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Oddly Intriguing Indoor Plants You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

updated Jul 23, 2020
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(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

If you’re bone weary of seeing the same old, same old plants at Home Depot, the grocery store, and (ahem) on the internet, you’re not alone. There’s only so many times you can look at a succulent and think “wow, that’s really interesting.” If you are aching for something a little different, here are a handful of slightly odd, yet totally compelling, plants that have a lot going for them, including this: although they may look a little unusual, most are actually quite easy to care for.

(Image credit: The Plant Farm/Etsy)

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Zig Zag or Fishbone Cactus (Selenicereus Anthonyanus): If your mind goes to vintage ric rac, that’s for a good reason — that’s an alternate name for this jiggity jaggedy plant. It’s a relatively low-maintenance member of the night-blooming cactus family that occasionally sprouts pink flowers. It does best when allowed to dry out, which is perhaps good for those black thumbs who forget to water. A cutting from the one above is available from The Plant Farm on Etsy for $6.99.

(Image credit: Geo-Fleur)

Polka Dot Begonia (Begonia Maculata Variegata): As far as I can tell, a whale shark got frisky with a potted plant one day and these were born. This one from Geo-Fleur fronts as a happy plant, with its angel wing-shaped leaves and polka dots, but there’s something a little sinister about it too, which makes it even more compelling. At any rate, they grow well in partial sun, as long as you don’t over-water them.

(Image credit: Just for Anne)

Touch-Me-Not or Bashful Plant (Mimosa Pudica): The leaves on this sensitive plant retract when touched, much like the Venus Flytrap (without the carnivorous side), then re-open a few minutes later. Like a Calathea, it also sleeps by “closing” at night, then waking up in the morning with light. It likes partial shade to full sun for at least eight hours each day, and doesn’t like to be cold (under 65 degrees). Just for Anne shared this one on her Instagram account.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Marimo “Moss Balls” (Aegagropila Linnaei): These cute little guys are actually fuzzy balls of filamentous green algae, found in cold, freshwater lakes. In addition to being quite adorable, they are also incredibly easy to care for: they don’t require a ton of sunlight to thrive (and prefer to be kept in a cool, dark spot). Pair with other aquatic plants, like the one above from The Merry Thought.

(Image credit: The Sill)

Hoya Heart (Hoya Kerrii): It’s pretty clear how this plant got its name, with its spade- or heart-shaped leaves (or bum-shaped, if you want to be cheeky about it). It’s actually a tropical succulent vine that can grow quite long, but you can find cuttings of these waxy leaves (just in time for Valentine’s Day perhaps?) from The Sill. They like to live in bright sun in a well-drained pot, but not tons of water. Another nickname: the Sweetheart Hoya.

(Image credit: Geo-Fleur)

Donkey Tails (Sedum Morganianum): These are one of my favorite plants to see in interior photographs — there’s something so tangible and sculptural about their plump braid-like leaves, and I love how they grow to cascade over the edge of their containers. The one above is £8.50 from Geo-Fleur. As a rule, they like bright shade or partial sun, and water about every two weeks. They are also extremely easy to propagate.

Any other freaky, yet owner-friendly, plants that are your favorites? Tell us in the comments!