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Terrain The House Plant Book

Terrain: The House Plant Book – review

Terrain: The House Plant Book is reviewed by Claire Masset, a garden writer and publisher.

Our review

A beautifully crafted and written book that is likely to appeal both to the novice and to the established houseplant nut.

The House Plant Book: An Insider’s Guide to Cultivating and Collecting the Most Sought-After Specimens
by Melissa Lowrie
Artisan, £27.99
ISBN 978-1648290909


Do we really need another house plant book? It appears we do. Because the team at Terrain, the acclaimed US garden, home and lifestyle brand, and author Melissa Lowrie – who has worked for Terrain since its inception in 2008 – have produced a visually and textually inspiring tome that will appeal both to the novice and the established houseplant nut.

The essentials – soil, water, light, humidity, pests and diseases – are presented in a clear, digestible style, with added hints and tips. Forays into plant science explain reasons behind the practice, making this more than a straightforward DIY gardening book: it empowers gardeners to develop their craft, stimulating them to create their own potting blends, have a go at propagation, and really experiment with plants.

At the heart of this book is a simple premise, says Lowrie: ‘The most important thing you can give your plants is your presence.’ She encourages readers to develop a ‘deep familiarity’ with houseplants. Part of this comes from an understanding of their origins and requirements, but also from careful observation and patience.

At the heart of this book is a simple premise: ‘The most important thing you can give your plants is your presence.’

The bulk of the book rightly concentrates on the plants themselves. Each chapter focuses on a theme – from Trendsetters and Small Wonders to Living Sculptures and Unfussy Friends – meaning you can, if you like, tailor your reading to your own gardening preferences. Alongside detailed plant descriptions are inspirational pages on styling houseplants, as well as features on specialist growers, all with stunning photography.


If you love plants, you’re likely to enjoy this book. Why? Because it follows its own advice. It has been produced with the utmost care and attention. Beautifully crafted and written, it is comprehensive and inspiring – and fascinating to boot. Who knew that the leaf shape of vining aroids changes depending on whether they are trailing plants or climbing ones?