Plant ownership has experienced a huge spike over the past two years, and it’s easy to understand why. Even I became entrapped in the classic
race-to-the-greenest-living-room challenge (not actually a thing). Imagine this: just a year and a half ago, I had a Money Tree, some tiny Dracaneas, and a Golden Pothos. Now I have more than 60 plants, including an Anthurium Crystallinum, Philodendron Squamiferum, Mint Florida Ghost, and a Pink Princess Philodendron, among many others. My local shop owner even joked that I was there more often than he was...but I don’t think he was joking. All of that to say, my plant parent journey has been real.
With such a wide variety of plants appropriate for all skill levels, almost anyone can jump in. Rather than write ourselves off as hopelessly black-thumbed, many more of us are becoming confident in our ability to keep our green friends alive and thriving. And with guides and apps to help us keep even the most
difficult plants healthy (looking at you, Alocasias, Calatheas, and Succulents), anyone can quickly turn their living space into something more jungle-like.
But when you’re done reading over every guide on the internet (something I’ve become very familiar with), it’s beneficial to learn about the many aspects of plants and our relationship to them. From their diverse medicinal applications to their amazing intelligence, plants have
so much to teach us beyond their specific care. To help, we’ve compiled a list of audiobooks to help you dive much deeper into the world of plants than you ever intended to. Then again, you also only intended to buy that one plant…remember?
If you’re only looking for an in-depth plant guide, the first two selections on this list are sure to help. But if you’re ready to take that next step and learn everything there is to know about the world of plants, read on! Happy growing!
How to Make a Plant Love You
If you’ve ever browsed YouTube looking for care tips for that pesky plant you can’t seem to keep alive, you’ve likely come across Summer Rayne Oakes. As the founder of Homestead Brooklyn, a venture aimed at helping people living in the city better connect with nature, Oakes is known for her infectious personality, plant-filled apartment, and care guides that are accessible and easy to understand. In her first plant-focused audiobook,
How to Make a Plant Love You, Oakes takes a unique approach to plant care: advising that we treat our green friends like humans with unique likes, dislikes, needs, and desires. Through this approach, she gives tips on how to create a green space that’s right for you, while understanding the nuances of each plant you bring into your space. How to Take Care of Indoor Plants: The Beginner Houseplant 101
If you’re looking for a guide to help supplement everything you've learned about caring for plants, this is it. Written by the aptly named Elizabeth Orchid, this audiobook is a hands-on guide to developing your plant care skills, while dismissing claims that some people are born with
green thumbs. (I definitely was NOT.) Instead, Orchid argues that, with the right amount of time, practice, patience, and dedication, anyone and everyone can have a knack for keeping their plants alive and thriving. From troubleshooting to care guides for specific plants, How to Make a Plant Love You makes for a great resource for plant owners looking for a wide variety of tips from a single source. Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany
For several decades now,
The Great Courses have been the gold standard of research and education for anyone looking to learn something new on their own time. That trend continues with Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany. Written and narrated by biologist and botanist Dr. Catherine Kleier, this audiobook unveils some of the greatest secrets of plants, and nature. In Plant Science, you’ll learn all about the multitude of special plant species that have been discovered throughout history and how they have learned to adapt to their surroundings, as well as how they communicate with one another. This audiobook is perfect for the dedicated plant parent who wants to take the next step from their plant parenthood journey and into the world of botany. If you’re anything like me, this is probably the next logical step. The Botany of Desire
The first of two audiobooks on this list from acclaimed author Michael Pollan,
The Botany of Desire explores the reciprocal relationship between plants and humans. In this acclaimed audiobook, Pollan focuses on four specific plants and fruits of plants—tulips, potatoes, apples, and marijuana—and offers insights into how and why we’ve chosen to engineer, grow, and cultivate them. Linking these four plants to four of the most fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control— Pollan expertly describes how and why plants have evolved to benefit humans, while studying why exactly that is. This is one of the biggest deep dives you can take into the world of our relationship with plants, and it’s well worth your time. Thus Spoke the Plant
