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Book Review: The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual

Updated on March 5, 2013

Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants

Not sure what to grow? Pleasant's book provides lots of ideas for landscaping your home's interior with houseplants.
Not sure what to grow? Pleasant's book provides lots of ideas for landscaping your home's interior with houseplants. | Source

About the Author

Barbara Pleasant has written numerous books about gardening, including Starter Vegetable Gardens, The Gardener's Weed Book, Controlling Garden Weeds, The Whole Herb and Gardening Essentials. She's also co-authored several gardening books: The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, 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.

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.

Pleasant's guide inlcudes tips for growing temporary houseplants like mums.
Pleasant's guide inlcudes tips for growing temporary houseplants like mums. | Source
5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping  (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants

The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual is also available as a Nook book. Although I'm an avid E-book reader, I found it unhandy to use in electronic form, preferring the print version

 
African violets are among the 160+ plants featured in Pleasant's manual.
African violets are among the 160+ plants featured in Pleasant's manual. | Source

If you want to grow houseplants successfully, then The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual is the book for you.

What's Inside

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.

Not sure how to grow & show succulents indoors? Pleasant offers lots of good advice for planting & displaying succulents as houseplants.
Not sure how to grow & show succulents indoors? Pleasant offers lots of good advice for planting & displaying succulents as houseplants. | Source

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.

Pleasant's houseplant guide includes instructions for growing bulbs, including narcissus bulbs, indoors.
Pleasant's houseplant guide includes instructions for growing bulbs, including narcissus bulbs, indoors. | Source
Source

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.

Copyright © 2012 by The Dirt Farmer. All rights reserved.

Comments

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hi avianvoice! Pleasant's book really is good, esp. part three, which includes unique info on topiary, terrariums, etc.

      Lilleyth--"Houseplant challenged" is a good phrase for it! So much depends on one's windows/light sources, but ... for all the rest, Pleasant's book really is helpful.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 

      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Nicely written review for the houseplant-challenged! Your photographs are always works of art!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This definitely sounds like a must-have for those that love indoor plants. I would find the sedum info very good, sine that usually seems to be outside.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hi Carol! I used to have a book called 100 Houseplants Anyone Can Grow (or something like that). Pleasant's manual is far more informative. Thanks for commenting. Have a good weekend! --Jill

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I think about growing houseplants all the time. And having this book might inspire me more ...Thanks for a great review.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hi daisyjae! I like it. It's really detailed, and the info in the back is pretty cool--like attractive ways to display plants. Thanks for commenting! --Jill

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 

      6 years ago from Canada

      This sounds like a really great book for me as I am not very good with houseplants.

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