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Where did our houseplants come from and what’s the history behind them? From Babylonian gardens to the healing power of herbs, houseplants have been used for centuries to cultivate joy in our lives. In this episode, I spoke with Jane Perrone, OG planty podcaster and author of the newly released Legends of the Leaf. Jane has spent years researching and collecting stories, lore, and surprises about our beloved house plants, and is here to enlighten us about their history. Let’s learn all about the monstera, the spider plants, and more that have been in homes for generations!


In this episode, we learn:

  • [05:26] Meet Jane Perrone and learn about her latest book Legends of the Leaf
  • [11:38] Insight into Jane's book and its structure
  • [14:13] What was Jane’s research process in writing her book?
  • [16:47] Was aloe vera part of Cleopatra's beauty routine?
  • [18:19] What is the impact of plants on air quality?
  • [20:13] Where can you find quality indoor and outdoor gardening products?
  • [22:19] Where can you get flower and vegetable transplants to create an effortless garden?
  • [24:13] What is the cultural significance of the Aspidistra plant throughout history?
  • [28:37] How did Aspidistra become a popular houseplant?
  • [30:32] History of the spider plant and its cultural significance
  • [34:23] Are you looking for a book to start your first container garden?
  • [36:23] What is Colonial botany and why was it an important field of study?
  • [39:37] Dark history of Dieffenbachia
  • [46:23] History of the Boston fern and why it became popular
  • [51:40] Why is the monstera plant a must-have for any plant lover?
  • [54:48] Who worked on the illustrations for Jane's book?
  • [58:07] Where can you purchase Jane's book?
  • [01:05:46] Where can you find Jane Perrone on social media?


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Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

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Legends of the Leaf Book

If you're a plant lover, you definitely need to get your hands on Jane Perrone's “Legends of the Leaf”! This book perfectly blends plant care advice and juicy historical and cultural facts about 25 iconic houseplants. Jane's writing style is so captivating, you'll feel like you're reading a novel instead of a plant care book. She provides readers with a deeper understanding of the history and culture of their plants so readers can better care for them.


Indoor Plant Care and Preservation

Another topic related to houseplants is indoor plant care and preservation. While it is commonly believed that houseplants help to clean the air, this has been debunked! It is recommended to use air purifiers for a more effective solution. Despite this mythbuster, houseplants are still a well-loved addition to our homes.

Organic gardening products are highly recommended for indoor houseplants. Espoma potting mixes and fertilizers, for example, are specifically designed to help indoor and outdoor plants thrive. So, if you're looking to get the most out of your houseplants, it may be worth investing in some organic products to help them flourish!



The Aspidistra, a symbol of Victorian propriety in the UK, is admired for its hardiness. This plant became famous in Victorian times because it could handle anything, even gas lights! Nowadays, it's a favorite of indoor gardeners who want a little history and a lot of beauty in their homes.

In addition to its rich historical background, the Aspidistra plant is also known for its low-maintenance care requirements. They're happy in all sorts of lighting conditions and hardly ever get bothered by pests. Give one a try and see how resilient it really is!


Spider Plant

The spider plant is known for its adaptability and symbolism of fertility. This guy has been popular for ages, even the famous German poet Goethe was a fan! With its flexible and robust nature, this plant is perfect for anyone who wants an attractive and easy-to-care-for houseplant

The spider plant's cool arching leaves and funky “spiderettes” add some flair to any room. Plus, it's also a great plant for improving indoor air quality. This baby helps filter out nasty pollutants.

The spider plant is also easy to care for and propagate, making it an ideal addition to any houseplant collection.


Fiddle Leaf Fig

Jane has this wild story about how our favorite fiddle leaf figs are linked to their pollinators, which just adds another layer of awesomeness to this trendy plant.

Fiddle leaf figs are known for their big, tough leaves and their ability to grow into towering trees. Taking care of this plant can be a bit of a challenge. They like lots of bright, indirect light and they need to be watered regularly. But with a little love and attention, these plants can totally thrive inside, bringing some tropical vibes to your home!


Dieffenbachia’s Dark History

Dieffenbachia plants have a pretty intense backstory. During World War II, people looked into using it as a mass sterilization tool, which is pretty wild when you think about it.

Its sap was used as a punishment for slaves and later as a method of sterilization in concentration camps. It's important to note that this plant can be toxic to pets and kids, so it's essential to be cautious when handling it.

Today, Dieffenbachia is considered a common houseplant. Once you put it at the right spot in your home (medium to bright indirect light is perfect) and water it moderately, it's pretty easy to take care of. Just make sure it's in a safe spot where no one can accidentally munch on it!


Swiss Cheese Plant

The Swiss cheese plant, or Monstera deliciosa, is hands down one of the coolest indoor plants out there! Its unique heart-shaped leaves are naturally full of holes, which gives it an awesome and distinctive look that plant lovers just can't get enough of. It loves medium to bright, indirect light and needs well-draining soil to grow well.

If you want to make it happy, place it in a humid environment by misting it regularly or using a humidifier. It’ll add some lush greenery and a connection to nature that's just so important these days!


Boston Fern

Boston Fern is a classic. This plant was discovered in Massachusetts in the late 1800s, but it is still popular despite its demanding care requirements.  It loves bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil, and it needs plenty of humidity too.

This fern thrives when you mist it regularly or use a humidifier. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, the Boston Fern is a truly beautiful and rewarding addition to any indoor garden.


Houseplants are a wonderful addition to any home. With the great variety of houseplants available today, anyone can find one that suits their taste and needs. Taking proper care of houseplants is essential to ensure they thrive and provide years of enjoyment.


Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Territorial Seed Company

Gardening is made easier with flower and vegetable transplants! Skip the lines at the garden center and let Territorial Seed Company deliver top-of-the-line, healthy and hardy plants right to your door. They have a great line of pre-grown plants, an expansive seed catalog, and over 40 years of experience delivering the best seeds and plants for everyone's garden. Whether you are looking for leafy veggies, flowers or edible plants in either seed or seedling form, Territorial Seed Company has your back.

Get 10% off by visiting – discount applied at checkout.

Espoma Organic

Make sure your houseplants are getting the right products! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar powered plant, zero waste manufacturing and eco-friendly packaging.

Visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.

The First Time Gardener: Container Gardening by Pam Farley

Don't let limited space and gardening anxieties hold you back from growing your own food. Start your very first garden in containers, the easy and affordable way, with the help of Pam Farley's The First Time Gardener: Container Gardening. Learn the basics and requirements of container gardening such as size, water, fertilizer, location, and more with this comprehensive and fully-illustrated book.

Check out Container Gardening at your favorite local bookstore,,, Barnes and Noble, or


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