Q&A with Will Creed, author of “Don’t Repot That Plant!”

By Shelley Pierce | April 8, 2018
by Shelley Pierce
April 8, 2018

Will Creed has a unique plant care background. He has cared for indoor plants in a variety of Real World home and office environments and has answered tens of thousands of individual plant questions for over 35 years. That allows him to relate to the common problems and concerns that regular folks have with their houseplants. He has both a professional and personal understanding of how to care for plants in difficult environments and the most common mistakes that plant owners make. He has simple and original solutions to the most common indoor plant problems. He is happy to share his accumulated wisdom. His website, www.HorticulturalHelp.com has lots of useful information. He is also active on the National Gardening Association plant forums. He recently joined Gardening Know How where he is now lending his expertise. In his book “Don’t Repot That Plant“, he shares the knowledge he acquired from over 35 years of professional experience caring for plants in homes and offices.  Read on to learn more and enter to win one of three books from Button Street Press!

1. You have been engaged in the world of horticulture for 35 years.  What initially sparked your interest in the plant world and sent you on the path you are on today?

It was the back-to-the-earth movement in the early 1970’s when everyone wanted plants in their homes and small plant shops were abundant. Through a newspaper  Want Ad (pre Internet days), I serendipitously discovered that there was an industry previously unknown to me – Interiorscaping. I discovered that small businesses hired and paid people ($5 per hour) to care for plants in offices and homes. I signed up!  Eight years later, I started my own business caring for plants in NYC homes and offices.


2. You are an indoor plant doctor who actually makes house calls in NYC.  What items would we find in your house call doctor bag?

Not much! I travel surprisingly light, in part because I do not own a vehicle and use only public transportation and my legs. I have a shoulder bag with heavy-duty scissors that double as light pruners; a small spray bottle; a plastic soil probe; green jute; liquid soap; Brand X Foliage Cleaner; and a hand-held carpet sweeper. I need little equipment because I am primarily teaching clients what they need to know to properly care for their plants. I like to teach. My brain is lightweight and easy to carry!


3. The title of your book is “Don’t Repot That Plant”.  I’m sure many readers out there are asking, “Why not repot – isn’t that what we are frequently told to do?”  Why is the focus of your book on this particular indoor gardening faux pas?

I have responded to tens of thousands of individual plant care questions over the years in person, online and via email and phone. Over and over again I find that the majority of plant problems start with unnecessary repotting. It seems that folks intuitively conclude that almost any plant problem must be caused by crowded or contaminated roots. They also believe that bigger pots will lead to bigger plants. Unnecessary repotting is the single most common cause of indoor plant problems. I have never seen this issue properly addressed anywhere else. Of course, my book addresses many other indoor plant care problems and concerns unrelated to repotting. I admit that the title is also an attention-grabber!


4. What inspired you to write this book and is there plans for a book sequel?

It became apparent to me that I understood some plant care techniques that were not explained elsewhere in books or online. In personally answering tens of thousands of plant questions, I realized that there was a need for me to reach a wider audience. I started publishing short Indoor Plant Bulletins. They later became chapters for my book

I like to think that I have covered indoor plant care pretty thoroughly in Don’t’ Repot That Plant, so a sequel may not be necessary. But I enjoy writing and teaching and if I ever feel I have enough new material I would certainly consider writing a sequel. I am open to suggestions.


5. What features in this book will readers find particularly useful and helpful when diagnosing and resolving plant care mistakes?

The Table of Contents and Index are useful starting points. Of course, the title chapter on repotting is the most important for people to read because they will not find that important information anywhere else. I expect the most popular chapters will be the comprehensive individual Plant Species chapters that give highly detailed information on each of the 45 most popular plants. I think the most useful chapters are on diagnosing and how to fix plant problems after they occur. Folks tend to seek out information after they run into problems.


6. Over the course of your career you have answered thousands of questions for anxious houseplant owners.  What are some of the most humorous or bizarre questions you have ever been asked?  What are some of the most commonly asked questions you receive?

I try to take everyone’s’ plant questions seriously even when I am quietly appalled at what they have done to their plants. I have had people send me photos of plants that are nothing more than dead twigs inserted in soil and wanting to know how to save them! On the other hand, I have had people in a panic because a leaf on their new plant has turned yellow and they want to know why it is dying! Someone once described to me over the phone a plant problem that seemed to strongly suggest the plant was not getting enough light. She assured me the plant was right in front of a very sunny, south-facing window. Only after exploring all other options, did she happen to mention that she keeps the blinds drawn during the day to protect her furniture. Oy vey!

Many people develop surprisingly strong emotional attachments to their plants. I listen patiently to long stories about why a particular plant is so important and why I have to save the only living reminder they have of a deceased loved one. Pressure!

The most common question follows my solving plant problems by phone and email without charge and that question is how can I do this for free. Call it a labor of love!

Win one of three copies of “Don’t Repot That Plant“!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2018 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

What’s the biggest indoor plant care mistake you have ever made?

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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