Top-3 Easy(ish) Rare Plants Worth Splurging On

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Let's be honest most rare plants aren't low maintenance, and these aren't snake plants; they are exotic tropicals usually from the jungles of Latin America, Asia, or Africa. However, they may seem harder than it looks and some varieties are easier than others. Some rare plants should come with a warning label, though; 'warning: may die and induce stress.'


I'm not going to sugarcoat that some rare plants are hard to grow, I believe in transparency, and if you are successful with your plants, everyone is happy.


Before I get into the top 3 easy(ish) rare plants, let me tell you which rare plants new plant parents should not buy as their first plant.

  • Anthurium Warocqueanum, also known as Queen Anthurium, believe me, she's the queen! It's easy to be seduced by the long velvet leaves, but unless you have a perfect greenhouse environment with grow lights, humidifiers, and more, leave this one to more experienced collectors.

  • Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor, also known as Aglaonema Camouflage, is another rare beauty. You may be surprised to find this on the list because Aglaonemas are usually low-maintenance plants. The reason it's on the list is that they are difficult to root. I wanted to grow them commercially but was met with hesitation from growers I've worked with in the past. If you find a rooted and established Camoflauge Aglaonema, you should be able to grow it, but usually, they are sold in juvenile form, and mature plants can be pretty costly.

Shops that flip (buy and sell, but don't grow) plants may carry some of these and say they aren't hard to grow because they aren't growing from seed or cutting. I'm not knocking those shops; I'm just pragmatic. Some may also have success with them as a beginner, but growing one plant vs. being able to stably grow and trial hundreds of plants is different and reduces your success rate if harvest trials aren't successful.


Below are our top 3 rare plant favorites and care tips for new plant collectors


1. Philodendron Gloriosum

Philodendron Gloriosums are by far one of my favorite exotic tropical plants; it may be because they are native to Colombia, one of my favorite countries in Latin America. They add drama and give a tropical look to any space. They also add depth and height and have velvet leaves, making them even more irresistible.


Philodendrons fall under the Araceae family, a diverse genera (125 and over 3k species.)


Water & Humidity

Water when topsoil is dry, do not keep it too moist. Philodendron Gloriosum can skip a watering (don't push it past a week without checking it) and don't require extremely high humidity like some rare plants. They do thrive in humid conditions, though.


When ready to water make sure to water thoroughly and all around. I like to bring my plants to the sink for a good soak and then I let it drain completely. I usually place it on a saucer and empty it several times until there is no water coming out of the pot or left on the saucer.


Light

They can be grown in shadier spots in the home (not low light; lower light) but will

grow faster in bright indirect light.


Potting Medium & Fertilizer

Like many epiphytic aroids, they need a well-draining mix; perlite, coco coir, orchid bark will do the trick. You can grow in sphagnum moss but will need to incorporate nutrients.

They benefit from fertilizer throughout spring and summer because they aren't super fast growers. Use a slow-release fertilizer and/or houseplant fertilizer and make sure to follow the packaging instructions (less is more.) I recommend new plant parents begin with slow-realease fertilizers because they are more forgiving than liquid fertilizers. If you don't measure liquid fertizliers properly you could easily end up with leaf or root burn.


2. Anthurium Clarinervium

You can't help but fall in love with a heart-shaped leaf plant like Anthurium Clarinervium. The veining on this rare masterpiece and heart shape makes it a must-have. I find the Clarinervium, if established (we're not talking about unrooted cuttings or seedlings here), is far easier than some other rare anthuriums. They also grow faster than their cousin Anthurium Crystallinum.


Clarinerviums can actually be found readily available in some plant shops in Europe. However, they are native to Mexico - viva Mexico!


Water & Humidity

They need consistent watering, but make sure not to overwater or let sit in water.

Anthurium Clarinerviums are also epiphytes, so they grow mainly on trees with exposed roots. If their roots sit in water they will be susceptible to root rot. Also, the reason why you want to be consistent with watering is that they are prone to leaf marks, which is only cosmetic but for some can be distressing. Remember that plants are living things, not hard goods like other decorative objects. Some markings or leaf tears are to be expected.


When ready to water make sure to water thoroughly and all around. I like to bring my plants to the sink, as I mentioned, for a good soak and then I let it drain completely. I usually place it on a saucer and empty it several times until there is no water coming out of the pot or left on the saucer.


Rare anthuriums do not like cold drafts and need plenty of ventilation. Poor air

circulation could lead to fungal issues.


Potting Medium & Fertilizer

Like Philodendrons, they need a well-draining mix; perlite, coco coir, orchid bark

will do the trick. You can grow in sphagnum moss but will need to incorporate nutrients.


They benefit from fertilizer during the growing season as well;