Halloween is just around the corner, and to help you celebrate, we've put together a list of spooky houseplants that are sure to delight, even long after the initial fright! Check out these six "scary cool" plant picks:
Tillandsia tectorum 'Ecuador'
Many air plants have a certain spider-like quality to them, but few compare to the stunning Ecuadorian selection of Tillandsia tectorum whose distinctly fuzzy leaves remind us of a ghostly tarantula. The "hairs" that give this air plant its unique texture are called trichomes, and they help the plant absorb water and nutrients, as well as reflect solar radiation. They are particularly well-developed in this species since it is adapted to growing in arid regions of the Andes. And because of this, this air plant is also remarkably easy to care for in your home!
Unlike many air plants, Tillandsia tectorum prefers things on the drier side and only requires a good misting every other week or so. In fact, while it is recommended to occasionally submerge some varieties of air plants in water to make sure they get nicely soaked, this is not one of them. Tillandsia tectorum prefers bright light, but as long as you can keep it near a sunny window and water it sparingly, this spidery air plant will keep you company for many Halloweens to come!
Grass-Leafed Hoya (Hoya retusa)
Hoya retusa may bear the common name Grass-leafed Hoya, but with Halloween in the air, we can't help but think that the little notches at the end of the leaves make them look like bones, and what's creepier than having a mound of green fingerlike bones reaching out for you from your shelf? Even when it isn't Halloween, this unique trailing hoya makes for a fantastic textural focal point in your houseplant collection — and it even flowers.
Young plants may take a few years to produce blooms, but as long as you provide the plant with the conditions it wants, you should be rewarded with a crop of starry, white blooms. Hoya retusa wants bright, indirect light and moderate humidity, and its soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings. In other words, it's one plant that won't give up the ghost if you forget to water it for a day or two, which is good, because we certainly prefer "undead" plants to dead ones!
'Midnight' Rhizomatous Begonia
Rhizomatous begonias make for great houseplants, and 'Midnight' is no exception. With its whorled, near-black leaves, this dramatic begonia conjures up images of a swirling cauldron on Hallows' Eve. Associations aside, we think it's just downright cool looking, and since it will accept medium- to low-light conditions, you don't necessarily have to give up any of your precious windowsill real estate to grow it successfully. Still, even with a name like 'Midnight,' keep in mind that it won't grow in the dark!
Like most begonias, this one likes to grow in the sorts of cooler temperatures where many of us keep our homes, and it prefers moist, well-drained soil.
Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
What's more fright-inducing than a plant with teeth? Probably not much — at least, if you're a fly! Barring some sort of plot twist lifted straight from Little Shop of Horrors, the rest of us don't have anything to worry about, which is good because these fascinating carnivorous plants make for rewarding houseplant subjects well worth the extra care required to satisfy their cultural needs.
To keep a Venus Flytrap happy, you will need to provide them with a few things: bright sunlight, pure water, and a winter dormancy period similar to the one they would experience in nature. Because they evolved to live in nutrient-poor bogs in the Carolinas, Venus Flytraps resent over-fertilization. Even the dissolved nutrients in tap water can kill your plant over time, which is why it's best to water your Venus Flytrap with only distilled water or collected rainwater. These plants prefer to be damp but not waterlogged, and while they don't mind being grown in a terrarium, they don't require one either.
After Halloween, you should transition your Venus Flytraps into a winter dormancy from November through February, during which they will need cooler temperatures and bright light. A spot by a window in your garage, shed, or — if we're getting aspirational — an unheated greenhouse would work. You can also cut back on your watering during this time of year.
Purple Passion Plant (Gynura aurantiaca)
There aren't many plants that can boast green leaves with a hauntingly beautiful purple sheen. Actually, we can only think of one: Purple Passion Plant! Shifting and shimmering like a spirit, this plant will mesmerize you this Halloween — or any other time of year. If your plant gets big enough, it can even produce orange flowers. While this increases the plant's Halloween factor, unfortunately, it also introduces the issue of their unpleasant aroma, so it's probably best to cut them off.
This plant likes bright, indirect light and relatively moist soil. That said, be sure to choose both a potting mix and container that are well-draining to avoid the potential of root rot. It's also best to avoid wetting the the leaves so as to preserve the beauty of those purple hairs that make it so attractive.
False Aralia (Plerandra elegantissima)
We can't quite pinpoint it, but the highly dissected foliage on this False Aralia has a certain je ne sais quoi that just feels spooky. Perhaps — like Hoya retusa — the texture of its leaves call to mind the spindly fingers of some unknown hobgoblin. It doesn't hurt that another common name is Spider Aralia, either. Whatever the case, Plerandra elegantissima has an inarguably brooding quality about it.
With its upright habit and dramatically dark leaves, this plant is a great choice for gardeners looking to keep it goth, and it's relative ease of care makes it a good choice for those who aren't, too. Give False Aralia a bright spot in your home, good humidity, and moist but not waterlogged soil.
If any of these plants have made your wish list, we've got a huge selection of houseplants at the Farm this Halloween, including all of the plants mentioned in this post. As always, feel free to ask any of our team members for help in picking out or caring for your houseplants — spooky or otherwise!