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Need good book on houseplants

Posted by honymand (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 15:42


I am looking for a good, extensive and serious english-language book on houseplants! Hope someone here might give me some advice on titles, authors etc.

I have no prolem finding good books about garden plants, but when it comes to houseplants its another matter. 90% of the books seems to be of the type "beginners guide to ...", "... for dummies" or "50 plants you cannot kill".

Well, I have no intention of killing my houseplants - what I need is precise advice on watering schemes, fertilizer use (also when the advice is: none), light, humidity and maybe some background on the climate where the plant belongs. Preferably also for more unusual indoor plants.

I am sure such books exist, only I cannot find them because any search on "amazon" drowns me in the begginer-type titles.

Best regards,
Hans Olav

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need good book on houseplants

A thread sub-named how to find a good plant book for dummies LOL

To start the books you are asking about wont really cover the EXACTS of when to do and when not to do, but will have very good info in many more areas than to do or not to do .You'll understand the plant beyond " to do " or "not to do" and make a good addition to a book collection

Thinking you may want to search under plant type or family specific see if you can find books from Strawberry press or Timberland press.
Also consider that a single book can/may have more than one author
Example :
A single volume of many from Strawberry Press may have 12 authors because volume one (book) may have 7-8 different types of orchids in 4 different countries each author would discuss the area and perspective of the plant

Amazon . com does offer a wide range of plant growing books finding them to be very very reliable in shipping and rating plant book by used good, used very good.

Specific plant growing clubs may offer it's members a plant library for members only lending and occasional group ordering from a prestigious publisher such as timberland press.

RE: Need good book on houseplants

I used to own a ton of gardening and plant books but the wealth of info instantly available on the internet unfortunately, sadly, renders them virtually useless although I do still enjoy browsing them occasionally. If you have a deep love for a specific type of plant, I would consider that an excellent reason to purchase a book, but would otherwise save my money for plants. A book about variegated foliage landscape plants is one I still consult often. Also find myself revisiting 2 books I have about lawns often, for many various reasons.

They also keep changing the names of plants, so older books will have different groups and names than something much newer. Finding any one store with a great selection of plants one might find in such a book as you describe would be extremely unlikely for anyone not in/near a large city.

One's location really does matter. Although zones/hardiness isn't a consideration, latitude is a huge factor that is often completely ignored regarding indoor potted plants. Anyone who has never made a drastic latitude change can't appreciate this. They can intellectually know it, but until you see it, it doesn't hit home. Plants that used to die every time I tried to keep them inside for winter thrive here, blooming where applicable. Plants that used to go in the sunniest window in OH can look great here by a north window. So a book written by someone in New England or Seattle might be useless to me. Someone writing in FL would have little relevance to someone in Chicago.

Seeing that you're in Denmark, I would encourage you to put plants in a lot more light than most of the advice you find. I would also like to say that potted plants are much more similar than they are different, IMHO/E. The key is finding a combination of soil mix and watering regime that is pleasing to the plants and their keeper. Then it's just a matter of light exposure, and avoiding those plants that are too particular about uncontrollable factors, like those that just can't abide whatever humidity or temperature situation one has available, or that have light requirements one can't meet.

Soliciting advice here has been all I've needed. Within a week, one can get anecdotes and advice from people all over the globe. When you consider their locations and collective info, it's very helpful, and up to the reader to apply the info to their situation. Feel free to ask about any tiny, weird detail here. "They" will have something to say. I see that you've been registered with GW for years but didn't recognize your name. Hope you'll come around the house plant forum more often! What plants do you have so far? I'd love to hear about them.

What instantly came to mind when I read your post was Mr. Subjunctive's blog. There are amusing and detailed articles about a long list of plants. That might keep you set for reading material for a while, while you search for books you like/want.

RE: Need good book on houseplants

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 16:40

Bamboo, begonias, baobabs, and buttercups all do remarkably well with the same care. In fact, unless you're growing cacti or carnivorous plants, almost all plants will grow well if you at least come close to growing in 'the sweet spot', instead of trying to grow plants under cultural conditions that are at or near the limits they are genetically programed to tolerate.

The most significant problems that bring people to the forums (for help) relate either to light, or to a intimate relationship between soil choice, watering habits, and nutritional issues. Relegating the later triad of potential issues to non-issue status is usually no more difficult than adopting an appropriate soil (one you can water to beyond saturation at will w/o having to be concerned about impaired root function or root rot) and choosing an appropriate fertilizer.

Virtually all the houseplant books I've looked at are based on the assumption you'll be using a poor soil, even though they tell you to use a GOOD soil; so they assume your habits are limiting from the outset. What defines us as growers is our ability to identify and eliminate the conditions that are limiting our plants.

The largest step forward a container gardener can make, comes in the form of gaining an understanding of the difference between a good soil and a bad soil, and using that understanding to ensure his plants live on a healthy root system. To be sure, a healthy plant is impossible w/o as healthy root system.

If I made any sense and you would like to be directed to some reading that will help you make that step I mentioned, I'd be glad to help. After that, I think you're actually looking for more than one book, and they won't necessarily be focused on houseplants. You'll need something to help you understand the branches of basic soil science, and one on basic plant physiology. Those books will be significantly more expensive than your check-out stand houseplant books, but they will be based on science, not anecdote, and you'll be able to refer to them for years and years.

The fastest route to a green thumb is the one whereby you learn all the plant science you can, and then let your practical experience validate what you've learned. Anecdote is a spoiler, and comes into play when the order is reversed, when people make misobservations, then make up their own brand of science to fit those observations. Unfortunately that sort of thing is everywhere, and makes your job of sorting through all the noise to get to what you need to hear so much more difficult than it needs to be.

Best luck.


RE: Need good book on houseplants

Where to get a book ?

RE: Need good book on houseplants

My most favorite houseplant book is 'The Unexpected Houseplant', I can't say enough good things about this book and I'm always reading it. I find it way more different then other houseplant care books, and covers a lot of the more unusual house plants.

Also I just found that 'The Houseplant Expert' has a brand new book out that just came out this year, so it has a lot of more updated info I would imagine (I didn't get a lot of time to really look through it at the book store) but I have it on my 'want list' for books. Actually it covers houseplants and flowers. But it was $20, I just cant afford that right now, especially when all my spare money goes to outdoor plants this time of year.

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