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July 06, 2021 4 min read
It's impossible to keep up with the hundreds of houseplant titles published each year. Southside Plants have selected some of the best.
Indoor gardening has long been a popular hobby and recently enjoyed a massive resurgence amongst millennials. But when, why and how did people start growing plants in the home? Catherine Horwood tells the story, beginning in the fourteenth century and ending in the 2000s. The book looks at changing cultural attitudes toward indoor cultivation along the way. The appendix lists details on when and where over a hundred houseplant species were first discovered by the West. It comes with an extensive bibliography on houseplants for each of the centuries covered.
Houseplant books are normally practical affairs – botanical names, watering regimes, common pests and diseases. This book is different – it reminds us where our plants come from. By taking a plants-eye view of the world, this book reminds us just how strange our living spaces must be to our botanical companions and how to work with their natural adaptations to make them feel at home. The first section tells you ‘how to recognize where your plant has come from by looking at its physical features’, and the second section lists houseplants that suit different home environments. The final section covers the day-to-day of plant care, with tips on how to revive struggling plants. Read for a deep-dive into the plant world.
This book is ideal for deciding what plants to buy next. It profiles over 130 houseplants with at-a-glance details on light, water, and propagation techniques. A visual index ranks plants in order of their care difficulty. It is especially helpful for people with pets as it has a quick-reference code indicating toxicity levels in plants. The stunning photography and cover design makes it a great coffee table purchase.
Succulents and cacti have different soil, humidity, and lighting needs to tropical rainforest plants. This is the only book you need for getting to grips with succulent care: everything from propagation to display is covered in an easily digestible style with lots of photos. Care information is detailed and species are grouped by family.
This title is published by one of the most famous botanical research institutions in the world, the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London. Beautifully illustrated and packed with information, this book is great for beginner and expert gardeners alike. Plant profiles contain precise information on lighting, watering, feeding, and propagating as well as interesting plant facts. They also feature growing tips that will help you understand the idiosyncrasies of each species. You will also find fun plant projects, such as making a living decorative screen or a succulent bowl.
Darryl Cheng has appeared on our blog beforeand that's for good reason! Cheng is an incredible content creator (which we at Southside Plants support through Patreon) and has a very active Instagram page and blog.
Cheng is an engineer by training and brings his no-nonsense observational approach to plant care. This books is a masterful extension of his everyday A+ content. He includes his trademark excellent photos along with a run down on caring for plants, along with care logs. I also enjoyed when he moved into almost Philosophical territory when breaking down what makes a 'hard houseplant' vs an easy. Definitely a book that deserves its place on your bookshelf.
While one of the older books on our list How Not to Kill your Houseplant continues to provide timeless advice for an ever present problem for the houseplant owner. Peerless helps the houseplant owner with good humored tips on recognizing what's wrong and rectifying it. She covers many common houseplants and includes colorful graphics and photographs to demonstrate.
One of my favorite parts is her 'Share the Care' section on her plant profiles where she adds additional plants that receive the same level of care. Sometimes your only a plant killer for certain types of plants and the best way to move forward is to find a plant that thrives under your care and then add a couple similar plants.
Hilton Carter has release several books that look like articles out of a Plant Vogue Magazine. This book is one of my favorites because it shows you how to create some of his famous plant styles at home with easily accessible materials. It's a very fun follow up to his Wild Interiors book. If you are looking to create a staghorn fern mount or an epic propagation station, this book is a must have.
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