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25 Best Unusual and Rare Plants for Beginners

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

If you enjoy spending time scrolling through rare plant collectors’ feeds on Instagram or watching a rare plant YouTube show off their latest haul, it’s highly likely you’ve come across a spectrum of different new rare plants.


But which ones are actually good for beginners?


I know how frustrating it can be as a new collector to buy a precious new rare plant, only of it to die within a fortnight as you realise you didn't have the level of skill yet to care for it. It happens to us all!


To give you some good unusual and affordable plants for beginners to provide some suggestions for a good first purchase, I'll be discussing the top five most popular genera of a taxonomy group called aroids. Thes includes:

  • Monstera

  • Syngonium

  • Philodendron

  • Scindapsus

  • Philodendron

  • Rhaphidophra


Please note that this is a rough estimate for pricing as this can vary depending on current supply/demand, levels of variegation and maturity!


Let’s jump in!


What makes an unusual or rare plant good for for beginners?

For the purpose of this article, I will only be classifying plants as good for beginners if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Affordable - I don’t recommend beginners start off with expensive rare plants while you're still mastering their care.

  2. Hardy - this means that they don’t develop root rot or wilt easily.

  3. Able to survive in regular household humidities and temperatures - this ensures that you won’t require a grow tent or specialist equipment.


5 best uncommon Monstera

Monstera is a common and popular genus of plants that originates from the tropical regions of the South American continent. The name is thought to have derived from monstrum (meaning monster in Latin), and these aroids make great houseplants due to being relatively fast-growing and hardy.


Monstera are climbing plants known as hemiepiphytes as they begin life on the ground and use surrounding trees and structures for support as they grow. They produce long and thick aerial roots from their nodes for support and to take in extra water and nutrients and so they need to be grown on moss poles or similar structures for support at home.


Many species of Monstera form fenestrations (holes or slits) in their leaves as they mature too. It is suspected they evolved to do this to allow water and wind to pass through the larger leaves easily in the rainforest to prevent water pooling or damage.


I would recommend starting with the following uncommon Monstera for collecting:

  • Monstera siltepecana - Starting at £5 for a rooted cutting and £15 for a small plant (5 leaves).

  • Monstera subpinnata - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £25 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Monstera adansonii ‘Janda Bolong’ - Starting at £25 for a rooted cutting and £40 for a small plant (3 leaves)

  • Monstera standleyana aurea variegata - Starting at £25 for a rooted cutting and £40 for a small plant (3 leaves). This is for a well variegated specimen, with less variegated ones being cheaper.

  • Monstera adansonii albo variegata - Starting at £50 for a rooted cutting and £100 for a small plant (3 leaves). This is for a well variegated specimen, with less variegated ones being cheaper.


Monstera siltepecana full plant
Monstera siltepecana
Monstera adansonii 'Janda Bolong' full plant
Monstera adansonii 'Janda Bolong'
Monstera standleyana aurea variegata full plant
Monstera standleyana aurea variegata


5 best uncommon Philodendron

Philodendron is a very large and diverse genus of houseplant native to the tropical regions of the South American continent, including the Caribbean islands.


Many different species of philodendron have been used as houseplants for the last 50 years, with the list continuously growing as more rare and unusual types are becoming popular and accessible to collectors.


Similar to Monstera, these plants are also climbing hemiepiphytes that produce aerial roots to attach themselves to other plants for support as they climb upwards. The leaves of a philodendron vary significantly in appearance and some species can grow very large leaves when mature such as Philodendron melanochrysum.


Philodendron make great houseplants due to the wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes and the fairly easy temperament of many of the species.


There are a tonne of good Philodendron to start due to the large number of varieties currently on the market, but here are a few of my favourites I'd recommend:

  • Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ - Starting at £5 for a rooted cutting and £10 for a small plant (3 leaves). This is for a well variegated specimen, with less variegated ones being cheaper.

  • Philodendron hederaceum ‘Cream Splash’ - Starting at £5 for a rooted cutting and £15 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Philodendron melanochrysum - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £20 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Philodendron hederaceum ‘Silver Stripe’ - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Philodendron burle-marxii variegata - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves). This is for a well-variegated specimen, with less variegated ones being cheaper.


