20 Houseplants That Are Unique Additions to Your Collection

Unique Houseplants

 Prudence Earl / Unsplash

Houseplants are a super simple but surprisingly impactful way to add color and texture to any space. While any plant can infuse your home with some much-needed life, think outside the box if you really want a change. There are plenty of unique houseplants out there to choose from, and the good news is, many of them don't require tons of care or attention.

Whether you're a veteran plant parent or just starting your collection, here are 20 unique houseplants to consider adding to your home.

01 of 20

String of Dolphins

A string of dolphins succulent

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  • Botanical Name: Senecio peregrinus
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, cactus/succulent soil
  • Soil pH: 6.6-7.5

You've probably taken care of a succulent before, but have you ever heard of this whimsical version, with tiny leaves that look like swimming dolphins? Like other succulents, this plant does well in full to partial sun—aim for a south-facing window if possible. Because the plump succulent leaves are great at retaining water, you can get away with less-frequent watering. (In fact, it can rot if you overwater it.) The string of dolphins is toxic to pets, so it's best to steer clear if you have a cat or dog.

02 of 20

False Shamrock Plant

False Shamrock Plant

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  • Botanical Name: Oxalis triangularis
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining sandy and loamy soils
  • Soil pH: 7.6 to 7.8

Add a splash of color to any room with a false shamrock, a low-maintenance plant that's ideal for new plant parents or folks with busy schedules. The deep red-purplish leaves only look like flowers, but you will notice tiny white or purple flowers pop up as the plant grows. Set this sun-loving plant in front of a window and water it regularly, allowing the surface soil to get dry before you water again.

03 of 20

Lipstick Echeveria

Lipstick Echeveria

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  • Botanical Name: Echeveria agavoides
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, cactus/succulent soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0

Another unique succulent to add to your collection, the lipstick succulent, grows bright-red rosettes reminiscent of your favorite shade of lipstick. Like other types of succulents, this one needs well-draining soil and occasional watering. If you take care of it, it can get up to 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide, so be ready to repot if necessary. The lipstick succulent does well in full sun or partial shade, and in spring, it often produces red flowers.

04 of 20

Hoya Hearts

A hoya heart plant in a pink planter

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  • Botanical Name: Hoya kerrii
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, cactus/succulent soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.0

Also called a wax heart or lucky heart, the Hoya kerii is a charming and surprisingly hardy addition to any plant collection. If you're lucky enough to have a Hoya heart, it's important to know these plants grow very slowly, so you may not see a full plant for years to come. The heart is super-easy to take care of, though: keep it in medium or bright light and water it every few weeks to keep it happy.

05 of 20

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern

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  • Botanical Name: Platycerium bifurcatum
  • Sun Exposure: Indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: N/A

You can keep this unique fern in a pot, basket, or even a hanging planter, but some people mount them on wooden plaques to highlight their horn-like appearance—they're great for gallery walls. While the staghorn's known for its dramatic look, it's surprisingly easy to care for. Keep it in indirect light and water it regularly to mimic its native sub-tropical conditions.

06 of 20

Rex Begonia

Rex Begonia

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  • Botanical Name: Begonia rex-cultorum
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Type: Porous
  • Soil pH: 5.7-6.2

With its dramatic, painted-look leaves, the rex begonia—sometimes called a painted-leaf or fancy-leaf begonia—will infuse your plant collection with instant flair. While the plant does bloom small flowers, people primarily grow it for their gorgeous foliage. The rex begonia loves humidity, so aim to mist it frequently, and keep it in moderate to indirect sunlight. Just make sure the soil gets dry before watering it again to keep the plant happy.

07 of 20

Lifesaver Plant

Closeup of a lifesaver plant

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  • Botanical Name: Huernia zebrina
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Type: Cactus potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0

With its yellow and brown banded flower and round center, this succulent—also known as owl eyes or lifebuoy huernia—resembles a lifesaver candy. Keep it in full sun to part shade, ideally near an eastern- or western-facing window, and water it when the soil feels bone-dry. This plant doesn't like to be wet, especially during the dormant winter months, so be careful not to over-water.

08 of 20

Rose Grape

Rose Grape

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  • Botanical Name: Medinilla magnifica
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1-6.5

Also known as a medinilla or Philippine orchid, the rose grape is an elegant-looking tropical plant that thrives in humid environments—in fact, many people use them as patio plants or even outdoor plants. If you don't live in a year-round warm climate, set it outside for the summer months in a partially sunny spot; direct light indoors or outdoors will cause the leaves to drop. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

09 of 20

Pinstripe Plant

Prayer Plant

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  • Botanical Name: Calathea ornata
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to sun
  • Soil Type: Peat-based potting mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5-7

There are more than 300 calathea plants, and this one's known for its bright pink stripes against deep green leaves. The calathea ornata is a tropical plant that does best when it's in humid conditions, so put yours within five feet of an eastern or western window so it gets enough sun, and do your best to keep it moist, watering it whenever the soil feels dry an inch below the surface.

10 of 20

Nerve Plant

 Nerve Plant

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  • Botanical Name: Fittonia albivenis
  • Sun Exposure: Filtered indirect sun, part shade
  • Soil Type: Moist and well-drained
  • Soil pH: 6.5

Brightly-colored foliage and nerve-like patterns on the leaves give the fittonia albivenis its fitting nickname, the nerve plant. This evergreen perennial, also referred to as a vein plant or mosaic plant, most commonly comes with silvery-white veins, but you can also find red, white, or pink versions. It loves to be constantly moist, so it's best to use peat-based soil that retains water. Low to medium light is ideal, but you can also set your nerve plant near a sunny window if the light is filtered by a sheer curtain.

