Q & A with Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, author of House Plants: The Complete Guide

By Shelley Pierce | December 10, 2017
Image by The Quarto Group
by Shelley Pierce
December 10, 2017

Lisa Eldred Steinkopf is The Houseplant Guru, who features all things houseplants on her blog, thehouseplantguru.com. She has written for HGTVgardens.com, Real Simple magazine, Michigan Gardener Magazine, the houseplant section of Allan Armitage’s Greatest Perennials and Annuals app, and Michigan Gardening Magazine, where she writes a monthly column. She worked for more than a decade at Steinkopf Nursery as the Annuals and Houseplants Manager, and has been interviewed online, in print, and on TV about houseplants. She harbors well over 1,000 houseplants in her home.

Her latest book, House Plants: The Complete Guide, will provide tips on raising the best, healthiest, and happiest potted plants nature has ever seen.  Read on to learn more and enter below to win one of three copies from The Quarto Group.

1. How did you develop a love for houseplants?

I watched my mom my whole life taking exceptional care of a fern she received at her bridal shower in 1957 from my great grandmother. She has shared pieces of it with many people over the years and I’ve been caring for mine for 33 years. My grandmother lived close to us and also had many houseplants and was known for her beautiful African violets. These two ladies inspired me to have plants in my house and it has taken off from there.

2. It was noted in your biography that you have well over 1,000 houseplants in your home. I get overwhelmed just thinking about that. Do you have an indoor solarium? How do you manage it all?

I do have a sunroom attached to the house and it is so full of plants, one can hardly walk in there. I don’t always manage it as well as I should. I have definitely killed some plants. I am usually watering a few plants every day.

3. What are some of the key takeaways that you hope readers get from your book?

I want people to know that a green thumb is something everyone can have. A green thumb comes from paying attention to your plants. Placing the right plant in the right place goes a long way towards success. Don’t water on a schedule. CHECK your plants on a schedule. If you check your plants regularly, you are more likely to find any problems, such as insects, before they get out of hand.

4. This book features more than 125 plants.  What criteria did these plants meet that made them more book worthy than others?  Which plant is your favorite?

Mostly the plants in the book are plants I have, and also many were plants I thought would be easy for the consumer to find. It is hard to choose a favorite plant. I love the monstera, but also love ferns, hoya, and sansevierias. See, I can’t pick just one!

5. What advice and tips do you have for those foraying into the wonderful world of houseplants for the first time?

Don’t be afraid to try growing a houseplant for the first time. Choose one that is easy to grow, such as a philodendron, pothos, or sansevieria. Research the plant so you can make sure you are placing it in the correct light exposure. Giving your plants what they need goes a long way to keeping them healthy. A well grown plant placed where it gets the correct light, is given the correct amount of water, and is warm or cool enough, is much better able to ward off insects and disease. Enjoy your plant! Plants make people happy!

Win one of three copies of “House Plants: The Complete Guide“!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, December 17, 2017 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

What is your favorite house plant?

Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

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  • Megan Sammons
    Comment added April 25, 2018Reply

    My favorites are my snake plant and orchids

  • Laurie Emerson
    Comment added December 18, 2017Reply

    My favorite house plant is my Dieffenbachia.

  • Hesper Fry
    Comment added December 17, 2017Reply

    My favorite house plant is the Aloe Vera houseplant.

  • Suzanne B
    Comment added December 16, 2017Reply

    I really love my ferns.

  • veronica sandberg
    Comment added December 16, 2017Reply

    the ones that live..lol I just discovered orchids..they are pretty...hope I don't kill them

  • Brenda Robinson
    Comment added December 16, 2017Reply

    My favorite plant is the Chinese Evergreen because it is so hardy!

  • James Nickerson
    Comment added December 15, 2017Reply

    The only plant that I can keep alive I think it's called a Mother in Law? Succulent that is tall.

  • susan smoaks
    Comment added December 14, 2017Reply

    i love aloe vera in my house. it works wonders.

  • Cathy Streett
    Comment added December 12, 2017Reply

    My favorite houseplant = rex begonia (all leaf shapes and colors) Also great in outdoor planters, fyi!

  • Becky Needham
    Comment added December 11, 2017Reply

    Love my Cyclamen that I've had for almost 30 years. Also have several Christmas/Thanksgiving cacti that I'm pretty fond of! Had one of Lisa's mother's ferns which was awesome...but it didn't like the move from Michigan to Colorado!

  • Becky Needham
    Comment added December 11, 2017Reply

    Love a Cyclamen I received 30 years ago. Also, love my Christmas/Thanksgiving cacti. I was a proud owner of one of Lisa's mother's ferns...it was unique & wonderful...but it didn't like the move to Colorado from Michigan!

  • Melissa
    Comment added December 11, 2017Reply

    My favorite house plant is one that will recover after I forget about for a few days.

  • anna Correale
    Comment added December 11, 2017Reply

    I love all plants, but my favorite is the Spider Plant.

  • Colleen Kindrick
    Comment added December 11, 2017Reply

    I love my philodenron. I received cuttings from my grandfather, who received cuttings from his mother.

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