Books & Literature

Book Review: Plantopedia: The Definitive Guide to House Plants, by Lauren Camilleri & Sophia Kaplan

GARDENING: A definitive guide to keeping happy, healthy houseplants in any space.

A must read for those wanting to green up their homes with living foliage and keep it alive!

Camilleri and Kaplan both have professional backgrounds in interior architecture and are the brainchildren behind Sydney-based interior design nursery Leaf Supply. This is their third collaboration, the first two being Leaf Supply and Indoor Jungle.

Their obvious love for indoor plants is evident in this very large hardcover tome, discussing over 150 plants. Each includes detailed information regarding care, trouble shooting, and some extra tips and tricks.

The book begins with how we can connect with plants, followed by a brief history of houseplants. Each of the 150 entries has a simple sidebar with information on care level, required light, watering, soil, humidity, propagation, growth habit, and position. Toxicity, very important if you have children and pets, is also part of the text.

Each double page, devoted to a different plant, has a beautiful photograph: something that would help the novice to identify those unnamed plants already in their home.

The two main sections: Foliage Plants and Cacti and Succulents have also been split into sub-families of plants.

There is a lovely glossary[sm1]  at the end of the book for those who are plant-challenged and a visual index with a small photo of each represented plant gives an overview of all the plants. This overview is also split into novice, green thumb and expert sections. A lovely touch is the two indexes at the end. One has the botanic names and the other the common name used. This makes it much more user-friendly. The frontispiece is beautifully done with pictures of plants on a black background.

Plants have again become extremely popular in homes around Australia and this book definitely helps both the avid gardener and the uninitiated to find the perfect plant for every spot in the house. You might see a plant out one day that you like and then be able to come home and discover its name. You may just like to browse the book and find one you don’t recognise and have a try at growing it. Or you may like to try propagating to give small versions of your successes to friends and family for Christmas.

Definitely a book for both the avid indoor gardener and those who just like to dabble. There is sure to be at least one plant that appeals. Even if you do not want to grow your own plants, it is a lovely book to just browse and soak in the beauty of a house plant. Plantopedia would make a great present for a loved one.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Smith Street Books
Released: October 20020
RRP: $59.99

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