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Tempting Tropicals: 175 Irresistible Indoor Plants

By Ellen Zachos

If you want to create a windowsill collection to rival any outdoor garden in beauty and personality, read Tempting Tropicals.


Original and unique, this guide to luscious, choice indoor plants will convert anyone to a passion for gardening indoors. The possibilities presented are dazzling — lush flowering vines or petite carnivorous plants, intoxicating fragrant jasmine or spiky sculptural succulents. Included are chapters on sustenance, container choices, light, water and temperature requirements, propagation, pests and diseases, even how to summer plants outdoors and travel with them on holidays. Over 200 gorgeous color photographs round out the detailed descriptions of 175 choice plants native to both tropical and temperate regions. In her entertaining style, plant fanatic Ellen Zachos invites everyone, from the horticulturally clueless to the avidly addicted, to share her passion for exotic and unusual indoor plants.

Media reviews

"Just about everything you need to know about general houseplant culture plus yummy pictures and profiles of 175 'alternative' plants that are both different and better than the usual suspects."

—Tibor Fuchs, New York Times

"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."


"In this original and comprehensive guide to luscious houseplants, Ellen's enthusiasm, like the plants, is irresistible."

Rainy Side Gardeners

"Zachos allows gardeners to daydream of sultry climates during those cold, colorless days of winter."

—Judy Lowe, Christian Science Monitor

"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

"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

"I highly recommend it."

Garden Hotline Newsletter

"If you want to create a windowsill collection to rival any outdoor garden in beauty and personality, read Tempting Tropicals."

—Meghan Lynch, Horticulture

"A well-rounded reference ... entries include something for every taste, from oddly alluring species to dramatic, architectural selections and beguiling flowers."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"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."


"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

"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

"Tempting Tropicals is a must-have for gardeners interested in exotic plants."

—Russell Studebaker, Tulsa World

"The best book on indoor plants I have come across in a long time."

—Suzanne Pierot, American Ivy Society Newsletter

About the author

Ellen Zachos

Ellen Zachos lectures on houseplants for horticultural organizations around the world. As a professional photographer, she illustrates her lectures with high-quality slides. A former Broadway performer Ellen recently released her first CD combining her two passions, plants and music.

Read more about Ellen Zachos

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