What’s Wrong With My Plant? Book Review

What’s Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?)

Learn how to become a plant doctor – No Ph.D. required is the selling pitch on the cover of this new book. The irony of this statement is that this book is written by a Ph.D.  But it certainly doesn’t read like an academic book. It is a hands-on, practical book that will be a big help with identifying and deciding on a course of treatment for many plant problems in any garden.


What's Wrong With My Plant? Book CoverCo-Author David Deardorff is a plant pathologist and botanist who lives and gardens in Port Townsend, Washington.  Kathryn Wadsworth is a naturalist who shares her love and gardening and the outdoors through writing and photography.  Although the authors hail from the Northwest, the garden problems they describe are pretty much universal across the continent.

Good books to help serious gardeners and Master Gardeners identify plant problems are really rare. Many include plant problems with a slew of other subjects and are so “boiled down” that they simplify everything so much that they can be dangerously inadequate because of their omissions.  Others have such inaccurate drawings that even if you recognize the problem, the picture in the book bears no resemblance.  Or some books think that they are being global in their scope but they really are addressing just NE plant problems.  A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth tries to overcome these shortfalls — common to other plant pest and disease books and really be a valuable tool for the organic gardener.


SCAN3022 (2)Dealing with a sick plant is one of the most frustrating situations a gardener can face. If only plants could talk, we would be able to deal with problems easier.  With this book, gardeners can learn to read the signs that plant show and take action to cure common plant maladies.  The book is organized in an easy visual (either drawing or picture) clue style.  


Part One has illustrated flow charts or keys, that are organized by the plant part on which the symptoms appear (such as “the leaf has raised bumps, warts or weird growth”).  This first part is a simple series of statements that use yes or no questions to narrow down the problem choices.  When a possible diagnosis is determined, readers follow the clue to Part Two which holds a solution where the problem is explained, often confirmed with a photo or drawing, and a safe, organic solution. Part Three – What Does It Look Like? contains a photo gallery of common stressed, damaged or diseased plants. A simple format that will help solve plant problems even without knowing the plant name.

An impressive 451 pages (although some pages in Part One have a fair amount of white space), $24.95 and published by the good gardening people at Timber Press.

Check out the authors’ blog on gardens, gardening and pests called Deardorff and Wadsworth at https://ddandkw.com.

Comments are closed.