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The House Plant Expert by Doctor D.G. Hessayon, a guide to buying and caring for houseplants in flowering pot and container plants, foliage plants, climbing plants and cacti. Part of the Expert Series of gardening books published by PBI Publication.
The House Plant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon

About the Book: The House Plant Expert

This popular book is not of any significant financial value as it was published in huge numbers, but it is a mine of information for those who have house plants to tend. It is well written with beautiful illustrations throughout.

The copy shown is a reprint of what is described as "The world's best-selling book on indoor gardening". It was originally published as Be Your Own House Plant Expert, with over five million copies printed in eighteen impressions. At the time of publication of this reprint, 1989, a further two million copies had been printed. Books like this are not published in such huge quantities unless they are well prepared and presented, and relevant to the reader.

I keep a number of house plants myself and although much of the information in this book is available online, the presentation of the book is much easier to follow and there's no need to sift through online information which is sometimes misleading or misinformed. The House Plant Expert is arranged in sections, opening with tips for choosing and buying your indoor plants. Much of the available information online is presented by florists and garden centres who have a particular interest in securing your custom: It's therefore nice to read the guidance of an enthusiast who's interest is in sharing a passion, although it is noted below that the author had close ties with an agrochemical company.

After some initial basic guidance the author takes us through the main categories of plants presented in the book: Foliage house plants, flowering house plants, flowering pot plants and cacti. Each section includes A-Z listings with illustrations and outlines of each plant and "Secrets of Success" for each. Not content to stop at that the author then guides the reader through the many general aspects of plant care, including air quality, light, water,, humidity and other basics such as holiday care, re-potting and pruning. The book closes with a useful House Plant Growers Dictionary, which is an A-Z of terms enthusiasts may come across, followed by an extensive plant index.

This is a great book, packed with information. Printed copies are readily available online and in many second hand bookshops.

This book was part of a horticultural "Expert" series

Contents

  • Plants In the Home:
    • Choosing Indoor Plants
    • Buying Indoor Plants
    • Taking Plants Home
    • Displaying Indoor Plants
      • The Specimen Plant
      • The Pot Group
      • The Indoor Garden
      • The Terrarium
  • Foliage House Plants
  • Flowering House Plants
  • Flowering Pot Plants
  • Cacti
  • Plant Care
    • Fresh Air
    • Light
    • Water
    • Warmth
    • Humidity
    • Food
    • Rest
    • Holiday Care
    • Cleaning and Polishing
    • Pruning and Training
  • Pots and Potting
    • Growing Media
    • Re-potting
    • Top Dressing
    • Containers
  • Increasing Your Stock
  • Plant Troubles
    • Plant Collapse
    • Cultural Faults
    • Pests
    • Diseases
    • First Aid for House Plants
  • House Plant Grower's Dictionary
  • Plant Index

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Illustrations appear throughout the book, including many of the most popular house plants

About the Publisher: PBI Publications

Pan Britannica Industries (PBI) is a leading British agrochemical company which became a household name, largely on the back of the success of its liquid plant food: Baby Bio. With a base in Waltham Abbey and a distribution centre in Wisbech (Cambridgeshire), PBI also became well known for producing slug pellets.

As a publisher the company was most active between the late 1950s and early 2000s

Dr. David Hessayon was the company's chief scientist from 1955, and went on to chair the company board in 1972. During this time and beyond PBI published the Expert Series of gardening books penned by Dr. Hessayon, which helped to further establish a relatively small company within an industry dominated by much larger competitors. At the time of publishing The House Plant Expert, PBI's head offices were at: Britannica House, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England (now part of a housing estate).

The company did suffer something of a fall from grace in the 1990s when an independent television company produced a report which suggested there was a high incidence of cancer in the area around the manufacturing plant. At the time the company was owned by the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation. Nothing was ever conclusively proven but some of the products produced by PBI in their hey-day have subsequently been banned in many European countries.

PBI is now owned by Bayer, a German corporation, and still produces its best known product: Baby Bio.

About the Author: Dr. D.G. Hessayon, with a Bibliography

Dr. David Gerald Hessayon is a British writer and botanist who was born in 1928. He wrote the books in the PBI Expert Series: These went on to sell over fifty million copies and become the best selling gardening books in publishing history.

Dr. Hessayon was the son of a landowner from Cyprus. He grew up in Salford, Lancashire (a northern county of England). During his life he's had many achievements:

  • 1950 At the University of Leeds he gained a Bachelor of Science degree in botany
  • 1953/4 He gained a doctorate in soil ecology
  • 1955 He became the chief scientist at Pan Britannica Industries (PBI)
  • 1972 He became the chairman of Pan Britannica Industries
  • 1992 Awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Veitch Memorial Medal
  • 1993 British Book Awards Lifetime Achievement
  • 1999 Recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the best selling non-fiction writer of the 1990s
  • 2007 Awarded an O.B.E.

