How to Keep – Not Kill – Houseplants with Barbara Pleasant

Hit Play

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,

6ftmama flower signature

New Episodes Released Every Friday (1)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and buy the product, the Still Growing Gardening Podcast will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links help support the sho. Thank you for supporting the Still Growing Gardening Podcast!

Heard Weekly on the Still Growing Gardening Podcast

Youre invited join the listener community
Welcome New Members

Maggie Jensen Collins

Les Scott

Dan Hillman

Stephanie Kellogg Martin

Marsha Clevenger Walters

Cathy Bichara Scott

Danielle Iannotti

Bridget Coyle

Sonya Birkam

Michelle Ovens

Sherry Williams Adams

Kara Hatfield Pitts-Salka

Listener AdvisoryBoard (LAB) (2)
Help a gardener
+ their garden grow...
Please Share this Episode

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Still Growing Hotline (1)

What Listeners Are Saying...

I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.

- Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016

Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

- cwaigl, May 29, 2014

Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.

- Corn bug, June 15, 2016

This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!

- So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016

You can always find Still Growing on iTunes or on my favorite app: Stitcher Radio.

Listen to Stitcher

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.
Jennifer Ebeling
Join the Still Growing Listener Community on Facebook! Click here

Leave a Comment