Most Disappointing Houseplants

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I have dozens of houseplants in my collection. My collection spans from extremely common houseplants to very rare aroids. Usually, it is the aesthetics of a plant that results in its acquisition, and I am left gauging how much I like other parts of it once I am home. Below are the 5 plants that I have been most disappointed with in my collection:

5th Worst Houseplant: Caladium

So when I first got into plant collecting, I started with an order from The Sill. After realizing the prices of The Sill, I decided that best way to continue would be by growing plants from seeds. Caladiums were my first attempt at growing from a bulb. (Instagram throw back)

What I didn’t expect was that the whole houseplant, spanning 5 leaves with some over a foot in size, fully grows within 2 months. I was left with a giant of a plant that can’t be propagated, but demands a lot of water, space and sun.

Admittedly, fully grown Caladiums would be great gifts as they are very showy and come in a crazy variety of colors. But now that my collection is bigger, it feels like having a dandelion. I would almost say that Caladiums shouldn’t be kept as houseplants and are better off outside, as even if you enjoy the aesthetic, they are constantly regrowing to face outside. When they face outside, you can’t actually see your plant anymore.

4th Worst Houseplant: Parlor Palm

So I actually don’t think this one is even really my fault. This was my first plant purchase that I made from the Sill (You can find my review of The Sill here). I chose a medium sized plant and when it arrived, it was the size pictured above (it is in a cup).

My goal was to have a statement houseplant besides my couch that was not picky about light. While these guys are durable I was not aware that this palm is not one singular plant, but dozens of singular blades. You can separate into a dozen smaller plants, or merge with another, but that it will not grow to a massive size. This plant will continue to grow longer, but never fuller, and there is no method of propagation that will result in its reproduction.

No matter how nurturing I am, there will only ever be a houseplant in a cup next to my couch.

3rd Worst Houseplant: Stromanthe Triostar

I just don’t like these guys and have very little to add beyond that. At first glance, I was seeing a more affordable PPP and variegation that wouldn’t break the bank. I am not pretentious in that I don’t think the only good plants cost a thousand dollars. There are great plants that hoover around $20. This just isn’t one of them. This houseplant is a slow grower, and the pink photographs much better than it appears in person. I’ve also found this plant to be a little picky.

2nd Worst Houseplant: Monstera Obliqua Peru

I wrote about this plant in a different list, but the Monstera Obliqua Peru is considered to be the “Unicorn Plant”. It is extremely hard to keep alive and, several years ago, it was note that only about a dozen of these plants had ever been seen in the wild. It stayed on my wishlist for a long time, and when I took the plunge, I found myself quickly disappointed.

The differences between an obliqua and adansonii look much more dramatic when photographed. In reality, when you see both plants in person, they look very similar. Obliqua Perus are basically the drama queens of adansoniis as they need to live within a humidity, temperature and light controlled box in order to grow at a rate about 1/3 of the speed. Now, mine are still fairly juvenile, so I am open to falling in love as they grow. However, I have seen youtube channels of these and after a year, these plants look the same. The massive houseplants that you can find on Google images seem to be the unicorn plants of the unicorn plants.

1st: Alocasia Black Velvet

When making lists like this, the middle is usually the hard part to map out. That’s because the entire purpose of the list is to eventually be able to explain how disappointing this alocasia has been. I am going to very directly say that if you’re an alocasia lover, you’re probably just going to disagree and say that I have a problem with the family. And you’re probably right. I ordered this plant with a dragon scale alocasia with it. The Dragon scale died in transit and I get a refund, and I am very grateful that it did die as I am probably just best suited for Aroids.

The picture above is 6 months old. Since this photo was taken, the plant has grown an additional two leaves. The plant has also lost two of the original leaves. What I’m trying to get at is that it looks exactly the same. It may be a family trait, but this plant seems to always have the same four leaves and size. For other houseplants, you can usually propagate a node and let it grow beside the plant to encourage volume. However, you also can’t stem propagate these plants. The way to multiply these plants are by letting it grow and then ultimately separating out nodes from the roots. The base has certainly gotten larger in the 6 months that I have gotten him, but not enough to propagate.

The benefit of this plant is that he does not want to be watered more than once every other week. He is durable in most light conditions and he does not like to be repotted. This is basically a pet rock.