Some helpful books

countcocoApril 19, 2011

I just wanted share a couple great books that have drastically improved my knowledge base and skills with regards to house plants. It's so hard to get quality info on houseplants and it's certainly worthwhile to have a couple references. I'm sure Tapla has a few of these laying around or has read them in the past.

Botany for Gardeners- Brian Capon

Absolutely fascinating read. Capon's style is similar to that of Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs and Steal) in how he breaks down very complex scientific information into a form that's both easily grasped by the curious reader and extremely fascinating.

Tropical Foliage Plants A Grower's Guide- Lynn P. Griffith, Jr

This is the book that the creator of the plants are the strangest people blog raves about. Although it's written for readers engaged in industrial horticulture, it's still an excellent reference for hobbyists. It has great cultural info and the preface details the evolution of foliage plant production in America.

Gardening Indoors- George van Patten

van Patten, AKA Jorge Cervantes, the author of the Medical Marijuana Growers Bible provides a lot of excellent, well organized information that is intended for indoor gardeners. Only a small fraction of the book is specifically about hydroponics, so it's still relevant to everyone on this forum who isn't interested in hydro.The chapters on plant culture, water and nutrients are particularly illuminating. It's nice to have at least one book that covers all aspects of indoor culture.

Plant Propagation- The American Horticultural Society

Not about house plants per se, but most are still covered. It's a superb reference and will definitely improve your success rates with propagation.

Any other recommendations of time tested texts?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ooooo - thanks! I really enjoy J. Diamond, so I'll be looking for Capon's book in particular!

I put the Griffith book on my PBS wish list a few weeks ago, but I'm also going to check my local library....

Thanks for the tips :D

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I strongly recommend the Capon book for anyone wanting a basic understand of botany and plant physiology. I made it required reading when I taught a neat course called 'Plant Form and Function'.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Check out It's a great site, fairly new.

The owner is very knowledgable and GREAT about answering any questions you might have.

Hope this helps.

-3rd yr

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll look into the Brian Capon's book.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found this today when I was cruising my local Goodwill thrift store & am enamored: The House Plant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon & published by pbi Publications/Britannica House, 1980.

I would call it a field guide for house plants. A big part of what I'm digging is that it's illustrated a'la 50's Golden pocket science books & field guides.
There are quite a number on e-bay currently, as well as newer editions that look like the illustrations have been replaced with photographs (which might make it just another mediocre plant book).

The care instructions are very general, but it has 11 varieties depicted on the Philodendron page while Monstera has a page elsewhere. And 12 varieties on the Dracaena page. There are a lot of plants listed in this book, although newer varieties aren't in it, of course, so some things that have seen kind of a population explosion like Epipremnum & Aglaonema have listings that do not reflect what's currently out there. Maybe the newer editions do though, if they're in the same spirit as this edition.

I guess that wound up sounding little bit like a book review, but since there was a bit of book discussion on Evy's dish garden thread & I'm excited about my find (love the illustrations), I just got inspired! Plus, I remembered that this thread had some good suggestions that might be appreciated again...


    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 9:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hyponex Handbook of Houseplants was my first book- (very good)
recently found it at Amazon and ordered.

The Houseplant Expert which I still have is a great book!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just checked Paper Back Swap .com & what do you know? Someone had a 1992 copy of the House Plant Expert posted, so I thought "why the heck not, it's free!" & ordered it! It is 256 pages vs. just over 100 pages for the 1980 edition.

There were also 3 Hyponex books posted.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Reader's Digest - Success w/ Houseplants.

I bought this new a number of years ago & has been invaluable. Several years ago a neighbor w/ whom I'd just become acquainted offered me a copy which I'd declined since I've already got one. I'd helped him ID an Aspidistra & he wanted to thank me w/ the book.

GREAT BOOK!! Has great photos of all the plants described (if not, then at least some good drawings). Has extensive area about plants & their various families. Also has excellent section on the basics, watering, mixes, light insect control, etc. Just about anything you'd wish to know, I can't say enough about it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Received my Hyponex Handbook for House Plants today (gotten thru Amazon)


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 10:59AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Only 1/2 of a schefflera remaining...
4 years ago, I adopted this schefflera from a bank...
Looking for the 'old' members
I see that Tisha still posts, yay! Hi! :-) I'm in touch...
Dying Calathea Plant
Hello all! I have recently started getting interested...
The "Show Off" Thread
I love coming to this site for all kinds of useful...
Mini garden
A long time ago I started working on this mini garden,...
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL
Sponsored Products
Nurseryworks | Storytime Bookcase
Homelegance Deryn Park Sideboard in Cherry
Beyond Stores
Egg Inspired Chair with Available Ottoman-Red - 100% Italian Leather
IFN Modern
The Sophia Wall Mounted Cat Tree - SOPHTREE-B
$124.95 | Hayneedle
Zoku Quick Pops Recipe Book
$16.95 | FRONTGATE
Magic Garden Bookshelf
Classic Hostess
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™