- The houseplants in this list are exceptional; they are bold and pretty. Some of the most unique, beautiful indoor plants you should grow!
- 1. Nerve Plant
- 2. Croton
- 3. Calathea
- 4. Pencil Cactus
- 5. Silver Vase Plant
- 6. Fiddle Leaf Fig
- 7. Aluminium Plant
- 8. Red Aglaonema
- 9. Anthurium
- 10. African Mask Plant
- 11. Prayer Plant
- 12. Bird’s Nest Fern
- 13. Adenium
- 14. Fiber-Optic Grass
- 15. Ti Plant
- 16. Oxalis
- 17. Ponytail Palm
- 18. Poinsettia
- 19. Rex Begonia
- 20. Monstera Deliciosa
- 21. Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
- 22. Streptocarpus
- 23. String of Pearls
- 24. Pleomele (Song of India)
- 25. Brazilian Fireworks
- 26. Peace lily
- 27. Crown of Thorns
- 28. Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica)
- 29. African Violet
- Indoor plant love: The coolest houseplants
- The coolest houseplants (in no particular order)
- Most Unusual Houseplants – Top Unique Indoor Plants For The Home
- Most Popular Unique Indoor Plants
- Other Unusual Houseplants
- 18 Interesting Plants You’re Probably Not Growing (But Should Be)
- 18 Interesting Vegetables and Fruits to Grow
- So, What Will You Grow?
- Get More Plant Recommendations
- 10. Dionaea Muscipula (Venus flytrap)
- 9. Wolffia Angusta
- 8. Lithops Julii
- 7. Welwitschia Mirabilis
- 6. Victoria Amazonica
- 5. Hydnora Africana
- 4. Nepenthes
- 3. Dracunculus Vulgaris
- 2. Rafflesia Arnoldii
- 1. Amorphophallus Titanum
- 10 Unusual Houseplants That Will Leave You Wonderstruck
- 10. Fire Pencil Cactus
- 9. Pregnant Onion
- 8. Rabbit’s Foot Fern
- 7. Donkey’s Tail Plant
- 6. Lucky Heart Plant
- 5. Dolphin Succulent Plant
- 4. Baseball Plant
- 3. Marimo Moss Balls
- 2. Rose Succulent
- 1. Haworthia Cooperi
- 15 Strange And Beautiful Houseplants You Need To Know About
- 1 – Dolphin Succulents
- 2 – Marimo Moss Balls
- 3 – Trachyandra
- 4 – Rose Succulents
- 5 – Crassula Umbella
- 6 – Euphorbia Obesa
- 7 – Euphorbia Caput-Medusae
- 8 – Platycerium
- 9 – Euphorbia Tirucalli
- 10 – Haworthia Cooperi
- 11 – Sedum Morganianum
- 12 – Corkscrew Grass
- 13 – Gentiana Urnula
- 14 – String Of Pearls
- 15 – Hoya Plant
- 20 Most Beautiful Houseplants You Need To Know About
- 1 – Ficus Lyrata – ‘Fiddle Leaf Fig’ Tree Houseplant
- 2 – Red Valentine Chinese Evergreen Plant
- 3 – Aluminum Plant – Pilea
- 4 – Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
- 5 – Calathea Medallion Peacock Plant
- 6 – Pencil Cactus
- 7 – Croton Petra
- 8 – Silver Nerve Plant
- 9 – Prayer Plant
- 10 – Bird’s Nest Fern
- 12 – Adenium Obesum ~ Red Desert Rose
- 13 – Fiber Optic Grass Plant
- 14 – Ti Plant
- 15 – Oxalis Indoor Or Outdoor Plant
- 16 – Ponytail Palm
- 17 – Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
- 18 – African Violets
- 19 – String of Pearls Succulent Plant
- 20 – Peace Lily
- 10 White Baneberry
- 9 Baseball Plant
- Top 15 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants
- 8 Hydnellum Peckii
- 7 Welwitschia Mirabilis
- 6 Lithop
- 5 Mimosa Pudica
- 4 Corpse Flower
- 3 Rafflesia Arnoldii
- 2 Venus Flytrap
- Quirky fruits & vegetables to grow and cook at home
- Tigernuts ‘Chufa’
- Red Meat “Watermelon” Radish
- Cucamelons “Mouse Melons”
- Romanesco Broccoli
- Oca ‘New Zealand Yam’
- Achocha “Fat Babies”
- Cape Gooseberry
- Golden Raspberry ‘Fall Gold’
- Unusual Edibles to grow in your Garden
- Related posts:
The houseplants in this list are exceptional; they are bold and pretty. Some of the most unique, beautiful indoor plants you should grow!
Grow some of these plants indoors, and you’ll see a big change in your interior. These beautiful houseplants have the ability to change the appearance of any dull-boring room!
1. Nerve Plant
This demanding houseplant looks gorgeous due to its striking leaves. Picky about watering and dry indoor air and cold drafts. You must need to keep balance in watering.
The bold and bodacious houseplant that is low maintenance too. The mix of yellow, amber, and orange color linear markings on thick dark green foliage, croton looks stunning. To grow, keep it in a spot that receives bright indirect light most of the time and water sporadically.
Lovely plant, great to look at! Many varieties are available in astonishing color combinations and patterns. This tropical houseplant doesn’t mind low light conditions. Keep it in warm, normal room temperature, saving from cold drafts. It likes humid surroundings and moderate watering.
4. Pencil Cactus
This unusual looking astonishing plant is notorious for its toxic milky sap (take care when handling this plant); still, it’s getting popular as a houseplant. Pencil cactus has medium to high light requirements and low watering needs; it also doesn’t mind dry air. Watering 2-3 times in a month is sufficient. To grow, keep the plant in a spot with ample light, a shaft of sunlight for a few hours or even more and it would do fine.
5. Silver Vase Plant
Unusual but a beautiful indoor plant, the silver vase or “urn plant” belongs to bromeliad family. Overall, growing this houseplant is similar to others– Be careful with watering, provide bright indirect light.
6. Fiddle Leaf Fig
We couldn’t complete this list without adding fiddle leaf fig. Fiddle leaf is a tall, appealing houseplant with glossy, leathery foliage. This large houseplant can change the look of any room.
7. Aluminium Plant
This plant is known for the beautiful silver strips that look like a color of aluminum; these strips appear over the glossy green color of each leaf. One of the beautiful indoor plants it is low maintenance. Keep it in a cool shady spot that receives a few hours of bright indirect light, water only when soil is dry.
8. Red Aglaonema
This beautiful houseplant’s dark green leaves with streaks of red and pink make it look really adorable indoors. It is absolutely easy to grow like Chinese evergreen and tolerates low light conditions and drought.
Anthuriums are beautiful houseplants that bloom in alluring shades of white, pink red or lavender. With a rich color palette, long lifespan and low care requirements, they are good for those with a busy lifestyle. Anthurium produces more foliage when grown in low-light conditions, so it’s you keep this plant in a spot that receives indirect sunlight all day.
Also Read: Cute Small Indoor Plants
10. African Mask Plant
African Mask Plant with its dark green leaves and silvery-white veins can be easily mistaken for an artificial plant. This plant needs moderate watering and a bright position away from direct sunlight. Clean the leaves every few days to keep the plant looking attractive and healthy.
11. Prayer Plant
With its beautifully patterned oblong foliage and low care requirements, this exotic houseplant is a lovely addition to any home. It requires bright light, moderate watering, and warm room temperature when it’s grown indoors. One interesting fact about this houseplant is that it folds up its leaves in the night or in the dark place.
12. Bird’s Nest Fern
Native to Southeast Asia, bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is easy to grow if the proper conditions are given—mainly warmth and humidity. Bright indirect light and temperature around 70 F are optimum for growing bird’s nest fern indoors. Visit HGTV to learn more growing this!
If you live in a warm climate and have a South or West facing window in your room, this is the plant you need to grow. Except for its sunlight requirements, Adenium is a low maintenance houseplant and flowers heartily throughout the year in frost-free climates.
14. Fiber-Optic Grass
Fiber optic grass is a tropical grass that grows best in subtropical and tropical outdoor areas under USDA Zones (9-11), but it can be grown indoors in cooler regions too (We also added it to our list of BEST ORNAMENTAL GRASSES). Choose an ALLURING pot that will accentuate the beauty of this exotic grass, place it in a warm spot that receives bright light, and keep the soil slightly moist.
15. Ti Plant
Purple foliage with streaks of blazing pink, the Ti plant looks hot and gorgeous. You can grow this plant for year around foliage attraction. This plant is drought tolerant but has a high light requirement, indoors, it must be kept somewhere where it can absorb direct and indirect light both.
Oxalis belongs to a genus of edible, perennial plants characterized by striking mauve leaves and pink or white blooms. It prefers medium-to-bright light and performs better when grown in evenly moist soil.
17. Ponytail Palm
Ponytail Palm is an exotic succulent plant. It looks so interesting, one of the low maintenance plants as it has low watering needs and grows slowly, which means you don’t need to repot it frequently.
Poinsettias and holiday decorations go hand in hand. This plant looks stunning with or without blooms due to its colorful bracts and foliage. To remain healthy, cheery, and colorful, it needs a bright spot, a couple of hours of morning sunlight and indirect light all day long is sufficient. A draft-free place is best, watering when the soil is dry is required.
Also Read: Plants that are Toxic to Dogs
19. Rex Begonia
Rex begonias are best-looking begonias out there. Too showy, if you want to add a sparkle to your interior, grow them. Keeping in a bright shady spot in a well-drained medium, it’s important that you don’t overwater them.
20. Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera plant in a good looking pot standing beside a brightly painted wall in its supreme health displaying lush, oversized foliage of dark green color. You can imagine, it’ll look magnificent. Known as split leaf philodendron, you can also keep it in low light, for best result place it near a window where it’ll receive indirect sunlight all day long.
21. Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
If you’re searching for a tall houseplant to improve the look of your interior, Schefflera is a good choice. Schefflera is finicky about its light requirements and doesn’t like direct sun but this doesn’t mean you can keep it in dim light, a spot near a window that receive indirect sunlight most of the time and have proper air circulation is what it demands. Watering should be done moderately.
