What is the most unusual plant you grow?

christinmk z5b eastern WADecember 1, 2012

Yes, this may be some sort of ploy to find more unusual things to add to my 'want' list, lol. Not that I really have any room left...

What do you consider the most unusual plant in your garden? It can be unusual because it is either rare/not widely grown or known about, or simply because there is something about it that is unique looking to you that sets it apart from all else you grow. The kind of plants only fellow plant-nuts would likely enthuse over. What are some of the runners-up for your most unusual plant?
Mine would have to be my Ornamental Rhubarb, Rheum palmatum var. tanguticum. Probably not for the "exceptionally rare" category, but I don�t think it overly common either per se. It is easy to displease this guy, which may explain it, LOL. I had it planted in the ground when I got it last spring, but the leaves soon dropped one by one. I planted it in this wine barrel planter and put it behind the shed, where it is shady and stays moist and very cool in hopes of saving it. All that was left of it by the end of last summer was roots, but I planted it anyway and hoped for the best. And lo and behold it came up beautifully this spring!! Even the neighbors thought it neat, and they are not much into plants. Here are a couple pics:

Runners up would be:
Soldanella alpina- not as hard to grow as I imagined
Thalictrum ichangense 'Evening Star'
Anemone nemorosa 'Bractea Pleniflora'- not a show-stopper, but I think it charming and different.
Polygonatum x hybridum 'Striatum' & P. humile (O how I love Poly-gon-atum!!, oh how I love poly-gon-atum! Lol)
Epimedium grandiflorum 'Album'- tiniest of Epi's. Adorbs! ;-)
Salvia argentia- not grown NEARLY enough imo
Geranium renardii

Love to hear (and see if ya' got pics) yours!

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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Love the rheum. I thought I had a picture or two but could not find them of my angelica gigas.

Here is a link that might be useful: angelica gigas

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Hi Christin,

What a beautiful Ornamental Rhubarb plant, I can understand why it's one of your favorite unusual plants. Love your runner ups too, especially Soldanella alpina and Polygonatum x hybridum 'Striatum'.

I don't have a lot of unusual plants but last summer I did grow Iochroma cyaneum 'Royal Blue' and it was just beautiful. The blueish flowers (being dark) look great up close but are a little hard to see at any distance. Next year I'll try a red one (Iochroma fuchsioides)...I think it might show up better against the green foliage. My Royal Blue is pictured here.

Great post by the way, I'm anxious to see what unusual plants others will show us :-)


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:57PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-hostaholic, I've been tempted to try Angelica for years (especially the purple leaf or variegated 'Corinne Tremaine'!), but never have since it needs space. Plus the fact it is biennial, lol. Think I have a bit of a prejudice against biennials and those plants that die out after only a few years. How long do you find individual plants live? Do you let yours reseed to always have some always in your garden?

- Hey Art! Thanks! ;-) The Soldanella is such a cool little plant. After reading the growing requirements for it (moist, humus rich, well-draining, grit mulched, cool) I feared sudden death come summer. It has been amazingly easy the two years I have had it though, which is good since I don't do well long term with 'diva plants' ;-D

TOO FUNNY that you should bring that plant up. I've grown Iochroma 'Purple Queen' for the past couple years. I have it overwintering in the next room as a matter of fact, and it is even blooming!! It is actually one of the easiest plans I have overwintered, right up there with coleus and pelargoniums. Strange, but it never bloomed much outside. Either the cool temps really held it back or I ought to have fertilized it more regularly (as opposed to I don't know, twice all the growing season?! I slacked a bit, what can I say. LOL). Did you fertilize yours often? Great pic by the way.

Can't wait to see more neat-O plants myself ;-)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:01AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

The plant that gets the most comment in my gardens is probably Persicaria 'Crimson Beauty' a massive perennial that blooms in September. The ivory blooms turn cherry red very quickly and last a good 3 weeks. Sorry, no pictures.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:01AM
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I would have to say my most unusual plant so far has been Amaranth 'love lies bleeding.' It was surprising to see how much impact each little 2mm seed had.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:16AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

