the urban gardeness

a novice gardener's adventures in chicago gardening

Book review: houseplant books

After checking out countless books on houseplants from the library, I finally narrowed it down to three books. As you can probably tell from the titles, they are geared toward novice gardeners, such as myself. (Full disclosure: I’m a graphic designer who loves designing books, so my choices were partially based on design!)

The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-how for Keeping (Not Killing!) More Than 160 Indoor Plants by Barbara Pleasant (Storey Publishing)

This book is a great quick reference. Locate the plant you are curious about and callout section tells you everything you need to know about soil, watering, light and more. The plants are divided by sections (i.e. cacti & succulents, foliage) with large and clear photos that make plant ID easy. The back section offers an overview of plants basics, plus more advanced techniques. A great all-around book for novice gardeners.

Houseplants: The Green Thumb Guide to Easy Indoor Gardening Burst: Never Kill Another Houseplant Again! By Reader’s Digest Editors (Reader’s Digest Trade Publishing)

Again, a great reference book for gardening newbies—we appreciate the large, colorful photos. The front section of the book discusses basic care such as light, feeding, potting and keeping plants healthy. There’s also a great section on choosing plants for specific purposes or conditions, such as fragrance, dark rooms, dry air… and even neglect!

Hip Houseplants by Orlando Hamilton (DK Books)

This last book covers basic plant care, but I love it purely for the design ideas. This book helps you see your plants as design elements that accent your living or working spaces, offering unique plant presentation ideas whether you are decorating by style (Moroccan, Mediterranean) or color. (note: this book appears to be out of print, but is still available from online sellers or perhaps your local library)

Feel free to share your own houseplant book favorites in the comments section!


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