Streptocarpus, better known as the cape primrose is related to the African Violets; it prefers the same growing conditions of indirect light or filtered sunlight and moderately watered soil. Its velvety, deep green leaves and eye-catchy floral clusters hovering above the underlying foliage create a stunning appeal, which makes it perfect for adorning a secluded corner of a drawing room or adding a dash of color to an otherwise, dull space.
23. String of Pearls
The string of pearls is an easy-care succulent plant. It looks stunning in hanging baskets, trailing down. It is drought tolerant so you don’t need to water frequently, once in every other week would be enough.
24. Pleomele (Song of India)
Dracaena reflexa like other plants of this genus is an easy-care houseplant. It’s one of the most ornamental dracaenas; the leaves have solid green color in the middle and a line of lime-yellow color on sides. Good for tabletops and plant stands as pleomele is a slow growing plant.
25. Brazilian Fireworks
Whether you use this gorgeous tropical plant indoors, or in warm, shade gardens (if living in USDA zones 9-11), the Brazilian fireworks is a year-round delight with or without its flowers. This shade-loving plant is DEMANDING but thrives best when subjected to bright, indirect sunlight and occasional watering.
26. Peace lily
The peace lily is an attractive, low maintenance, air cleaning houseplant. This plant bears showy, spoon-shaped white spathe amidst a spike of white flower. Peace Lily survives best in a shady environment and easily tackle the absence of light.
27. Crown of Thorns
This lovely poinsettia relative is quite tolerant of neglect and thrives well as long as you place it in a bright spot and keep it in drier side. Appreciated for its showy flowers and thick, grayish-green leaves, it is a popular choice for indoor gardening.
Also Read: Best Flowering Houseplants
28. Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica)
Tall, fat trunk, glossy-large foliage, the money tree is indeed a substitute for the fiddle leaf fig. Only a few indoor trees can become that tall. Also, it’s a low-maintenance houseplant. If you want to learn how to grow Pachira Aquatica indoors, !
29. African Violet
African violets are among the most easy-to-care flowering houseplants. They produce delicate, mauve flowers with little effort from your side. You can choose from several varieties, right from the white-edged blooms to the variegated foliage forms.
Indoor plant love: The coolest houseplants
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Houseplants seem to have made a big comeback these last few years. It’s not that they ever went anywhere, but a few factors have meant MUCH more selection at local florists and garden centres. It’s now possible to find more than a peace lily or African violet or Boston fern to decorate with indoors. I think the terrarium craze that started several years ago helped to spark this interest in the coolest houseplants, as did the ongoing succulent trend. And lately, I’ve been drawn in to these vibrant, leafy Instagram feeds of verdant indoor spaces. Lush greenery frames the pictures and modern knick knacks, rather than the other way around. I discovered Plant the Future’s feed with its Star Wars planters and fun, offbeat designs. Then it was The Jungalow and later the Toronto-based Houseplant Journal, and a few more.
I don’t really think of myself as having a green thumb when it comes to indoor houseplants. It’s more green-ish. Orchids? I can keep them alive, but I’ve never had one rebloom for me. I have varying success with other plants, depending on what it is and the care required. But I love to buy them—for myself and as gifts. I recommend that you ask at the time of purchase what the care instructions are for the plant you’re taking home.
With all that said, I’ve gathered a collection of some of the coolest houseplants I’ve come across. And I may add to it as I find more. This list is totally subjective, of course, but maybe you’ll discover a plant that you’d like to bring into your indoor space.
The coolest houseplants (in no particular order)
I remember the first air plant (aka tillandsia) that I ever saw was huge! I promptly brought one home and set it on my mantel. I subsequently discovered the smaller ones that I’ve used for crafts, like these ornaments I created for Canadian Living a few year’s back. Air plants don’t sit in soil, so to water, you simply hold them upside down under a tap for a few minutes. That’s what the grower suggested to me when I sourced the plants. Other articles I’ve read suggest soaking them. They like bright, indirect light. And in high-humidity situations, it’s recommended that they’re given a light misting two to three times a week.
Air plants are epiphytes, meaning they grow on the surface of a plant and get their water from the atmosphere.
I discovered Crispy Wave recently while writing a houseplant article for the Toronto Star. And a gardener by the name of Haruo Sugimoto found it in 1961 off the southern coast of Japan. This plant is a superstar. We’ve all seen that standard NASA list of houseplants that purify the air. Well, Asplenium Nidus “CW” can filter more formaldehyde from the air than a Boston fern. It likes low to medium light and a weekly water. Apparently it will last a long time.
It turns out that I saw a Crispy Wave fern at the Chelsea Flower Show this past spring, but I didn’t know it at the time. This one was in the Wedgwood booth!
Mother of Thousands
This unique plant looks like it has serrated edges from afar, but up close you realize they’re little buds. These are essentially plant clones called plantlets. The plant needs good drainage, so pot it up in a soil mix for cacti. It must be noted that this plant, Bryophyllum daigremontianum, is toxic to both humans and pets when ingested. Be sure to place it in a bright window and water thoroughly. Be sure that the top two inches of soil have dried out before watering again.
The name of this houseplant makes me thing of Game of Thrones’ Mother of Dragons! photo by Jessica Walliser
When I interviewed Pascale Harster of Harster Greenhouses for my Toronto Star article, she told me that the minimalist-looking Pilea peperomioides is the big craze right now. The plant enjoys moist soil, but does not like wet feet, so don’t allow it to sit in water. Water it about once a week and place in a bright window, but not in direct sunlight.
Also called the Chinese money plant, apparently Pilea is also very easy to propagate from cuttings. Photo courtesy of Harster Greenhouses
The Medinilla magnifica was the star of Canada Blooms several years ago now. I fell in love with the plant’s arced stems laden with heavy pink blooms. I also saw a few splendid potted examples during a trip to Belgium. The plant likes to dry out completely between waterings (about every seven to 10 days). Water from the bottom by placing the pot in a sink or dish of about two litres of water. Soak it for 10 minutes and allow to dry for a couple. It also likes to be misted. It doesn’t mind direct sunlight between November and March, but the leaves may burn the rest of the year, so best to move it to another location.
The medinilla magnifica looking magnificent at the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
Silver vase plant
This is the type of houseplant that dazzles with its vibrant, central bract that rises out of the centre of silvery green foliage. This bract actually forms a vase, which is where you water the plant. Keep it filled and freshen up the water about every 10 days. Give the roots a light water in the summer and less in the winter. Use orchid potting soil to pot it up and place this bromeliad in an area that gets lots of bright light, but out of direct sunlight.
And I can’t end this post before mentioning minis. I have a thing for items in miniature, so when I saw a miniature poinsettia at a local garden centre last November, it promptly went into my cart. Then at the California Spring Trials in April, I fell in love with miniature cyclamen at the Morel Diffusion booth at Ball. These little guys have so much potential in arrangements! So any plant that looks like it was shrunk by a plant fairy counts as a cool houseplant!
I fell in love with these variegated beauties from cyclamen.com at the California Spring Trials!
Here are some of my favourite houseplant books!
- The Unexpected Houseplant by Tovah Martin
- Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf
- Indoor Plant Decor by Kylee Baumle and Jenny Peterson
Most Unusual Houseplants – Top Unique Indoor Plants For The Home
Are you tired of the same old houseplants and looking for some more unusual indoor plants? There are quite a few unique houseplant varieties that you can grow indoors. Let’s take a look at some interesting houseplants to grow.
Most Popular Unique Indoor Plants
Here are a few of the more common interesting plants you can grow indoors:
Bromeliads are unique and beautiful indoor plants. In nature, most bromeliads are epiphytes so they grow attached to trees and branches. They are different because they have a central cup which you should keep filled with water.
In the home, you should give your bromeliads 3 to 4 hours of sun. The potting mix should incorporate things like large bark chunks so that the potting medium has excellent drainage. After flowering, the plant will slowly die but will produce pups so you can keep growing them. One of the most common bromeliads to grow in the home is the urn plant, or Aechmea fasciata. It is also known as silver vase plant.
Most bromeliads are epiphytes, but one example of a bromeliad that grows in the ground is the pineapple plant. You can easily grow a pineapple by cutting off the top of the fruit. Leave only the foliage and about half an inch of the fruit. Let it air dry for a couple days. Then root it in a vase with water. You can then plant it in soil once it has roots.
Another type of bromeliad is the Tillandsia genus, or air plants, which are commonly available.
There are a number of succulent plants that are suitable for growing in the home, many of which are extremely unusual looking in form. One example includes those in the Lithops family, otherwise known as living stones or pebble plants.
Cacti are also included in the succulent group. These, too, have many unique and interesting varieties that can be easily grown indoors.
Both succulent and cactus plants thrive in bright light with little water or humidity. (Some popular ones can be found below.)
Other Unusual Houseplants
The swiss cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa, is a very showy plant with decorative leaves that can grow up to 3 feet (.91 m.) long. It grows well in indirect light and likes to be kept warm. Be sure to keep it warm even in the winter.
Staghorn fern is a very interesting fern that is usually sold mounted on a piece of wood. Like the common name suggests, the leaves look like animal horns. It is in the genus Platycerium. Be sure to regularly soak the mounted fern to make sure it receives enough moisture.
Zig-Zag cactus is an unusual houseplant with jagged leaves. The botanical name for this plant is Selenicereus anthonyanus. It also goes by the name fishbone cactus. It is quite easy to grow and can produce pink flowers.
Rose succulentsv, or Greenovia dodrentalis, literally look like green roses! They are succulents, so be sure to provide standard succulent care to keep them beautiful.
Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’ is a gorgeous succulent that has a beautiful red color at the end of the branches. It is commonly known as pencil cactus.
Various Oxalis make for interesting and unusual indoor plants. These are also known as shamrock plants and some have stunning mauve or purple leaves and either white or pink flowers. They prefer to be grown in moist soil and medium to bright light.
