Feb 13, 2018

Easy-Care Guide to Houseplants

by Jack Kramer

Like any other book on plants, this one goes over the basics of selecting healthy plants, situating them in the correct location in your home, general care in terms of feeding, watering, pest and disease control (non-toxic methods emphasized), very basic soil mixes and propagation. There's also an entire chapter about how to choose plants that look nice in the room- complementing decor and using design principles. A lot of it was repetitive information for me, but I did appreciate the diagrams on how to hang plants with proper support, and how to build a simple rack for grow lights. The second half of the book is species profiles, arranged by families (I didn't know that my foxtail fern is in the lily family! or that coleus are also called "painted nettle"). I was hoping to find some specific instructions on a few plants I've struggled with- but the info here was very general. The best I can figure is that my boston fern simply needs repotting with fresh soil every season. This book says that orchids are easy, but I've killed every one I had. In one case I found a picture that seemed mislabeled. African violets were on the same spread; this picture looks just like another kind of African violet to me.
And my mother used to grow primroses, they have different kind of leaves. Which makes me wonder if there are more errors. Because I was happy to learn the names of many common foliage houseplants I see all the time- but now I don't know if they're all accurate in here. For example, this photo looks just like a plant my daughter recently bought (sans flowers), which was only labeled as "foliage plant" so I didn't know its name. I look up Medinilla and I think it's the same plant but she's doubtful.
I do have to say, the photographs in here are all excellent quality. Very nice-looking lush plants, quite a few I'd like to add to my own collection now. I found this book at a library discard sale.

Rating: 3/5         192  pages, 1999

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