It took me about 3 years but I now have some blooming every year. Each one blooms for only one season for me, but I don't deadhead them. I have heard they sometimes live longer if they are deadheaded. Mine are not prolific reseeders, that is They don't sprout by the billions, at least not so far. I've found the seedlings fairly easy to move. The first year I had seedlings I think I "accidentally" weeded them out. To me they look a little like parsnip seedlings. I've been toying with the idea of trying a little zone stretching and trying rheum but haven't yet done so.
It's been many years since I've grown Love Lies Bleeding, not sure why, space I guess. It is amazing how those tiny little seeds turn into such large plants.
I forgot about about Ipomopsis rubra, they are hummingbird magnets when in bloom, they are however another biennial.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:22PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

LLB is certainly one of the more unique looking plants out there for sure. Very "Dr. Seuss-ish" ;-)

-hostaholic, thanks for the info on Angelica. That stand of Ipomopsis in your pic is fantastic. I got seed of that in a trade last year...think they may still be in my seed drawer somewhere. Will have to give them a try this spring- hopefully they will re-seed on their own after the first initial planting!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:14PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

When I first got seed for the Ipomopsis I simply scattered it in the fall. By the next spring I had forgotten about scattering the seed and was trying to figure out what these new plants were popping up. Mine reseed quite prolifically. I pull up most of them after blooming, leaving just a few to reseed. I do some thinning of the seedlings in the spring. Here in zone 4 not all the first year plants make it through the winter, so I leave a few more than I actually want.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:21PM
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I think this jatropha is the most unusual plant I grow. I planted it about 15 years ago, and it was a stick about a foot tall. It's been very slow growing and has plain leaves, and I've never seen it bloom. It's lost the leaves because it's getting colder. I'm going to put fertilizer for blooms on it next spring and see if it will bloom for me.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Second most unusual plant is a red plumbago. It just sits there until winter, then blooms red flowers for a few months. It's budding now.

Not like the more common blue one that blooms all the time. I'm letting it grow to see how large it will get. It was pretty small when I planted it about 5 years ago.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:59AM
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Sorry - no photo but I think the most unusual plant in my garden is Persicaria virginiana - Virginia knotweed. Yes, it's a relative of that nasty, invasive Japanese knotweed but it's both benign and native and so far has reseeded in a most well-behaved manner. It's a lovely perennial that happily grows to a moderate size in part sun, part shade and everything in between. The foliage is variegated green and white and sports a burgundy chevron on each leaf so it packs a wallop and stands out in the perennial beds, growing to about the size of astilbe or a medium hosta. It blooms in late fall but the seed-sized flowers, while numerous, are insignificant.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:41PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Interesting, I didn't know there was a native knotweed, and I really like the red rhubarb... but I don't think it would like my yard.

I will definately have to try the ipomopsis now, I've seen pictures but never the real thing. For some reason I thought it was a southern plant and wouldn't grow well in the north.

I grow mostly average plants, but I do think the checkerboard coloring on this colchicum aggripum is unusual.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:34PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

That is gorgeous! Looks like that one is hardy to zone 4, now I just have to remember to order some for next fall.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:27PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I probably have others but the one that comes to mind is the deciduous Silk Vine (Periploca graeca) it's not especially showy, the foliage is a nice glossy green which is quite attractive but the flowers are small and stinky and the fruit is poisonous, I don't have a picture of mine, but you can see it in the link below.
On the other hand I have several Cardiocrinum giganteums these are really majestic looking when in bloom, their scent fills the garden with it's lovely perfume. Annette

Here is a link that might be useful: Silk Vine

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:44PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Zone envy rears it's head once again.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:52PM
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This is trillium 'Snow Bunting', I had received three rhizomes about twelve years ago, though the dang things nearly completely perished in the humus rich soil I had prepared. I pretty much wrote them off as a VERY expensive learning lesson, though one tiny nub survived and slowly over the years began to thrive, I guess I shouldn't be saying that tooo loudly now though, lol. The magnificent flowers turn from pure white to pink and last at least a month. Unfortunately, trilliums are not native to the forest regions where I live :(

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Now, that photo had been much downsized, not sure why it posted sooo large ... okay, well the blooms are indeed big, lol.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 2:48PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

OH WOW!!! that Trillium is super gorgeous, just a wee bit envious here.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:32PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-twrosz, that is one fantastic little plant you have there!

Rare double flowers are also a temptation of mine- particularly little woodland plants! Sigh.... if its not the variegated/colorful foliage plants attempting to lure me in it's the doubles, lol! Thankfully I haven't yet had the best luck with Trilliums, else I might easily be suckered into getting one like in your great pic. ;-)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:33PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Cow Parsnip - sorry no photo

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:09AM
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