There are many more unique indoor plants that you can grow. Some others include:
- Ponytail palm
- Rex begonias
- String of pearls
- Crown of thorns
- Pachira money tree
Why not try growing some of these unique houseplant varieties?
18 Interesting Plants You’re Probably Not Growing (But Should Be)
One perk of growing your own food is you get to decide what you grow.
And that means you get to decide what you eat.
So you’re not limited to the same, old, arguably boring varieties the supermarket stocks. You can make your meals as interesting and exotic as you dare.
Of course, when it comes to garden planning, experts often suggest growing plants you know you like to eat. And that’s solid advice. (In fact, I’ve recommended this approach myself.)
But on the flipside, if you don’t try anything new, how will you know what you like?
It’s in that spirit that I recently spent some time seeking out odd and interesting plants just waiting to be grown. So if you’ve got a few growing seasons under your belt and are looking to try something more adventurous — or if you’re just adventurous by nature — here are 18 unique crops you can grow with Tower Garden.
18 Interesting Vegetables and Fruits to Grow
Let’s kick things off with one of the weirdest crops on this list.
The characteristics of the achocha plant, also known as the Bolivian cucumber, vary depending on species. Its fruit — which tastes like a cucumber when picked early and like a bell pepper when picked later — may be smooth or have soft spikes.
And as you can see in the video above, some varieties, um, explode.
Achocha is an ancient crop (originally grown by the Incas in South America) and belongs to the same family as cucumbers and squash. Neat fact: Achocha is nearly immune to common cucurbit pests like squash bugs, vine borers, and powdery mildew.
2. Alpine strawberries.
If you like strawberries, you’ll love this wild, intensely flavored variety. Alpine strawberries produce small, delightful fruits all season.
Grow alpine strawberries just as you would common strawberries.
Credit: Connie Ma
If you’ve tried to grow spinach (particularly in warmer temperatures) and failed, this red-streaked, leafy green is for you. Amaranth is one of the only greens that will grow well in hot, humid conditions.
In addition to acting as a passable substitute for crops like chard, kale, and, as I mentioned, spinach, amaranth produces seeds that are similar to quinoa.
Credit: Oregon State University
4. Black (Indigo Rose) tomatoes.
The Indigo Rose tomato originated at Oregon State University. The team there bred red and purple tomato varieties with the goal of yielding an antioxidant-rich crop.
As a result, these tomatoes are not only visually striking, but are also reportedly healthier (containing antioxidants known as anthocyanins) and more savory than your standard tomato.
That said, you grow them just as you would a common tomato.
Credit: Emma Wallace
Coming in various interesting shapes and sizes, calabash is known by another, more descriptive name: bottle gourd. This is because growers often let the fruit dry and then use the remaining outer shell as a natural container.
Growing calabash is much like growing squash or cucumbers.
Also known as Mexican or watermelon gherkins, the cucamelon looks like a miniature watermelon. But it tastes more like a tangy cucumber.
Cucamelons have needs similar to those of cucumbers — lots of sun and warm temperatures. That said, cucamelons are actually more cold tolerant and pest-resistant than cucumbers.
Whoa, whoa, whoa… why would you grow a weed in your Tower Garden? It does seem a bit counterintuitive. Most people are trying to eradicate dandelions from lawns and gardens, not nurture them, after all.
But — packed with vitamins, calcium, and more — dandelion greens offer more healthful benefits than some of the more standard crops you find in the produce aisle. And true to the phrase, “grows like a weed,” dandelions flourish even with neglect.
But beware. Dandelion greens tend to taste a bit bitter.
8. Italian chicory.
Want to add a little dramatic flair to your garden? (Is it just me, or does that look like blood splatter?) Consider planting Italian chicory, also known as Castelfranco radicchio.
Aside from its macabre appearance, this salad green isn’t much different than common chicory. It’s just as hardy and offers the same bittersweet flavor.
The result of 15 years of research and testing, Kalettes are a cross between two celebrity superfoods: kale and Brussels sprouts. In case you’re wary of how such a mix came about, rest easy. Tozer Seeds developed Kalettes through traditional, non-GMO plant breeding methods.
The company markets its hybrid crop as one that “combines the best flavors from Brussels sprouts and kale, resulting in a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty.”
This bizarre-looking crop goes by many names: kiwano, horned melon, African cucumber, blowfish fruit, and more. But one thing is certain — it produces some otherworldly fruit.
With an orange, spiky outer and a green, juicy inner, this fancy fruit has a tart taste and cucumber-esque texture. Like other cucurbits on this list, kiwano grows well in a warm, sunny environment — the kind squash and cukes love.
I’m convinced kohlrabi is from another planet. Coming in purple, green, and white, the crop could certainly add an alien-like element to your garden!
As a member of the cabbage family, kohlrabi prefers cooler temperatures. And it has a sweet, mild flavor that’s been described as a cross between a radish and a cucumber.
12. Long beans.
Also called yard-long beans (because the beans can grow from one to three feet in length), long beans can grow by inches in a single day. A traditional crop in Asia, long beans grow well in hot, humid environments.
Unlike traditional green beans, long beans aren’t very enjoyable boiled or steamed. But they’re excellent sautéed or stir-fried.
Credit: Guilherme Jofili
Rather than buy your next bath sponge, why not grow it? Belonging to the cucumber family, the luffa (also commonly spelled loofah) is known for its fruit’s fibrous interior. Once dried, this skeleton can be used as a scrubbing sponge.
You can also eat luffa fruit when it’s green and relatively small. Multipurposing for the win!
Varieties of this intriguing flowering vine grow natively in much of the United States. In fact, that’s how I first discovered it — blooming among other wild plants alongside a road.
As you can see, the plant’s beautiful flowers have an unusual structure. For this reason, large bees, hummingbirds, and bats primarily pollinate the plant.
Many species of passionflower produce small, sweet fruits. And the plant’s foliage is often used as an herb for its reputed calming effects.
15. Purple cauliflower.
If you liked the black tomatoes above, you’ll probably be interested to know that other crops — such as cauliflower — come in unusual colors, too!
This cauliflower produces purple heads that, like the Indigo Rose tomatoes, contain anthocyanins. So in addition to its unique appearance, it may offer more health benefits than standard cauliflower.
Mesmerizingly symmetric, Romanesco’s signature pattern makes it a natural fractal.
This fascinating crop is comparable to cauliflower and broccoli, its close relatives, in both flavor and growing requirements.
I tasted sorrel for the first time last week. And wow — what a surprise!
The leafy vegetable’s younger leaves have a sharp, sour taste when eaten raw. For that reason, it’s used sparingly (much like an herb) in salads. More often, the crop is added to soups or sauces.
Like most greens, sorrel prefers to grow in cooler temperatures.
A staple ingredient in Mexican and Central American cuisine, the tomatillo’s tart fruit grows in an inedible, papery husk.
Tomatillo plants require cross-pollination. So you’ll need to plant at least two crops to ensure a good yield.
So, What Will You Grow?
I have lots of new plants I can’t wait to try growing! (I think kiwano and Indigo Rose tomatoes might be at the top of my list.)
What about you? Will you grow any of these 18 crops? Have you grown some already?
Let’s continue the conversation below.
Get More Plant Recommendations
If you liked this guide, you might also like:
- 15 Easy Plants for Beginners
- 30 Crops that Tolerate Shade
- 21 Plants to Grow Indoors
- 10 Crops to Grow with Kids
- 28 Plants to Grow for a Chef’s Garden
- 35 Cool Weather Crops
- 20 Plants Salad-lovers Should Grow
There are about 375,000 species of plants in the world today, with more being discovered on a daily basis. Plants come in all different sizes, shapes, colors, and even scents. We’ve all seen the common household plants: ferns, orchids, violets… but most of the plants on this list you’ve probably never seen in real life.
Even though classifying something as bizarre is pretty relative and will differ from person to person, these plants are most definitely strange in more than just one way. If you’re looking to surprise your girlfriend, these are not the types of plants to put into a pot; save them for the mother-in-law. Below are 10 odd plants that will probably make you think twice.
10. Dionaea Muscipula (Venus flytrap)
Better known as the Venus flytrap, the Dionaea muscipula is one of about 670 carnivorous plants that researchers have discovered. The plant is able to attract insects and spiders, and once the bug is inside of the plant it will make contact with the tiny hairs inside, which then spark a reaction for the plant to close its lobes. If the prey does escape, the trap usually reopens in about 12 hours. If the bug is unable to get away, the further movement it makes in attempt to escape only forces the plant to tighten even more, which leads to digestion.
You’ve probably seen these plants in the stores or even at someone’s home, placing it low on the list despite its strange diet (and, let’s face it, a meat-eating plant is pretty bizarre). The stems often get no larger than 4 inches, and can be a bit smaller than 1 inch. In the spring, the plant produces delicate white flowers, but only if it is healthy. As a result of wildfires, they are considered to be a vulnerable species, which means that they are highly likely to become endangered. While the plant has been transplanted to many locations, the only place where it grows natively is in North Carolina bogs. Despite what you may think, the Venus flytrap is not a tropical plant; in fact, it thrives in the winter.
9. Wolffia Angusta
Sometimes referred to as watermeal, Wolffia angusta belongs to a genus that is made up of some of the smallest plants on earth. There are 38 Wolffia plants total, 9 of them being the smallest plants ever discovered. The Wolffia angusta is so small that a dozen single plants can easily fit onto the head of a pin. If you were to find 2 plants that were in full bloom, you could fit them inside a very small handwritten “o.” You’ll find this plant growing on the water’s surface, which explains its name because, at first glance, you could easily mistake it for cornmeal floating in the water. These plants have no roots and grow in depressions in the water’s surface. They often group together and even combine with other similar plants that also make the water home.
Watermeal is native to Asia, where it is part of many people’s diets. It is said to have just as much protein as soybean, which is about 40% of its nutritional value. However, eating plants the size of 1/25 of an inch can’t be filling!