11 of 20

Bird's Nest Fern

Bird's Nest Fern

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  • Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright indirect sunlight
  • Soil Type: Loamy, moist, well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 5.5

Ferns aren't always easy to take care of, but the wavy bird's nest fern is one exception because it has hardier leaves. This unique plant thrives in medium or bright indirect sunlight, and it likes to be moist, so don't let the soil become totally dry before you water it next. Try keeping it in a humid environment, like a bathroom, that has ample natural light.

12 of 20

Polka Dot Begonia

Polka Dot Begonia

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  • Botanical Name: Begonia maculata
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright, indirect sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

The polka dot begonia, sometimes called an angel wing begonia, is just as low maintenance as it is whimsical. As long as you put it in medium or bright indirect sun, maintain its moisture, and keep it in a well-drained pot, this plant should stay pretty happy. If the plant gets too much light, the leaves may brown. As if the polka dots weren't fun enough, this begonia also grows clusters of small white flowers in the spring and summer months.

13 of 20

Frizzle Sizzle

Frizzle Sizzle

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  • Botanical Name: Albuca spiralis
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.5

If you want to add some major personality to your collection, look no further than the frizzle sizzle, a type of bulb succulent. In the spring, the spikes bloom gorgeous yellow flowers that smell like vanilla. The more light this plant gets, the more curls it'll develop, so aim to keep it in direct sunlight if possible. Keep in mind that during the summer months, the frizzle sizzle goes dormant and may brown a bit.

14 of 20

African Milk Tree

African Money Tree

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  • Botanical Name: Euphorbia trigona
  • Sun Exposure: Bright and indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining succulent soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8

Like other cacti, this variety is fairly low maintenance, but it's totally unique with its colorful, rugged, thorny look. These large cacti can grow up to eight feet tall if you take care of them, but they also easily get top heavy as they grow—so you may want to stake yours or cut back taller parts so the plant can continue to thrive. Wear gloves when you touch the tree, as the sap can be irritating to skin.

15 of 20

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo

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  • Botanical Name: Dracaena sanderiana
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Lucky bamboo, also known by its botanical name dracaena sanderiana, has a rich history in Chinese culture, known for promoting prosperity and fortune. And you should count yourself lucky if you get your hands on this gorgeous, swirly plant. It's super easy to care for—you don't even need soil to grow it. Try putting yours in rocks or a vase full of water, and keep it in filtered sunlight. Interestingly, the plant isn't technically bamboo; it's actually a type of succulent.

16 of 20

Bromeliad

Bromeliad

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  • Botanical Name: Bromeliaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright but indirect sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix or a soilless mix
  • Soil pH: 4.0 to 7.0

This cheery, bright plant will make you feel like you're in the midst of the tropics—just make sure to take care of it, because the red spiky flower won't pop up if it's not thriving. Always keep the bromeliad in bright but indirect sunlight. It's tolerant of drought conditions, so you don't need to keep it moist, but it does appreciate a humid environment—so if your home is dry, a well-lit bathroom would be a great spot to show the bromeliad off.

17 of 20

Hindu Rope Hoya

Hindu Rope Hoya

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  • Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa compacta
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, and indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Hanging plants are a great way to make use of vertical space in your home. If you want something more interesting than a standard pothos, you'll love a Hindu rope hoya and its draping, ruffly leaves. As long as it gets plenty of bright but indirect light and you don't overwater it, this hanging succulent is simple to care for. Only water when the soil is nearly dry, and do so even more sparingly in the winter months.

18 of 20

Moon Cactus

Moon Cactus

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  • Botanical Name: Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sunlight, shade
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-draining cactus mix
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral

Also called a Ruby Ball cactus, this plant grows beautiful, brightly-colored flower buds without hair or spines. Because the cactus and buds grow at different rates, the moon cactus usually doesn't thrive for more than a few years—but you can keep yours happy by allowing it to dry between waterings and keeping it in partial sunlight. Avoid full shade or direct light to keep both parts of the plant healthy.

19 of 20

Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm

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  • Botanical Name: Beaucarnea recurvata
  • Sun Exposure: Bright and indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Sandy, well-draining soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5

This spunky plant is actually not a palm or a tree, but a succulent. Also called the elephant foot tree, the ponytail palm has a bulbous trunk that's great for retaining moisture and long, hair-like leaves that give the plant its name. Keep yours in bright and indirect light if possible, or display it in the sunniest corner of your home. Water it like you would a succulent, whenever you notice the soil is bone dry.

20 of 20

Lipstick Plant

Lipstick plant

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  • Botanical Name: Aeschynanthus radicans
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade or full shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 8.0

Not to be confused with the lipstick echeveria, the lipstick plant—also known as a lipstick vine—blooms bright red buds that look like tubes of lipstick. The vines elegantly hang out of the planter, so it's a great one to hang. This plant prefers lower-light conditions, and it doesn't need much watering, because the waxy leaves are good at retaining moisture. Water it when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry.

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  1. Are Succulents Safe to Have Around Pets?. (2021). Retrieved 30 November 2021, from https://www.aspca.org/news/are-succulents-safe-have-around-pets

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