Houseplants are a great source of joy and pride for many growers, but it is no secret that they have become less accessible as of the past few years. The plants which have been hit hardest by this price hike are undoubtedly so called “rare” plants. To be entirely clear, to call these plants rare is something of a misnomer; these plants are not lacking in number, nor are they hard to find in the greenhouses of suppliers. Their prices are high simply because the supply of them is smaller than the demand for them. These plants are oftentimes striking in appearance, so it’s no wonder that they’re so prized by collectors. I think beautiful plants should be accessible to everyone, and so, I’ll be providing examples of three beautiful rare plants and three more accessible alternatives to them.
1. Manjula pothos
Manjula pothos is, ironically enough, considered a rare plant, despite being a hardy, fast-growing pothos which is as easy to propagate as any other. Perhaps it might be harder to propagate by tissue culture, accounting for its rarity. Manjula pothos is characterised by large, rounded leaves which come to a point, with white sectoral variegation. A more affordable version of the Manjula is the Snow Queen pothos, also known as the N’Joy pothos. The only real differences, as far as I can tell, are that the leaves of the N’Joy pothos are both smaller and less rounded. Instead, they are much closer to the shape of a normal pothos.
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2. Syngonium Pink Splash
Syngonium Pink Splash is a cultivar of Syngonium which has flecked and sectoral pink variegation, much like its name suggests. As beautiful as it is, I’m not the most inclined to go out and buy one, since pink syngoniums are fairly common. In fact, I currently own a Syngonium Neon Robusta, and I’m honestly more drawn to it on a purely aesthetic level. Its leaves emerge a pure pink, and remain that way for a good few months before reverting to a pale green. From my experience with the Neon Robusta, the leaves stay pink for long enough that it barely matters anymore when they turn green because the green leaves are barely visible under the cover of the plentiful and much larger pink leaves.
3. Picasso Peace Lily
The Picasso Peace Lily is a Spathiphyllum with sectoral white variegation. The plant is beautiful indeed, with the pure white of the variegation matching the white blooms of the plant, but it is quite pricey at the moment here in Australia. The alternative is the Domino Peace Lily, a yellow/cream variegated peace lily with largely speckled variegation. A full sized Domino peace lily is about a fifth of the cost of a division of the Picasso, which is a pretty convincing argument to buy the former, not necessarily because one is more beautiful than the other, but simply because you can plant multiple of the Domino together to create a beautiful, full pot of peace lily.