Houseplants have been one of my interests since I first moved in with my partner, back in 2014. I was moving into a new build and was concerned about the air quality, and even though I quickly learned that you need a LOT of houseplants to make any real difference to the air quality, I wasn’t put off! I quickly became obsessed.
The intensity of my interest has waned since, but it’s something I’ve kept up with and now my windowsills and bookshelves and various ‘sides’ are overflowing with houseplants, and I regularly give plant babies as gifts.
Along the way, I’ve turned to various books for advice and inspiration. Here are my recommendations if you’re getting into the joy of houseplants or want to take your interest further:
How To Grow Stuff by Alice Vincent
This is probably the first book I read about growing things, and although I don’t own a copy (I borrowed it from the library and took copious notes) it’s definitely the book I would buy for friends and family members who wanted to get into gardening. It’s not exclusively about houseplants, so is best for people who either have a bit of outdoor space, or want to get a bit of outdoor space in the future, and are interested in growing herbs as well as houseplants. If you’re only interested in houseplants, you might prefer my next recommendation.
Living With Plants by Sophie Lee
This is another beginner’s book, but this one is entirely about houseplants. It’s also a beautiful book, so makes a great gift. It has just enough information to get you started without being overwhelming, and plenty of lovely images. What I really like about it is that it includes lots of tutorials for houseplant-related crafts and different types of displays. The author, Sophie Lee, used to run houseplant store geo-fleur, and is now a yarn dyer and the founder of Yorkshire Yarn Fest.
Urban Jungle: Styling and Living with Plants by Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graff
This book is so inspirational! Every page is full of images, showcasing various people’s plant-filled homes, spotlighting particular plants and different ways to style them, and sharing tips and tutorials. This is definitely one for you if you’re excited by the creative potential of houseplants and how they can contribute to interior design.
Tiny Tabletop Gardens by Emma Hardy
This book does what is says on the tin – it’s all about creating groupings of plants that can adorn tables both inside and out (it’s not exclusively a houseplant book). The images and projects are beautiful and it’s one I really want to make the most of in the future. Unfortunately at the moment I’ a little short on tabletop space!
Buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
Root Nurture Grow: The Essential Guide to Propagating and Sharing Houseplants by Caro Langton and Rose Ray
My favourite thing about houseplants is that it’s relatively easy to make more – to propagate them. I love trying different methods and giving plants away to my friends and family. And this book is the propagation bible. It is brilliantly comprehensive and gorgeously designed. This is a must if you want to take your relationship with plants to the next level, or are looking for a gift for an already well-established houseplant lover.
The Houseplant Expert by Dr D.G. Hessayon
This book is out of print and can be highly sought after, and there are lots of different editions floating around dating from as far back as 1960. I was lucky and found the 1996 edition in a charity shop, but there are some copies available on Amazon and it’s worth checking any second-hand bookshops near you. It’s not the prettiest book, the photos are quite dated, but it’s really detailed. Some of the currently-fashionable houseplants aren’t listed, with other plants that are less common now taking their place, however I found this quite interesting as it meant I was reading about plants I’d not seen on a hundred Instagram feeds. I could pore over it for hours!
Buy: Amazon (affiliate link)