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16 New and Unusual Plant Varieties

Grow your ketchup and fries on the same plant or start a mini-vineyard. Science is adding a wealth of new plants so we can boldly grow edibles and ornamentals we've never grown before.

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Photo: Courtesy of Territorial Seed Company

'Ketchup 'n Fries'

Grow tomatoes for ketchup and potatoes for fries below the soil with 'Ketchup 'n Fries'. This exciting introduction from the U.K. yields up to 500 sweet, red cherry tomatoes and up to 4 1/2 pounds of white potatoes per plant. The plants are grafted, not genetically modified.

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Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Plug & Liner

Echibeckia 'Summerina'

Echibeckia 'Summerina' is a new series of flowering plants created by crossing Rudbeckia and Echinacea. 'Summerina' is fast-growing, with extra-large blooms and good heat and drought tolerance. Hardy in zones 6 to 9, the flowers are available in yellow, orange and brown.

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Photo: Courtesy of Bioglow Tech, LLC

Bioglow 'Starlight Avatar'

Developed by molecular biologist Alex Krichevsky,  'Starlight Avatar' is a variety of flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) that emits light. It's created by introducing genes from bioluminescent marine organisms into specialized plant cells called chloroplasts. These autoluminescent houseplants glow dimly, like starlight, and live 2 to 3 months. Work is underway to develop a brighter glow and find a way to package and ship the plants that won't compromise their fragile, jelly-like growing medium. At a 2014 auction these plants, which are not yet commercially available, sold for almost $800 each.

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Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Plug & Liner

Hula Berry

Bred from an old pineberry variety, Hula Berry is a white strawberry with a pineapple flavor. White strawberries are not self-fertile so for best results, grow Hula Berries with a red strawberry for pollination (a 3:1 ratio is recommended). Hula Berry kits come with three Hula Berry plants and one 'Sonata' red strawberry. The berries are produced from June through August.

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