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Tempting Tropicals: 175 Irresistible Indoor Plants Hardcover – 16 Dec 2005


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Thorough practical advice on 175 plants that are native to both tropical and temperate regions encourages the houseplant enthusiast to experiment with flowering vines, petite carnivorous plants, maples, palms, and many more. Bookseller 20050415 A well-rounded reference ... entries include something for every taste, from oddly alluring species to dramatic, architectural selections and beguiling flowers. -- Alice Joyce Booklist 20051001 I highly recommend it. Garden Hotline Newsletter 20051101 Tempting Tropicals is a must-have for gardeners interested in exotic plants. -- Russell Studebaker Tulsa World 20051126 The best book on indoor plants I have come across in a long time. -- Suzanne Pierot American Ivy Society Newsletter 20050101 If you're interested in growing tropical plants at home or in a greenhouse, Tempting Tropicals is for you. The author is an experienced, professional gardener who presents a comprehensive guide to growing luscious houseplants. Her enthusiasm proves irresistible. Green Bay Press-Gazette 20060408 Zachos allows gardeners to daydream of sultry climates during those cold, colorless days of winter. -- Judy Lowe Christian Science Monitor 20060425 Ellen's extraordinary enthusiasm is matched by her vast knowledge of the subjects she writes about and she brings both talents to bear in her latest book. -- Patricia A. Taylor Trenton Times 20060504 In this original and comprehensive guide to luscious houseplants, Ellen's enthusiasm, like the plants, is irresistible. Rainy Side Gardeners 20060508 One of the best things about this book is how the clear, informative writing answers many of the questions gardeners at any experience level will have. -- Phil Stapf Hobby Greenhouse 20060401 If you want to create a windowsill collection to rival any outdoor garden in beauty and personality, read Tempting Tropicals. -- Meghan Lynch Horticulture 20061001 Ellen Zachos writes very well. ... This is a book that, even for me, was very hard to put down. -- Greg Asbagh Let's Talk Plants 20060201 Before buying an indoor plant, it's important to determine if it's right for your home. ... Get your hands on a good reference book. Try Tempting Tropicals. Newsday 20080216

About the Author

Ellen Zachos is a garden writer, designer, photographer, and instructor at the New York Botanical Garden. She teaches classes on tropicals, orchids, perennials, annuals, and rooftop gardening, and her company, Acme Plant Stuff, installs and maintains interior and exterior gardens, including private greenhouses and tropical terrariums around New York City. A Harvard graduate, Ellen received certificates in horticulture and ethnobotany from the New York Botanical Garden and lectures frequently for horticultural organizations around the world. Her published works cover topics such as interior landscaping, container gardening, xeriscaping, and annual and perennial plants, and she has been published in Woman's Day, Parenting, and New Mexico Magazine. Ellen is also a former Broadway performer, and her first CD, Green Up Time, combines her two passions, plants and music. She lives with her husband and two cats in Milford, Pennsylvania and New York City.

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Tempting Tropicals: 175 Irresistible Indoor Plants 12 Dec. 2005
By Sheri Ann Richerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Tempting Tropicals by HortResources member Ellen Zachos is clear and concise, easy to read and understand even by those who do not have a degree in horticulture. It is a great reference for 175 tropical plants that are not grown as often as they should be. Each plant profile contains light, temperature, fertilization, and propagation information. There is also a section on winning attributes alongside each plant profile that will make it easier to decide if that is a plant you wish to grow. Ellen Zachos has taken all her own photographs unless otherwise stated.

One section that caught my eye was on clivia. I have grown a blooming-size specimen for five years now and have not been able to bring it back into bloom. After reading Tempting Tropicals, I now have an understanding of what I have been doing wrong. I will be trying the technique mentioned in this book and do expect great success. One thing that Ellen mentioned in her book was to water once a week during the growing season, which I did and to water once every two weeks in the fall until you see a flower spike. I had been withholding water from my Clivia from November to March. I also was not feeding my Clivia weekly during the growing season.

