Wanted: Awesome plant.

crazytboneMarch 9, 2011

I need to feed my plant addiction, but not just any plant will do. No, I want to get an awesome plant. I want to get the kind of plant that people who hate plants look at, and they are struck with awe at its awesomeness.

I made this thread looking for nominations for some really cool plant species. I'd like to add one new awesome plant to my collection.

What do you think?

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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

How about a carnivorous plant?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Great thread starter...I haven't any idea, but look forward to hearing them.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Ledebouria socialis is maybe my favorite plant that isn't an Auraucaria.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:50PM
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theplantwizard(Sunset 13)

I like Dioscorea elephantipes. Unique and beautiful. I used to work at a nursery that has one for $1000 just because they don't want to sell it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 10:56PM
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Chlorophytum "Fire Flash" or "Mandarin" (same thing). I feel like I'm bringing it up a lot, but it's pretty amazing to look at with it's fluorescent orange ribs. The SO's jaw dropped when we saw it at the nursery.

I've only had mine for about 8 weeks, but no problems so far - it even put out some seed pods, so maybe I will have more someday. And, if someone isn't into plants, this one is supposed to be very easy to care for.

I was away for about a week, so gave everyone a drink & put them all in a bedroom with north & heavily shaded west windows, with the baseboard heater at about 60... the Ficus weren't happy, having moved from southern exposure & the wood stove, but I think the FireFlash enjoyed it in there! It was rather humid & certainly dimmer, but I think the colors deepened & it looked GREAT! Might be a fantastic plant for a bathroom?

The other "wow" plant that's new at my place is a simple Colocasia esculenta, taro. I was given a pot of 6 tubers in Oct, which I split up & mostly re-homed. I kept the largest tuber (about the size of a tennis ball). The latest leaf is 15" x 11" on a 3' petiole. Each new leaf (a 4th is slowly unfurling) has been bigger than the last. I finally put it in a tomato cage a couple weeks ago; it was just taking up too much room.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:29PM
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MojaveLove(5 - IL)

I like Hummel's Sunset Jade Plants too when they're bright yellow and red.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:43PM
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lol theplantwizard, so where should we go looking for one? Because that looks like a really awesome plant, but I've sure never seen it in a nursery before.

Anyway, I second Ledebouria socialis, and I would also like to suggest Hoya Compacta.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:28AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I second FireFlash

if that does not get them then Stromanth 'trio color'

We discussed our favorite plants here and they are all kind of awesome to me. I have several friends that do not like houseplants because they think it is dirty to have dirt in your house. LOL But when they see the two plants I suggested they want them for their house.


Here is a link that might be useful: Favorite plants

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 12:15PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I forgot to say Awesome says to me kick butt 12 months of the year so whenever you have guest it will be special.

When you are looking keep in mind what does it look like if it is not in flower or has not got a lot of sun. My friends go crazy when they see my Armaryllis in flower but if it is not flowering they do not notice the plant.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:10PM
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I'm very impressed with the begonia Boliviensis. What a lovely container plant for a hanging basket.

I'm also into any of the tillandsias which flourish with no soil, just some humid air, and an occasional sprinkle to remove the dust. Some of them look like Dr. Zeuss drew them.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 2:45PM
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I'm a Euphorbia kind of guy, so I would say one of the thousands of Species of Euphorbia. How about Euphorbia lactea variegata 'White Ghost', a large flowering E. milii, or ???


    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:38PM
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A Carnivorous Consideration:

How about a hanging Pitcher Plant? They are pretty fantastical looking & seem to get rather large - as opposed to Sundew & Venus Flytraps, which stay on the small side.

I don't have one, so I can't comment on the care, but there were a number at our nice, locally-owned nursery & they were Awesome.

The ground-dwelling Pitchers (don't know what else to call them!) are neat looking too & come in a wide variety of sizes. Someone always enters several nice groupings in the State Fair here...

BTW, Marquest, I like your definition of "Awesome" houseplant.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 5:42PM
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Crazybone. It's not only a question of, which plant would cause a crowd in front of your house, while people ooo'ed and awww'ed.

The question is, what type of care can you provide?

