Plant Life Balance

The rare, the wonderful and the little bit weird pt. 2

Now there’s a plant to stop you in your tracks.

A few months back, Plant Life Balance scoured planet Earth to find some incredible plant varieties in our first series of the rare, the wonderful and the little bit weird. Being somewhat limited in how far we can travel at the moment – given the current circumstances – we decided another virtual tour of the globe was definitely in order. What other fascinating beauties are out there, we wondered?

Of the 390,000+ plant species known to humans around the world, there’s no denying there are some big personalities out there, and plenty of exotic and fascinating fronds you can grow in an Australian backyard (where this is an option, we’ve noted it in the description). So without further ado, we present part two of the rare, the wonderful and the little bit weird!

Hot Lips (Psychotria elata)

Belonging to the tropical trees in Central and South American rainforests, the sensitive and now-rare Psychotria elata sports an impressive pout of bright red lips. Fun fact: the lips aren’t actually flowers – they’re leaves! And just like humans, there is a wide variety of lip shapes and forms that this plant comes in.

False Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)

Native to several countries in South America, this heart-stopper can also be found at nurseries and garden centres, ready to be added to your own collection. This baby is photophilic, meaning it opens and closes its purple leaves depending on the amount of light received. Its stunning, fluttering leaves give the (false) impression of butterflies flying around your home. Sigh.

False Shamrock is definitely a variety you can grow yourself at home, and will happily live either indoors or out. Pop it in a small pot (it’s only got little legs!), and position where it can receive some filtered light or morning sun.

Bat Plant (Tacca integrifolia)

Don’t be fooled – while the bat plant might seem like an ordinary plant, things begin to change during bloom season. A true wonder, this tropical jungle-dwelling Asian variety is best known for its peculiar ‘whiskers’ that sag downwards, and two white flowers that perk upright, which is likened to bat wings!

This is a variety more suited to advanced green thumbs and stable climatic conditions – it won’t tolerate frost or drought. The bat plant loves shade, so keep away from direct sunlight.

Climbing Onion (Bowiea volubilis)

The climbing onion is a bulbous plant native to eastern and southern Africa that makes its own rules. Overlapping scales form a bulb that pokes up above the surface of the soil, and it will shoot up leafless stems in late spring to summer.

While the climbing onion isn’t commonly found or grown in Australia, you can replicate its traditional African climate by drying the plant out after long drinks of water. This plant takes a whole lotta space and commitment, so be sure to assign it a dedicated long-term spot so it can grow and grow!

Alpine Wood Fern (Dryopteris wallichiana)

With its furry, unfurling fronds, the alpine wood fern seems like something you would find in a far-off mythical land (but really, they’re mostly found in south-east Asia and South America). The alpine wood fern will shoot up a new set of fronds each Spring and can grow to an imposing 90-150cm in height.

Red Pagoda (Crassula capitella)

Garden geometry, anyone? The easy-grow red pagoda is a striking succulent whose overlapping leaves make for an incredible visual display.

Red pogoda is one that can be easily grown at home, either indoors or out, as a quirky feature plant. For full-on flourishing, ensure it receives part to full sun – the more sun it receives, the brighter red it will turn!

Ready to start your own set-up of uber cool plants? We don’t blame you. Give your nearest Plant Life Balance accredited nursery a call to see what rare and interesting beauties they have available now to suit both your climate and skills!

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