Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
The House Plant Expert
The House Plant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon, (Sterling Publications, 1992; $18) is a combination of in depth pictorial encyclopedia and general care manual for many common and exotic indoor plants. It provides many useful tips for placing houseplants around the home and also goes in depth about common insect pests and their control. I use this book frequently for reference and find it an invaluable part of my gardening library. Flowering plants, terrariums, cactus and tropicals are all covered in this useful and informative resource.
Favorite or New Plant
We take them for granted here in the West, but on the East Coast, agapanthus flowers sell for $5 per stem at the flower market. Most westerners think of this hardy landscape plant as snail food, although snails don't eat it, they just hide in the dense, strappy foliage.
Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) is one of the staples of western landscaping. They're planted along highway medians, fence lines, curb strips, and waste areas. In ideal conditions, agapanthus prefers full sun, rich soil, and ample water, but it will grow in just about anything. However, they don't bloom profusely in the shade.
After a few years the plants will need to be divided. Dig the shallow roots after the plant has finished flowering, chop the foliage into several clumps so that each has a bit of foliage and roots, and plant in containers or back into the garden.