Top 10 Bizarre Plants

These plants are not garden basics! Walk on the wild side with these weird and wonderful bizarre plants.

Sure, we love plants for their beauty and fragrance, but have you ever browsed the aisles of a garden center and felt your creative side, I don’t know, sigh just a little? That’s a huge problem for me: settling for the tried-and-true when I’m really craving a plant that belongs in a grade school science fair. Botanically speaking, I’m a sucker for a bizarre personality.

But committing to adventure often leads straight to disappointment. Either I can’t find a place to buy what I’m looking for, or I learn the hard way that the plant is too temperamental for the average gardener. Because of cost, size or the cultivar’s picky preferences, my plans usually end in grumbling defeat.

So imagine my excitement when our editor placed a copy of Timber Press’ Bizarre Botanicals in my greedy hands! Authors Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross introduced me to the plant world’s friendlier eccentrics, focusing on varieties that, with a little work, anyone can locate and grow at home. This month’s Top 10 plants come directly from those pages: my must-grow favorites of the wonderfully weird.

Which means that, very soon now, my home will finally be jam-packed with living conversation pieces. So bring on the bizarre plants! I’m feeling brave.

Polka dot begonia

(Begonia maculata var. wightii)

An impressive height of 3 to 4 feet provides a good view of this begonia’s striking leaves. The elongated-heart shape and ruffled edges make for lovely foliage, but the round, sparkly white spots steal the show.

Why we love it: It’s not just beautiful—it’s a brilliant example of nature’s engineering. It is believed that the spots scatter sunlight within the leaves, helping this begonia adapt to lower light below a forest canopy.

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    • Sue B. says

      I used to get them from either Park’s Seed or Olds Seed Company. Good luck! I used to grow those as a kid, a LONG time ago!

  1. Kimberly Russell says

    We have a sensitive plant. It came in a package with a little grow pot and they called it an alien plant. It is now 2.5 feet tall!

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