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University of Georgia professor Bodi Pennisi presents on houseplant care

The flora and fauna of the natural world are truly a beautiful thing to behold. Every day, people find ways to adapt their lives to keep different types of plants in their homes. Even in dorm life, it’s quite common to find students caring for some form of plant in their rooms, watching it grow while nurturing it over the course of a semester. Professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia Bodi Pennisi gave a talk titled “How to Care for Houseplants” to the University of Maine over Zoom about proper houseplant care. This was run by the School of Food and Agriculture at UMaine. 

Pennisi spoke on the importance of proper plant care, discussing light levels, humidity, soil quality, temperature and water quality. She discussed all of these topics in the context of growing a variety of plants including orchids, violets, ferns and even succulents. Each kind of plant requires a different variety of resources, all needing unique conditions for maximal growth. Whereas some plants flourish better in very hot and humid conditions, others will grow better in more temperate, dry conditions. On the University of Georgia’s website, Pennisi expands further on the points she made during the talk, putting everything into a comprehensive list for people to follow. 

After getting the right mix of soil, and making sure that the plant is ready to grow under the right conditions, it is time to move into grooming and pruning. Some plants need to be properly groomed in order to flourish and stay as healthy as possible. The key is to prune a plant lightly and frequently in order to maintain the desired height and structure of the plant. When the plant begins to grow too big for its container, repotting the plant is often the next step. The key is picking a container that can properly handle and maintain the root growth. However, one can also prune the root of the plant as well. Another topic  Pennisi harped on was keeping plants clean in order to maintain their health. According to Pennisi, salt accumulation along leaf margins can lead to wilting leaves and stems. Therefore, keeping plants clean will ensure a longer life cycle for the plant. There are also certain pests that can attack plants, such as spider mites, which can be handled by gently using rubbing alcohol on affected areas. However,  taking care to purchase pest-free plants will prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. 

Indoor houseplants can be a beautiful accent to any home or room. They allow for expression, and add a little something special to every room.  Pennisi’s talk provided a great guide for how to care for houseplants responsibly, so that we may better extend their lifespans in the home. This talk was sure to help students and UMaine staff alike, and will be useful for any and all people who are looking to grow plants indoors. By following the proper steps, anyone can have beautiful and healthy plants in their house that will be sure to wow anyone who sees them. 

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