Rare and Unusual Plants from Collector’s Corner

Episode: 8
Title: Rare and Unusual Plants from Collector’s Corner
Broadcast: 11 October
Presenter: Melissa

If you’re after something wild and wacky, beautiful or unusual or just plain different, this is the place to come – collectors corner at Gardenworld.

  • We think of Cacti as being spiny, architectural looking and dry tolerant. What we don’t tend to associate with Cacti is spectacular flowers. Mammillarias are the exception. A lot of them are easy to grow and bloom when they are young so you don’t have to wait long to enjoy a showy display like this.
  • As far as native plants go, Dendrobium kingianum, which grows wild from northern NSW to Queensland, is by far the showiest. You’ll often hear it called the pink rock orchid because it grows naturally on rocky outcrops. Most varieties are pink or purple but there are also white forms. At home you can grow them successfully in a pot with the right mix or even on a wood or tree fern mount. Just be sure to protect them from frost in winter.
  • Dendrobium speciosum is another Australian beauty, found growing from eastern Victoria to northern Queensland. It’s commonly called the Rock Lily. Most forms have yellowish or cream coloured flowers – and boy are they spectacular in bloom.
  • Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchids are such stately plants and they’ve become really popular, but what you might not know is that they also come in miniature – how cute are these. The require the same growing conditions as normal Moth orchids – so bright, indirect light - but they are a fraction of the size, with tiny blossoms and slender stems, so you can group them together for extra impact.
  • Tillandsias are making a come back too, as a terrarium plant but also for garden craft. They are one of those plant oddities. They’re commonly called air plants because they grow wild on trees and rocks, so you can mount them on almost anything. Give them a bright spot – but not direct sun – good air circulation and water and that’s about it. Some have really pretty blooms and foliage colour and they’re fun and easy to grow.
  • There’s something morbidly fascinating about watching a carnivorous plant devour its prey. The Pitcher plants are both curious and striking with unusual leaf shapes and incredible colors. They’re clever little plants too – they use a combination of sweet nectar, scent and colour to lure their insect prey into their pitchers - The insects get stuck and can’t get out or drown in the watery trap. At home you can grow them in moist pots or beds– they also make great terrarium plants.

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