It started with one little peperomia, picked up on a whim at Trader Joe’s. Then it turned into browsing plant sales on Facebook Marketplace and in local plant groups. And just a few weeks later, I had six houseplants sitting on my shelves. I loved having some indoor greenery, but quickly realized I was in over my head when it came to understanding their watering schedules and lighting needs.
So I did what I always do in these situations, and headed to the library for some guidance. I reviewed dozens of books about houseplants (I’m nothing if not thorough when I’m determined to learn something new), and found these seven indoor gardening books to be the most helpful for my new identity as a plant parent.
Whether you’re an outdoor gardening pro who wants to add houseplants to your life, or a “never kept a plant alive in your life” beginner, we’ve got just the gardening books for you.
1. The Indestructible Houseplant by Tovah Martin. Want to become a plant parent, but are afraid you’ll kill all your plant babies? The Indestructible Houseplant aims to eliminate the words “brown thumb” from everyone’s vocabulary. Every plant in the book can thrive in less-than-ideal growing conditions if you treat it right, and every one is difficult to kill.
2. Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf. If you are looking for one page guides on how to care for each kind of houseplant, this is the book for you. Plants are sorted by difficulty of care, and there is a visual plant index to help you figure out how to care for that mystery plant marked only “foliage” or “greenery” that you brought home from the grocery store.
3. The New Plant Parent by Darryl Cheng. While this book does cover how to care for and propagate plants, its real value comes from helping readers understand the whys behind plant care. By learning to care for a plant holistically, and tapping into how each plant would grow in nature, you’ll be able to raise happier, healthier plants.
4. Grow in the Dark by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf. This book is a great place to start if you’re a beginner who doesn’t have a bunch of big, bright windows in your home or office. It profiles 50 low- to medium-light plants and how to care for them.
1. Growing Healthy Houseplants by Ellen Zachos. This black and white no-nonsense book may not be full of beautiful photos like some of the others, but it is packed with valuable information about light, water, and everything else you need to know to raise healthy plants.
2. Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants by Hilton Carter. If you want to be inspired by lush plant arrangements in other people’s homes, this is the book for you. Carter’s home, filled to the brim with over 200 plants, is nothing short of awe-inducing. Beyond that, this book covers everything from styling with plants and incorporating plants into your existing space, step by step instructions for propagating your plants into more plants, and a list of beautiful suggested plants.
3. Houseplant Care Cards. Though not a book, per se, these care cards are our go-to when we bring home a new plant and want to check up on its care needs. It’s a great resource for troubleshooting individual plants, too, as the back of each card talks about what kind of problems or pests each plant may be vulnerable to.’
Any combination of these indoor gardening books should get you on your way to feeling more confident as a plant parent. Happy reading!