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Unusual Plants for Landscaping

If you’re bored with the run-of-the-mill landscaping plants – your deciduous oaks, your coniferous cedars and your perennial grasses – then perhaps it’s time to take a look at some unique and unusual alternatives that will liven up your landscape. Naturally, you can take this to whatever level of ‘uniqueness’ you like, but remember that it needs to go well with the theme of your garden. Essentially, it shouldn’t end up looking like a bizarre collection of “funny-looking” foliage.


Possibly the most unusual of plants is your average insectivore. They’re designed to look brilliant because they need to attract food, but this design will serve your landscaping needs beautifully. A well-placed patch of sundews, for example, can make your garden look like an underwater paradise because they resemble the sea anemones that live on coral reefs around the world. With stunning colors and a unique look, they are great for unusual landscaping.


This plant is unusual, not because it’s rare in a garden, but because it’s a hemi-parasite. This ‘kissing plant’ can add dashes of color to an otherwise drab winter garden. Oddly, the name “mistletoe” derived from the fact that birds eat their berries and some of those seeds end up on branches along with droppings. A sturdy, deciduous tree like birch would be a good host for the unique mistletoe.


Bamboos aren’t rare or unusual, so why are they unusual choices for your garden? Although they’re prolific in certain parts of the world, in colder climates, they’re still novelty plants. They’re perfect as natural screens so if you want to cordon off a portion of your garden as a private picnic spot, this is the plant you need. Make sure you select the cold-weather bamboos such as the Yellow Grove; for high-rainfall areas you could try the Incense Bamboo, which emanates a pleasant smell when scratched.


Yes, these can be great replacements for lawns in shaded areas. Mosses have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes from insulation to bedding. But as lawn replacements they are definitely unique because they are much less of a hassle to maintain, and they are very soft underfoot. It can be a very creative option to an expensive and hard-to-maintain lawn.

Walking Stick

This unique plant, properly known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, can be an interesting and unusual addition to your landscape. This is something the Addams Family might consider a ‘prize plant’, but the way the branches twist when they grow will be something that takes your visitors’ eyes off your other drab plants in the winter. They may look weird but they’re definitely a good choice for ‘unusual’ landscape design.

Try these options with the right kind of landscape lighting and you’ll be creating something that’s worth observing in the nighttime as well as the day.