Many of Dr. Hessayon's books were published by Pan Britannica Industries, but later ones were published by Transworld Publishers Ltd. His writing credits are numerous. In the list which follows reprints are not included unless they were revised editions:

  • 1958 Expert Series: Be Your Own Gardening Expert
  • 1961 Expert Series: Be Your Own House Plant Expert
  • 1961 Expert Series: Be Your Own Lawn Expert
  • 1961 Potato Growers Handbook, written in conjunction with P.G. Fenemore
  • 1962 Silage Makers' Handbook, written in conjunction with Christopher Hugh Wood
  • 1965 Expert Series: Be Your Own Rose Expert, written in conjunction with Harry Wheatcroft)
  • 1967 Expert Series: Be Your Own House Plant Expert (revised edition)
  • 1967 Expert Series: Be Your Own Lawn Expert (revised edition)
  • 1973 The Garden Book of Europe, written in conjunction with J.P. Hessayon
  • 1976 Vegetable Plotter
  • 1977 Expert Series: Be your Own House Plant Spotter, written in conjunction with J.P. Hessayon
  • 1978 Expert Series: Be Your Own Vegetable Doctor
  • 1978 Expert Series: Be Your Own Garden Doctor
  • 1980 Expert Series: The House Plant Expert
  • 1981 Expert Series: The Rose Expert
  • 1982 Expert Series: The Cereal Disease Expert
  • 1982 Expert Series: The Lawn Expert
  • 1983 Expert Series: The Armchair Book of the Garden
  • 1983 Expert Series: The Tree and Shrub Expert
  • 1984 Expert Series: The Flower Expert
  • 1985 Expert Series: The Indoor Plant Spotter
  • 1985 Expert Series: The Vegetable Expert
  • 1986 Expert Series: The Garden Expert
  • 1987 Expert Series: The Gold-Plated House Plant Expert
  • 1987 Expert Series: The Home Expert
  • 1989 Expert Series: Rose Jotter
  • 1989 Expert Series: Vegetable Jotter
  • 1990 Expert Series: The Bio Friendly Gardening Guide
  • 1990 Expert Series: Be Your Own Greenhouse Expert
  • 1990 Expert Series: The Fruit Expert
  • 1991 Expert Series: The Bedding Plant Expert
  • 1991 Expert Series: The New House Plant Expert
  • 1992 Expert Series: The Garden DIY Expert
  • 1993 Expert Series: The Rock and Water Garden Expert
  • 1994 Expert Series: The Flower Arranging Expert
  • 1994 Expert Series: The Flowering Shrub Expert
  • 1994 Expert Series: The Greenhouse Expert
  • 1995 Expert Series: The Bulb Expert
  • 1995 Expert Series: The Container Expert
  • 1996 Expert Series: The Easy-Care Garden Expert
  • 1996 Expert Series: The New Rose Expert
  • 1996 Expert Series: The New Bedding Plant Expert
  • 1997 Expert Series: The New Lawn Expert
  • 1997 Expert Series: The New Vegetable and Herb Expert
  • 1998 Expert Series: The Evergreen Expert
  • 1999 Expert Series: The New Flower Expert
  • 2001 Expert Series: The Pocket Flower Expert
  • 2001 Expert Series: The Pocket Garden Troubles Expert
  • 2001 Expert Series: The Pocket Tree and Shrub Expert
  • 2002 Expert Series: The Pocket House Plant Expert
  • 2002 Expert Series: The Pocket Vegetable Expert
  • 2003 Expert Series: The Home DIY Expert
  • 2004 Expert Series: The Garden Revival Expert
  • 2005 Expert Series: The House Plant Expert Book 2
  • 2007 Expert Series: The Pest and Weed Expert
  • 2008 The Bedside Book of the Garden
  • 2008 Expert Series: The Orchid Expert
  • 2009 Expert Series: The Green Garden Expert
  • 2009 Expert Series: The Expert Vegetable Notebook
  • 2010 Expert Series: The Best of Experts
  • 2011 Expert Series: The Garden to Kitchen Expert, written in conjunction with Judith Wills
  • 2012 Expert Series: The Complete Garden Expert
  • 2013 Expert Series: The Indoor Plant and Flower Expert
  • 2014 Expert Series: The New Vegetable and Herb Expert (revised edition)
  • 2015 Expert Series: The New Fruit Expert

Physical Outline: 

Title: The House Plant Expert

ISBN: 0-903505-13-4

Author: Dr. D.G. Hessayon

Artwork: John Woodbridge, Henry Barnett, June Baker, John Rignal, Jennifer Sumray and Yvon Still

Published by PBI Publications, reprint edition, retitled, 1989

Format: A softcover book

Pages: 128, detailed text, illustrated with colour paintings

Size Approx: 184x238mm

Approx weight: 343g

A comprehensive A-Z guide of houseplants, in sections, with care instructions

Estimated Book Value: The House Plant Expert

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

The Houseplant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon is readily available on the second hand book market. Estimated value of the pictured copy, a reprint edition, which is in VG condition, £5

Estimated value of the same book in Mint condition, £9

External Links:

(opens in a new window)

Foliage house plants

Flowering house plants

Flowering pot plants

Cacti

Book sellers

Creating a terrarium

Pan Britannica Industries

Dr. D.G. Hessayon

Transworld Publishers Ltd

Baby Bio

Sumitomo Corporation

Bayer Corporation