Best houseplant books

Whether you have just a few houseplants or you’re like me and have a serious houseplant addiction, its good to have at least one or two plant books for easy reference.

These books can help you become a successful plant parent by showing you how to keep your houseplants alive.
I’m not sure about you, but so many houseplant books I came across were very dated and old-fashioned, not very inspiring at all. Thankfully, I managed to find some beautifully modern and up-to-date indoor plant books so I thought I would do quick review of my favourite houseplant books. Each of these books has been written by a team of plant experts and they are suitable for beginners and also those with some plant knowledge. They will help you with plants suitable for your home or office.

This is my recommended list of best indoor plant books….


‘How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged’

by Veronica Peerless


‘How Not to Kill Your Houseplant’ is your guide to every stage of plant parenting for beginners, from identifying exactly what’s in the pot, to helping it flourish and grow.

If you wonder what the crispy bits at the leaf edges are, why the stalks are looking spindly, or why your plant looks brown even though you’ve watered it, ‘How Not to Kill Your Houseplant’ will explain – and fix – your horticultural woes. Understand how much light, water, heat, and humidity your plant needs with quick tips on what your houseplant does and doesn’t like. Learn to spot the danger signs and how to rescue an unhealthy plant, and follow easy advice to pick the top plants for your bathroom, cold rooms, desk, and windowsill to create your own indoor oasis.

(Published 2017)

My personal review:

I’ve listed this book first as it is my ‘go-to’ houseplant book when I need a quick reference. It is set out in a very easy to read manner, it has a photo for each plant and descriptions are short and to the point. For anyone just starting out with houseplants, you need this book! I would definitely recommend it as the best houseplant book for beginners. Saying that, it is even a good book for people with a bit of plant experience. I sometimes forget names of plants or the care needs of a new plant to my collection so it is good to have this book handy. If you are looking for in-depth knowledge about specific plants, this is probably not the book for you.

Check it out here on Amazon


‘Plant Love: How to care for your houseplants’

by Alys Fowler

Houseplants are more than just decorations. They turn a room into a living space and breathe life into our interiors. Not all of us can have a garden or even a window box, but everyone can own a houseplant – and everyone should. Not only are they an affordable and attractive way to add a decorative and personal touch to a space, indoor plants also have unique air purifying properties and their presence is good for our health and wellbeing. In this practical yet inspiring guide, gardening expert Alys Fowler explores all the possible indoor plant options available, helping you to find the perfect plant for any location, from cool, shady bedrooms to warm, sunny kitchen windowsills. As well as more traditional indoor plants, Alys looks at specialist plant groups such as indoor tropical edibles, orchids, cacti, succulents and climbers. With her encyclopedic knowledge and trademark inspirational style, this definitive guide will give you all the knowledge you need to care for your plants.

(Published 2018)

My personal review:

This is a really insightful book, it describes a good range of houseplants with pretty in-depth coverage of each plant and what it needs in order to thrive. It features a houseplant index where plants are listed according to their light requirements: sun, partial shade and shade, which makes it easy for you to decide where to position your plants around your home. It has chapters on edible plants, a plant directory and even a section on how to propagate your houseplants. This is not an encyclopedia of ‘how to care for houseplants’, it is a beautifully written modern book with lots of helpful advice and inspiration for houseplant care.

Check it out here on Amazon


‘How Not To Kill Your Plants’

by Nik Southern



Hands up if you’ve killed a plant? Yep, me too. It’s no secret that we’ve all become plant obsessed, but do we really understand how to look after them?
I am not a Professor of Botany, but having run my florist and plant shop, Grace & Thorn, since 2011 I’ve learnt a few things along the way. ‘How Not To Kill Your Plants’ is about taking the hocus-pocus out of plants and flowers and enabling you to understand a plant’s needs in order to know where to place and how to style them, but most importantly how to keep them alive.
I get asked every type of question you can imagine and I have written this book to answer them.
Watering can down, it’s time to go back to the roots.
Keep it green. Nik.