8. Lithops Julii
Lithops julii is a weird plant that you’ll find growing in southern Africa. The plant thrives in very hot and dry environments, and if you know a little Greek, you may know why. The plants name, Lithops, comes from the word ‘lithos’ which means stone and ‘ops,’ meaning like or similar to. Other names for Lithops julii are pebble plants as well as living stones. Truly, every aspect of the plant is very much like a rock. For instance, most plants are green or have some hint of yellow to them. But, the Lithops are cream, grey, brown in color (some with red designs). These colors are useful because they allow the plant to blend in and almost camouflage itself. Overall, just like rocks, the Lithops plant is pretty dull.
Though the plant doesn’t sound pretty, it does actually produce flowers. The flowers look very similar to a daisy; white with long petals and a pale yellow center. These flowers usually bloom in the fall. Now, if you’re into weird plants that don’t add very much color to a room, you can choose to buy a Lithops and grow it in your home. With enough light and ventilation along with minimal water, these plants do great.
7. Welwitschia Mirabilis
When it comes to most living things, water and food are a necessity. However, for the Welwitschia mirabilis, 3 inches of water during an entire year work just fine. An inch of this usually comes from rain while the other 2 inches are provided by the ocean fog. However, the lack for water may explain this plant’s appearance- it’s dry, rugged, flimsy look most definitely fits the mold. The plant only grows 2 leaves during its entire lifespan, which is about 1,000-2,000 years, but they often split after growing to be up to 13 feet, which makes the plant seem like it has more. With such a lifespan, the plant has earned the name as the “living fossil.”
The plant was first discovered in 1859 by Friedrich Welwitsch, which explains the plant’s name. These plants usually grow well in Angola and Namibia; however, they are not widely found in Namibia due to locals who dig them up and collect them. The minefields in Angola keep them plenty safe. The biggest Welwitschia plant is 4.6 feet tall and 13 feet wide.
6. Victoria Amazonica
From experience, you probably know that lily pads and water lilies aren’t huge plants. They are maybe the size of a human hand, if not a smidge bigger. In contrast, the Victoria amazonica plant can hold a human hand, as well as the rest of a 300lb human body. That’s right; they’re like stepping stones in the water. The plant is the largest water lily ever discovered, and everything about it is big. The root itself is more than 26 feet long and the leaves and flowers can grow to be about 10 feet in diameter. This plant is not only large, but it changes colors. When its flowers bloom the first night, they are a pure white color. The next day they are pink. Despite its beauty, the plant is covered in piercing spines, except the flower, roots, and the pad itself.
Native to the Amazon River basin, the plant was first introduced to Europe in 1837 by John Lindley, and during this time people were nothing less than fascinated. It earned the name of the “giant water platter” but its scientific name was given in honor of Queen Victoria. The plant was so popular that there were competitions to see who could properly harvest the plant first. In 1849 the Duke of Devonshire proved to be the winner.
5. Hydnora Africana
Native to southern Africa, the Hydnora africana, a parasitic plant, is one that might permanently change your mind about sniffing flowers. It is probably most known for its disgusting scent, which is often compared to the smell of feces. The scent is disgusting but necessary for the plant’s survival, so that it can attract dung beetles, carrion beetles, and other pollinators. The plant traps these bugs and they are eventually released once it reopens. Not only does the plant smell bad, it also has no aesthetic properties to it either. It’s a dull brown/grey plant that has no leaves and truly looks like it has no life to it. The plant grows underground but the only part one can see is the fleshy flower that grows above ground.
The plant was first discovered and transplanted to California in 1973 by Sherwin Carlquist. Crazy as the idea seems, this plant is actually edible. The fleshy pulp-like flower can be eaten, which is often where all of the plant’s seeds are located. But who really goes close enough to this plant to take a bite out of it, let alone get past its smell?
The Nepenthes plant is found in Indochina, Australia, and throughout the Malay Archipelago. It thrives in high humidity locations with average rainfall and a lot of light. With a name like monkey cup, how couldn’t it be a bit bizarre? The name is quite fitting as numerous people have observed monkeys drinking out of the plant. The plant was first described in 1658 as being about 3 feet high with 7 inch long leaves that hold a hollow flower. The hollow flower that is described is often full of a liquid that the plant produces on its own. The liquid is sometimes drunk by mammals, but its real purpose is to drown its prey. There is also a “lid” so to speak that covers the top of the flower that covers the liquid. There are high flowers, which hang from the vines, and low flowers which are closer to the ground.
Now, if you thought the Venus flytrap was bad for eating insects, you’ve heard nothing about the Nepenthes plant. This plant eats spiders, insects, scorpions, and centipedes; it has also been known to capture lizards, frogs, and even snails. Though not very common, it has occurred. If you’re interested in owning a Nepenthes plant you can purchase seeds and grow it in a greenhouse, but keep in mind, you’ll be responsible for manually feeding it insects (mostly crickets). Who doesn’t want a pet plant?
3. Dracunculus Vulgaris
Sometimes called the Stink Lily or the Dragonwort, the Dracunculus vulgaris gets its name from its shape. The plant has a long spadex that is often a black or very deep purple color that is surrounded by the spathe. The spadex is often referred to as the dragon that is hiding in the spathe. The plant is most often found in the Balkans, including Crete, Greece, and the Aegean Islands. However, researchers have been able to take it from these locations and harvest it within the U.S. in states such as Tennessee, Oregon, and California. They have also been taken to Puerto Rico.
The plant gets one of its nicknames from the smell that it gives off, which has been compared to the smell of rotting flesh. The smell attracts pollinators so that the plant can continue to grow. The good thing is that the smell is only temporary and does eventually go away. The Stink Lily is a very hardy plant that grows more each year. Plants can have more than 40 blooms at one time.
2. Rafflesia Arnoldii
The Rafflesia arnoldii is another plant on the list that isn’t known for its beauty or elegance, but for its order and size. It is extremely rare and it isn’t a plant you can just grow anywhere, placing it higher on this list. Like the Dracunculus vulgaris, it’s smell is very similar to rotting meat and this scent is needed to attract certain insects that will eventually pollinate the plant for further growth. The plant was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, a man who founded the colony of Singapore. You’ll find this plant in the Borneo and Sumatra rainforests as well as in the Indonesian Archipelago. Adding to it’s uniqueness, the Rafflesia arnoldii is considered to be the plant with the largest flower, which can weigh up to 24lbs and be as wide as 3 feet.
You won’t be able to walk through the rainforest and find many of these. The growing process for the plants take months and the flower itself only stays in bloom for a few days. At the same time many consider this plant to be on its way to extinction. Though the flower itself is highly interesting, the smell is sure to keep anyone away. The plant always grows 5 very thick petals that are generally a burnt-orange/red color.
1. Amorphophallus Titanum
If you know some Latin or you’re just knowledgeable in the English language, you probably know exactly what the word phallus means; but let’s put it altogether. Amorphos means misshapen, phallus means penis, and titan means big. Yes; this plants name is big misshapen penis. How couldn’t this top the list? If the scientific name doesn’t persuade you, its nickname surely will: corpse flower. The name comes from the fact that the plant lets off an odor that is said to smell exactly like rotting and dead flesh. The Amorphophallus titanum is a plant that is only indigenous in the Sumatra rainforests, though it has been transplanted, harvested, and grown around the world. The plant reaches a towering 10 feet and closely resembles a calla lily but with a spadex growing through the middle of it. Though the smell isn’t pleasant to human noses, it serves its purpose: attracting carrion beetles, dung beetles, and flesh flies.
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10 Unusual Houseplants That Will Leave You Wonderstruck
If you are a plant lover, then your home must be filled with some green and beautiful indoor plants but do you have a ‘Pregnant onion’ or a ‘Dolphin succulent’ in your home? If not, then change your interior with at-least one unusual yet beautiful indoor plants that will not only make your home look pleasant but also create a more refreshing and serene aura.
Here is a list of some of the most unusual indoor plants that exist across the blue. Scroll down to check these out:
10. Fire Pencil Cactus
This is one of the strange indoor plants belonging to the Cactus family and is indigenous to Africa. As its color and body suggest, this plant is popularly known as Fire-sticks and can grow up to 25 feet. Fire Pencil Cactus can enhance the beauty of any home by its ravishing red color.
9. Pregnant Onion
Usually kept as a house plant, the pregnant onion is a very easy plant to grow and care. It has long green leaves with a large bulb which suggests its name. The best part of planting a pregnant onion plant in your home is that it is an evergreen plant with leaves and flowers throughout the year.
8. Rabbit’s Foot Fern
The most attractive features of this plant are its furry rhizomes that grow up to resemble a rabbit’s foot, as the name says. This plant can be grown on large pot and can be hanged in a basket showing off its furry rhizomes which will add more beauty to your home.
7. Donkey’s Tail Plant
This is a easy-to-grow house succulent which is lush green in color having tear-drop shaped leaves. These succulents resemble a Donkey’s tail and can be an excellent decorative tool for your home. This plant is one of the best hanging plants that can enhance the charm of your home.
6. Lucky Heart Plant
Also known as Hoya Kerri, this house plant bears green fleshy heart-shaped leaves. This plant is a climbing succulent and is believed to bring good luck to your love life. Considered as the romantic succulent, this house plant spreads love in every house it goes.
Also Read: 9 Rarest Flowers Across The World You Never Knew Existed
5. Dolphin Succulent Plant
This is one of the adorable succulent plants that you should definitely have in your home. Extremely famous in Japan, this plant consists of tiny fleshy leaves which look like little Dolphins diving in the air. This plant makes a home look more cheerful and homely by its presence.
4. Baseball Plant
Popularly known as the Baseball Cactus, this is one of the beautiful home plants which is thornless. This is a slow growing plant that resembles a baseball and acts as a pest resistant plant too. Easy to care, this indoor plant looks like a jewel which can bright up your home with its presence.
Also Read: 5 Air-Filtering Plants That You Need In Your Home Right Now
3. Marimo Moss Balls
As the name suggests, these are little soft and moist balls of algae which look like moss. In Japan, Marimo Moss Balls are considered as lucky charms and are also adored as pets. These spherical moss balls live in water. Thus, these moss balls are usually kept in an aquarium or a fish tank to make a home look more attractive.
