Book Notes: The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual

The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Gardening Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants By Barbara Pleasant,2005, Storey Publications.  Retail: $24.95

Review by Debra Knapke

I can’t count how many times I’m asked, “What is wrong with my houseplant?” I counter with a series of questions to try and diagnose the problem. Usually the problem starts with not knowing how a particular plant should be grown, not recognizing early signs of problems, or — horrors — the grower doesn’t know what the plant is.

Enter The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, which starts with plant-specific information and finishes with general information on the care of houseplants.  The range of plant species and hybrids is well matched with what is available at garden centers. A handy key assists you in identifying the plant you bought in case you have misplaced the tag or there wasn’t one to begin with.  Each plant profile contains pictures that are clear and eye-catching — many are luscious.

You’ll learn a lot about the plant you have decided to harbor in your home: background information, specific light, fertilizer and watering needs, and most importantly, what to do when leaves yellow, spots and bugs appear or the entire plant droops.  The troubleshooting guidelines and remedies alone are worth the price of the book!

If you can’t keep a houseplant alive, don’t wait to ask me. Check out this comprehensive houseplant guide.

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