Growing Tropical Houseplants

By Charlie Nardozzi

Winter can be a rough time for gardeners. The lack of greenery and flowers drives many gardeners to try growing tropical houseplants as a way to assuage their desire for summer. Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge about what plants to buy and how to care for them leads to poor specimens that end up in the compost pile come spring. A new book from Ellen Zachos, Tempting Tropicals (Timber Press, 2005; $29.95) not only inspires gardeners to try different types of houseplants, it also provides practical information on how to care for them.

Tempting Tropicals provides the reader with the basics on indoor lighting, humidity control, propagation, pruning, and pest control. The bulk of the book, however, is the section on 175 different houseplants, which contains 200 color photos. You'll not only find the common ficus and begonia, but also unusual flowering houseplants, such as vanilla, frangipani, and pitcher plant. Many of these plants can be moved outdoors in summer to add a tropical feel to your garden. Plus, there is a chapter on fun houseplant projects, such as creating a living curtain of plants in front of an indoor wall, or mounting a staghorn fern on bark.

For more information on Tempting Tropicals, go to: Timber Press.

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