Exotic house plants are a great way to add character and personality to your living space. Simply put, these are plant types that belong to habitats that aren’t a common sight for most people, but modern gardening techniques have made it possible for you to grow and enjoy these rare sights right at your home!
Many of these plants have unique appearances making them easily identifiable and a welcome addition if you’re looking to elevate your living space to the next level.
Most of them either have flamboyant flowers or wildly one-off patterns and variegations in their leaves, adding drama and flair to your home.
10 Best Exotic House Plants: Top Picks to Grow Indoor
For many people, it can be daunting to pick the perfect plant that suits their needs, lifestyle, and taste. With this comprehensive yet brief guide listing exotic plant names along with descriptions and characteristics, you will be one step closer to growing your exotic plant indoors.
Corkscrew Albuca (Albuca spiralis)
This South African native is instantly recognizable owing to its narrow, curling leaves hence the name “Corkscrew”. Being a desert native, the plant requires little in terms of care and water, making it a fairly low-maintenance indoor plant.
The corkscrew grows up to eight inches tall with leaves just as long and blooms with green flowers with pale yellow margins that are sweetly scented with a vanilla-like aroma.
The plant thrives in well-drained, loose, sandy soil in full to partial sun. Albuca looks particularly attractive on slopes and in containers.
Wine Cup (Crassula umbella)
Hauling all the way from the Cape of South Africa, the “Wine Cup” is referred to so due to the fused leaves surrounding the central unbranched stem giving it the appearance of a cup. The plant can grow up to six inches tall when blooming, with paired bright green leaves just as much in diameter and yellowish-green flowers about 0.4 inches in diameter.
It is important to note that the species is susceptible to fungal diseases, so will need to keep an eye out for that. Moreover, avoid overwatering since the plant can rot if left to sit in water. Err on the side of a little too dry rather than a little too hydrated.
Wine cups make exceptional attention-grabbing centerpieces for gardens or ornamental indoor potted plants.
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
Named so because of its brightly colored flowers that resemble a bird’s beak and head, this tropical evergreen perennial is a truly stunning sight when in bloom.
The stems are underground with broadly oval, long-stalked, gray-green leaves. The plant takes three to five years to start blooming but the wait is worth it for the brilliant orange and vivid blue flowers.
The plant grows up to six feet tall, with a spread from one to three feet. Partial shade to full sun in organically rich and well-drained soils are the best conditions to best help this tropical sensation thrive.
Orchids constitute a diverse family of flowering plants, containing some 760 genera. These non-woody perennials are mainly distributed throughout the tropics, but a fair number of species are native to woodlands and deserts as well.
They stand out for their numerous bright flowers in a variety of colors including, yellow, white, pink, orange, red, purple, and variegated colors.
Orchids love bright, indirect light, well-drained rich soil, and moderate watering. They make great garden plants, as well as indoor ones.
Living stone (Lithops)
Succulents native to South Africa, these plants mimic stones and display shades of gray, green, brown, rust, and some even pink. The plants are small and fairly drought-resistant, making them ideal for smaller indoor spaces such as windowsills, countertops, and tabletops.
Lithops thrive in well-drained soils and ample sunlight. They bloom during autumn and early winter, producing yellow, pale, or white flowers that resemble daisies.
Swallowtail or Butterfly Plant (Christia obcordata)
Named as the butterfly plant owing to the resemblance of the leaves to the wings of a butterfly, this tropical beauty is a subtle yet striking addition to any indoor space.
They grow well in containers and hanging baskets as long as you put them in rich, well-drained soil and water twice a week, along with shading them from direct sunlight.
Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniata)
A woodland native, this plant is also known as the natal lily or the bush lily. Growing up to eighteen inches tall, the kaffir lily blooms in early spring, producing orange petalled flowers with yellow centers. There are varieties available with different flower colors such as yellow, red, and white.
Keep these away from direct sunlight in well-drained, organically rich soil, and water regularly to best care for your plant.
Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)
Also called mock mosquito because of the shape of its flowers, this evergreen desert native is a low-spreading shrub that blooms in late winter and late spring, producing dense clusters of pale to deep pink stamens. The shrub itself grows up to four feet tall under ideal conditions and has bipennate leaves.
Fairy dusters love the heat and can endure extremely dry conditions, so you only have to water them once a week or so.
Place in direct sunlight for the best blooms, such as on garden corners when planting outdoors, or on a windowsill when indoors.
African Violets (Streptocarpus sect. Saintpaulia)
These herbaceous perennial flowering plants are native to Tanzania and southeastern Kenya in eastern tropical Africa. The plant can grow from two to five inches tall and two to ten inches wide with oval leaves and a fleshy texture. The stars of the show are striking flowers that bloom in vivid colors such as violet, purple, pale blue, or white.
African violets produce the best blooms in bright, indirect sunlight in well-drained soil. Being small, they make excellent indoor plants for placing in pots or hanging baskets.
Silver Vase (Aechmea fasciata)
This Brazilian native is also known as the urn plant. The leaves are tough and arched, exhibiting silver and sea green blotches. The leaves overlap, forming a watertight vase or urn which is where the name of the plant comes from. The plants are easy to care for, but the most desirable feature of urn plants is their large and bold exotic flowers in bright colors such as pink, orange, and yellow.
Silver vase plants thrive in indirect but bright sunlight, along with watering at moderate intervals. They don’t have an extensive root system and store water in the vase formed by their leaves. If the vase is filled with water, only water the soil when it completely dries out. This is needed only after about two weeks.
Exotic houseplants are a great way to add a bit of drama and flair to your living space, or your garden. There are quite a few choices available out there to everybody’s taste.
This account aims to help you narrow down your choices and pick the perfect plants that complement your tastes and style. Many exotic plants are low-maintenance and easy to cultivate thanks to modern gardening techniques and engineered cultivars.
However, if you are willing for a challenge or are willing to put in more work, there are plenty of delicate species available as well.