The Indestructible Houseplant (★★★★★)

Indestructible Houseplant

Tovah Martin   *   Timber Press   *   July 1, 2015   *   288 Pages

I’m slowly figuring out how to mentally survive the long Chicago winters (though this year hasn’t been so bad). Part of my plan is to build up an indoor collection of houseplants so I get some green in my life while the outside world looks bare. I started with two plants, and now I have over twenty. Most of them are doing really well. I like the challenge of figuring out what they need:  how much light, how much water, how much humidity, etc. It’s been a good learning experience, and it makes our house feel happy. Some of my newest:


The majority of my plants right now are of the hardy, low-maintenance houseplant variety, which means they tend to have similar care instructions. But I’ve still been looking for a resource that can easily help me identify which plants I have and give me quick pointers on how I should take care of them. And, for the record, yes, I have the internet, and yes I could (should) just take a picture or write down the name from the plastic container the plants come in. But I’m a book person at heart, and I like to have a physical resource handy.

Well, cue angelic music and halos of light, I have finally found said resource. The Indestructible Houseplant has every houseplant I own within its pages–about fifty varieties listed in all. Each plant has its own big, easy-to-identify picture along with a short introduction detailing its attributes and care instructions.


At the end of each plant’s section is a handy (and brief) chart listing the plant’s size, foliage type, exposure preferences, water requirements, optimum temps, rate of growth, soil type preference, fertilization schedule, as well as potential issues that might come up.

Indestructible Houseplant chart

Not only has this book helped me care for the plants I already own, but it has given me guidance for deciding which easy-care plants I can safely purchase in the future, free from the fear of inflicting death upon innocents. And unlike many gardening books that I’ve read, this one isn’t dry as toast. I completely read through each section and was not only impressed by author Tovah Martin’s breadth of knowledge but also entertained by her playful, friendly, and forgiving tone.

Indestructible Houseplant Tovah Martin
Tovah Martin

In short, I love this book. I’ve already dogeared and marked up pages, because I reference it constantly. This has turned out to be one of the most useful plant books I’ve purchased this season.

4 thoughts

  1. I’m with you. I have lots of plants in the kitchen to get me through the winter. You’re right, this was one of the easiest winters we’ve had in a very long time. Now that I said that, you know we’re going to get 15 inches of snow, right? The book looks wonderful and I’m definitely going to check it out. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, this winter has been nuts! Crazy mild, yet still big ups and downs. It’s weird–but a little green inside always helps to make things happier. I hope you end up liking this book as much as I did. I also just started reading What’s Wrong with my Houseplant?, which I think is going to be very helpful and relevant to me, ha. Seriously, I have three plants (the biggest plants in my house actually) that are STRUGGLING–not dead, but definitely not at their best either. Hopefully I can save them before it’s too late, eek…


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