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$38,000 for a Houseplant? Ridiculously Expensive Indoor Plants, Explained

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$38,000 for a Houseplant? Ridiculously Expensive Indoor Plants, Explained

February 7, 2023

I’m sorry. Really, I do love houseplants, but there is no hellebore way that I am going to shell out serious cash for one. I don’t really care if a Monstera is trending or popular or super rare. But, apparently, other people think differently and have way deeper pockets. So being a curious bird, I wanted to know a little more about these coveted plants and find out why they are so exorbitantly priced. You still won’t see any of these haute houseplants in my own home (unless, of course, someone gifts me one—wink wink), but at least now I have a better understanding of why others are so willing to splurge.

The Why

In my mind, no explanation will ever make it okay to fork over your monthly mortgage for a houseplant, but there are reasons that certain plants come with ridiculous pricetags. Here are the main reasons I unearthed:

1. High demand due to their rarity and limited supply.

2. No chance you’ll find it at your local garden center.

3. Recently developed or hybridized.

4. Doesn’t produce viable seeds.

5. Very slow growing and/or slow to propagate.

6. Social media has hyped unique plants.

A Few Prized and Pricey Plants

Though these specimens are all expensive, you may find them sold in a range of prices, as the size, maturity and, in some cases degree of variegation, increases the desirability.

1.  Variegated Monsteras

A Monstera Adansonii once sold for \$38,000 on eBay. Pictured here are rooted versions of Monstera Adansonii Albo sold by NorthlandBotanical on Etsy; a potted plant with \1 leaf is \$\138 and with \2 leaves is \$\2\10.
Above: A Monstera Adansonii once sold for $38,000 on eBay. Pictured here are rooted versions of Monstera Adansonii Albo sold by NorthlandBotanical on Etsy; a potted plant with 1 leaf is $138 and with 2 leaves is $210.

What makes these plants total status symbols and extra special are the genetic mutations creating mottled white and green patterns. For best success, grow these plants in a humid, very bright spot and water thoroughly once a week. Some of these fetch between $100 to thousands of dollars, depending on their marbled pattern and maturity of plant.  Monstera Adansonii, with its variegated swiss cheese-like leaf shape, once sold for $38,000 on eBay. Monstera Thai Constellation and Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata with its white splashes are other unique varieties that plant collectors swoon over.

2. Large Monstera Obliqua

NSE Tropicals sells a 4-inch tall Monstera Obliqua for \$\175 with this plea: &#8\2\20;Please don&#8\2\17;t buy if you aren&#8\2\17;t an experienced grower.&#8\2\2\1; Photograph via Etsy&#8\2\17;s DingPlants, which sells a node for \$75 and a starter plant for \$\250.
Above: NSE Tropicals sells a 4-inch tall Monstera Obliqua for $175 with this plea: “Please don’t buy if you aren’t an experienced grower.” Photograph via Etsy’s DingPlants, which sells a node for $75 and a starter plant for $250.

It’s crazy that this plant is so sought after, considering that it has more holes than leaf. This slow growing plant could cost you $1,500 for a six inch pot. Like most tropical plants, provide a warm spot and high humidity. Because of its vining habit, showcase this plant tumbling from a pot on a self or train it up a moss pole.

3. Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’

PlantedPortland sells Philodendron Pink Princess for \$80.75 to \$\10\2 for a 4- to 5-inch pot.
Above: PlantedPortland sells Philodendron Pink Princess for $80.75 to $102 for a 4- to 5-inch pot.

While I am a total fan of the hot pink this desirable plant sports, I’m not sure I could spend a couple hundred dollars for a small specimen or a couple thousand for a mature plant.  Keep this beauty well watered and to ensure its variegation, provide bright, indirect light.

4. Philodendron Tortum

A six-inch pot of Philodendron Tortum is \$\1\25 at Twisted Trunk.
Above: A six-inch pot of Philodendron Tortum is $125 at Twisted Trunk.

Resembling a small fringy palm or fern, this unique plant has thin leaves that unravel corkscrew-like.  Place it in a spot with high humidity and provide low light.

5.  Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta’

A 6-inch hanging pot Hoya Carnosa Compacta (also known as Hoya Hindu) is \$\189 from 3Exoticgreen on Etsy.
Above: A 6-inch hanging pot Hoya Carnosa Compacta (also known as Hoya Hindu) is $189 from 3Exoticgreen on Etsy.

Ranging in price from a modest $40 to $6,500, this rare semi-succulent plant twists and turns..and definitely turns heads. This plant is perfect for hanging baskets but can be slow to root and establish itself if grown from a cutting. Provide high humidity, bright indirect light and well-draining potting soil.

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