Cinnamon Buns, but also has antifungal and anti bacterial properties. If you find that you often have mould growth or Fungus Gnat issues with your potted plants, we recommend sprinkling a dash of Cinnamon on the topsoil. This will kill off any fungus that may be causing the mould growth and deter any Fungus Gnats from laying their eggs in your houseplants.

TOP TIP: When propagating houseplants, dip the cut end in Cinnamon. This will help ensure your cutting is more likely to survive, and prevents any bacterial growth that will cause the cutting to rot.


Cats are curious creatures and often we get told stories of how these furry felines have taken a liking to certain Houseplants, we're looking at you Parlor Palm. If you're finding that your Cats are leaving your houseplants worse for wear we have a simple trick for you to deter them.

Spray a couple of used teabags with muscle relaxant, the tea leaves will absorb the smell. You can then place the teabags, or if you're not into  that look, just sprinkle the tea leaves over the topsoil. This with both deter your cats, who will not tolerate the smell, as well as act as a mulch for your houseplants.

NOTE: Cats and Dogs tend to want to eat houseplants when they have very little to no access to grass, which they eat to keep their digestive tracts in good repair. If you find your Pets consistently eating your indoor plants, consider growing some Pet grass for them to chew on instead.

Perhaps you’re thinking differently about some of your common Household items and how they can be used to promote healthy and happy plants. If you are, let us know in the Comments below...

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