In London, Geo-fleur focuses on unconventional potted varietals, like the Maranta—better known as the prayer plant. The tropical plant is known for having leaves which close at night—and in the daytime, reveal bright pink stripes.
Recently popular at Geo-fleur, the Monstera adansonii is a trailing plant with large, heart-shaped leaves which over time become mottled with holes (hence its nickname: the Swiss cheese plant).
At the Sill in NYC, the peacock plant, named for its feather-patterned leaves, is finally stocked after a long search for this specific varietal of Calathea.
Meanwhile in Portland, another Calathea varietal is perhaps a little bit wild: Pistils Nursery recommends the rattlesnake plant. With an exotic, green pattern on the surface, the other side of each leaf bears a dark, purple hue.
Unmistakably the plant of the moment, the Pilea peperomioides—also called the Chinese money plant, popular for its almost perfectly round leaves—was once rare, but has become increasingly easy to find.
At the Wild Bunch in Vancouver, florists are fans of the tropical Anthurium plant’s strange, leafy flowers which range from white to pink, and dark burgundy.
“The leaves have a beautiful shape to them, so even if the flower fades, the leaves provide interest and purify the air,” says Nassi Soofi, the Wild Bunch’s floral designer and stylist. These plants are still pretty—pink, or not.
It may seem harsh to call them weird. But not all houseplants can be as fabulous as the fiddle-leaf fig or as ubiquitous as the succulent; not all plants are popular—yet.
In London, Sophie Lee, the boutique botanist behind Geo-fleur, specializes in the unusual, sometimes wacky world of “weird and wonderful” indoor plants. Expect more than ivy and aloe vera; Lee and her team of plant-obsessed experts work to help clients cultivate indoor jungles flourishing with houseplants that are anything but garden variety. In Lee’s online shop alone (shipping within the U.K. only), expect to find zigzag swiveled cacti and tropical greenery with candy-pink stripes or iridescent silver leaves.
Indeed, many modern plant shops are on the lookout for fringe varietals, in high demand by the 37 per cent of millennials who grow plants and herbs indoors (as compared to 28 per cent of baby boomers—perhaps a higher incidence of nature-free, urban apartment living among the former is to blame). In New York City, the leafy Calathea is becoming the plant to have—in many shapes, and shades. Certain varietals, like the peacock plant (also known as Calathea orbifolia), are hard to find: “We just recently were able to track it down to sell in-store, but for a while there we couldn’t find any nurseries that were growing it,” says Erin Marino of NYC’s the Sill, which just opened its second location. Ask Nick Forland, who has recently opened Plants and Friends in San Francisco, and he’ll add Pilea peperomioides (or pancake plant) to the list, the latest “it” plant that’s low maintenance and in high demand—and at least for the moment, in limited supply.
And while flowering plants seem to be out this season, Vancouver’s the Wild Bunch is keeping its eye on the Anthurium, a tropical variety with bright fuchsia flowers which appear as if they’ve been dyed—pink highlights can always be counted on to spruce up a look, after all.
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