Top Ten Unique Plants to Grow

Add a diverse flair to your outdoor garden space with these 10 interesting plants.

Excerpted from Ready, Set, Grow! by DK BooksDorling Kindersley
Mimosa Pudica Curls Away When Touched DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tickle-Me Plant (Mimosa pudica)

When touched, the fernlike leaves of this very sensitive plant curl up, setting off a chain reaction where nearby leaf stalks of the plant fold in, too. The leaves also fold over in the dark. If touched too many times, the plant's reaction may slow down. This plant requires full sun and germinates in two to three weeks. Height is typically 12 inches (30 cm).

Coleus Plants Have Eye Catching Leaves DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Coleus (Coleus blumei)

Grown indoors or outdoors, this eye-catching plant has dramatic, colorful leaves. Encourage the plant to become bushy and last longer by pinching out the small flowers and growing shoots at the end of summer. This plant requires partial sun and germinates in two weeks. Height varies between dwarf and tall species.

Amazing Avocado DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Avocado Pit (Persea americana)

Impress yourself as well as your friends by growing your own avocado plant from its pit. Push three toothpicks into the center of the pit (pointed end upward), and place over a jar full of water so that the pit dips in. A seedling will form. This seedling is ready to be planted into soil. This plant requires full sun and germinates in six weeks. It will grow to be a very tall tree.

Hanging Lablab Beans DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Lablab Beans (Lablab purpureus)

Lablab beans are climbing plants that produce pods that can be eaten when cooked. They have stunning purple and pink fragrant flowers, followed by fascinating dark purple seedpods, surrounded by green and purple-brown leaves. This plant requires no sun and germinates in 2 to 3 weeks. Height is typically 6 feet (2 m).

Corn Seeds Produce Corn in Summer Months DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Corn \"Maize\" (Zea mays)

Sow some corn seeds bought from a pet store or garden center into a container about 4 in (10 cm) apart and, if kept moist, fertilized and warm, in about three months corncobs will be ready to harvest. It's a-maize-ing! This plant requires no sun and germinates in one to two weeks. Height is typically 5 feet (1.5 m).

Ornamental Gourds in a Variety of Colors and Shapes DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Ornamental Gourds (Curcurbita pepo)

There's an impressive array of strangely shaped, colored and patterned gourds to choose from. In the fall, they can be dried to make interesting hanging decorations or the larger gourds can be hollowed out to become interesting plant containers. This plant requires full sun and germinates in two weeks. Height varies.

Container Pineapples DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pineapple Top (Ananas comosus)

Slice the leafy top off a fresh pineapple, strip away a few leaves at the base, leave to dry, and then place into a pot with potting soil and keep moist. And presto — within six weeks the top starts to root! Although it will be a year or two before it fruits. This plant requires partial sun and will begin rooting in six to eight weeks. Height is typically 12 inches (30 cm).

Chocolate Cosmos DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)

The dark brown-red flowers of this perennial plant produce a powerful smell of vanilla and sweet chocolate. Originally from Mexico, the plant is no longer found in the wild. The blooms last through the summer and into the fall. This plant requires partial sun and germinates in five to 10 days. Height is typically three feet (90 cm).

Amazing Venus Flytrap DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

Venus flytraps survive by feeding on flies and other insects. They are fascinating to watch for their reactions. You could feed your plant, using tweezers to place an insect inside its head-trap every 10 days. Avoid touching the trigger hairs. This plant requires no sun and germinates in four to six weeks. Height is typically 6 inches (15 cm).

Lemon Verbena has Powerful Smell of Lemon DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Lemon Verbena (Alpysia triphylla)

If you rub your fingers on the leaves of the lemon verbena plant, they will pick up a powerful smell of lemon. Consider using these leaves to flavor herbal teas. They can also be added to potpourris. New plants can be grown by taking cuttings. This plant requires no sun and germinates in two to three weeks. It will grow into a bushy shrub.

Excerpted from Ready, Set, Grow! by DK Books

2010

Dorling Kindersley

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