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The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants Paperback – September 1, 2005


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The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping  (Not Killing) More Than 160 Indoor Plants + Indoor Plants: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Caring for Houseplants + Complete Guide to Houseplants
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580175694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580175692
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Even the most intrepid outdoor gardeners frequently admit that indoor plants under their care have an expected lifespan roughly equivalent to that of a mayfly. Whether one has just been given his or her first pot of grocery-store ivy or has been growing intricate bonsai for years, everything the indoor gardener could ever want to know about how to select, tend, and enjoy houseplants is contained in Pleasant's monumentally comprehensive yet straightforward and easy-to-follow encyclopedia covering more than 160 houseplants. Following an enlightening introduction that discusses the history, uses, and benefits that houseplants bestow, the manual is divided into three main sections. The first two are plant directories offering in-depth plant profiles of first flowering, then foliage, houseplants. The third is an extensive compilation of houseplant-care topics, from acclimatization to watering. With vivid color photographs, precise illustrations, appendixes listing helpful resources, definitions, and a cross-reference chart of botanical and common names, this is a must-have manual for anyone who shares home or office space with potted plants. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Cursed with a brown thumb?…Barbara Pleasant has come to your rescue."—Stephanie Bloyd, Mother Earth News, August-September 2006

More About the Author

I have the greatest job in the world, which is helping gardeners find neat ways to make the world a more beautiful and productive place. Writing feature article for Mother Earth News and other magazines helps to break up long stretches spent on books, and it's also great fun to talk with fellow gardeners, who are a constant source of new and better ideas.

Customer Reviews

This book will be very helpful in caring for my houseplants!
S. Hyatt
Specific details on the care of individual plants as well as sections pest management with recipes for non-toxic sprays for pests, potting, watering, etc.
Emily A. Lewis
The semi-hard cover and flexible binding make the book easy to flip through and the attractive lay-out and page colorings make this book a joy to use.
Phillip O.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on February 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This well organized and informative book covers 160 houseplants. Arranged in 3 sections - "Blooming houseplants", "Foliage houseplants" and 'Houseplant Care," the tops of the pages are color-coded for fast access. Plants are listed by their botanical name but you can look up their common names in the index or a Botanical/Common Name Cross Reference chart in the back of the book. Almost all plants are given a 2 page spread which includes a description, a chart with specifications indicating light levels, temperature, fertilizer, water and soil needs, repotting advice, longevity, propagation techniques, selection and display tips. A troubleshooting guide provides characteristics of what to look for if a plant is in trouble and what you should do about it. Plants with various varities, like bromeliads, bulbs, cacti, orchids, ferns and palms are covered in more expanded sections. The color photos (included for each plant) are outstanding. The final chapter, "Houseplant Care," covers aspects such as containers, fertilizers, insect pests, propagation, plant characteristics and identification tips, terrariums and watering techniques. The semi-hard cover and flexible binding make the book easy to flip through and the attractive lay-out and page colorings make this book a joy to use. A must-have reference for serious houseplant growers!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Each plant merits a color photo, making them easy to spot the one you want. The care instructions include light temperature, fertilizer, water, soil, repotting, longevity, propagation, selections (varieties), and display tips. The plants that are particularly easy-to-care-for are marked with an icon so beginners can spot them.

In the back is a cross reference with the botanical name and the common name.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Margaret D. on March 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after seeing it reviewed positively in another publication, and I'm glad I did. It offers simple, straight-forward, and clear information on caring for numerous plants found in houses. The pictures are also great, making it easy for you to recognize those plants you just can't name.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Logan D on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was so excited to get this book, and thought that it would be so helpful to me in taking care of the plants that I already had and also to help me to buy new plants. My first disappointment was that very few of the plants that I already owned seemed to be in the book. I don't have unusual house plants, just things that I have found at pretty standard stores. I was disappointed, but decided that I would go the other way around - I would choose plants that were in the book, and then go to the nursery to buy those. I chose about 30 plants out of the book as options for things to buy, but to my surprise the nursery only had a few of those. I don't know if the problem is that there are just too many houseplants for a book like this to be useful, or what.

As far as content for the plants that are covered, I would give the book four stars. It's pretty good and pretty well organized. It includes information about watering and sun as well as troubleshooting for common problems (though again, the problems that I tend to have with my houseplants are often not listed). It lists ideal temperature ranges for each plant, but I wish that it also listed the range that the plants can tolerate. I don't heat my house very warm in the winter time, so I was really hoping that the book could help me to choose some plants that could make it through the winter at my house, but it doesn't. For example, I know from experience that jade plants can tolerate temperature extremes fairly well - they do fine at least as low as 45 degrees and also in the heat during the summer. But the book lists the temperature range for jades as "average room temperatures (65-75 degrees F)".
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By black thumb on June 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Until recently my houseplant experience was limited to two spider plants and a ficus, both of which I managed to kill in about a year. I actually credit the plants for holding on so long, since they got horrible light, no fertilizer, and a little water every other month.

I recently decided to give it another go, but I was fairly nervous because I didn't know anything about how to take care of houseplants in general, let alone the special requirements of the commonly available varieties. I checked out several books before settling on this one, which is a good compromise between encyclopedic coverage of different plants and practical advice about plant care. Each of the 160+ plants in the book has at least one page of information and at least one full-color photo (sometimes more). The entry for each plant gives some basic information, specific requirements and things to watch out for, and a short troubleshooting FAQ. The book is divided into three parts, on flowering houseplants, non-flowering houseplants, and houseplant care. The final section on houseplant care goes into a lot more depth on just about every topic under the sun, including soil, light, water, fertilizer, seasons, training, propagation, leaching, repotting (and potting up, and top-dressing), and has a lot of helpful illustrations to get you through. At the end of the book there is a big list of resources, including plant clubs and sources for more in-depth information.

Right now I have 17 houseplants, all chosen without benefit of this book, just because they looked nice. But they're all in here. The book is NOT comprehensive, though--160 species is a lot but it is hardly exhaustive, and your local garden center or home supply warehouse probably has plants that aren't covered here.
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