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How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do

By Linda Chalker-Scott

Should ease our minds and lighten our workloads. She does a terrific job with the science.…Loads of other fascinating tidbits.

New York Times

Plants are capable of interesting and unexpected things. Why do container plants wilt when they’ve been regularly watered? Why did the hydrangea that thrived last year never bloom this year? Why do slugs wipe out the vegetable garden instead of eating the weeds? Plant physiology—the study of how living things function—can solve these and most other problems gardeners regularly encounter.

In How Plants Work, horticulture expert and contributor to the popular blog The Garden Professors, Linda Chalker-Scott brings the stranger-than-fiction science of the plant world to vivid life. She uncovers the mysteries of how and why plants do the things they do, and arms the home gardener with fascinating knowledge that will change the way they garden.

Media reviews

"Should ease our minds and lighten our workloads. She does a terrific job with the science of cell structure and explains why sunflowers turn to the sun, why tulips close up at night and loads of other fascinating tidbits."

New York Times Book Review

"Linda Chalker-Scott has become a champion for evidence-based horticulture by citing scientific studies to debunk gardening practices and products that simply don’t work. In her new book ... she uses real-life situations, explanatory color photographs and drawings, and her signature colloquial style to make the science of plant processes accessible to home gardeners."

American Gardener

"Loads of tips on planting, watering, fertilizers, weeds, what causes plant problems and much more. Yes, it will help you change the way you garden."

Garden Design Online

"In her engaging, myth-busting book, Chalker-Scott opens up the wonders and curiosities of plant physiology. She not only makes us care about cell membranes, mitochondria and root stress, but leaves us eager to learn more."

Seattle Times

"This 235-page, easy-to-understand guide presents information on plant physiology ... in a clear and logical way for gardeners."


"Lifts the lid on how and why plants behave as they do, and once we understand that, our plots will flourish. lt's jam-packed with science, but it's explained in an entertaining way that holds your interest."

English Garden

About the author

Linda Chalker-Scott

Linda Chalker-Scott is an associate professor and extension urban horticulturist at Washington State University. She has written three other books and has published extensively in American Nurseryman, Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening, and more.

Read more about Linda Chalker-Scott

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