Back when I was a student at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, my room in residence resembled a miniature jungle. At one point, I had over 100 plants in that room, ranging from tiny lithops (living stones) to sprawling English ivy and philodendrons, to colourful African violets.
Although I don't have quite so many indoor plants these days, I still have quite a few. There has never been a time since I was in my mid-teens that I haven't had houseplants, and I can't imagine ever NOT having them. They are like cats in that respect--they are part of who I am.
Often when people come to visit, they admire my plants and tell me how they can't grow indoor plants because they have a black thumb. I don't accept that label, though. As with gardening outdoors, anyone can have great indoor plants. You just need to match your home conditions to the correct plants.
Happily, two new books have been published to help would-be indoor plant gardeners overcome their fear of failure.
I will admit to a personal bias with one of the authors of Indoor Plant Décor; Kylee Baumle of Our Little Acre and I have been blogging buddies across the miles for almost as long as I've been writing Bloomingwriter. I don't remember exactly how we connected, other than it was in the halcyon days of garden blogs and we all seemed to have much more time in our lives to read and comment on other blogs. I've always loved her style of easy, cheery, thoughtful and encouraging writing, and encouraged her to take a step beyond blogging into writing for publications. So I was incredibly excited when she told me that she and Jenny Peterson were collaborating on this book.
Kylee & Jenny approach indoor plant gardening from a decor angle; matching your indoor plants (or, in some cases, cut flowers) to your decor style. This is the sort of thing that house stagers love to do when getting a home ready to show for sale; the right plants in a home's decor just add that much warmth and personality! You might be the type who loves seeking out great finds at flea markets, or repurposing an item for use as a planter, like this wooden shipping pallet made into a wall-mounted planter...
Perhaps your tastes run more to the clean, serene lines of a Zen interior, where minimalism and just the right accent pieces and plants are the key to creating an inviting home. One large, commanding and handsome plant in the right container, or a cluster of small plants in a simple arrangement, work more effectively in this sort of decor than a clutter of many plants.
Once you have read through the first section of the book, which covers pretty much everything you need to know about caring for houseplants, Steve really gets going. The book's subtitle is "50 Houseplant Combinations to Decorate Your Space", and he provides exactly that many "recipes" for plant combinations. Each recipe tells you right at the beginning what sort of light conditions, moisture, and humidity requirements you'll need for the project, and provides a shopping list. You can plant a miniature herb garden of rosemary and thyme for a sunny window...
The only challenge readers may find with either of these books is sourcing some of the plants. If you have local greenhouses that carry a good selection of plants, you're in luck; otherwise, you may need to haunt department, grocery, and big box stores, and scoop up plants from these sources. The good thing is, both books offer such a wide selection of plant choices you can easily substitute if you can't find, say, a mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis) or a ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas). For those of us who are enduring a winter of endless snowstorms, indoor gardening is the perfect way to get our gardening fix now. You'll love both of these books, so I suggest you get both of them!