One plant that tempted me was Lithops marmorata. "Living stones" can be tricky to grow. Tempting Tropicals explains how often to water in each season, as well as how to water should you decide to give the plant a winter rest. This is an area most books do not cover.

Other tempting plants include Ceropegia (rosary vine or parachute plant), Costus malortieanus (Spiral Ginger), Dischidia (also known as an ant plant, watermelon leaf or ravioli plant), Hoya (wax plant), Nepenthes hybrids (pitcher plants), Passiflora (passionflower), Plumeria (frangipani) and Vanilla to name just a few. Most of these plants caught my eye because I have either tried to find them to grow them or am currently growing them. Ellen's book is full of wonderful information that I feel will make my growing experience more rewarding because of knowing exactly how much light, water and fertilizer each plant needs.

Tempting Tropicals is a must-have reference in cooler zones for growing houseplants as well as in warmer zones to understand the requirements of tropical plants.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Tempting Tropicals is a horticultural tour de force... 2 Dec. 2005
By tesseractive - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Tempting Tropicals is a horticultural tour de force, packed with detailed information about growth habits, propagation tips, and the soil, temperature and light requirements of more than eight score tropical plants. The fascinating, well written text is ornamented with full color photographs of these exotic beauties that marvelously display each plant's unique attributes. The superb text and photos are presented with the exacting production values that the publisher is well known for in the gardening community. This book is a must for all real phytophiles.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Must have plant book 10 Feb. 2007
By James H. Mortensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're into growing indoor plants this book must be in your library for both information on varieties as well as cultural information. I consider myself very knowledgeable gardner, yet find myself researching things in this book often--especially when adding a new plant species. I'd highly recommend it to anyone whether they had a few plants or a greenhouse full.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tempting Tropicals 24 Sept. 2009
By Sybil Schwencke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Newbie in-door gardener from Singapore (our tropical Garden
City),I was so thrilled to find many species of plants depicted in Ellen Zachos' book,found also here. How so many variaties of plants from far away distant places, made their long journeys to my homeland and survived, is truly amazing. I love the book Tempting Tropicals for it's beautiful photos and informative,easy to understand narrative.
I spent many hours browsing for the best book at Amazon that would suit my needs, and motivate me to become a very good carer of my plants :) I am very happy to have found Tempting Tropicals.
I give Ellen 4 stars for individuality & personalization, forsooth! 6 Aug. 2009
By Breck Breckenridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've been trying to find a good comprehensive book on indoor plants that is at least the equal of my old standby, Foliage Plants for Decorating Indoors by Mr. and Mrs. Elberts (1989, Timber Press)[q.v.]. That book gives info on each plant from the direct knowledge of the authors and as a result has proved to be the best tropical houseplant book bar none, thus far. They give personal observations, recommendations, etc.; whereas 19 out of 20 such books have the usual set of short paragraphs with pedestrian info (i.e. dimensions, temperatures, light requirements, etc.). The Elberts also cover a goodly number of varieties and cultivars one is likely to encounter.

Ellen Zachos' book is a step or two above the usual books one sees all too often in this genre. For starters Ms. Zachos knows her plants, having been employed by the New York Botanical Garden for all love! I like that her book has a personal stamp to it. Too many of these "houseplant books" seem to be written by some impersonal robot. Ellen has picked her plants and not tried to be all things to all. In her introduction she makes it plain that "I want this to be your favorite plant book, the first book you turn to when you're shopping for a new plant...". Wow!

Because she has chosen her plants based in part upon their lack of appreciation, there are some species lacking and I won't be able to "turn to" her book (first) because of that, and will have to again use my Elberts. But having said that, she doesn't spend too many pages on what I call "how-tos"; the majority of the book is about the individual species accounts. And her accounts are truly personal; what a treat after all those other books! I like her opinions; her prejudices, her advice.

I got this book amongst a group of seven indoor plant books from my local library and it is easily the best of the bunch. I will probably buy this one for my library whereas none of the other six will. This book is a little gem and that is high praise indeed from someone as demanding as I am.
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