SG598: Top Easy-to-Grow Houseplants with Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

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Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, a.k.a. The Houseplant Guru, is on the show today and guess what we’re talking about?  Ding! Ding! Ding! You’re right! Her new book on houseplants published by Cool Springs Press called Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants.
 
In September of last year, The Washington Post wrote an article about the resurgent interest in houseplants called Millennials are filling their homes — and the void in their hearts — with houseplants. Those smart Millennials! If you (like so many millennials), are filling your house with houseplants, you’ll love today’s chat with Lisa.  One of the things I appreciated the most about Lisa’s book, is that she divided the 125 houseplants featured in her book into three helpful categories: Easy to Grow, Moderately Easy-to-Grow, and Don’t-Try-This-at-Home-It’s-A-Waste-of-Money-and-Time-and-You-Really-Need-That-New-Pair-of-Shoes. Just kidding. It’s actually just called Challenging to Grow. (Which actually doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? Still - be careful here.)
 
Now, guess which one we spent the most time talking about? 
You’re right, again - the easy-to-grow category because that’s the sweet spot. These are the plants that are the best investment of your time and money - and the plants that will give you the most personal satisfaction.
 
Here’s what you are going to love about Lisa: she’s totally down-to-earth and she’s a conscious competent.  I’m also betting she must be an incredibly wonderful mom and wife because her understanding family has made room for over 1,000 houseplants thriving under Lisa’s care and supervision.  Bonus for us:Lisa can talk about houseplants all the livelong day! It’s so nice to have nice long talks with fellow garden geeks, isn't it?
 
I had learned about Lisa’s new book Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants when it first came out but it wasn’t until I heard Lisa’s interview on Episode 312 of the Vegetable Gardening Show Podcast with host Mike Podlesney that I knew I wanted to talk to her. In about three minutes of listening to that show, it was super clear to me that Lisa is wonderfully practical and conversational - and that’s the kind of person you want to talk to about houseplants. So I tracked her down!!
 
Always eager to learn more, Lisa is a member of an African violet club, and the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society.  Lisa grows an enormous amount of wonderful houseplants in her Michigan suburban home. They're on the windowsills, they’re in the kitchen, their tucked in little clusters in every single room, they’re under electric lights… You get the point. Yet, this little factoid caught my attention: Lisa also has many prized legacy plants from her great grandmother and other relatives that have stood the test of time and would totally qualify as antiques as they are many, many, many decades old. And, this love of propagating and sharing and passing on houseplants? Yeah - that’s something the women in Lisa’s family grew up knowing how to do. Now, THAT is super cool.
 
Now, let me just make sure to mention that today’s show is what I call a "feel good" episode - meaning you’re going feel a whole lot better about your houseplant failures (and successes) after listening to Lisa today.  Lisa and I talk all kinds of houseplant advice - her thoughts on lighting, watering, pests, fertilizer, temperature - and did I mention lighting? Yeah, that one’s soooo important. So star that in your mind so you can access it in that ever-growing garden library you’re building in your brain.  
 
Now before we get going, I thought I’d share a little excerpt from the introduction to Lisa’s new book to give you an idea of Lisa’s easy-going, down-to-earth manner and her abiding love for houseplants:
 
“We all have the need to nurture and care for other living things. Maybe you aren’t ready for a cat, dog, or fish, but bringing home a houseplant can fulfill that need.  Place a plant on the windowsill and it will add living beauty to your home. Wake up every day and it will greet you as it cleans the air and improves your mood.  Houseplants ask for so little but add so much life to a home.  The care of that green friend (love that!) falls solely on the owner…  
 
Yet having a green thumb is just a matter of paying attention to the needs of your plants and noticing when they are trying to tell you something.  
 
This book will show you how to do that.”
 
Well, Amen to all of that.
 
To borrow a line from Norman Vincent Peale - let’s figure out how to make some green friends and influence them! It’s time to get houseplanting with The Houseplant Guru. The woman with over 1,000 houseplants in the home she share with her very understanding hubby, John **Aren’t all good guys named John? (My boy!)**, Michigan’s own Lisa Eldred Steinkopf.

Thanks for Listening!

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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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