There are a lot of similarities between this audiobook and
Summer Rayne Oakes's How to Make a Plant Love You. Just like Oakes, author and research scientist Monica Gagliano encourages listeners to treat their plants like humans with a conscience. Thus Spoke the Plant leans on firsthand accounts from Gagliano’s experiences during her research into plant communication and the scientific discoveries that emerged from them. She argues, with research to back it, that plants are capable of learning, communication, and even have memories to draw upon. Through her research, she pioneered the plant bioacoustics field, proving that plants even have their own voices. If you want to understand how truly special our plant friends are, and be surprised along the way, then Thus Spoke the Plant is an absolute must-listen. And you’ll finally be able to understand what that constant whispering sound is near your plants. Chatterboxes. The Drunken Botanist
Some of the greatest drinks of all time have one common, often overlooked, yet integral ingredient: plants. In
The Drunken Botanist, author Amy Stewart dives into the history of these important yet underappreciated building blocks of some of the cocktails, spirits, and beers we know and love. Did you know that gin was originally created from juniper berries boiled in wine to treat stomach pain? In The Drunken Botanist you’ll learn plenty of fun facts like this, and more, about the history of plant usage in drinks. Stewart also gives more than 50 drink recipes and growing tips so you can cultivate your own plants to use in your drink of choice. Drinks with plants next to your favorite plants? Sign me up. The Revolutionary Genius of Plants
Plants are smart! Wait, what? While it’s true that many of us have a baseline appreciation of the wonderful world of plants, most of us don’t realize how truly intelligent our green friends are. And not only that, they practically allow us to survive and thrive on this big blue ball we call home. Plants have a hand in providing us with the medicine we use, food we eat, and energy we use, so there’s a scientific case to be made that they’re much smarter than we ever thought possible.
The Revolutionary Genius of Plants highlights the sophistication of plants while reviewing eye-opening research to support the consensus that plants are nothing short of remarkable. Written by Italian botanist and professor Stefano Mancuso, The Revolutionary Genius of Plants is a labor of love from a plant lover, for all plant lovers. Second Nature
Author Michael Pollen, best known for his best-selling book
, has been writing about humans’ relationship to plants for more than two decades. (His newest book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma , explores psychoactive plants.) Across his work, Pollan has often called on plant parents and environmentalists to reexamine how we view plants and the environment as a whole, and practice better reciprocity. In This Is Your Mind on Plants Second Nature, Pollan once again urges us to revisit this relationship to better understand our role on our planet. Named by the American Horticultural Society as one of the greatest books ever written about gardening, Second Nature effortlessly blends environmental politics, gardening tips, history, and more in an entertaining yet serious account from one of the most brilliant minds in the world of plants. Planting a Rainbow
A short but very sweet audiobook for plant parents who are also parents of humans,
Planting a Rainbow is the perfect introduction to the world of flowers for your little ones. At heart an introduction to colors, author Lois Ehlert’s classic children’s audiobook is a fun way to teach toddler-aged children, and younger, the names of certain flowers. This is the perfect first step for parents or family members who want to introduce the joy of flowers to curious toddlers. Braiding Sweetgrass
If you’re looking to gain a better appreciation of the world of plants and flowers around you,
Braiding Sweetgrass is a must-listen. Written and narrated by botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer, this audiobook dives into our relationship with the Earth and aims to help us understand, and appreciate, how much it truly provides us beyond simply a place to exist. As an indigenous woman, Kimmerer stresses the importance of learning and respecting the land we occupy while cultivating a reciprocal relationship with our planet. While this is by no means a plant guide, it is an essential listen for anyone who wants to gain an appreciation and understanding of the many fruits the Earth provides us while connecting with it on a deeper level. P.S.: Pictured below are 12 of my 60+ plants. These are particularly special and are currently housed in a makeshift IKEA greenhouse setup. Top level plants from left to right: Anthurium Crystallinum, Philodendron Birkin, Pink Princess Philodendron, Syngonium Albo, Mint Florida Ghost, Anthurium 'Fingers' Bottom Level plants from left to right: Nerve Plant, Purple Passion, Monstera Siltepecanea, Philodendron Sqamiferum, Cebu Blue Pothos