I am an avid houseplant gardener with scores of houseplant books. This book and Taylor's Guide to Houseplants are the two I reach for first. The House Plant Expert has been a classic for over twenty years.
Each plant has a lengthy description with color drawing and color photographs. This book doesn't skimp anywhere. It is a great advantage to have both photograph and drawing. They serve different functions in helping you visualize the plant in your home.
There is a great section (under each plant listing) called "Secrets of Success" – a good thumbnail view of the basic care of that plant. Some plants also have a section called "Special Problems" which quickly tells you what to do about certain symptoms. Some plants such as Philodendron and Begonia also have a section called "Types" which illustrates and describes the various types of that plant. These descriptions are well thought out and well executed.
The book also has sections covering the basics. How to: select plants, display them, care for them, repot them, propagate them, and what problems to expect. It's a mighty fine book – very user-friendly.
This latest edition lists all the plants A to Z by their botanical name. Interspersed with that are groups of plants such as Bulbs, Food Plants, and Fun Plants. Under Food Plants, he has okra, complete with photo and instructions. I guarantee you won't find that in most house plant books.
Sterling Publishing, New York, (800) 367-9692, www.sterlingpub.com, 1999, 0-903505-35-5, 256 pages, color photographs and drawings, paperback, $17.95