2. Rose Succulent
With the looks of the iconic and beautiful rose flowers, these are the best indoor plants you can’t get off your eyes from. Green in color, these rose succulents are eye-catching plants which make a home cozier. These flowers are also easier to grow and care. All you require is to water the plant on a daily basis.
1. Haworthia Cooperi
Belonging to the succulent family, Hawaorthia Cooperi resembles a bunch of green bubbles carved out of fleshy leaves. These are one of the attractive indoor house plants with a unique look. The best part is that these plants are see-through plants which looks like pearls in a homely set up.
These were some of the unusual indoor plants which can make your home look heavenly and help you create a natural environment. So, go ahead to make your home more lively and a happier place with these incredibly beautiful and strange indoor house plants
15 Strange And Beautiful Houseplants You Need To Know About
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Houseplants make a dramatic difference in our decor. They add color, vibrancy, and life to our homes. Do you love using houseplants in your decor too? These strange and beautiful houseplants are a sight to behold.
When you decorate any interior space with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery but these living organisms interact with your body and mind too! They add to the overall quality of our lives in so many ways.
Houseplants help you to breathe easier too as they release oxygen. During the night, photosynthesis ceases, and plants typically respire like humans – they absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide – isn’t nature amazing? Essentially, they help purify the air too!
Here’s a list of some strange and yet beautiful houseplants for you to enjoy.
Don’t forget to read How To Choose The Best Plants For Your Zodiac Sign too! It’s so much fun to see which houseplants match your zodiac sign!
1 – Dolphin Succulents
The internet is on fire because of these cute little beauties. That might be because they look exactly like little swimming dolphins! The technical name for this adorable succulent is Senecio Peregrimus. I haven’t seen any in local shops as of late, but I’ve got my eyes peeled for them at my local plant shops.
Nature is amazing! This plant nailed it! These cute little succulents look just like a swimming dolphin!
2 – Marimo Moss Balls
These cute little delights are perfect for your fish tank. They are made of algae which are grown in spherical shapes and live underwater. All you have to do to maintain these low maintenance beauties is change the water every few weeks and keep the plant in low light – indirect light works best.
3 – Trachyandra
Trachyandra is a genus of plants similar to Albuca and is native to South Africa. It features a curly squiggly branch and reminds me of curly pasta! Each branch is unique and has perfect symmetry. I can see bunches of them in a huge pot on my windowsill! You can also feature just one plant in a little pot too – perfect to perk up your bathroom!
4 – Rose Succulents
These beautiful plants are called Greenovia Dodrentalis and one of my personal favorites. They are called Rose Succulents obviously because they look just like a rose! They are so easy to maintain – all you have to do is water them when the soil is dry.
5 – Crassula Umbella
This beauty resembles a donut! They are also nicknames Wine Cup which I like my nickname better. The flowery buds branching out of the top are perfection. They can grow up to six inches tall when beautiful buds are in full bloom. This succulent is a must for me – I love how hearty it is and like most succulents, easy to take care of.
If you love plants and flowers be sure to check out my post called 32 Beautiful Summer Flowers And Their Complementary Colors – I am so in love with Spring colors and discovering how to use them creatively.
6 – Euphorbia Obesa
Native to South Africa – this strange beauty is very easy to care for. It requires very little pampering to stay healthy. They are very self-sufficient and like most succulents, more die from too much care and watering than from neglect. I appreciate how nature always manages to bloom spectacular flowers from most succulents. I love the banded array of colors of the Euphorbia – purple and green are a perfect pair!
Its nickname is the Baseball Plant – it’s huge in its width and can grow up to 15 centimeters wide. Like most succulents, it holds water to store for droughts. Smart! I’m not so sure I agree with the word “obesa” in its name. Wiki says it means obese woman – gosh! Let’s just call it a Baseball Plant!
7 – Euphorbia Caput-Medusae
This unique beauty has a very interesting nickname; Aptly called Medusa’s Head, it’s wiry branches reach out to the sun for attention. Like so many of these darling succulents, this one is native to South Africa.
I love the bulbs and how interesting they are in shape and size. I’m sure they are easy to take care and would look lovely paired with something like the Rose Succulent.
8 – Platycerium
This oddity is simply stunning! It’s the perfect way to decorate your walls with its branchy-beauty. I can see this mounted to a wooden plank and displayed handsomely on a wall in an office, den, living, or anywhere in your home. It’s also nicknamed the Staghorn Fern because it’s shaped like animal horns.
As displayed below, this beautiful plant would add color and character to any home. It would be perfectly at home hanging in my backyard deck area.
Since I’ve successfully gotten rid of all my weed and without chemicals – This beauty would add some life and color to my patio space.
9 – Euphorbia Tirucalli
Sticks on fire or Euphorbia Tirucalli Rosea makes a bold statement with its branches of fire. It looks like a combination of coral and succulent combined. This strange but beautiful plant can grow up to 25 feet tall. Talk about making an entrance!
10 – Haworthia Cooperi
This fleshy plump succulent is one of my favorite. If it were eatable, I’d love to pop one of its juicy bulbs right into my mouth. It’s not safe, so don’t do it! Between the color and the reflective pattern is the perfect houseplant. It’s small and would pair so perfectly with larger succulents for a wonderful succulent tablescape arrangement.
I also love how you can use rocks and gravel to surround this unusual houseplant. Super easy to maintain and beautiful to look at, this succulent would make a wonderful addition to your home.
11 – Sedum Morganianum
This is one succulent I can speak of from experience – it’s wonderfully easy to maintain and always gets noticed with loads of compliments. It’s aptly nicknamed the Donkey Tail. Mine grew wonderfully and can grow up to 24 inches. Its leaves are blue-green and are native to Mexico and Honduras.
Image Source: http://www.hortmag.com/plants/plants-we-love/burros-tail-sedum-a-trailing-succulent-for-bright-windows
12 – Corkscrew Grass
I am charmed by its elegant twisting branches. This beauty tends to spread easily when it’s planted in the ground. Perfect to use as a filler between plants in your garden. In a pot, it’s simply charming and would look perfect paired with other succulents and plants. Strange and beautiful houseplants are always a great way to beautify your home.
13 – Gentiana Urnula
Nicknamed the Starfish Succulent, this beauty is truly low maintenance. I love the geometric elegance of its shape and design. Perfect for a rock garden or potted in a planter, this beauty would make a lovely addition to any home.
14 – String Of Pearls
If you are like me and are looking for an easy succulent to grow indoors, the String of Pearls plant is the way to go. Nicknamed Senecio Rowleyanus, this beauty grows by leaps and bounds. Its thin thread-like stems and fleshy round branches are what makes this strange and yet beautiful succulent so desired. I’m so in love with these strange and beautiful houseplants, aren’t you?
I would display this in the corner ceiling of any room so it’s beautiful draping branches touch the ground. You don’t want to water this succulent too much as it can cause root rot and that’s a huge no-no!
15 – Hoya Plant
I was surprised to learn there are around two hundred species of Hoya. They are tropical plants that need relatively high heat and humidity so if you can provide that living condition, these beauties are worth it. They have incredible symmetrical blooms and are breathtakingly beautiful in color and design.
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Don’t forget to read How To Choose The Best Plants For Your Zodiac Sign too!
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I hope you enjoyed these strange and beautiful houseplants as much as I did in sharing them with you.
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20 Most Beautiful Houseplants You Need To Know About
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If you want to perk up your home with some pops of living green color then you’ll love this list of 20 Most Beautiful Houseplants.
You might know about some or never heard about them at all, either way, they are the perfect way to bring life and color into your home decor.
Filling your home with beautiful houseplants is the perfect way to take any dull and boring room and affordably make it look glam and add pops of color too.
If you didn’t know about some of these houseplants then you’ll be pleased to see just how beautiful they are!
Click here to learn more about your personality traits and how to choose a houseplant based on your zodiac sign!
Be sure to click the link in each numbered title to learn more or purchase these beautiful houseplants!
1 – Ficus Lyrata – ‘Fiddle Leaf Fig’ Tree Houseplant
This exotic version of a Ficus plant has dark green stunning foliage. It’s normally used as a houseplant and perfect for perking up your home decor. It can be used in a variety of outdoor settings as well.
It’s so easy to take care of because they require less watering too. Fiddle Leaf Fig trees are also known for their air filtering abilities as well – so it’s a win-win!
2 – Red Valentine Chinese Evergreen Plant
This beautiful houseplant requires low maintenance and you only have to water it when the soil starts to get dry.
It’s an easy to grow houseplant and grows in dim light conditions too which makes it perfect for your home, office, apartment, or dorm room!
3 – Aluminum Plant – Pilea
This beautiful houseplant is known for the beautiful silver strips that cast off the color of aluminum. their silvery strips appear over the glossy green color of each leaf.
This stunning plant is known for its low maintenance. It’s very easy to grow for those of you without a green thumb!
4 – Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Rising high and finishing in an explosion of leaves, this 72″ fiddle leaf fig tree is the perfect way to bring the forest indoors, without worrying about sunlight or watering.
It’s an impressive offering, standing six feet tall, and is ideal for a home library, den, man-cave, or (of course) an office. Complete with 270 leaves, several trunks, and a planter pot, this also makes an ideal gift too! It’s one of my personal favorites as well.
5 – Calathea Medallion Peacock Plant
Calathea ‘Medallion’ has dark green leaves with a feather-like shaped white pattern outlining the light green centers, making a beautiful plant with a striking contrast.
These oval-shaped leaves have deep, burgundy/purple-colored undersides. They are very bold, decorative, and air-purifying houseplant! Calathea Medallion has beautiful, brightly colored, upright, oval leaves with deep burgundy undersides.
Plus, they are safe and non-toxic for pets! This beautiful houseplant is the perfect way to decorate any room in your home.
