Lorain County Residents Learn about Houseplants at Library Programs

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The Lorain County Public Library system hosted four workshops for patrons on houseplants.









The program just began to scratch the surface on Houseplants.








This area of Horticulture is in a world of its own, mostly ‘Tropical’.









Thomas Becker, Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator for The Ohio State University – Lorain County Extension








teamed up with Thomas deHaas, ANR for OSU – Erie County Extension







to present four workshops hosted by Lorain Public Library for its patrons at 4 different libraries.








Thomas deHaas presented on Houseplants that are Hard to Kill. Thomas Becker dealt with common plant problems, Integrated Pest Management and diseases and insects along with environmental factors that cause indoor plants to struggle.


Plant propagation was briefly discussed, and participant received two cutting from plants to take home.








One thing that was stressed with the participants were that houseplants are not native to our climate and because many come from the tropics, that have higher humidity and more sunlight requirements.









Growing indoor plants can present a challenge, especially in the winter when sunlight is less intense and humidity in our homes is lower due to our home heating systems.


Several people brought up that their plants are thriving, and orchids are blooming. Both presenters agreed those plants are ‘Happy’ where they are and don’t move them. Many participants talked about the struggles they have with houseplants. Some of these winter struggles can be attributed to a lack of sunlight.


When a tropical plant is first purchased from a store, they look beautiful and healthy.








Ever wonder why? They were grown in ideal conditions, typically in a greenhouse








and warmer climate with much more sunlight.







They arrive at the store or garden center, (hopefully acclimated to reduced light through shade cloth in the greenhouse) and brought into our home with less sunlight and less humidity.


Our best approach is do our research. Some plants will tolerate less light like a  Spathiphyllum spp. Common name, Peace Lily.








They can tolerate low light but will tend to flower in higher amounts of light.










In addition, the leaves can be poisonous to children and pets if ingested. This plant was up on a four foot pedastal out of the reach of children or pets.








A house plant/ tree that requires more light is Ficus benjamina ,  Benjamin Fig.








Under low light conditions, it will drop leaves.








They key is to research before you buy. Houseplants that look great and healthy in the store may look not so great in a corner of a room in your house.








A great resource for researching plants is Missouri Botanical Garden – Top 10 houseplants:




Another resource is from University of Georgia – Growing Indoor Plants with Success:




Some other resources – Caring for specific Houseplants are attached:


Indoor Ferns:




Succulents and Cacti:








and African Violets:




Remember, Right Plant, Right Place.


Credit: Some pictures of the indoor plant program were take by a photographer at the Lorain County Public Library - Rob Musser.