Looking for a few unique, interesting and out of the ordinary plants to grow in your garden or flowerbeds this year? Something that can bring a few oohs an ahhs from neighbors, friends and family when they visit?
Avid gardeners seem to always love growing a few “specialty” plants every year. Whether it be an unusual pumpkin variety that grows massive pumpkins, a unique flower with unusual blooms, or a new hybrid hot pepper plant that produces one of the hottest peppers in the world, there is something inherently fun about growing a rare plant.
I think for most gardeners, it adds a little extra excitement to the garden season. And of course, there is always that hope that you just might discover a new favorite that becomes the highlight of your garden season!
That has certainly been the case for us over the years. Of course, there have been some duds for sure. But that is part of the fun of trying something new. The good news is that our experimental planting has also led to some wonderful plants we now grow every year!
The Fun of Trying Something New…
Some of our old trial plants now add amazing beauty to our landscape every year. A great example of that is the massive giant Russian sunflowers we grew as an experiment one season. We loved them so much, we now use them to line our garden fence row every year.
Others, like our purple tomatillos or perennial hops plant bring flavor, interest, and even a hope to someday make a little home brew! One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of interesting plant varieties to try. And with that in mind, we thought we would showcase 5 such plants with today’s article.
All can certainly add big interest to your garden, and a few can even add a bit of fun and excitement in your kitchen after harvesting. We hope you enjoy!
5 Interesting Plants To Grow This Year
#1) Chocolate Cherry Sunflower – 5 Uniquely Interesting Plants To Grow
If you are a lover of sunflowers, the Chocolate Cherry sunflower is a must try! Sunflowers have become all the rage in the last few years, and this beautiful variety takes it next level!
The petals on this sunflower variety range from a rich dark chocolate color to a deep blackish-red hue. But what really makes those colors pop even more is the ultra dark black center.
Chocolate Cherry sunflowers grow to just under 8′ in height, making them perfect for planting along garden fences or as a beautiful border. The sunflowers “bloom” in mid to late summer with six to eight inch wide sunflowers.
They are absolutely perfect for cutting and displaying in a vase or flower arrangement. They also hold up well as a cut flower with a longer shelf life than traditional sunflowers. One thing is for sure, the Chocolate Cherry sunflower will make for quite the conversation piece! Seed Link : Chocolate Cherry Sunflower Seeds
Talk about one funky looking vegetable plant! Kohlrabi is certainly one of the most unique and interesting plants you will ever grow in your garden. But it also happens to be incredibly tasty and full of nutrition too!
The shape and colors of this plant are what make it so interesting. With a spherical, tennis ball size head that grows from a tangled web of stems, Kohlrabi is certainly a one of a kind plant.
As a vegetable, Kohlrabi is most often compared to cabbage or turnips. Although its flavor profile is certainly in that range, it is more mild than cabbage, but with a more robust flavor than a turnip. It is excellent to use in salads, soups and even stews. The leaves can also be harvested to make tasty greens.
We grew White Vienna in our garden and were thrilled with the variety. With pale green foliage and a whitish/green bulb that are both edible, the plant will add interest wherever you grow it. Bulbs are best harvested when they reach about two to three inches in diameter.
Kohlrabi is a cold weather crop and can be planted early and late in the season. Seed Link : White Vienna Kohlrabi Seeds
#3) Hops – 5 Uniquely Interesting Plants To Grow
Even if you don’t have the slightest intentions of making your own beer, hops (pictured at the top of the article) are a wonderful plant to grow simply for their beauty in the landscape. Even better, the hop cones that form each summer are incredibly fragrant too!
We started growing hops about 9 years back, and the perennial quickly became on of our favorites. Although most think of hops as a vining plant, they are actually a “bine”, and not a vine.
Hops can grow up to 25 feet or more in a single year, making them perfect for growing up a trellis or along a fence line. At the end of each growing season, the bines can be cut back all the way back to the ground. New bines will grow the following spring to climb again.
Of course, if you are into making your own home brews, what could be better than growing your own hops? Plants produce a large amount of hop cones each year which are perfect for home brewing. We have never tried it as of yet, but it certainly on our to-do list in the near future!
#4) Habanero White – 5 Uniquely Interesting Plants To Grow
Love growing hot peppers? Then the Habanero White variety is a great choice for spicing up your garden in a big way. Or should we say, in a very, very hot way! The peppers turn a unique color of white when ripe, and are they ever hot.
Although Habanero White produces slightly smaller peppers than a traditional Habanero plant, it certainly isn’t short on heat. In fact, this variety that hails from Peru packs a punch with a 300,000 to 500,000 rating on the Scoville scale. That’s pretty hot considering traditional Jalapeno peppers range anywhere from just 3,000 to 8,000!
Beyond its interesting all white pepper color, the flavor of this pepper is incredibly tasty. It adds a bit of sweet with the heat, making it wonderful for heating up salsa, or for drying into hot pepper flakes. Seed Link : White Habanero Seeds
#5) Artichokes – 5 Uniquely Interesting Plants To Grow
Talk about a garden conversation piece, the artichoke is one unique garden plant! The best part is that contrary to popular belief, it can be grown almost anywhere.
I am not sure why, but we put off growing this beautiful and tasty plant for years – and are we ever glad it is now a regular part of our planting plan! If you get a minimum of 100 frost-free days, then you can try your hand at growing artichokes.
They certainly grow big. In fact, they can reach up to several feet in diameter. And their showy blooms, well, they are just such a beautiful sight in the garden. Although they are technically a perennial (in warm climates), for most they grow as an annual.
As for harvesting, when the artichoke becomes about the size of an apple, it is ready to pick. It’s important to pick while the petals are still formed tightly around the core for maximum flavor. One thing is for sure, any visitor to the garden will notice them quickly! (Seed Link : Green Globe Artichokes)
Here is to growing something unique in your garden this year! Happy Gardening, Jim & Mary.
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