Book Review: The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual
Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants
About the Author
Barbara Pleasant has written numerous books about gardening, including Starter Vegetable Gardens, , Controlling Garden Weeds, The Whole Herb and Gardening Essentials. She's also co-authored several gardening books: The Gardener's Weed Book, Garden Stone and Easy Garden Projects for the South. Pleasant is also a contributing editor to Mother Earth News, which is where this reviewer first read her work. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide
Barbara Pleasant's The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual gives readers the dirt on successfully growing over 160 houseplants, including bulbs, corms and tubers; cacti and succulents; bromeliads; and temporary indoor plants like chrysanthemums, poinsettias and rhododendrons.
The manual includes lots of plants that readers will want to grow, from uncommon choices and exotics like indoor geraniums and orchids to traditional standbys like philodendron, ficus and palms.
If you want to grow houseplants successfully, then The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual is the book for you.
The manual contains three major sections: 155 pages featuring blooming houseplants, arranged in alphabetical order; 92 pages spotlighting foliage indoor plants, also in alphabetical order; and 85 pages detailing general houseplant care as well as other subjects related to growing indoor plants.
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual is well organized, with an index as well as a glossary of terms, so information is easy to locate. And it looks good, too. The entire volume is beautifully illustrated with professional-quality color photos.
Subtitled Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Plants, the manual lives up to that promise, including tips for troubleshooting common problems specific to each plant featured. For instance, the section on Saintpaulia hybrids (African violets) includes remedies for shriveled leaves, non-blooming plants, lopsided growth and brown spots.
General information is also provided for each featured plant. Additionally, information about individual plants includes
- light, temperature, water and soil specifications;
- tips for selecting & displaying the plant;
- the best propagation methods;
- color photos by Rosemary Kautzky.
Pleasant's manual includes copious, detailed information for cultivating just about every houseplant readers are likely to grow.
But that's not all.
It also contains general information regarding all sorts of topics related to cultivating indoor plants, including interiorscaping homes and/or businesses with houseplants; training topiary and bonsai; creating a terrarium; generally caring for and identifying houseplants; and moving and repotting indoor plants.
Print or E-Book?
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual is available in print form through Storey Publishing and in electronic form as a Nook book.
Although I have the E-book version, I prefer the print form. Since the manual is essentially a reference work, using it means flipping about quite a bit, and that's just easier to do with a printed book.
Also, the page numbers in the E-book version are inaccurate, so references to information don't appear on the Nook book pages indicated in the text—no matter what the font size.
About the Reviewer
The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.
She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm. Together, they would plant acres of vegetable gardens, setting tomato, eggplant and bell pepper plants; sowing row after row of beans and corn; and building up mounds of soil for white squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe and potatoes.
Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.