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Comment: Ex-library softcover book. All the usual marks/stamps. Heavy wear to cover and edges of pages. minor water damage , still a good readable copy. Curled corners on cover
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The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home Paperback – August 28, 2012

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The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home + The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature + Tiny World Terrariums: A Step-by-Step Guide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781604692433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604692433
  • ASIN: 160469243X
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


For those who have tired of spider plants and cactus, garden writer Martin (The New Terrarium) suggests a year’s worth of new options. She begins her tour in autumn (the start of the indoor gardener’s year) and offers dozens of tempting suggestions. There are familiar bulbs and unexpected conifers, fruiting trees, and carnivorous plants. Each plant listing includes a photograph and an information box describing its flower, foliage, cultivation requirements, and potential problems. What really sets this apart from other reference guides are Martin’s imaginative choices. She dares readers to invite conifer trees and summer coleus inside for the winter and explains how to help the plants thrive there. She lures readers beyond the Christmas poinsettia to the whimsical, Dr. Seussian charm of a holiday Echeveria. She offers fruit, fragrance, foliage, and flower. Clineff’s full-color photographs provide plenty of inspiration for the home gardener and decorator. This is an imaginative guide to bringing the delights of the garden indoors.
(Library Journal)

“All indoor plant hobbyists in every geographic area will enjoy and learn from this book. Its fresh approach deserves a thumbs-up.”

"Will boost the confidence of even the most black-thumbed houseplant owner. Martin’s can-do enthusiasm is infectious, her creativity inspiring."
(Design New England)

"As the air gets crisper outside, it’s time to rethink what plants can do to enliven our interior spaces. Tips on how to care for ordinary and not-so-ordinary species are revealed, so non-green thumbers need not fear."

(The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Refreshing in the world of garden books."

(Traditional Home)

"[Martin] has a witty, creative voice that warms her new book."


"This isn’t just another book on houseplants; it’s an invitation to adventure."


“This book engenders so much enthusiasm for indoor flora that you can find yourself outdoors with a shovel in your hand robbing your own garden of plants to bring inside.”

(Winston-Salem Journal)

"...informative, entertaining and really beautiful."

(The Patriot-News)

“Good choice for plant geeks and anyone tired of the same old peace lilies, ivies and Boston ferns.”

(The Daily Hampshire Gazette)

“Martin’s book makes one look very differently at the whole houseplant phenomenon. It isn’t so much a practical guide…as a challenge to think outside the box when trying to bring the outside inside.”

(The Amherst Bulletin)

Provides an incredible array of unusual plants for growing indoors.

(The Chronicle Herald)

“[Proves] there is a plant for pretty much every spot in a house.” 

(Pacific Horticulture)

"A smart, stylish book on indoor gardening."

(Country Gardens)

"Tovah Martin’s newest book is no dry encyclopedic volume: Her personal, engaging writing style is as entertaining as it is informative."

(The Seattle Times)

“[Martin] writes in a captivatingly personal way [with] exuberance and deep knowledge… [will] keep you reading.”

About the Author

Tovah Martin emerged from 25 years working at Logee's Greenhouses with a serious houseplant addiction. Author of the classics The New Terrarium and Tasha Tudor's Garden, Tovah has written more than a dozen gardening books. She served as garden editor for Victoria magazine throughout its lifetime and has been named the new Victoria's Writer in Residence for 2012. In addition, her articles appear in a broad range of magazines and periodicals, including Country Gardens, Garden Design, Coastal Home, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, Connecticut magazine, Yankee, The Litchfield County Times, and The Daily Telegraph. For two years, she served as segment producer and frequent guest on the PBS television series Cultivating Life, and she is a repeat guest on the CBS Sunday Early Show. Tovah teaches houseplant cultivation to Master Gardeners and lectures extensively throughout the country.

An accredited Organic Land Care Professional through NOFA, Tovah gardens fanatically and organically both indoors and throughout her seven-acre Connecticut garden. In addition to bestowing their Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for "outstanding literary achievement" on Tovah in 2008, The Garden Club of America and the Litchfield Garden Club awarded Tovah honorary memberships. People, Places, Plants magazine called her "one of the top 10 most influential educators in gardening" and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society honored her with their Gold Medal "for extraordinary service to horticulture, especially greenhouses and indoor plants."

