Dust is an air pollutant different from the others in that it is a particulate, not a vapor. When the leaves of a plant are coated with dust, they are not only unattractive, but gas exchange may be reduced due to plugged stomata. Air filtration reduces the amount of dust. Regular cleaning of the plants can also prevent dust buildup. Most plants in a residential interior can be rinsed off under the shower or set outside during a rainfall to wash away the dust. Commercial plantings can be kept clean with regular feather dusting and periodic washing. Cleaning should be a regular task within a total maintenance program for the interior plantscape.
Pruning will not be extensive in an interior planting because of the plants’ reduced rate of growth. Most pruning will be done to keep the plants shaped for an attractive appearance. Broken or damaged branches will also require removal. If the plants are not intended to grow in order to avoid crowding, the roots as well as the foliage must be pruned back. Excessive root growth in containers can result in strangulation of the root system.
For pruning the plantings, hand pruners will be suitable for most of the herbaceous material and much of the woody material. Lopping shears will be helpful with larger materials, and pruning saws may be needed for indoor trees. Methods of pruning are described later in the text.
Interior plants should be pruned to a shape that suggests the appearance of a full canopy. Due to the restricted lighting in an interior planting, a full canopy seldom forms, however, and the plant’s full branching structure may be visible. The pruning must enhance and take advantage of this sparse foliage covering.