The most expensive plant ever sold was the Shenzhen Nongke Orchid sold for $224,000 in 2005. Created in a university lab by scientists it took 8 years to create.
It might be hard to believe that people will happily splash six figures on even the best indoor plants, however, it has become less surprising in the last few years.
'The current demand for houseplants (which picked up around 10 years ago) is at its peak. In fact, many experts who claimed it was a fad or craze have had to revaluate what they assumed made it so popular, to begin with,' says Dan Bruce, co-founder of Leafy.
In a testament to this peak, this year Pinterest saw searches for Biophilic architecture, which prioritizes plants in design, increase by 150 per cent. Soaring demand has caused a knock-on effect for prices with in-demand plants. On sites such as Etsy rare variegated monstera cutting are now selling for three figure prices in some cases.
The 2020s aren't the first time there has been a houseplant boom. In the early 1600s the Netherlands saw 'Tulip Mania' with prices skyrocketing. In the Victorian era a fascination with orchids called 'Orchidelirium' saw a rise in orchid prices and even thefts.
In the midst of the 21st Century houseplant boom, these are the most expensive plants you can buy for some truly spectacular indoor garden ideas.
Most expensive plants in the world
Found out about the most expensive plants in the world with our round up of the priciest houseplants you can buy.
Variegated Monstera plants can sell for hundreds, with cuttings alone often going for $100 plus. The most expensive variegate Monstera to be sold was the Adansonii Variegata that went for $38,000.
A popular auction site Trade Me has seen another rare Monstera Adansoni sold for $700, and Monstera Aurea sold for $3,726.
'Variegated plants have become increasingly popular over the last few years, partly because houseplant hunters are always looking for something different, and also because they’re extremely rare and beautiful,' says Dan Bruce.
The spiraling price for variegated monsteras is largely due to the increase in demand which has put pressure on the stocks of the slow-growing plant. The lack of chlorophyll in the leaves means it needs more light and grows slower.
2. Hoya Carnossa Compacta
In 2020 a member of the New Zealand TradeMe auction site sold a Hoya Carnosa Compacta, also known as 'Hindu rope', for $6500. Making it the most expensive plant sold on the platform.
The seller said in the listing that the established plant had a cream/yellow variegation on the inside of the leaf making it more desirable to buyers.
Hoya plants prices start at around $10, however, a more mature version can go for upwards of $100 on places like Etsy.
3. Philodendron Pink Princess
On Etsy, a 2inch starter Philodendron Pink Princess plant will set you back $50. However, some larger plants with unique variegation can go for $3,033.22, like this Philodendron pink princess galaxy from Esty seller Eden Garden. Good variegation is key to how much this plant can go for.
In 2021 the pink princess quickly became an Instagram favourite popping up on multiple feeds as part of people's indoor plant ideas. Watch this space as prices could continue to rise for this rare variegation.
4. Old Pine Bonsai tree
Bonsai trees can start at £50 for a small new one, however older version that have been trained for years can command huge pricetags, many are even deemed priceless.
The most expensive Bonsai tree to be sold was a centuries old pine that sold for $1.3 million at the International Bonsai Convention in Takamatsu, Japan. However, younger specialist Bonsai trees often cost in the thousands.
5. Syngonium Podophyllum Albo
The beautiful green and white plant has started to become increasingly in demand thanks to its beautiful coloring. They usually demand a price tag of upwards of $60 for a 25cm plant.
'Over the last few years due to many plant lovers are moving towards paler foliage,' explains Dan. 'This explains why the Syngonium Podophyllum Albo is so in demand with its beautiful tones of greens and whites making it a plant that really stands out in any home.'
Please note that none of the plants in this list are the best low-maintenance indoor plants. There is a reason they're usually only found in the collection of experts, so please invest wisely.
Rebecca has worked as a homes and interiors journalist for over four years, and is currently the Deputy Editor on Ideal Home online. Previously, she was the News Editor across the Future homes and gardens brands, including Gardeningetc.com. She lives in a rented flat in South London where she makes the most of window boxes to create small container gardens. Inside she has a jungle of houseplants in nearly every room which she does her best to keep up with regular watering and repotting.
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