Indoor Plants For Beginners, by Anja Flehmig, with photos by Friedrich Strauss
Sometimes you can tell when a book is trying to push a bit of an agenda when it comes to how one takes care of plants. As someone who has read a good deal about plants and how to take care of them, even if my own skills in gardening are somewhat modest, I can tell when someone has an agenda and such is the case here. In this case, the authors have an agenda in trying to push the beginning indoor gardener to use hydroponics to take care of indoor plants. To be sure, there are reasons why this would be good, namely that it provides a way of taking care of plants for those who are not at home regularly. To be sure, this is something that would be of appeal to this reader who spends most of his time working or reading out of the home and generally comes come to sleep and shower and that’s about it. That said, hydroponics will be familiar with most people, if they are familiar with it at all, as a means of growing pot plants indoors, and this book rather coyly does not talk about that sort of growing of indoor plants for fun and profit.
This particular book is about 150 large and beautiful and colorful pages long and is divided into various sections. The author begins with various suggestions for plant care, including finding the right environment for plants, watering (including accessories), fertilizing, providing proper care, and knowing what special care some plants need. after that the author discusses a wide variety of plants, divided by what kind of locations they do best in, from sunny locations (including cacti) to bright locations (including orchids) to partially shaded locations (including hydroponically grow plants) to shady locations (like robust houseplants). After this the author discusses various ways to beautify one’s home with plants and provides some arrangement ideas. After this the book closes with some technical terminology as well as some helpful magazines and books for future reading, an index, photo credits, and copyright information. Even the covers of this book are worth reading, as the back cover in particular provides a handy guide with ten golden rules on how to care for plants and some suggestions on what plants are easy to care for or demanding of various kinds in locations that are sunny, bright, partially shaded, and shaded.
As is often the case with books on plants, this book happens to succeed when it comes to providing a lot of photographs as well as maps on how one can do a good job growing plants indoors, and especially at pointing out which plants succeed the best at various levels of light and where these levels of light may be found based on exposure. Sadly, this book (like many others) does not appear to recognize plant allergies as being something worth talking about when it provides recommendations on what plants to grow. Of course, it is possible that the author does not know the sorts of allergies one can have to indoor plants like the miniature schefflera (which I am sadly allergic to), and might be of the opinion that those who are allergic to plants would do best not to try to grow them indoors, even though the book does give information on how to avoid being poked by some of the succulents and cacti that one could grow and want to move around from time to time. Perhaps the author is simply shortsighted about the barriers to growing plants that some people face, but this is by no means an uncommon problem for writers.