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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 6, 2006
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
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
on March 24, 2006
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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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2009
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)". That's helpful if you're trying to decide how warm to heat or cool your house in order to best suit your houseplants, but it's not that helpful if you're trying to decide which plants to buy based on the temperature in your house.

I love the title of this book, I'm just disappointed that I didn't like the contents more too.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2007
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. Still, almost all the common species and varieties are in here, and it is very nice to have instructions and tips that are specific to each plant. If you have some plants that aren't in here, you might want to pair this with a more taxonomically comprehensive book, such as The House Plant Expert or one of the houseplant encyclopedias.

I should add that the book is very well written, interesting, engaging, and accessible. I find myself picking it up to look up one thing and an hour later I'm still reading.

Oh, and all my new plants are doing great. Mostly thanks to this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2006
Very intelligent and user-friendly layout, from the botanical pronunciation, vivid photos, color-coded divisions and species charts, to the concise, easy care instructions for a wide variety of houseplants. Very useful to novice gardeners as well as experienced horticulturists. One of the best and clearest houseplant guides currently available.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2007
So many houseplant guides glut the market that it may initially seem difficult to see the need for yet another - but here's something different, offering color photos, a plant ID guide to help those who receive 'mystery houseplants' as gifts, details on low-maintenance plants, and an A-Z of care basics for quick and easy access. Brighter and more detailed than most, THE COMPLETE HOUSEPLANT SURVIVAL GUIDE helps buyers choose the plant which is perfect for environment and care demands.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I love this book. I am new to house plants and had no idea how to take care of them. This book has helped me to understand how to take care of each plant correctly and the trouble shouting that does happen. Each plant has its own page and decribes how to take care of it in an easy to read setup. Again I love this book. I would recomend it to anyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2009
Full color. One plant per page. Easy to find and diagnose your plant problems. Easy to read charts with each plant. Includes sections on regular care in Part IV. The scientific name is given, and you can find the common name in the index as well. Includes cacti, orchids, palms, bulbs, ferns and more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2008
Though it might not be the MOST complete reference for houseplants there is, I found this book very helpful in identifying the basic needs of my houseplants. The book has large colorful photos, is well laid out and has a lot of helpful hints in dealing with common diseases and disorders. Overall, a good reference for anyone interested in learning a bit more about how to best care for in door plants.
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