This is a genuine question from a customer in our Hackney shop; this along with many many others is the reason why I decided to write a book about houseplants.
Before I opened Hackney in 2014 I noticed a real gap in the market for (house) plant shops. I was fairly new to floristry and didn't want to spend lots of money on flowers to make the shop look full and beautiful, when I had no idea at that point what I would be selling day to day. So I decided to keep the shop looking full with plants and pots.
I had no idea how well that idea would take off... We soon very quickly became a destination store. People became PLANT OBSESSED.
HOW BIG WILL IT GET?
WILL IT DIE?
DOES IT NEED WATER?
DOES IT NEED PRUNING?
DOES IT NEED LIGHT?
I soon realised these people needed help. They were so earnest, so intent on not letting their new babies down. Everyone needed to CTFO a little bit, take a step back and relax. Plants just don't die overnight or even within a week (unless its a really hot week and its a maidenhair fern - EEK!).
For me I found the easiest way to get people to understand their plants needs is to TAKE IT BACK TO THEIR ROOTS. Emulate the plants natural environment as much as possible and you will be just fine. Succulents are from the desert...give them lots of light, ferns are from the rainforest, keep them moist.
I just didn't want to write just another coffee table plant book, I wanted it to be bursting full of photos, illustrations, facts, stories, plants in art, the history of the house plant, recipes, how tos, a beautiful accessible book that you can chuck in your bag and read on the tube. And I think that's what we have achieved!