6 – Pencil Cactus
This unique looking and beautiful houseplant is infamous for its toxic milky sap – be sure to take care when handling this plant. Even still, it’s a very popular and loved houseplant.
As far as care, this Pencil Cactus needs medium to high light and doesn’t need to be watered frequently. It also likes dry air. It’s perfect for any room and will a beautiful pop of green to any room decor.
7 – Croton Petra
This beautiful, bold and bodacious houseplant is low maintenance for those of us looking for an easy plant to raise. What makes it stunning is the enchanting mix of yellow, amber, and orange colors. It also features linear markings on thick dark green foliage which adds to its beauty!
Growing is easy and should be kept in a spot that gets bright indirect light most of the time. You only need to water it sporadically as well which adds to its easy growing appeal.
8 – Silver Nerve Plant
Another beauty! The silvery veins running through this houseplant are definitely the focal point! The large green leafy leaves are truly majestic as well.
This stunning beauty prefers bright or indirect light which makes it perfect for really anyplace in your home or office. Another easy plant to raise, this Silver Nerve Plant likes evenly moist soil that’s not too wet or dry.
9 – Prayer Plant
Prayer plants have big, oval leaves that turn upward at night which adds to the unmistakable beauty of this houseplant. The folding and unfolding of the leaves happen in a regular pattern.
Plant biologists call these daily cycles circadian rhythms. All you need to do is provide bright indirect light and keep evenly moist.
10 – Bird’s Nest Fern
This simply stunning houseplant is native to Southeast Asia and makes the perfect decorative plant because of its beautifully unique shaped leaves. This bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is easy to grow and likes mainly warmth and humidity.
It also requires bright indirect light and temperature around 70 degrees for growing bird’s nest fern indoors. It’s one of my personal favorites!
12 – Adenium Obesum ~ Red Desert Rose
The Red Desert Rose goes best in a warm climate or if you have a South or West facing window in your home. Even with the small growing needs, the Red Desert Rose is a low maintenance and flowers heartily throughout the year in frost-free climates.
Its simply stunning and the red will bring that pop of color into your home better than home decor item you can buy.
13 – Fiber Optic Grass Plant
Grasses provide structure and texture to your garden, offering many shapes, heights, and colors. Most will “bloom’ with attractive seed fronds that move with the breeze.
This grass has slender green foliage, on the tips are buff-colored flowers. The flowers resemble the look of fiber optic lights hence the common name.
This is a plant that will do great near water or in moist soils. This is a great grass for mixed containers, giving them movement and interest, especially since it tends to look weedy in the landscape.
It can also be grown on a cool windowsill. This grass loves full sun to part sun and medium to high water requirements.
Best of all, you can buy the seeds and gown it yourself!
14 – Ti Plant
Ti Plants have stunning purple foliage with streaks of blazing pink! There’s no better way to add contrasting colors to your home decor than with this houseplant. This Ti plant looks smoking hot and gorgeous!
This plant can grow in your home for a year-round foliage spectacle. It is drought tolerant but also requires high light requirements, indoor growing, it must be kept somewhere where it can absorb direct and indirect light both.
15 – Oxalis Indoor Or Outdoor Plant
This is by far my most favorite beautiful houseplant! What a stunning addition to any room it lives in. Think of how amazing the Oxalis would look in your garden too!
The Oxalis belongs to a variety of edible, perennial plants described by its striking mauve leaves and pink or white blooms. It likes to grow in medium-to-bright light and performs better when grown in evenly moist soil.
16 – Ponytail Palm
the Ponytail Palm is surely an exotic succulent plant and would make a fine addition to any decor. It’s known to be a low maintenance plant as it has low watering needs and that means easy care!
It also grows slowly, which means you don’t need to repot as often as other plants. Pair it up with this stunning Rondo Self Watering Planter featured in the image below, and you are ready to host a fab dinner party!
17 – Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
This beautiful Umbrella Tree is great for indoors and outdoors! It grows to 8 feet or more in height. You can use as an accent, backdrop, privacy, camouflage any area of your home with its big leafy branches.
Schefflera arboricola, commonly called umbrella plant or dwarf schefflera, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows in tropical climates to 10-25′ tall. It is native to Taiwan. In the wild, it sometimes grows on other trees as an epiphyte.
Each leaf has 7-9 oblong to elliptic leaflets (to 4-6″ long) arranged in a circle on leaf stalks to 6″ long. It blooms tiny red flowers in compound panicles bloom in summer. Flowers are followed by round orange drupes (to 1/4″) which mature to black. Indoor plants rarely flower.
18 – African Violets
The most popular blooming plant in the world is the African Violet. And for good reason, they bloom continuously, twelve months a year.
Plus they are easy to grow, a filtered light window with warm temperatures is all you need. Keep evenly moist, not wet dry. A truly beautiful addition to any home decor.
19 – String of Pearls Succulent Plant
This String of Pearls succulent is a trailing succulent that can grow several feet and spill over the edge of their planter to create a beautiful texture and look to your arrangements.
It’s an easy-care succulent plant too which is great for the on the go person. Trailing downward, it looks stunning in hanging baskets. It is drought tolerant so you don’t need to water frequently.
20 – Peace Lily
This large flowering peace lily is one of the best plant gifts you can give Mom or anyone. The Peace Lily is a low maintenance as well as an air-cleaning houseplant.
This plant displays beautiful, spoon-shaped white spathe amidst a spike of white flower. It thrives best in a shady environment and can flourish in low-level lighting too.
We know you will be able to enjoy these beautiful houseplants in your home and allow them to fill your rooms with color, life, and beauty!
If you are shopping for plants that will bring you inner peace and add a sense of calm to your home, be sure and read 5 Decorative Indoor Houseplants You Need For Inner Peace.
Don’t forget to read 15 Strange And Beautiful Houseplants You Need To Know About too!
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The Earth is home to more than 298000 species of plants. The diverse group balance nature and life on Earth. Some plants produce beautiful pleasant smelling flowers, some produce nutrient-rich fruits, some have medicinal properties and some have the totally strange appearance. Followings are 10 most strangest plants around the world.
10 White Baneberry
credit of image:Benet2006 on Flickr
Actaea pachypoda or baneberry is a small ball type plant native to North American forests. It is also called as doll’s eye because of its special shaped fruits. This plant stands 60 cm tall and only has very few leaves. It’s red thick stems also look very attractive.
- The fruits of white baneberry are toxic
- The flowers of white baneberry are very small, only have the size of 6mm
9 Baseball Plant
credit of image:Karelj on Wikimedia Commons
It is generally known as euphorbia obesa native to South Africa. The plant has exactly the same shape of a baseball. It is an unbranched plant with an average height of 20 cm. The special species of baseball plant is protected by national nature conservation as it is very rare in the world.
- Male and female flowers of euphorbia obesa grow on different plants.
- Baseball plants are quite toxic, makes severe skin problems.
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8 Hydnellum Peckii
credit of image:Bernypisa on Wikimedia Commons
Hydnellum peckii is a special type of fungi that produce blood or juice like fluid on its surface. This plant is also known as ‘bleeding tooth fungus’. It is the Scarlet pigment causes blood like the color on the fluid of this plant. This strange plant mainly found across North America and Europe. It is edible, but the blood like fluid is extremely bitter in taste.
- Hydnellum peckii has an unpleasant odor
- The color of fluids on Hydnellum peckii can be varied as orange or pink
7 Welwitschia Mirabilis
Welwitschia Mirabilis is a unique plant that only found in the desert of Namibia. The estimated lifespan of this strange looking plant is between 500 and 1500 years. It can survive within many extreme weather conditions. The most interesting thing about Welwitschia is the plant only has two leaves that grow continuously over time. This strange species also have separate male and female plants.
credit of image:Stan Shebs on Wikimedia Commons
Lithop can be described as living stones, a plant that exactly look like stones or pebbles. In fact, its unique shape causes by the merging of two separate leaves at the outer edges of the plant. The leaves of the lithop plant grow in the very rainy season.This extremely strange plant species mainly found in South Africa.
- The thick pebble like leaves is main visible parts of lithops
- Unlike other plants the leaves of lithop are in brown or gray
- Lithops can be found in various colors like white, gray, pink and purple
- Lithops will live for more than 50 years
5 Mimosa Pudica
Mimosa pudica also known as ‘sensitive plant’ or ‘shy plant’ native to South America. But mimosa pudica can see all around the world especially in shady areas. The most attractive feature of mimosa pudica is nothing but its response to touch. Its leaves immediately fold up on touch. The primitive nervous system within this plant which balance flow of water from beneath of leaves which cause this sensitive nature.
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4 Corpse Flower
credit of image:KugelaP on Wikimedia Commons
The corpse flower is generally known as ‘titan arum’. It is the largest branched main stem concern flowering plant in the world. The corpse flower is endemic to Sumatra. During flowering, the plant stands at 8.2 feet tall. The plant also produces the smell of decomposing animal.
- Corpse plant bloom only in very 40 years
- It is the smelliest and largest flower in the world
- Corpse flowers are protected by law as it is very rare
3 Rafflesia Arnoldii
credit of image: Rendra Ragen Rais on Wikimedia Commons
Rafflesia arnoldii is the biggest individual flower in the world. In fact, it is smaller than corpse flower by considering some elements. It is mainly found in forests of Sumatra. Rafflesia will grow up to a size of three feet. Like corpse flower, the plant produces an unpleasant irritating smell. Rafflesia arnoldii is unisexual, have both male and female reproduction system.
Rafflesia arnoldii is the biggest individual flower in the world. In fact, it is smaller than corpse flower by considering some elements. It is mainly found in forests of Sumatra. Rafflesia will grow up to a size of three feet. Like corpse flower, the plant produces an unpleasant irritating smell. Rafflesia arnoldii is unisexual, have both male and female reproduction system.
2 Venus Flytrap
Venus flytrap also known as dionaea muscipula is a carnivorous plant. It means the plant consumes small insects and animals as food. Venus flytraps can be found in the Eastern Carolia especially in wet inhabitants. Venus flytrap has special lobes to trap the prey animals.
