Make Your Garden Stand Out With These Kooky Unusual Plants
We’ve got a quick challenge for you. What three words would you use to describe nature?
“Beautiful” may be the first word that pops into most people’s minds. You might also use words like “serene”, “delightful”, and even “elegant”!
But there’s a whole other side to nature that people often miss. As exquisite as it can be, nature is also strange, freaky, and mystifying!
This wild– but nevertheless delightful– aspect of nature is never more so obvious than in unique plants! While all plants have exceptional features, these oddballs have a bit more of an edgy and shocking appeal.
The good news is, you can grow a ton of unique flowers and plants in your own garden! Not only do they arouse curiosity and add visual interest to your yard, but they can also mirror your one-of-a-kind persona.
This is why we’ve created a list of 8 unique plants to grow in your garden! These sensational flora and foliage are superb for rousing your interest and keeping you on your toes. The promise of their captivating, awe-striking end results will make all your hard work worth it.
Who knows? Cultivating a few of these might even inspire you to start a wacky garden with loads of unusual plants! Read on to find your choices for unusual garden plants and start growing them now!
Interested in a formal course on gardening? Want to get licensed as a gardening expert? Check into organizations offering classes in floristry and horticulture, like:
National Gardening Organization
American Floral Endowment
American Horticultural Society
Glass Gem Corn
Hardiness Zones: 3-11
Light: Full sun
Soil: Rich, well-drained
Soil pH: 6.0-7.0.
Water: 1 inch of water each week.
Temperature: Warm weather.
Maintenance: Add slow-release fertilizer and mulch throughout the growing season.
Harvest Time: 1-2 weeks.
It’s no stretch to say that this almost-magical rainbow-colored crop is among the most beautiful plants in the world. Back in 2012, Glass Gem Corn became known to everyone when a photo of it went viral on Facebook. Until today, it holds a status as a spectacular garden crop that anyone can grow! Plus, it makes for tasty popcorn and cornmeal. Stunning and sumptuous to boot!
Hardiness Zones: 2-11
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Rich, loamy, well-drained
Soil pH: 5.5-6.9
Water: 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week
Temperature: Cool weather
Maintenance: Bring in manure or composted organic matter right before planting. Side-dress with compost after 3 weeks and again before harvest.
Harvest Time: 45-60 days
Want your garden to look out of this planet? Well, we have the perfect vegetable for you. Also known as space cabbage, kohlrabi could be as close to an alien life form as we’re ever going to get. Plus, it’s pretty versatile in the kitchen! Crisp with an interesting hint of spice, you can eat kohlrabi raw or use it in a variety of mouth-watering recipes.
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Light: Full sun or partial shade
Soil: Well-draining, moist
Soil pH: 6 to 6.5
Water: Water only when soil is dry. Avoid overwatering as it leads to rotting and disease.
Temperature: Can tolerate various climates, but avoid humidity
Maintenance: Apply mulch during the growing season; bring in compost during spring.
Growing Time: Around 21 days
Known for its soft fuzzy texture, Lamb’s Ears shows that plants can be pets too! You can’t keep from stroking its captivating velvety foliage. Its exceptional texture and wonderful silvery-green give it a soft, almost heavenly look. That’s why it’s great for edging borders and paving. Even better, it’s easy to maintain! It grows lush and dense leaves even with little water.
Shame Plant (Mimosa pudica)
Hardiness Zones: 2-8
Light: Full sun
Soil: Well-draining, loamy, enhanced with peat moss
Soil pH: 6.6-7.5
Water: Water enough to keep soil moist but not soggy
Temperature: Warm, humid. Cannot withstand drastic heat or cold.
Maintenance: Feed with a high-potassium fertilizer once every 2 weeks. Prune frequently.
Growing Time: 7-21 days depending on weather
While humble in appearance, the Mimosa pudica stands out for its peculiar response to physical stimuli. Its fern-like leaves drop and close in when you touch them. After a few minutes, they open once again. They also react this way to darkness and wind breezes. Their fragile nature is even more accented when they produce tiny, fluffy blooms. So delicate and fascinating, these are a wonder to grow in your garden!
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Light: 4-5 hours of full sun
Soil: Damp, loamy, well-draining
Soil pH: 6.0-6.5
Water: 1-inch water every week. Drip irrigation is strongly recommended.
Temperature: Cool weather. Keep soil cool in warm seasons.
Maintenance: Top-dress with compost or put in organic fertilizer every spring. Weed regularly.
Harvest Time: Around 3 weeks. Bears fruit all throughout its growing season (June-October).
Smaller than their more well-known counterparts, alpine strawberries tend to be somewhat neglected among strawberry varieties. And that’s a shame! Alpine strawberries flourish without fuss, yield a lot even in the summer, and taste quite delicious. Each bite-sized fruit packs a punch of flavors with a surge of sweetness and a hint of pineapple-like tartness.
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Light: Full sun. Can thrive with light shade.
Soil: Rich, well-draining, sandy
Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
Water: Water all throughout its growing season. Once grown, water only when soil is dry to keep soil moist.
Temperature: Warm to cool weather. Avoid extreme cold.
Maintenance: Add in fertilizer once a month while they’re growing. Weed consistently during growing season. Provide mulch and compost.
Blooming Time: Early autumn to late summer
Also called the winter cherry, this impressive perennial boasts a lot of amazing features! At the top of the list is its standout papery husk that looks like Chinese lanterns. Inside it is a sweet tasty berry that you can prep in several ways. It also yields fabulous heart-shaped leaves and elegant white blooms. Fair warning: this plant is infamous for being invasive! Be sure to weigh the risks before planting.
Hardiness Zones: 10-11
Light: Full to partial shade
Soil: Well-draining, moist, fertile
Soil pH: 6.1-7.5
Water: Regular watering throughout its growing season. Allow soil to dry in winter before watering.
Temperature: Cool weather and shade. Keep away from extreme heat or cold.
Maintenance: Fertilize once a month, preferably with acid fertilizer.
Blooming Season: Spring to early autumn.
Got a taste for the gothic? Well, the ever-dramatic bat flowers would be superb for you! True to their name, these unusual blooms look like a bat in flight. Ruffled, rich purple petals mimic the bat’s wings, while a whitish spot in the middle of each bloom acts as its eyes. Surrounded by thin, subtle bracteoles that echo a bat’s whiskers, these exotic flowers bring flair to your garden like nothing else.
Night Sky Petunias
Hardiness Zone: 9-10
Light: At least 6 hours of full sun
Soil: Rich, well-draining, fertile
Soil pH: 5.5-6.0
Water: Regular moderate watering; avoid overwatering
Temperature: Thrives in most weather conditions; Patterns change according to temperature
Maintenance: Fertilize regularly with rich compost to stimulate flowering.
Blooming Season: Summer to fall
We can’t take our eyes off these mesmerizing petunias! These dreamboats seem to hold swirling galaxies in their gorgeous petals, displaying the beauty of nature and the universe. Fun fact: their “night sky” patterns may transform according to the weather. Their whites emerge more in cooler temperatures and their purples in warmer temperatures.
Photo by Ren Ran