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Some helpful books

Posted by countcoco none (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 19, 11 at 18:55

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?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Some helpful books

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

RE: Some helpful books

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'.

RE: Some helpful books

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:

RE: Some helpful books

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

RE: Some helpful books (caution: Windy!)

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...


RE: Some helpful books

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!


RE: Some helpful books

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.

RE: Some helpful books

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.

RE: Some helpful books

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


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