Philodendron erubescens 'White Princess full plant
Philodendron erubescens 'White Princess
Philodendron hederaceum 'Cream Splash' full plant
Philodendron hederaceum 'Cream Splash'
Philodendron burle-marx variegata full plant
Philodendron burle-marx variegata


5 best uncommon Syngonium

Syngonium, also known as ‘Arrowhead Plants’ due to the shape of their leaves, is another popular genus of houseplant that has existed on the market for decades. The name comes from a combination of the Greek ‘Syn’ and ‘Gome’ which refers to the fused ovaries of the female flowers.


They also originate from the tropical regions of the South American continent and also hemiepiphytes as they start life on the ground and climb up other trees and structures.

This genus comes in a range of different colours and is extremely easy to propagate, which has resulted in most species being relatively affordable as the market is fairly saturated with plants for sale.


I would recommend starting with the following uncommon Syngonium for collecting:

  • Syngonium podophyllum albo variegata - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £20 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Syngonium podophyllum ‘Mojito’ - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £20 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Syngonium podophyllum ‘Three Kings’ - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Syngonium podophyllum ‘Pink Splash’ - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £20 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Syngonium ‘Confetti Milk’ - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves).


Syngonium podophyllum 'Mojito' full plant
Syngonium podophyllum 'Mojito'
Syngonium podophyllum 'Three Kings' or 'Magic Marble' full plant
Syngonium podophyllum 'Three Kings'
Syngonium podophyllum 'Pink Splash' full plant
Syngonium podophyllum 'Pink Splash'


5 best uncommon Epipremnum

Epipremnum is a genus of climbing plants which includes some of the most popular species of houseplant on the current market.


This genus is native to the tropical regions of South-East Asia and is commonly known as ‘pothos’ due to its outdated taxonomy classification which has remained in common circulation, despite the genus being separate from the real Pothos genus.


Epipremnum species come in many different colours and are also epiphytes which climb up other trees and structures. If allowed to climb though with support, Epipremnum are also capable of producing fenestrations like Monstera, however this is quite hard to achieve at home and is most common when grown outside in tropical countries.


I would recommend starting with the following uncommon Scindapsus for collecting:

  • Epipremnum amplissium ‘Silver Stripe’ - Starting at £5 for a rooted cutting and £15 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Skeleton Key’ - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £20 for a small plant (3 leaves)

  • Epipremnum aureum 'Harlequin’ - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Epipremnum aureum ‘Champs-Elysees’ - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Epipremnum aureum ‘Jessenia’ - Starting at £30 for a rooted cutting and £50 for a small plant (3 leaves).


Epipremnum pinnatum 'Skeleton Key' full plant
Epipremnum pinnatum 'Skeleton Key'
Epipremnum aureum ‘Champs-Elysees’ full plant
Epipremnum aureum ‘Champs-Elysees’

Epipremnum aureum 'Jessenia' full plant
Epipremnum aureum 'Jessenia'


Scindapsus

Scindapsus is a genus of small-climbing houseplants that have widely grown in popularity in the last decade, particularly as lots of new rare varieties have been introduced into Europe in the last couple of years.


These are thought to originate from the tropical regions of Asia including Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh to name a few. Their name is suspected to be derived from the Greek skindapsos meaning ‘upon tree truck’ in reference to their growth pattern.


Scindapsus generally have fairly small leaves that don't increase significantly in size as the plant matures. They are also naturally climbing plants and will produce aerial roots to attach themselves to other structures or trees for support. Many varieties of Scindapsus are silver in colour with a silver shimmer which makes them very attractive as houseplants.


I would recommend starting with the following uncommon Scindapsus for collecting:

  • Scindapsus treubii (Moonlight) - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £15 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Scindapsus treubii dark form - Starting at £10 for a rooted cutting and £15 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Scindapsus ‘Silver Hero’ - Starting at £15 for a rooted cutting and £30 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Scindapsus argraeus dark form - Starting at £25 for a rooted cutting and £40 for a small plant (3 leaves).

  • Scindapsus hederaceus - Starting at £25 for a rooted cutting and £40 for a small plant (3 leaves).


Scindapsus treubii (Moonlight) full plant
Scindapsus treubii (Moonlight)


Wrap up!

Aroids are amazing as there are so many different types of species out there! With this in mind, there are many more species that are also good for beginners but didn't make this list. So if you're a beginner, just make sure you do your due diligence and properly research the plant before your purchase it.


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