Exotic houseplants are a welcome change from the popular indoor plants we see every day. They wouldn’t come as cheap, and you probably wouldn’t find them at your regular store, but the niche beauty they provide to your environment will be worth the investment.
As a local nursery worker, I handle plants every day, and I’ve come across a lot of varieties. In my experience, while some rare houseplants get nice compliments, some have buyers ready to offer a leg in exchange. There are many exotic houseplants that are worth staring at, but not all of them would make your visitors gasp or serve as an excellent conversation starter.
These are the rarest exotic plants that you can beautify your home with:
- Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium Lamerei)
Don’t let its name deceive you, the Madagascar palm is not a palm tree. Native to southern Madagascar, the plant is a member of the cacti and succulent family. Sporting a long trunk with very thick spines and a graceful canopy of leaves at the top, it looks quite tropical and would be a killer addition to rooms that receive plenty of sunlight.
Mind you, the Madagascar palm is a big indoor plant. It will grow from four to six feet indoors and can grow as massive as 20 feet outdoors. You would have a better chance of growing it as a houseplant in a cooler climate than in a warm region.
How to Grow Madagascar Palm Indoors:
- Madagascar palms thrive best in full sunlight, but they can be grown indoors as long as they receive adequate light.
- It needs to be planted in well-draining soil, so keep it in a pot with a drainage hole. You would have to reduce watering during winter to avoid root rot.
- Feed the plant diluted houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of spring and at the beginning of summer.
- Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum)
The desert rose is a superb choice for bonsai practitioners. Its delicate leaves and inviting lush flowers are often unmissable, making it perfect as a solo centerpiece or as part of a miniature indoor landscape.
A slow-growing plant, it only grows about 12 inches per year, but can grow as tall as two to five feet indoors upon maturity. Native to Madagascar, Africa, and the Middle East, the desert rose is more suited for warm climates, where it is best grown as an outdoor plant. However, it can be grown as a houseplant in cooler regions.
How to Grow Desert Rose Indoors
- Grows best in full sunlight, so place it next to a window.
- Prefers sandy, well-drained soil, with neutral to acidic pH.
- Keep the plant moist during spring and summer and reduce watering during winter.
- Corkscrew Albuca (Albuca Spiralis)
Possessing an obvious nickname (Frizzle Sizzle), the Corkscrew Albuca is known for its weirdly shaped, but attractive dark green corkscrew leaves. Apart from being visually engaging, the plant blooms during spring, adorned with 10 to 20 yellow-green flowers with a sweet vanilla fragrance.
Native to South Africa, the Corkscrew Albuca takes about 12 weeks to grow to full maturity under the right conditions. It can grow up to 12 inches. While it springs to life in the winter, the Frizzle Sizzle grows best in slightly warmer temperatures.
How to Grow Corkscrew Albuca Indoors
- Prefers full sun to partial sun and wouldn’t tolerate temperatures under 60°F.
- Water once every two to three weeks from the beginning of summer through the fall. Watering should be reduced to once per week during winter.
- Grows best in sandy soil.
- Feed your albuca spiralis with diluted houseplant fertilizer during the winter.
- Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia Tirucalli)
This large indoor plant is native to semi-arid tropical climates in Africa and India. Also known as the milk bush due to the toxic white sap it produces, it can grow up to 6 feet indoors and 30 feet out in the wild.
The Pencil Cactus grows relatively faster than other cacti. It can grow up to 20 inches in a year under the right conditions. You have to be careful when caring for the plant, as its latex sap can cause skin irritations upon direct contact.
How to Grow Pencil Cactus Indoors
- Grows best in full sun. Thrives in warm temperatures ranging from 65°F to 70°F.
- Prefers sandy, well-drained soil; acidic and neutral.
- Feed with liquid houseplant fertilizer in the spring.
- Elephant’s Ear (Alocasia)
This tropical beauty hails from Asia and Eastern Australia. Its wide heart-shaped leaves lend it a commanding presence, making it the plant you want as the centerpiece of your room.
Alocasia is a fast-growing plant in the summer, able to grow at a rate of 1 to 2 feet per year indoors. It’s also a fairly big houseplant, as it can reach 2 to 6 feet in height and width when grown indoors.
- How to Grow Elephant’s Ear Indoors
- Grows in shade to full sunlight depending on the variety. Best kept in temperatures above 60°F.
- Prefers loose, nutrient-rich, and well-drained loamy soil.
- Keep the plant moist throughout the year and cut back on watering in dormant winter period.