How to Keep – Not Kill – Houseplants with Barbara Pleasant

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Barbara Pleasant (SG584) is back on the show and she's the author of  The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual.

Barbara shares some excellent tips:
- why you should buy plants from low light areas
- Container vs. Plant: who lives? who dies to live another day?
- Pets vs. Houseplants: Addressing Poisonous Houseplant Concerns
- Barbara's trick for harvesting and storing Aloe
- Oldies but Goodies - Houseplant Redux
- Little bitty ferns... charmers for your heart + home
- Topdressing tips

It’s always such a treat for me to chat with Barbara because she is a master in the garden and at the writing desk; she’s been writing about gardening for over three decades.  
Anyway, I thought it would be lovely to get one more show about houseplants in the lineup before the focus turns to growing outdoors and Barbara is just the expert I wanted to chat with.
Published back in 2005, Barbara’s Complete Houseplant Survival Manual has been translated into multiple languages and is one of the best-selling reference books for houseplants on the market.
If you are looking for expert advise for keeping - not killing - your indoor plants, this episode with Barbara is just what the doctor ordered.
Over the years, Barbara has gently guided so many folks on their gardening path - offering advice on both indoor and outdoor gardening.  When it comes to her celebrated book, The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual,   Booklist Review praised that Barbara wrote, "a monumentally comprehensive" guide.
Barbara’s book is expertly organized into three main parts - two plant directories (one on blooming plants and the other for foliage plants), and an in-depth encyclopedia of houseplant care. Here are just a handful of comments people have shared:
I took on the indoor atrium and its plants at my church... and they are thriving thanks to this book.
I am a newbie with plants. When we moved to our new home, the sellers left us a few of their indoor plants ... This book was great.. helped us find what our plants are and how to take care of them. We are positive that our plants will live well.
I learned a lot about proper watering, what to do with waterlogged plants, and how to get certain plants to reproduce from shoots.
I would recommend this book, it has basic info, water, fertilizing, type of propagation, trouble shooting; and a big sec ion on everything you need to know on house plants, from potting to nursing a sick plant; it even has a heart felt section on how to say good-bye to a dead or terminal plant.
I found this guide to have excellent advice with heavy emphasis put on some of the things I had been doing wrong from reading guides:
moving the plant (BAD),
over-pruning (RARELY NECESSARY),
holding onto sickly plants in hopes they will revive in a lush display of gratitude for your patience (just toss it and get something else).
But it really covers the specifics of how to propagate, how to handle pests, how to troubleshoot intuitively, and so on in such a way that I stopped fussing with the plants and found they were much healthier when I wasn't stressing out so much. Learned a lot from this as a beginner.
When I get the chance to connect with Barbara, I notice something that I don’t often experience when I speak with gardening experts.  I find myself caught in her current. It’s not just that she’s ultra knowledgeable; that’s always a must have when you’re speaking with an expert.  It’s that she’s honed her own insights and opinions on all things horticulture and her confidence (a byproduct of years of experience practicing gardening) is something that I find infinitely appealing.
An award-winning, best-selling author, speaker, and passionate gardener based in Floyd, Virginia, (right by the Blue Ridge Parkway), Barbara's bio says this: 
I have the greatest job in the world, which is helping gardeners find neat ways to make the world a more beautiful and productive place. It's also great fun to talk with fellow gardeners, who are a constant source of new and better ideas.
This show has so much info and was so much fun! Enjoy chatting with one of horticulture's finest - a gem of wit and wisdom. 
Let’s learn How to Keep (not kill) our Houseplants from someone I admire so very much - Virginia's own Barbara Pleasant.
For my sign-off today, I leave you with this thought to help you grow...
How can you bring more green into your home?
Do you have houseplants at your front door to greet visitors?
Can you start propagating some new plants to give as May Day gifts to your friends and neighbors?
Spending some time each week tending houseplants is a form of meditation that can decrease anxiety and increase your happiness.

Thanks for Listening!

Still Growing,

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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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