- The venus flytrap close its lobes immediately when the insects comes in contact with the plant.
- This plant will digest the insects within a time span of 10 days.
- The leaves venus flytrap opens its lobes widely to catch the prey.
The pitcher plant is another type of carnivorous plant native to South East Asia. The plant has an attractive deep red color. The attractive smell of pitcher plants helps it to easily catch the prey. The insects and small animals become main preys of pitcher plants. It is said to be some species of pitcher plant can even consume mice.
- The deep cavity that filled with special fluid help to catch the prey.
- The plant has most mysterious leaf structure and features special digestive enzymes.
There are about 375,000 species of plants worldwide, with more being discovered or described on a regular basis. Many of these are typical herbaceous or woody things we’re all familiar with. But some plants are very different, whether for their bizarre appearance, rarity, size, or some other unique feature. You might think of some, such as baobabs, redwood trees, voodoo lilies and many others. This article is a brief introduction to a few of the most interesting plants I’ve had the opportunity to see in habitat (in no particular order) that most people have never even heard of, much less seen.
Puya raimondii in Huscarán National Park, Peru.
Puya raimondii, or Queen of the Andes, is the world’s largest species of bromeliad. The terrestrial plants themselves can be 9-10 feet tall, with a rosette of spiny, grass-like leaves. And then the gigantic, erect inflorescence that holds more than 3,000 flowers grows up to 30 feet tall! This makes it one of the largest flowers clusters of any plant on earth. The individual creamy-white flowers are about 2 inches wide with bright orange anthers. The plant flowers once after 50-100 years, and then dies (monocarpic). Unlike most bromeliads, it doesn’t reproduce by offsets, but only from seed. It occurs only in the Andes at about 13,000 feet in a few isolated locations in Peru and Bolivia. Huascarán National Park in Peru is one of the most accessible of those sites. A few small specimens exist in perhaps a half a dozen botanical gardens in the world (including UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden, where one bloomed in 2014), but the best chance to see these dramatic plants is in the wild.
Entrance to Huascarán National Park, Peru (L), Puya raimondii in the Park, and a younger plant (R).
Puya raimondii L-R: leaves, the author in front of a flowering plant, flowering plants (white) and dead plant that flowered the previous year (brown), closeup of inflorescence, hummingbird at flowers, and closeup of white flowers.
Puya berteroniana, or blue or turquoise puya, is another large terrestrial, monocarpic bromeliad from South America, native to the mountains of Chile. The rosette of spiny, silvery-green leaves only grow 3-4 feet tall and wide, with the plant eventually forming a large colony of offsets. But its claim to fame are the astonishing turquoise flowers with bright orange anthers. Massive flower stalks 6-7 feet tall are covered with 2-inch blossoms that are hard to believe they’re not made of plastic. It is grown outside its native habitat in the Andes in a few botanical gardens in mild climates, such as the University of California – Santa Cruz Arboretum and is offered for sale, but would be difficult to grow as a container plant.
Puya berteroniana in habitat (L), inflorescence (LC, flowers (RC), and closeup of waxy, turquoise flower (R).
Echium wildpretii is an herbaceous biennial endemic to the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. With a common name of Tower of Jewels, this plant lives up to its name when it flowers in the second year, producing a thick, erect inflorescence up to 10 feet tall densely covered with bright salmon to red flowers from the gray-green to silver rosette of leaves. Longwood Gardens (Pennsylvania) and the Missouri Botanic Gardens in St. Louis, MO have had it blooming in their conservatories, and it can be grown in parts of California (I have never seen it in any public or private gardens, although many other species of Echium are commonly used as landscape plants in California).
Blooming Echium wildpretii in Parque Nacional de Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
Young plants (L), blooming plants (LC and C), inflorescence (RC) and flowers (R) of Echium wildpretii.
Welwitschia mirabilis is an ancient gymnosperm (a cone-bearing plant – cycads, pines, spruces, and firs are distant relatives) which is the only surviving member of the Welwitschiaceae family, originating in the Jurassic period. First discovered in 1859 by Friedrich Welwitsch, this “living fossil” is unique in the plant world because it produces only two leaves during its entire lifespan, which can be up to 2,000 years, but is generally 400-1,500 years. It lives in isolated communities in an extremely harsh environment in a narrow strip of the coastal Namib Desert from central Namibia to southern Angola where rainfall is often limited to just an inch a year. It gets the majority of its water from regular ocean fogs, however (its distribution coincides with the fog belt where dense fog forms regularly as the cold Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean meets the hot air coming off the desert).
Welwitschia mirabilis in habitat in the sandy Welwitschia Flats of Namib-Naukluft Park near Swakopmund, Namibia (L) and on rocky slopes in western Namibia (LC and RC), and a very large, old plant (R).
The wide, succulent leaves grow continuously from the woody base up to 12 feet long, splitting after a while into strap-like sections, making it seem like the plant has more leaves. It is thought that this mass of foliage directs moisture condensing on the leaves toward the base of the plant to water the roots growing in the sandy soil. But it can also take up water from fog directly through numerous stomata on both leaf surfaces. Like other gymnosperms it is dioecious (male and female on separate plants), but instead of cones the male plants produce something called microstroboli which are reminiscent of angiosperms (flowering plants). The largest specimen recorded is in the Messum Mountains. Another huge plant on the Welwitschia Flats near the Swakop River is over 4 feet tall and 28 feet wide. Since the plant is easily grown, even in containers, small specimens are often on display in conservatories or greenhouses in many botanic gardens including Kew, Kirstenbosch, and even at the Domes (Milwaukee Park Horticultural Conservatory), and other places.
Welwitschia mirabilis plants have just a single pair or leaves (L) and produces female (C) and male cones (R).
Dypsis decaryi, commonly called Triangle Palm for the shape of the trunk, is quite unusual because it does not have the radial or bilateral symmetry of nearly all other plants, and instead has three sides to the main stem, forming a triangular shape in cross section. Limited to a single mountainside in Madagascar, its survival in the wild is threatened because of its limited distribution and over collection of seeds for export. But because this palm is fast-growing and easily grown from seed, it is widespread in cultivation and is commonly planted as an ornamental in mild climates. It does well in containers and can even be grown as an indoor plant. Outdoors it is frequently used as a specimen plant where its unique shape will show well, or even as a street tree in some places.
Couroupita guianensis is a tall tree (up to over 100 feet tall) native to the rainforests of northern South America and Central America, with very distinctive flowers and hard, round brown fruits that inspire the common name of Cannonball Tree. In the family Lecythidaceae (which also contains Brazil nut, Bertholletia excelsa), this tree is grown as an ornamental in other tropical areas and has naturalized in some places. The 3-5 inch wide, strongly scented flowers are borne in large bunches directly on the tall, unbranched trunk (cauliflorous), making trees in bloom very showy. Each flower has six apricot-pink to red petals that gradate to yellow towards the tips, with an unusual, lopsided arrangement of the stamens, with a ring of fertile stamens at the center and other sterile stamens arranged to form a hood. The flowers, which lack nectar, are pollinated by carpenter bees and other insects attracted by the pollen. The fruit is edible (but can have an unpleasant smell), and is often fed to livestock.
Cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis (L), flower clusters (LC), flower (C), intact fruit (RC) and opened fruit (R).
Nepenthes is a large genus of about 150 species primarily from tropical forests of Southeast Asia commonly called pitcher plants. Pitcher plants live in nutrient-poor soils, so have evolved to acquire nitrogen from other sources. All of these plants have a highly modified leaf that forms a deep container with a lid on top. The lid prevents the pitcher from filling with rain water, and a colorful rim lures insects or other prey to the plants. The bottom of the pitcher is filled with syrupy fluid that attracts the animals, and the interior walls of the pitcher is coated with a waxy substance so the animal can’t crawl back up the slippery surface. After the insect drowns special digestive enzymes break down the meal. Most are carnivorous, digesting lizards, insects, spiders, worms and anything else that end up trapped in the sticky sap inside the pitcher. But at least one species has gone in a different direction, producing a sweet exudate and a perfect perch to attract tree shrews, who then defecate into the pitcher and the manure is digested for the nitrogen it contains. These plants are common in indoor collections of botanic gardens worldwide and are often offered by specialty nurseries.
A bog filled with Nepenthes in Madagascar (L), with mainly yellow pitchers (LC and RC) and a few red ones (R).
Alluaudia is a genus of six species in the family Didiereaceae endemic to Madagascar. Most occur in the southwestern part of the island. Like many other members of that plant family, each individual leaf is accompanied by a conical spine produced from brachyblasts similar to the areoles found in cacti. The leaves are arranged in rows along the stems, the spines likely developed to protect against feeding by now-extinct lemurs. A. montagnacii is found in the spiny forest as part of a specific plant community with Euphorbia intisy and E. stenoclada. A. procera is a deciduous species that resembles (but is completely unrelated to) ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens, of the Sonoran Desert in North America. The paired ½ inch long rounded succulent leaves and grey spines alternate along longitudinal lines up the stems. It adapts to container culture, so is often grown by succulent collectors. These plants can be seen in many botanic gardens in mild climates, such as in the Madagascar plant collection of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, CA (near Palm Springs) and in the Desert Dome of the Milwaukee Park Horticultural Conservatory.
Aloe pillansii, the giant quiver tree, is one of the scarcest and most spectacular species of Aloe native to southern Africa. It grows up to 50 feet high, branching dichotomously (dividing regularly into two equal branches) so it superficially resembles the much more common Aloe dichotoma, the quiver tree. However, A. pillansii has paler, wider, recurved leaves; is taller, with a more scraggly, Dr. Seuss-like growth form; and has a more limited distribution on mountain slopes in the arid winter rainfall area of the Richtersveld on the border between Namibia and South Africa. Found only in remote, rugged areas, these bizarre trees have fissured golden bark on swollen trunks and branches that begin only midway up the trunk, each topped with a dense rosette of leaves. Because it is very slow growing and is difficult to cultivate, it is rarely seen in collections.
