It is every gardener’s favorite moment. That time when you are out in your garden (of course) and tending to your babies when someone stops walking their dog to ask, “Wow! What is that? That plant is so interesting and cool!” This is usually followed by a great conversation and maybe a request to have a cutting or two. Ah, isn’t that the best? To have a rare, off-the-beaten-path plant can be so enjoyable and a thrill to watch. So, highly requested by our team at TPG, here is a list of the most interesting and unusual plants to grow in Louisiana. They are all sold at our garden nursery as various times of the year and we always have plenty of interesting houseplants and unique outdoor plants constantly coming in. Get ready to read about some pretty strange plants and some unique versions of commonly known plants to impress your green thumbed friends with!
Flowering Maple. Malvaceae. The Abutilon is a beautiful plant with flowers resembling delicate little bells. They flower heavily, come in different flowers, and are intriguing. They like part shade and do well in the ground as well as in containers.
Bottle Brush Tree
Callistemon. Myrtaceae. Bottle brush trees can come as shrubs or as trees. They are fairly fast growers and stay very clean and compact. Native to Australia, they create the most interesting flowers that resemble red bottle brushes and are favored by hummingbirds.
Jatropha podagrica. The trunk of this plant is what steals the show. It is curiously swollen in the middle and appears as a “belly” on the trunk. This plant needs to be well draining and stay fairly dry, almost like a succulent. It hails from the West Indies and Central America.
Candy Corn Vine
Manettia Luteo. This vine will be an interesting addition to any garden design. Grow it in a hanging basket or on a trellis and enjoy its small flowers that resemble candy corn. Now that’s a natural Halloween decoration we can get behind!
This plant is not an oregano but is actually a succulent with oregano-scented leaves. It does have culinary and medicinal uses but be aware that the plant has a stronger smell and taste than regular oregano. This attractive plant has a trailing habit so you grow it in a container, in the ground in warm weather, or in a hanging basket.
Ebony Fire Crepe Myrtle
Lagerstroemia x ‘Ebony Fire.’ This is a crepe myrtle tree, but not your average crepe myrtle tree! Instead of regular green leaves, this crepe myrtle has interesting burgundy leaves to set it apart from the millions of other crepe myrtles in New Orleans.
Gloriosa superba. This climbing lily is absolutely stunning and is one of the most unusual plants to grow in Louisiana! Incorporate it into your garden design by training it to climb a trellis.
Justicia. This flower is increasing in popularity in the New Orleans area as a favorite shade perennial flower. It’s light pink plume stands out in any shade bed and definitely garners some curiosity. Keep deadheading it and it will re-flower for you again and again.
Night Blooming Cereus
Epiphyllum oxypetalum. A tropical cactus that flowers at night with extremely fragrant blooms. The blooms are often short lived but very fun to watch flower. Many of them behave like climbers and do well against a tree, trellis or in a hanging basket.
Cyperus papyrus. This aquatic plant can grow near water and in water up to 2 inches. You don’t see it too often but its bog capabilities make it one of the unusual plants to grow in Louisiana. It is famous for its use as paper by the ancient Egyptians.
Plumeria. Fun fact: Plumeria blooms are strung together to make Hawaiian leis. They produce showy clusters of flowers in many different colors. They are tropical so containers are best for these guys.
Senna. Popcorn cassia plant. Rub the foliage of this plant to release the smell of buttered popcorn. Yes, it’s strange but it’s so interesting and easy to grow! Your friends will have fun rubbing the leaves and confusing their noses with this unusual plant.
Calceolaria. This is definitely one of the most interesting and beautiful houseplants there is. The unusual puffed up flowers resemble little pocket books! They are short lived and can’t take sustained temperatures higher than 65 degrees.
String of Dolphins
This succulent trails and would look beautiful in a hanging basket or container. Yes, each and every little “leaf” of this plant resemble tiny dolphins!
Tibouchina. This plant is grown as a shrub or small tree and has the most rich, dark purple flowers. Its leaves are curiously velvety and fuzzy!
Malvaviscus arboreus. Our last plant is a native plant here in Southeast Louisiana. The blooms are curiously spiraled to resemble twisted, bright blossoms.
We hope that you enjoyed some interesting plants to grow here in Louisiana that you may have never seen before. They are all available from time to time at our garden center and we always something new and curious on hand at our nursery store. Unusual plants are a lot of fun and sharing them with your neighbors and friends can be very educational and interesting. You can always ask our garden center team what they are excited about currently because we are constantly getting new plants in that are novel and interesting! Hope to see you soon!
We would love to hear what your favorite unusual plants are! Comment below to share!