March 01, 2023
By Maddy Hogan
Rare plants are often highly sought after because of their coloring and growth patterns, but it is important to point out that what truly makes these varieties rare is the scientific and genetic traits, slow growth and development, and care requirements. We will dive into a few of the most popular rare plants that Riza carries in our Rare Plant cabinet by our potting table in the rear of the store. If you visit us in person, we are always more than happy to unlock the cabinet and provide details about how to care for any of our rare species.
A common misconception is that rare plants need to be kept in a cabinet like they are in our shop, we just provide this environment to help the plants grow and achieve their full potential. Our rare plant cabinet is equipped with grow lights, a heating pad, a humidifier, several small fans, and a gauge to monitor the temperature and humidity levels within the cabinet. These conditions help create an ideal climate for rare plants to grow faster, but as previously mentioned they are not required to own a rare plant. We also keep our rare plants in the shop in the greenhouse cabinet because the back of our retail location does not have abundant natural light, so this assists in keeping the plants happy and healthy. So long as you are able to provide proper light conditions and watering in your home, these rare species will do just fine and bring you lots of joy.
A popular choice that is gaining popularity in the plant community is the Pink Princess Philodendron for obvious reasons, the stunning bright pink variegation that appears in its leaves. The Pink Princess Philodendron, like other philodendrons, is an easy to care for plant that survives in a wide variety of conditions. The Pink Princess Philodendron prefers bright indirect light, refer to our guide on light conditions here, and a soil that will retain some moisture but is also well draining. These plants prefer higher humidity to grow, which can be achieved via a humidifier, pebble tray with water, or regular misting.
The Pink Princess Philodendron is a cultivar of the Philodendron erubescens plants, meaning that it has been cultivated and bred specifically for certain traits. This is what results in the pink variegation, a genetic mutation that affects the Pink Princess Philodendron’s chlorophyll productions, meaning less chlorophyll in the dark green leaves which produces the pink coloration in the leaves. This genetic mutation has been propagated and modified by plant breeders to produce the desirable Pink Princess Philodendron traits that are better suited for environmental conditions present in our homes so that these dream plants can survive more effectively.
A second favorite, the Monstera Albo, is another stunner that is relatively easy to care for. This gorgeous plant completely lacks chlorophyll in portions of its giant leaves, due to a mutation in the chloroplasts in the plant’s cells and contains genes that regulate the production of anthocyanin pigments. This results in that highly coveted all white variegation in Monstera Albo leaves. Similar to the Monstera Deliciosa, the Monstera Albo is a natural climber and will be best supported by a moss pole or trellis, both of which we have available in our First Street Napa location, and prefers bright indirect light and moist soil. Similar to the Thai Constellation Monstera that is detailed in our newsletter this month, these plants are more sensitive to having their soil dry out completely and prefer a soil that holds moisture while still being well draining.
Our third, and most vast group are rare anthuriums, which are highly sought after by plant collectors for their unique beauty, heart-shaped leaves, and challenging growth. Anthuriums have dark green and velvety leaves with defined silvery veins. As a diploid species, rare Anthuriums prefer bright indirect light and well-draining soil. They prefer to have the soil dry out completely in between sparing waterings when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. Fertilizing Anthuriums every two to three months during the growing season from April to October.
A commonality amongst all of these plants is that they are slow growers due to genetic mutations that plant breeders have focused on. These genetics are what make the plants rare and with stunning beauty, be it pink leaves, albo leaves that completely lack pigment, or the long elegant leaves of an anthurium with the silvery defined veins. A majority of rare plants prefer bright, indirect lighting conditions, well-draining soil that also retains moisture, and the willingness as a plant owner to provide the proper care and environment to ensure your rare plant doesn’t just survive, but thrives!
1300 1st Street Suite 355
Napa California 94559
PHONE: (707) 637-4388
*In the alleyway in-between Eikos and Copperfield books.
ROOTED IN NAPA
Riza (noun); Greek for ‘Roots’. Riza’s mission is to connect people through plants. We handpick the highest quality plants, ceramics, and indoor garden supplies for our customers, and consider ourselves a hub for all things relating to indoor plants. Whether you want to connect more with nature, brighten up your living space, or learn about caring for your new indoor plant, we take the time to work with your skill level and environment to find the perfect piece of greenery.