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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:19 am
Location: Coventry, CT

Oil on Hands Bad for Plants?


A friend in my office has a prayer plant on her desk and I ran my finger down the leaf to see if the plant would react. She told me not to touch the plant because the oil on my hands would kill it. Is there any validity to this statement? I had washed my hands with soap within the hour before touching the plant, so I'm not to worried about hurting this individual plant.

Personally, I think it's an Old Wives Tale. Am I wrong?

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Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7646
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

IMO, the only time touching a plant is dangerous to the plant is if you had just previously handled one that was infected with some kind of plant disease.

In a similar manner, tobacco smokers can convey tobacco viruses to tomato plants by touching them.

I routinely use my fingers to wipe dust off my plants, pick off dead plant material, turn the leaves over to examine them for bugs, take cuttings, etc., and it hasn't killed any of them yet. :wink:

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