There's a million beautiful plants around. You can find an endangered species that cost 50,000.00, blooms year round, bearing the most attractive leaves seen.
But, if you can't provide 'x' plant with the care it needs, you'll have a conversation piece 'no longer than cut flowers,' that will end up short-lived, in the trash.

You'd need to consider sun, humidity, air circulation, a room that cools at night, care time, etc.

Are you looking for a tropical or succulent?
A flowering plant?
Fuzzy or shiny leaves?
Variegated or green foliage?
Hanging or upright?
Short or tall?
One or more???

Although I adore tropicals, the last couple years, I've added more succulents.
Succulents have various shapes, zig-zag forms, flowers, 'even in winter'..Caudex 'thick trunks' are extremely interesting, especially mature specimens.
For succulents to look their best, they need sun..and many prefer cooler nights, as much as 10F degrees difference.

On the other hand, there are also beautiful tropicals. Red Aglaonemas are stunning..Deeper red is very attractive. Green with silver streaks/dots.
Calatheas/Marantas..colors are amazing..
Orchids and Hoyas are real eye-catchers, especially when in bloom.

Most tropicals need at the minimum, bright light and at least 50% humidity throughout the year.

Can you narrow down the type of environment, 'the plant of your dreams,' you can offer, and the type of plant you find novel? :) Toni

I'd never be able to narrow down, one plant, for myself. lol

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 4:34PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Then too, "awesomeness" is obviously in the eye of the beholder. For example, while Fireflash has its interest aspect, I don't find it the least bit "awesome" (not that I fault those that do).

As Toni pointed out, there are some very cool-looking succulents.

While I love orchids -- which is mostly what I grow as houseplants -- I do realize most people would not consider them "awesome" out of bloom. The exception, IMO, would be the jewel orchids like Ludisia discolor.

I think, provided you could meet their growing requirements, I would second the vote for a carnivorous plant such as the Nepenthes.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 5:33PM
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I am located in Massachusetts. Currently, my plants will be living outdoors in the summer. During the colder months I bring my plants to school where I teach. I have a huge SW facing window that seems to keep most plants at least content, if not happy. I have a pachira that seems to be quite happy, but my avocado can't seem to keep its leaves.

For me, awesome is anything a little bit strange and interesting. Many succulents fit this bill, though I only have some "jelly beans". They're a little vine-y plant with fragile jelly bean shaped leaves. Every winter it seems like they almost die, then in the summer they come back with a vengeance.

That elephant's foot plant is AWESOME. I also really like the bromeliads (especially the epiphytes). Another plant that is fairly awesome is Mimosa pudica (aka sensitive plant). Very pretty petite leaves that shrivel when disturbed by physical stimuli. I have some seeds, and planted three earlier this year. Unfortunately mimosa pudica is NOT drought tolerant (at least as a seedling). I just planted another batch, this time in more water retentive soil (a sin, I know) and in a deeper pot (also a sin, I know!). I hope I can get one to survive.

I'd really love to get my hands on an elephant foot plant...... even a small one.... what a cool plant.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 9:48AM
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CB, is Elephant's Foot the same as Ponytail Palm/Beaucarnea?

If so, Beaucarnea's are very interesting, especially when mature, as the trunk thickens..Guess it does resemble an elephant's foot. lol

There are even variegated Elephant's Foot/feet, some w/stripes, others with yellow dots.
Another with red hue foliage, if given very bright/direct sun.

Don't know if it matters, but Beaucarnea's are slow-growers. If you're looking for a taller plant, purchase a 3-4 footer. Home Depot sells Elephant's Foot in 10" pots. As long as EF isn't over-watered, it basically cares for itself.

They can be grown as bonsai, too.

CB, what grade do you teach? 'if you don't mind me asking.'
Some plants are poisonous..if you're teaching young children, they should be aware not to touch plant/s. Even if a plant isn't toxic, too much handling can cause problems for the plant.

How tall is your avocado? Does it have any leaves?
The person to ask about avocado care is Greenman/Josh.
Did you start your 'cado from a pit? Ever prune the top?
What happens to the leaves before dropping?

There are two succulents called Jelly Beans. One is known as Donkey Tail, Sedum morganianum, the second is, Red Jelly bean, Sedum Rubrotinctum, rubra.'

