The Plant Rescuer: The Book Your Houseplants Want You To Read
by Sarah Gerrard-Jones
Bloomsbury Publishing, £16.99
When was the last time you saw a crispy leaf in a house plant book? Look at the lush, flawless foliage and plump blossoms in most books about indoors plants, and it is easy to conclude that perfection is the norm. This book sets out to change our misconception. The truth is that leaf drop is part of the normal life cycle, and wilting leaves are an early warning system signalling something needs to change. And, most importantly, house plants do not have to be a throwaway purchase that only lasts slightly longer than a bunch of flowers. We just need to start paying attention to them.
Sarah Gerrard-Jones’s obsession with rescuing house plants was first sparked by seeing moth orchids chucked out by her local DIY shop, simply because they had stopped flowering. The recent surge of interest in house plants has inevitably resulted in an epidemic of poorly specimens, as newcomers discover that their Medinilla or Monstera is not cut out for life in the dark.
The Plant Rescuer takes a refreshingly different approach to plant care. Individual plant profiles are organised not according to plant names, but by their light requirements – the defining factor for success or failure when gardening indoors. There are ‘decision tree’ diagrams that take typical problems, such as yellowing leaves or mouldy soil, and allow you to work your way through the questions to diagnose what’s gone wrong. From watering to air layering, there is clear and concise advice for both beginners and more experienced growers.
Endless articles about the benefits of house plants tell us they boost our mental and physical health: this may prompt a chuckle if your track record includes every plant ending up on a one-way trip to the compost heap. If you consider yourself a serial plant murderer, this book will give you the confidence to stop your killing spree.