Kigellia africana, sausage tree, is a tree in the family Bignoniaceae which occurs throughout tropical sub-Saharan Africa. There are several subspecies (once recognized as 10 different species). Its common name comes from the huge fruits that look like fat sausages hanging from the branches on long, rope-like peduncles up to 20 feet long. The grey-brown, woody berries can grow up to two feet long and weigh 15 pounds. Although poisonous to humans, the fibrous pulp is eaten by baboons, elephants, monkeys and other animals. Before the namesake fruits grow, large, velvety deep red to orange or purplish green bell-shaped flowers are produced in pendant panicles, although each individual flower is oriented horizontally. They are pollinated at night by bats and visited by many insects during the day.
Kigellia africana inflorescence (L), flower (LC), fruits (C and RC), and a local holding up a large fruit (R).
Every part of the tree has been used medicinally by different indigenous peoples throughout its range in Africa; it was traditionally used to make dugout canoes in Botswana and Zimbabwe; it is often considered a sacred tree so is frequently protected when other trees are cut down. It is grown as an ornamental shade tree worldwide in tropical climates (although there is a risk from falling fruits depending on where they are planted!). This tree can be seen in a conservatory at Kew Gardens, and outside at botanic gardens or other locations in mild climates. There is one old specimen in the northwest corner of the Mediterranean Garden on the north side of the San Diego State University campus by the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences buildings, and another at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Sausage trees, Kigellia africana, on the Okavango Delta, Botswana (L), in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya (C), and a young tree planted in the parking lot of the Phebeni Gate to Kruger National Park, South Africa (R).
And here are two more amazing plants that I have only seen in botanic gardens, but hope to see in habitat someday…
Victoria amazonica is the world’s largest water lily, native to the Amazon basin. With leaves with upturned edges that can grow to 10 feet in diameter and roots up to 25 feet long, it can support a fair amount of weight (if evenly distributed). The flowers are equally huge, starting out white and fragrant with only female parts mature when they open at night, attracting pollinator beetles which get trapped inside. The flowers then turn a pink color and are scent less when the male parts mature to dust the beetles with pollen before releasing them as the flower opens the next night. Piercing spines cover the stems and underside of the leaf to help prevent being fed on. John Lindley introduced it to Europe in 1837 where its scientific name was given in honor of Queen Victoria. Kew Gardens in London has a great collection of these plants, but they can also be seen in many other botanic gardens throughout the world (http://www.victoria-adventure.org/victoria/gardens_2003.html).
Victoria amazonica at Kew Gardens (L and LC) with huge floating leaves (RC) and big flowers (R).
Male malachite sunbird on Erythrina caffra.
Aloe polyphylla is another unusual aloe with a limited distribution, but unlike the previous A. pillansii, this one is commonly grown as an ornamental. Native to basalt rock crevices on very steep slopes high in the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho (an African kingdom surrounded by South Africa), this plant grows with its numerous broad, grey-green leaves with sharp, dark tips arranged in a perfect, tight, five-pointed spiral – which can be clockwise or counter-clockwise. The stemless plants grow in dense groups, but do not produce offshoots. It is endangered in its native habitat because of over-harvesting, and because its only pollinator, the malachite sunbird, is also in decline. It is propagated from seed, and more recently by micro-propagation as demand is high as a prized specimen for collectors. It is also a common feature of succulent gardens and botanic gardens worldwide in mild climates, such as Totara Waters in Auckland, New Zealand or in coastal California gardens (where it doesn’t get too hot in the summer), including the University of California – Berkeley Botanical Garden.
– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Quirky fruits & vegetables to grow and cook at home
From odd fruit to alien looking veg, these are my top 10 unusual edibles to grow in your garden. All will add interest to both your veg patch & your plate. Includes a video at the end.
The benefits of growing your own fruit and vegetables are many – reduced food miles, healthy exercise, truly Organic produce, self sufficiency, and a closer relationship with the land. Another is being able to choose from a vast selection of different varieties that you’ll never see in a supermarket. Heirloom tomatoes in wild shapes and sizes, foreign vegetables you’ve never heard of before, and common veg in uncommon colours.
Every year I try to grow something out of the ordinary and in the past five years some of them have graduated from trial to garden staple. Growing unusual varieties adds excitement and diversity to your plate and is just plain fun! These are my top 10 unusual edibles but for more ideas, check out these Unusual fruits & vegetables for the Home Grower.
These small brown tubers taste like almonds and coconut
Tigernuts are a grass that grow loads of sweet tubers under the ground, similar to peanuts. They can be grown in temperate climates but are found more often in warmer areas. In Europe, this African edible is traditionally grown in Spain, where it was introduced by the Arabs.
Said to taste of a combination between almonds and coconut, Tigernuts are best grown in containers in a warm and sunny place. If your summers don’t match those of Spain, it might be a good idea to grow your ‘Chufa’ in a greenhouse.
Red Meat Radish
Red Meat “Watermelon” Radish
This rather large radish has green and white skin and a vivid magenta interior. Unlike other radish varieties, you need to sow this one in late summer or autumn as it tends to bolt when sown too early. Pull them up during the cooler months to use grated into winter salads or pickles.
Get Red Meat Radish seeds
Mouse Melons are also called Cucamelons — Image courtesy of the Freckled Rose
Cucamelons “Mouse Melons”
Cucamelons are very easy to grow and will vine up anything vertical to a height of up to eight feet. The small watermelon looking fruits are crunchy but another gardening pal has warned that the skins can become tough if the fruit is left too long on the vine. Once you have a plant, place it in a sunny spot, ideally with protection from wind. A greenhouse or polytunnel would be a good idea
Get Cucamelon seeds
White Strawberries or Pineberries
White strawberries, also called Pineberries, came onto my radar a couple of years ago. They’re not genetically engineered but rather a rediscovered old variety. The colour of these berries is certainly intriguing but it’s functional too – I’ve not had any problems with birds eating them at all. As for taste, I’d say they are slightly less sweet than a strawberry and have a citrus kick. Others say that they taste like a cross between strawberries and pineapple.
You might be able to find plants for sale in a local nursery, but try to get runners off any friends who are growing them first. Here’s more details on growing them.
Get Pineberry plants
Romanesco broccoli — Image courtesy of David Marks
This odd type of broccoli is a lesson in fractals and its swirls of green spiky peaks are a wonder to see. I remember them being marketed as ‘Broccoflower’ when they first came out and the flavour isn’t too far from that description. Romanesco broccoli is as easy to grow as other brassicas so treat them like you would your cabbages and cauliflower.
Get Romanesco broccoli seeds
Oca, also called New Zealand Yam, is a hardy root vegetable that tastes like lemony potatoes
Oca ‘New Zealand Yam’
Originating from south America, Oca is considered one of the ‘Lost crops of the Incas’. The greens of the plant look very similar to wood sorrel, and you can use them in the same way. The knobby tubers that form underground are like lemony water chestnuts when raw and lemony potatoes when cooked. The plants need a fairly long growing period and only begin growing their red, white, pink, and other coloured tubers in the autumn. Harvest time is anywhere from November to January. The Real Seed Company has more information on growing them.
Get Oca tubers
The spikes on Achocha are soft and velvety
Achocha “Fat Babies”
These South American pods that are nicknamed ‘Fat Babies’ are very easy to grow in temperate climates. Achocha will cover an entire wall if you let them and their green pods with their silky and soft spikes taste like a combination of cucumber and green bell pepper. Since peppers need warmth and tend to be grown in greenhouses in Britain, Achocha are the perfect alternative. They’re profuse, can be grown outside, and are fantastic in stir-fries and any other dish you’d normally use peppers in.
Get Achocha seeds
Golden berries inside paper lanterns
Cape gooseberries, also known as Physalis or ground cherry, look like mini yellow tomatoes and have a mildly sweet flavour. They’re interesting to display in fruit platters and fun to unwrap from their little paper lanterns.
These unique berries grow on a soft stemmed bushy plant that is mainly grown as an annual. Given the right conditions it can grow to five feet in height! In milder climates cape gooseberry plants can survive from year to year but if you’d like to ensure you have plants, they’re easy to propagate.
Get Cape Gooseberry seeds
Golden Raspberries with traditional red berries
Golden Raspberry ‘Fall Gold’
Though they’re not as sweet as red varieties, golden raspberries look great mixed with their more rosy cousins. Their novel colour is functional too — I’ve noticed that mine are less bothered by birds and guess that the yellow fruit looks unripe to them.
Raspberries are best grown from plants purchased either bare-root or potted up. The former can only be planted out in the dormant (winter) season but if you get one growing in a pot you can put it in the ground at any time of the year. The other way to get raspberries is from a friend – the plants can be invasive with their roots constantly exploring and branching out from their original spot. These runners will need to be removed anyway so gardener pals will likely be happy to give you some of them to establish your own patch.
Get Golden Raspberry plants
Kohlrabi come in green and purple varieties
Last on my list is the alien-like vegetable Kohlrabi. I remember having this the very first time on a trip to Germany – it had been roasted and served cut into chunks along with Sauerbraten and other dishes I can’t quite remember now. What I do remember was being pleasantly surprised at the sweet, juicy, cabbagey flavour. You can roast it like described or even eat it raw, sliced up like an apple.
Though it is a Brassica, growing Kohlrabi is easier than growing cabbage. It does attract the attention of birds and cabbage white butterflies but not to the extent as other cabbage family crops. When the swollen stem of the plant is about the size of a tennis ball it’s time to harvest them and serve them up in savoury dishes. Until then, they look like interesting architectural plants in the garden.
Get Kohlrabi (purple) seeds
Unusual Edibles to grow in your Garden
This is just a small taster of the weird and wonderful edibles that you can grow yourself. Even some of the most mundane of vegetables come in surprising colours. If you’re interested in growing your own, make sure to include some edibles that you’ve not heard of or even eaten before. Or simply ones that look a bit crazy and add interest.
As a gardener you have the special opportunity to grow and eat veg that very few people have access to. Perhaps even the superfoods of the future — take advantage of that!