Forget that Bauhaus Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich. Forget the Chesterfield leather sofa. And Forget impressive contemporary paintings on your walls. Anyone who wants to make an impression today does so with expensive houseplants. Specimens with white spots, bizarre shapes, or striking and vivid colors, are big business. Even more so when they are rare and hard to get. And expensive.
The New Trend Is the Search for Rare and Expensive houseplants
Webshops of rare plant enthusiasts, Facebook groups, and Insta accounts for aroids, monstera, and philodendron plants, even on Telegram people start to talk about the new trend; the search for rare houseplants.
A Variegated Monstera Has Sold for Almost $5,000 after Botanists Battled for it in a Fierce Online Bidding War
You've probably read the story 'Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata – The Most Expensive Plants in the World?' on Thursd where a Swiss cheese plant has sold for almost $5,000 after botanists battled for the monstera in a fierce online bidding war. But late November last year this record of expensive houseplants was broken when a buyer on the same New Zealand auction platform Trade Me was willing to pay a price of a little over $6,500 for a similar one.
And $8,000 for a Philodendron Minima. What was so special about that plant? Due to a genetic accident, half of the leaves are dark green and the other half are light green. On the same auction site, a Monstera Adansonii also fetched a record price of $ 6,500.
"People Go Berserk for Rare (Variegated) and Expensive houseplants"
"For me, too, the search for rare variants, caused by mutations in the DNA of the plant, is like bonanza. People go berserk for rare variegated plants. Especially larger ones. Fortunately for me, in the Netherlands, there are many greenhouses where tropical houseplants are being grown. Those growers import seeds in large quantities. When they sprout and grow, some of those have mutations. And are of special interest to me. You have to understand that those growers do not have the time to sell individual plants, they only sell wholesale in large quantities. That's where I come in and take away the most special varieties to sell in my online shop,"
"It is because those variations with white leaves or specific prints are often very difficult to cultivate, or a very slow grower, which means that the rare character remains," Max explains.
Plants Are the New Kittens
Houseplants were already loved by millennials. But because of the pandemic, many plant enthusiasts are suddenly more at home, and the savings on the bank for the holidays remains untouched. A houseplant can therefore be expensive. Added to this is the increased time on the socials, on Pinterest and Instagram in particular. Those are ideal platforms for interior trends and they are boasting with greens. Plants are the new kittens.
Many of the 'houseplant novices' forget that some of the rare decorative plants are quite demanding to maintain. Some of them do need a very high humidity and a lot of light. Which can be quite difficult in winter for countries more up north in the northern hemisphere. On the Internet you see a lot of growing lights with people showing their collections. Not the interior design you like to think of or see on Insta and Pinterest.
Choose Your Rare Plant Wisely
When you choose wisely, you select only the varieties you know you will have a good place for in your home. Only then you can really find that interior design object in a plant. (That will last). When you think of the Calathea and Philodendron varieties for lighter places, and for Monstera plants, a place with some more shade, you should be ok. it's important to do your research about which variety you like, and if it's suitable for the spot you have selected in your home.
Anything that Deviates from the Classic small Green Leaf is in High Demand
Anything that deviates from the classic small green leaf plant is in high demand. The dark-leafed and pink-veined Calathea Dottie and the Calathea Silvia with her light leaves and pink back are absolute best sellers.nAnd of course all the variegated plants with larger leaves, such as the Monstera albo Variegata, The Monstera Thai Constellation, And the Philodendron Pink & White Princess, and Florida Ghost. And green, large-leafed varieties such as the King Anthurium, wanted for their beautiful ruffled leaves and stunning appearance. Max Snier, the blogger on Thursd, wrote an article 'The Top 10 Most Wanted Rare Houseplants' in December 2020 with the hottest aroids of 2020, and one in 2022 'The Most wanted rare Houseplants of 2022'.
"I think that has everything to do with an image shift of indoor plants. They are no longer seen as a nice extra, but as a fully-fledged decorative part of the interior. An important design object for their homes."
Evident from the dozens of Facebook groups that aim to sell or exchange cuttings of rare plants, is the fact that this trend is here to stay. With high prices until larger growers will step in growing varieties on large scale. This is already happening right now with the Philodendron White Princess, so be ready to sell yours quickly before the prices will drop significantly.
"I've heard a rumour about a greenhouse full of Philodendron Florida Ghost as well. For the rest it is my belief that larger and rare house plans are a very good investment as well."
Prices Will Remain High
Max Snier continues that there are a lot of hobbyists who are getting into the new trend of rare plants, buying smaller cuttings. Large specimens are almost impossible to get, and before they are fully grown in the homes of ordinary people, or on large scale in professional greenhouses we are at least five or ten years into the future.
"So the next few years the prices for larger plants will stay very high. Expensive houseplants will stay. And about these very expensive varieties? The Philodendron Minima and Monstera Adansonii are not the easiest to maintain. You need professional tools for it, such as grow lights or even a conservatory. A conservatory and grow lights are definitely not the new decorative must-haves for your interior!"
Here are some plants that you can use as design objects for your home that are easy to look after:
almost all calatheas, alocasias, philodendrons, syngoniums, monsteras, and some anthuriums.