(Published 2017)

My personal review:

I really enjoyed reading this book; it has lots of helpful tips and ideas to bring the outdoors indoors. It is written in a very down to earth manner, kind of like having a chat with your best friend; a ray of sunshine amidst lots of encyclopedia style plant books out there. It is quite different to the usual plant books. I like that it goes into more detail about each plant (it covers details like where a plant comes from, how not to kill it and how to propagate it etc) and it has lots of lovely pictures. The ‘houseplant hospital’ section is especially useful if you have sick houseplants and aren’t sure what to do. I would recommend this for both the beginner and the those with experience in plant care.

Check it out here on Amazon


‘My Tiny Indoor Garden: Houseplant Heroes and Terrific Terrariums in Small Spaces’

by Lia Leendertz and Mark Diacono


Not everyone has access to outside space or what we traditionally think of as a garden, but we all have window ledges, shelves, stairways and unloved spots in our homes.

‘My Tiny Indoor Garden’ is bursting with exciting ideas and savvy solutions to help you transform any indoor nook or cranny into a peaceful plant paradise. Whether you’re looking for a mini kitchen garden or a sun-loving terrarium, we’ve unearthed an amazing collection of indoor and covered spaces.
Among the 20 gardens featured in the book you’ll find a jungle in a south London sitting room, a colourful cacti collection and a conservatory come orchid house. You’ll pick up all the best tips and tricks as each indoor gardener shares their small-scale expertise, from using an array of bottles and jars to create a display of tiny botanical treasures to turning an antique chair into a lavish plant pot.
Packed with practical advice, the latest title in Pavilion’s exciting gardening series also provides pointers on key aspects of green interiors – from caring for leaves to propagating succulents. Plus, practical projects will help you make the most of every inch, whether you decide to master the art of kokedama or create your own terrarium.

(Published 2016)

My personal review:

I loved this book as it is a little different; it not so much a ‘how-to’ book (although it does cover plant care and re-potting etc) but it’s more about how to arrange plants to look good in your home; lots of fresh ideas. It has beautiful pictures of plants filling people’s homes, much more personal than other plant books, it really invites the reader to have a nosey in real people’s living rooms. There are lots of unusual ideas for houseplant enthusiasts with little space. I personally tried out lots of the suggestions, from growing bulbs in jars of water to creating my own terrarium. A fabulous, quirky plant book.

Check it out here on Amazon


‘The Complete Book of Houseplants: A Step By Step Guide to Plant care’

By David Squire

Description: Houseplants bring life and colour to any room, and with the right care you can successfully cultivate everything from succulents and bonsai to foliage, flowers and fruit. Here is everything you always wanted to know about houseplants packed into one easy-to-use volume.
Horticulturist David Squire provides simple, step-by-step instructions on choosing the right plants and helping them thrive, with tips on propagation, re-posting, grooming and pest control. The heart of the book is a well-illustrated plant directory that offers a fresh perspective on more than 300 popular varieties, arranged by houseplant families.
Each entry features a colour photograph for identification; the plant’s botanical and common names; its height, spread, optimum climate and light; and propagation tips. Other essential information on feeding, watering and grooming is covered in a handy quick reference icon panel.
(Published 1997)

My personal review:
This is an older book, it was published in 1997, but it is definitely up there with one of my favourite houseplant books. It has a detailed section on the specifics of each plant; there are way more plants listed than in the other plant books. It has a great section at the start on choosing plants, it also shows you how to re-pot plants, how to water them correctly and much more.
This is a large book, definitely not one you could carry around, it is quite in-depth and the larger size makes it easier to read and to see the pictures. Granted the photos are a little dated looking now but this book is what it says it is; it is a step by step guide to plant care. Great for beginners and those with more experience with houseplants.

Check it out here on Amazon



Final thoughts…..

If you have houseplants, you should own a houseplant book. Choose any of the books above and they will help you to keep your houseplants alive (and hopefully thriving). If you’re struggling to keep a particular plant happy, it is great to have a houseplant book at hand. There are so many houseplant books, if you have a particular favourite, feel free to let me know in the comments below 🙂


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