Whether you’re a new plant parent or you already have your own indoor jungle, we all need expert advice from time to time. It’s for that reason that we’ve gathered this list of the best houseplant books for beginners and more experienced plant owners – and everyone in between.
Perhaps you’re looking for books on plants and flowers that grow indoors more generally. Alternatively, maybe you need one that’s on a more specific topic, like succulents or propagating – or simply one that helps you get kids interested in indoor plants too!
Either way, we’ve done the research and found what we consider to be the best books about plants that you just have to have, no matter what your houseplant needs are.
It also doesn’t hurt that plenty of them are incredible to look at, offering you just the inspiration you may be looking for when building up your own plant collection.
Best houseplant books for beginner plant lovers
1. The New Plant Parent
The New Plant Parent is easily my pick for the best houseplant book for beginners as it’s just so comprehensive while being so accessible for all new plant parents out there.
It’s full of great tips, both at a more basic level and also for when you start to need some more experienced knowledge. For anyone who’s wondered just how light and soil and everything else in between can impact how well your indoor plants thrive, this one’s for you.
The pictures are also incredible, which help to make the truly practical advice even more accessible, as you’re not suddenly faced with just blocks of text that you’re expected to put into practice. Instead, you’ll be walked through how to understand what your plants need – as well as how to give this to them.
2. Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants
Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants is another excellent houseplant care book for beginners. You can always tell when an author really loves the subject matter and that’s definitely the case here.
This superb indoor plant book is full of practical advice on how to grow and care for your houseplants, including a great summary on most indoor plants you’re able to buy at your local gardening center. This means that you’ll basically have a quick guide of plant profiles for almost all the indoor plants you’ll probably own.
If I’m being picky, I personally think the pictures in The New Plant Parent are slightly better in terms of their practicality, which can help if you’re not sure if your plant should look like how it does. Otherwise, though, this book has everything you need from an indoor plant book for beginners.
You may also be interested in: 18 Best Plant Identifier Apps (Actually Tested!)
3. The House Plant Expert
There’s a reason that so many people consider The House Plant Expert book as their houseplant bible. It’s easily the best houseplant encyclopedia out there, with incredibly detailed and useful information on basically any aspect you can think of relating to indoor plant knowledge.
It was first written in 1987, although has been updated a few times since then, and has remained a firm favorite on most people’s lists of the best plant books.
It can be a bit dense, so it’s not going to be the prettiest book to look at. This means that it may not be for you if you want a houseplant book you can display or flip through for inspiration.
However, if you only want to have one book as your go-to for all indoor plant knowledge, you really can’t go wrong with The House Plant Expert.
4. Practical Houseplant
As a very close competition for the title of best houseplant encyclopedia, the Practical Houseplant book is an easy choice.
It contains profiles on 175 different plants, with incredibly helpful information on each of them such as how to care for your indoor plant, repotting and propagation tips, how to deal with each one when it comes to pets, toxicity warnings (great if you have pets) and how to decorate with them.
It’s not quite as detailed as The House Plant Expert (which will always be most people’s houseplant bible) but it’s much better designed, with more pictures and a layout that makes it much easier to read. This means that it’s a great choice if you want to be able to look up the needs of your individual plants and get everything you need at once.
5. Houseplants for Beginners
No list of the best houseplant books for beginners would be complete without the title made for this category: Houseplants for Beginners. The subheading says that this is “a practical guide to choosing, growing and helping your plants thrive” and there’s nothing else that a new plant lover could want to achieve.
My favorite part of this indoor plant book is that it groups 120 types of houseplants in categories from low maintenance to high maintenance. When you’re just starting out with indoor plants, the last thing you need it accidentally buying a super finicky plant that makes you feel like you’ll never grow that green thumb. This means that compiling the book like this makes it much easier for you to pick a plant that suits your personality and your life.
6. Wild at Home
If you’re searching for a houseplant book for plant lovers that’s overflowing with inspiration, this one is for you.
Wild at Home is easily one of the most stylish books on this list, with some of the ways that the author has set out his houseplants almost being like a painting. The goal here is to give you some idea of how you could do the same, and even if your own houseplant collection isn’t as large as his, there are definitely more than enough tips here to take your lounge room to the next level.
And to keep your houseplants as stylish as possible, why not take a look at 21 Best Indoor Self-Watering Planters (That Look Amazing)
7. Propagating Plants: How to Create New Plants For Free
For anyone looking to grow their own plants from scratch, Propagating Plants: How to Create New Plants For Free is great to have on hand.
It shows you how to propagate basically any type of plant, whether it’s fruit trees, orchids or anything in between. The author is a houseplant horticulture expert and you can really tell as it’s so informative, with details that all indoor gardeners, no matter your experience, will be able to learn from.
At the same time, it’s also a very practical indoor houseplant book, with each step of the process explained really well in a way that you’ll definitely be able to implement when propagating from within your own collection.
8. The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery
The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery is a great reference guide for anyone looking for the best houseplant book for doing a quick check on information about different indoor plants.
This isn’t going to be a replacement for, say, your houseplant encyclopedia as it’s not as detailed. Instead, it’s meant to be more of a quick guide houseplant care book, offering an easy way to get a summary of care tips, troubleshooting advice and more about each of your plants.
That means that it’s probably going to be better suited for beginners, but any houseplant owner can certainly benefit from what this book has to say.
It’s also beautiful to look at, with a clean layout and stunning photos of each plant that will really help you understand how to help your indoor plants thrive. In fact, a lot of comments mention people using this as a coffee table book because it’s so well done – although I’ve got a different pick for the best indoor plant coffee table book a bit further down.
9. Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants
Half the fun of owning houseplants is the effect they have on any room, as a well styled plant layout can absolutely lift your room’s decor to new heights. However, it’s not simply a question of slapping some plants around the room and calling it a job well done. Instead, there’s a real art to making sure your indoor plants complement one another and the room as a whole.
This is why, for me, the best houseplant book for styling and displaying your indoor plants is Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants. It is, frankly, a stunning book to look at with all the inspiration you could need for decorating with your plants.
It offers a mix of examples from people who’ve nailed their plant styling and how-to tips for you to do the same thing. You’ll get advice on caring for your plants so they look their best, how to style them and strategies for incorporating your houseplants into your overall decor.
This book is really well structured too. That is, for these kinds of books, you don’t want to have to read it through in one sitting. Instead, it’s the kind of indoor plant book that you can flip open to a section, read for a few minutes (and admire the amazing photos) and then move on to building your own urban jungle.
10. A Beginner’s Guide to Succulent Gardening
A Beginner’s Guide to Succulent Gardening does exactly what it says on the cover – it really is the ultimate step-by-step guide to growing beautiful and long-lasting succulents.
The amount of detail this book has on how to grow, transplant, propagate and troubleshoot dozens of types of succulents is almost unbelievable, making this great for anyone wanting to know everything there is to know about succulents. The pictures are also super helpful for knowing what you should be looking out for.
While I definitely think it’s the best houseplant book for beginners to succulents, it’s not only for complete newbies to indoor plants. Instead, I’d recommend it for anyone looking to focus on succulents instead of a wider range of houseplants, as this book will make sure that the care you’re giving them is perfectly suited to this type of plant.
11. How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged
If you need a “how to houseplant” book because no matter what you do, yours keep dying, this is for you.
How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged is pretty upfront about what it does: it helps to save you and your plants from your non-green thumb. This means that its tips are incredibly practical and easy to implement with your own houseplants, with individual advice on over 100 types of indoor plants so that you can easily check the section on your plant to see where you could maybe improve.
Each section also comes with a range of illustrations to help you diagnose potential problems. To add to this, the book also includes an index where you can look up plants based on what they look like – perfect for anyone who’s a bit overwhelmed by the idea of knowing the exact name of each type of plant that’s out there!
It’s one of the best houseplant books for beginners and would make a great gift to any aspiring indoor gardener who just can’t quite get the hang of it.
12. Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-Round Vegetable Garden
A lot of people seem to think that when looking for indoor plant resources, you’ll only find books on plants and flowers that look good. But houseplants can also be practical, as proven in Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-Round Vegetable Garden.
That is, if you’ve ever wanted to grow vegetables, sprouts, microgreens, herbs and more, this is your book. I genuinely didn’t know just how many of these can be grown inside until coming across this book, as it even explains how to grow things like carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes and kale.
The book also doesn’t show you things that can only be grown inside with thousands of dollars of equipment. Instead, it’s incredibly practical with steps that almost any kitchen gardener will easily be able to follow – without having to spend a fortune.
(And if you have kids, a lot of the reviews mention that getting their kids involved in implementing the steps in this indoor plant book has been a great way to finally get their kids excited about eating veggies!)
13. Ultimate Wonder Plants: Your Urban Jungle Interior
If you want a beautiful plant book to put on display for all the world to see, Ultimate Wonder Plants: Your Urban Jungle Interior will definitely do the job. Its pictures are absolutely stunning, with incredible inspiration for how you could style your own indoor plants (including some tips on just how to do this).
But it’s also perfect if you’re looking for a book that you or your guests can just flip through and disappear for a while into your dream apartments. This is why I’d recommend it if you’re looking for an indoor plant coffee table book, as this really shouldn’t be hidden away on a shelf.
It’s actually a combination of the best parts of two earlier books, Wonder Plants and Wonder Plants 2, that sold out. This means that the contents of this book are the proven favorites that can definite transform your own little urban jungle.
14. Plants from Pips
If you’re looking to get the whole family involved in expanding your houseplant collection, Plants from Pips is the best plant book for getting the younger family members involved.
It’s mainly focused on how kids can use their food scraps to grow indoor plants, so is a great complement to the Indoor Kitchen Gardening book we just mentioned. However, it’s clearly written with its target audience in mind, with easy instructions, great pictures and information that kids of almost any age (around 7 years old and up) will easily be able to put into practice.
15. Oh Say Can You Seed?
For younger children who may not be quite at the stage of getting the message of the Plants from Pips book, the Cat in the Hat is here to help!
While not specifically a houseplant book, Oh Say Can You Seed? is a great option for helping kids to understand the plant life cycle and to see what goes into planting, caring for and growing those houseplants that mom or dad seem to be going crazy over.
If you’re looking to help them learn with a good rhyme thrown in for good measure, you can’t go past this one. It could also be a great strategy to encourage them to help you with looking after your own urban jungle!
Final thoughts on the best houseplant books for beginners
If you’re just starting out on your plant journey, the amount of advice coming from every direction can often be overwhelming. After all, how often should you be watering? Is this window or that one better for my plant? And is putting rocks on top of potted plants the right thing to do?
Well, you can rest assured that the options on this list are some of the best houseplant books for beginners you’ll find out there – and are even great for more experienced indoor plant owners who may be looking to improve their knowledge on their own urban jungle.
Whether you need a houseplant encyclopedia as a new plant parent or are simply looking for a great indoor plant coffee table book so you can lose yourself in other people’s houseplant collection, there are options on this list for everybody.