Woman repotting a houseplant


How not to kill your plants is something that I think millions of people ask google everyday. So you are not alone in seeking this advice. Everyone has killed a plant in their lifetime. And it’s great that you are wanting to learn more about plants than just giving up.

The best advice that I can give you to start off with, is just to not over water them. I know for a fact that I do this. I’ll walk into the room and see my little plant and think ‘oh it’s looking a little sad, I’ll just give it some water and it’ll perk up’. Well that sort of attitude will probably do more harm than good. As we will inevitably end up drowning our green leafed friend.

It’s stated on google that we should water our plants twice a month. That sounds easy enough anyway, but the best way to know when to water our plants is by doing the finger test. The finger test is where you place your finger on the soil. If the soil feels a little moist then you should probably hold off on watering it until the soil feels a little drier.

Sunlight. The first thing you learn about plants is that they need sunlight. So our instant reaction is to place them in the window of our homes. Turns out that this is actually really harmful to their leaves. Too much direct sun can cause scorching on the leaves. Bear In Mind that the afternoon sun is so much hotter than the morning sun. So if there is a chance that you might scorch the leaves, remove them from the window. If you have a warm climate I would recommend just not placing plants in your window just so you know that there is no chance of the leaves getting scorched or damaged.

If your leaves have/do become yellow in colour, it could be a sign of root rot. This could happen when the plant has been overwatered or when the water can’t drain away. Therefore, when potting the plant, make sure you have a good drainage system in place. These can be holes in the bottom of the growers pot.

There is a science into looking after plants, but don’t be scared off by it. Just notice the signs, and you’ll be able to fix the problem. But if you want a little extra help.  I would recommend these books. They all have a great knowledge of plants and guides for any situation you want to learn more about. Which I think will give you that confidence boost. Plus who doesn’t like buying books? They’re great for coffee tables and conversation starters.

best houseplant books for beginners

How Not To Kill Your Houseplants: A Beginner’s Guide to Plant Parenting 

This is definitely the book for you if you have ever bought a houseplant and ended up killing it. But that’s okay, because now this book is going to help and teach you where you went wrong. Trisha has filled the book full of pictorial descriptions and illustrations.  So after reading this you will be full of the knowledge on how to care best for your plants. The book will also teach you what plants are right for your space and lifestyle and where to place the plants in your home. This is great as one of the first initial mistakes that we make is where we place them in our homes. You will also learn about the right fertilizers, soils and how to propagate a plant. Which is something I haven’t seen the other books explaining.

New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family

This book is for every indoor plant Mumma. Darryl Cheng offers a new way to grow healthy plants by teaching the art of understanding what your plant might be needing. Or desperately trying to tell you. This book covers all the basic growing knowledge of household plants such as the right watering, containers and recommended species for your room and space. One thing I like about the book is it has this friendly tone, real life stories. Instead of it just being very informative, by using a friendly tone it has made it more relatable. The photos that are used in the book are brilliant and will certainly boost your green thumb confidence, as you will see what is being described. 

Gardening Under Lights

This book is great if you want the responsibility of keeping plants, but have a windowsill that just doest get that much sunlight. The Balcony just doesn’t have enough room for plant pots. Or just a home where there just isn’t a lot of light.

Gardening under lights teaches you a lot about store-bought plants and how to sow from seeds and how to do it all year-round. That succulent will stay alive and you’ll be nursing seedlings whilst harvesting crops from your indoor vegetable garden. Of course, you’ll also need to learn about ornamental plants so everyone who comes to your house can see your nurturing side.

The book is a great guide to learn more about indoor gardening using artificial light. You really don’t need any experience in gardening, buy this book and jump straight in.

The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery 

This book is a source of inspiration for small-space gardening. It has a directory of 60 of the most popular plants to own. From palms and leaves, to ferns and flowering pot plants. This book covers page by page about how to nurture specific plants by using exuberant photography with an easy-to-follow step by step of all the requirements for that plant. It goes into such great detail about the size and how it will grow and when and what to expect when it eventually flowers. Plus there are a bunch of extra tips on caring for the plants, specified for each plant. Which is super cool. 

All of these books will give you advice on what is best for you and your plant. So that you don’t only buy the wrong sort of plant, but where the plant should live and what plants suit your lifestyle. 

As you can tell, every single book offers something a little different. Making them all exceptional plant bibles that not only beginners should read but for people who have kept plants for much longer with more experience.