You may also be interested in the author's own Web site,

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Beautifully written with great photos, and good information.
They are happy and healthy and natural looking, as Martin's plants are.
Kindle Customer
I recommend this book to anyone who has even a few houseplants.
Sheila Ary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Nemrac on November 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have a huge collection of houseplants and houseplant books, and I have to say of all my books on houseplants, this one is my absolute favorite book for houseplants. Most houseplant books just go into minor details about the plant and really give no useful information. I beleive most people that write houseplant books don't even hardly do any research on houseplants and I have to say some books seem to be written by people who have never even owned a houseplant...But the author of 'The Unexpected Houseplant' went above and beyond writing a book on houseplants....first of all, she doesnt write about the basic, boring houseplants like spider plants, peace lilies, the everyday houseplant that anyone can grow, she writes about the unusual and more rare houseplants, the kind that anyone who collects houseplants really like and collect themselves. And when I saw the sections on the Pregnant Onion and Bowiea volubilis, I got very excited...hardly anyone puts those plants in houseplant books. And the author doesnt just write a quick section on plant needs like watering and light requirements (which she does at the end) but writes a good few pages on each plant about her personal experience with the plants.

If You are a real collector of houseplants and need a book on the more unusual plants, then this book is a must have. Actually I would even recommend this book to people who just have a few houseplants too, this book will make anyone want to go out and hunt the plants in this book down.

This author wrote this book in the four seasons, cause when you think about it, our houseplants and houseplant needs do change with the seasons.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By DL on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Recipient of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Gold Medal particularly for her proficiency in both growing and educating people about indoor plants, Tovah Martin has compiled some interesting choices for your indoor gardening experience. Martin delves into 29 categories of Autumn/Winter plants and 16 categories of Spring/Summer plants and even adds in a few plants she doesn't recommend.

Each section has both the scientific and common names for each plant and it's variations, blooming capabilities (or not), size and foliage descriptions as well as general care, maintenance and disease tendencies. Carefully read the [Problems] section before selecting your plants as this is where Martin includes toxicity to humans and animals.

Complete with full color illustrations, side tips about growing indoors, success stories, common pitfalls, and finished with a complete index, Tovah Martin has added another beautiful volume to her growing collection of gardening books.

Digital galley copy generously provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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Format: Paperback
Since it seems to rain every time I want to go outside lately, gardening with houseplants is looking more and more appealing for winter and spring, and Martin's suggestions for unusual plants to grow indoors are hitting the mark.

Instead of telling us to search far and wide for rare varieties of houseplant, Martin takes a different tack: why not look at some plants that have traditionally been planted outdoors, but perform well and look great inside? This clever perspective means that most of the "houseplants" I have fallen in love with have been readily available at my local nursery.

While this influx of exciting new ideas for houseplants hasn't been easy on my pocketbook, I'm having a blast scouting the nurseries and poking around the house for innovative containers, plants and top dressing materials to dress up my office and home. The author has an artistic eye and puts together beautiful, artful combinations with her plants that are inspiring me to try to do the same.

My only small complaint is that just a few of the plants she shows growing "happily" indoors look a little weak and chlorotic to me (like the passionflower) - but then, the value in a book like this is in the inspiration to try new things and go outside the normal houseplant section to get some new, fun ideas, and this book is wildly successful at that. If I have a 70% success rate, guided by her ideas, I'll feel it was very a worthy effort indeed.

Overall - if you're ready to be inspired to do some gardening indoors in the off months, and want to see some beautifully-presented ideas and photos, this is a great starting point. Pair it with D.G. Hessayan's classic book The House Plant Expert for a more complete library that covers both the basics and the unusual selections.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stella Neves Elbaum on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
disappointing - a summary of tropical plants overwintering in the author's home ( that sounds like a greenhouse - not a place where people really live comfortably). I wanted some suggestions of unusual houseplants to add my collection, and how best to care for them, and this wasn't it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Las Vegas Vern on May 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was not what I expected. I thought there would have been more deatail to "planting" and more detail as to "what" plants to grow inside the home, but it described more of the author's home.
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