There are many beautiful Bromiliads. The only problem with Broms is, while in flower, the mother plant is dying a little each day..It takes months to a year before mom is a goner, in the meantime, off-shoots grow from mom. They can be removed w/some roots, then potted in a separate pot. With a little work, you can keep Broms, from the mom plant forever.

Mimosa's are very pretty plants. Love their leaves, but in cold areas they're grown as annuals. Over-wintering indoors 'can' be a real chore. You always have to be on the look-out for insects during winter months.

CB, are you growing plants for your students or yourself? lol.

Have you considered citrus? IMO, lemons do best indoors. Since some citrus bloom/fruit year round, can you imagine little fruits and sweet-smelling flowers growing off a tree/bush, in mid-winter?

I hope you find a plant you love. A SW window, and summer outdoors, is a great start..Toni

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 4:15PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I was tricked....LOL

you said....I want to get the kind of plant that people who hate plants look at, and they are struck with awe at its awesomeness.

I have a lot of friends that hate plants and if the plant does not have a flower or has a odd color green is not going get you any awe.

If you want to impress another plant lover they will look at a plant for what it is or what it will eventually become.

As Toni said if it is for your students you would probably want something that would interest them. If it is for you then that is another story.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 6:57PM
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The elephants foot I was referring to is Dioscorea elephantipes.

I teach elementary music, so I see kids from K-4th grade. In my experience, the kids tend to leave my plants alone (except the cacti, which they HAVE to touch and say "ouch! Its sharp!") Besides, in the 45 minutes they're in my room per week, I keep them very very busy.

I started my avocado from a pit. It's probably 8-10 inches tall and only has 3 sad leaves.

I grow plants for myself, and my kids seem to get a kick out of it too. I'm just looking for something particularly interesting/exotic for my collection.

That's a lot of typing!


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 6:55PM
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Is that a duckbear..?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 7:31PM
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    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 9:19PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Crazybone, you forgot to add "winning!" after your "duh"


    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:59PM
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Crazybone..Tell a child not to touch something..they can't resist..Ouch. Tell a child they shouldn't open a door to a room...You'll hear squeek. lol.

Ah, I thought you were talking about Ponytail Plant, Beaucarnea recurvata. Sorry.

I've never grown Dioscorea, but had an interest..Prices were a little steep, especially for a large rhizone/tuber.

Give your Avocado time. Will you place it outdoors during summer months?
Spray leaves every morning, and if possible, shower entire plant, 'when soil is dry,' or leaves, at least once a week.

Have you fertilized? Add an All Purpose fertilizer, half-strength, every other week.
Water when soil feels slightly dry. Less water (soil feels/looks crumbly)during winter months.

Good luck..with plant and kiddies, lol, Toni

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 4:54PM
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I'll start by saying that I didn't read all the other posts, and am just tossing in my opinion.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, meaning that of the plants I have, different people like different ones, so there really isn't a plant that will make everyone jump up and down. Also, the "awesome" plant must be one you can keep alive, healthy, and "awesome" looking for years to come. Nothing is worse then getting compliments about a plant, and then trying to explain why it died the next time people come over.

Now, for my picks. One plant that has gotten compliments is my ZeeZee plant. People say it looks prehistoric, something you would see in the dinosaur ages. I've had it for about 5 years now, and although a slow grower, it looks great all year.

The Madagascar Palm is another that grabs people's eye, although some say it's boring. I cared for one for 9 years, until it reached 7 feet tall, and got unmanagable, so I gave it away.

Everything else I get compliments on are your basic run-of-the-mill houseplants, including chinese evergreen, schefflera, dracaena, snake plant, and jade. My money tree (pachira) gets a lot of oooos and ahhhs due to it's size, but the reality is, any well kept, healthy, and perfect colored plant will get compliments.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:11PM
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I would suggest Hoya bella variegata, which has lovely variegated leaves and blooms all year round when it's happy, or one of the tall Sansevieras. These are all very striking plants, bound to excite comment even from non-houseplant people. Also both these types of plant are quite easy to grow and imo pest-free. Imo because perhaps other people have a different experience re. pests...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 1:50PM
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