Sunday, March 21, 2021

Herbal Houseplants: Grow beautiful herbs - indoors! For flavor, fragrance, and fun


Herbal Houseplants is a tutorial and culture guide for herbal plants to grow (for use) indoors written by Susan Betz. Due out 13th April 2021 from Quarto on their Cool Springs Press imprint, it's 176 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats.

The first thing that struck me about this book is how positive and upbeat and encouraging the author's voice is. It's a really happy book full of healthy vibrant useful plants. I love herbs and always have pots of herbs in my kitchen windows and greenhouse to bring inside to use during the winter... but this book goes a lot further with decorating and culture ideas for plants, some quite exotic.

The layout is easy to read and follow as well as graphically appealing.  It's well illustrated with lots of relevant color photos. The author covers choosing plants to fit decor needs as well as the culture needs of the plants themselves. There are good illustrations of each of the concepts she introduces (what _is_ indirect light, how can plants be situated to make the most of light without getting burned by having too much of it, what's humidity, how much is enough, when and how much to water, propagation, etc). There are some simple tables included to help readers with culture and troubleshooting. 

The author has included a good overview of tools and supplies also: choosing pots, drainage, materials, soils (one of the best treatments I've seen in a home/hobby book), potting tutorials, watering, pruning, fertilizing, cleaning, propagation, and solving problems. The second half of the book contains a good herbal with a surprisingly broad choice of plants including eucalyptus, tea tree, patchouli, and lots more. They're arranged roughly thematically: culinary herbs, herbs for fun and fragrance, scented geraniums, and "temporary" indoor guests such as topiaries. 

The final chapter includes some recipes for harvesting and use. The book also includes a useful list of resources and suppliers as well as a cross referenced index.

Well written and nicely photographed. Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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