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Thu Mar 5, 2020, 01:50 PM

Help, please!

This has to do with houseplants, not outside gardening, but I'm still hoping someone here can help me. I have several houseplants that have been doing very well, but I might have done something awful.

One of the plants is a purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis colorata) and another is a large bromeliad. There are another few smaller plants, but these are the two I'm most concerned about.

Because they're tropical and like humidity, I mist them morning and evening. This morning, I accidentally grabbed the spray bottle of vinegar and sprayed them with that instead of the usual distilled water. I realized my mistake almost immediately, got the water spray bottle and doused them heavily with that.

My question is this: Is what I did adequate to neutralize the vinegar or should I do something else in addition? I was thinking of maybe putting them in the tub and using the hand sprayer to rinse them more thoroughly, but I don't want to drown them, either. I could also add a tiny bit of baking soda to the water to more effectively neutralize the vinegar, but am unsure if that's safe.

Suggestions? Advice? All positive input welcome.

Thanks!

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Help, please! (Original post)
silverweb Mar 5 OP
Wellstone ruled Mar 5 #1
silverweb Mar 5 #7
Wellstone ruled Mar 5 #11
silverweb Mar 5 #14
5X Mar 5 #2
silverweb Mar 5 #8
Mr.Bill Mar 5 #3
silverweb Mar 5 #9
SWBTATTReg Mar 5 #4
silverweb Mar 5 #10
OneBro Mar 5 #5
silverweb Mar 5 #6
SWBTATTReg Mar 5 #13
silverweb Mar 5 #12
silverweb Mar 5 #15

Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 01:55 PM

1. Put them in the shower and hope for the best.

Vinegar is used as a Weed and Grass Killer by many Green Gardeners. You most likely have 4 1/2 % vinegar so you might get lucky. Most Weed Killer formulas call for 9%.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:10 PM

7. Thanks!

Yes, I've used vinegar and salt as a weed killer. Hopefully, I doused these with enough water to minimize the damage until I can completely neutralize the vinegar.

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Response to silverweb (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:16 PM

11. Make sure you douse the underside of the leaves.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:18 PM

14. Yes!

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 01:58 PM

2. I have done just what you did and had no problems

I also sprayed with clean water after.

A solution of one part milk, 9 parts water is used on my cannabis plants
to stop mold, it is basic and may buffer the acidity of the vinegar.

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Response to 5X (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:11 PM

8. Interesting!

I'd never have thought of milk, but I only have almond milk on hand. Wondering if a little baking soda, which I do have, would be as effective?

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 01:59 PM

3. I think the key thing is to not let too much of the vinegar get into the soil.

I can't speak about the specific plants you have, but I use vinegar as a weed killer around my mobile home because it won't harm my pets. I do find that to kill the weed I need to get an ample amount into the soil right at the base of the plant. Just hitting the foliage doesn't seem to do much harm.

So I would say if you spray any more water on the plants, cover the soil they are in first. Best of luck to you.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:13 PM

9. Thank you!

The waffle plant is large and very dense, so I doubt much vinegar got into it. Ditto the bromeliad. I had just sprayed the surface leaves when I realized my error, so I'll cover the soil and spray them down very well.

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:01 PM

4. I am thinking that since you immediately rinsed them, they should be alright. Some people ...

actually use the vinegar to keep insects off of houseplants, but not directly on the houseplants. Also, you didn't specify what kind of vinegar you used, there's the bad wine type (when you are making wine, and some turns to vinegar), white vinegar, or cider vinegar. The primary difference being the % of acetic acid.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Vicious Vinegar and Your Houseplants
White vinegar has a strong, unpleasant odor and taste that can effectively repel cats from areas of your home that you don't want them to go near, recommends the Alley Cat Allies website. While vinegar is nontoxic to cats and humans, it is harmful to plants because it contains 5 percent acetic acid. If you spray vinegar on the leaves of your houseplants, it will destroy their cell membranes, warns the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. This destroys the leaves, and if the vinegar gets down into the soil of the plant, it will dry out the roots and kill the plant.

You Can Still Use Vinegar

While you can't spray it directly on your houseplants, you can soak some towels in white vinegar and wrap them around your plants' containers to keep your kitty away from them. Prevent Fluffy from sitting or digging in your houseplants by laying some aluminum foil on top of the soil of each plant. Place vinegar-soaked cotton balls on top of the foil to further deter. Another option is to spray a few silk plants with vinegar and place them among your real houseplants.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:15 PM

10. It was white vinegar for cleaning.

My cats don't bother these plants, anyway, so the vinegar is unnecessary for that. I just don't want to kill them with my stupidity.

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:05 PM

5. Here's what I found.

Immediately rinse the leaves several times with warm water a bucket with lukewarm water because vinegar strips the protective coating from them;

Sprinkle lime over the moist soil around the plant. Water the plant and surrounding soil thoroughly after adding the lime. The lime raises the soil pH and protects the plant's tender roots by neutralizing the effects of the acetic acid in the vinegar.

More at this source link: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/stop-vinegar-killing-plants-67054.html

Good luck!

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Response to OneBro (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:08 PM

6. Thank you!

I'll have to run out and get some lime, because I have none, but they'll get thoroughly rinsed first.

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Response to OneBro (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:18 PM

13. Good to know! Thanks.

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 02:17 PM

12. Thank you, everyone!

I'm off to the shower with these guys. Back later!

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Response to silverweb (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2020, 03:34 PM

15. Followup to the crisis.

Everything's going to be fine! In fact, this faux pas of mine has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Before adding something to neutralize the vinegar, I decided to check first to see if the plants preferred acid or alkaline soil. It's a good thing I did because they have quite different preferences. The waffle plant likes a neutral pH and the bromeliad likes it acidic. When I checked the pH, both plants were in fairly alkaline soil.

Having already rinsed the leaves thoroughly, I drained any excess water from the container and then added an ounce of white vinegar to a cup of water and watered the waffle plant with that; it likes it wet, anyway. The bromeliad doesn't want to just be neutralized, but acidified, so I used a bit more vinegar and tried not to get it too wet because it doesn't like that much.

Given all this, it looks like my accidental spraying with vinegar did not and will not do any real harm. Now that I know what pH they prefer (and why didn't I check that before?!), I'll keep an eye on it.

Thanks again to everyone who responded! And if you accidentally do what I did this morning, now you know how to fix it.


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