Cyber Corner

Online Resources for Exotic Plants

By Libby Kyer 

Originally appeared in The Botanical Artist – Volume 15, Issue 2


We are immersed, intoxicated, suffused with springtime. Scents, colors, forms! Enough to make the botanical artist swoon. And even though it should be just quite enough thank you, I find myself wanting to plan ahead a little. This blooming, fruiting frenzy won’t last forever, my inner Uriah Heep warns. I’d like to not only enjoy the moment, but plan for the cooler weather. Now’s the time to do that. Later, we won’t get the blooms or foliage we seek. So, I decided to find some resources for exotic plants. We’ll look at a couple for plantable plants with many strange and wonderful bits, and also a couple of cut flower sources, for when you gotta have it right here, right now. 

Let’s start with the nursery sites: Tasmania, Cape Town, Japan, China…Peanut Cactus, Titan Arum, Waterfall Gladiolus…I call that variety. World Plants owner has an interesting past, sliding into horticulture from animal husbandry via grafting. The plants have warranties, lots can go outside in the right climate, and lots will grow inside or on patios during the summer, with promise of a warm home when cold come. Let’s think about something no one has ever seen, and paint it! Grassy Knoll Exotic Plants. South Africa, Mexico, Australia. Certainly exotic. This site has some amazing protea, and things we cannot even pronounce on occasion! Check out the gallery. You can work your way through their selection visually, and that’s a lot of fun! 

Cut flowers and plant products are a little harder to find real exotics. However, let’s try these two: Plantaflor is a wholesaler that has a nice selection of cut products for some real diversity. You’ll have to provide your resale number, get a friend to provide one for you if you don’t have one, ask your florist to order for you, or sweet-talk someone at Plantaflor to help out a struggling botanical artist! It’s all good! Denver Plants has one of the largest selection of cut exotics I found. They have protea of all sorts, interesting fiddleheads, some almost ugly anthuriums! Could be lots of fun. 

Find a way to do something different! It will take a bit of planning – now – for later months, but that planning time will pay off, and surely won’t interfere with the great outdoors opportunities locally. Have fun!