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If you are an avid gardener with a selection of houseplants then the chances are you have a philodendron among your collection.
These plants are extremely popular because they are considered low maintenance and easy to care for, which makes them ideal for gardeners of any level.
There are many different types of philodendrons, with the most common being the Hederaceum which has leaves which are heart shaped.
This is also the most likely one you will see at your local garden centre. But what is the rarest you ask?
The rarest of all the philodendrons is the philodendron Spiritus Sancti. This is because there is only one place in the world where this grows, Brazil, in the state of Espirito Santo.
More amazing, at the time of writing this there are only six known plants in the world right now! They are kept in a secret location and closely guarded.
What Makes a Rare Philodendron?
There are good reasons why some philodendrons are classed as rare but normally the most important reason is because some of them are simply harder to find than others because of the places they grow.
You may never see some rare philodendrons is garden centres because there are just not enough of them to go around. They can be classed as rare because there are very few of them in the world.
Almost all rare philodendrons are found deep in rainforests. These rainforests are only found in specific countries.
Some of them only happen in specific states in those countries, so you can see why your plant is classed as rare and can be so expensive.
Compare this to any other commodity which many people all want to buy. If there are only a handful available, the price will go up. The less plants available, the more expensive they will be.
In nature variegation very seldom takes place. In fact, only 1 out of every 100,000 plants has variegation through mutation.
An interesting fact is that no-one has managed to produce a philodendron with a natural variegation, not even in a laboratory! Little wonder then that some of them are rare.
What is a Variegated Plant?
Plants are classed as variegated if they produce a mutated color in the leaves, so they may instead of green leaves, occasionally produce a white leaf because of the genetics of the plant.
One example of this is the selling price of a normal philodendron Billietiae which is about $100. Compare this to a variegated variety and you may find yourself paying anywhere up to $6,000!
Which is the Rarest Philodendron?
Many people will tell you that the rarest of all philodendrons is the Pink Princess, mainly due to the beautiful pastel shaded leaves.
However, as you explore the world of rare philodendrons you will see that there are more rare plants than you realise!
A rare philodendron will easily set you back ten times the cost of the standard plants and often you will not find them at local garden centres.
You may even have to pre-order then as waiting lists can be long for these rare gems.
If you are enjoying this article, check out our article on what are the benefits of having a philodendron.
And the Rarest Philodendron of Them All?
The rarest of all the philodendrons must be the philodendron Spiritus Sancti – as said before, here’s why it is thought to be the rarest of them all.
There is only one place in the entire world where this plant grows, and that is in Brazil, in the state of Espirito Santo.
What is more amazing, and possible the reason for it being the rarest philodendron of them all is that there are only six known plants in the world right now!
They are kept in a secret location in Espirito Santo and closely guarded with constant CCTV.
The Spiritus Sancti has deep green leaves which grow to around 2’ in length.
The plant produces small white flowers in perfect conditions. This means that the humidity must be at least 50% all the time.
The average price – if you can ever get on the list to buy one – is around $10,000, which is more than many of us would spend on a car! Making this the rarest philodendron.
Top 10 Rarest Philodendron
Let’s look at some other rarest philodendron and see who (apart from the Spiritus Sancti) makes the top ten list.
1) Philodendron Billietiae (Variegated)
The variegated plants will set you back around $1000 per leaf! That’s because the variegation does not happen very often.
Regular Billietiae have green leaves and orange stems with the variegated plant growing speckled green and yellow leaves.
Variegated Billietiae are indeed rare with only 1 in 100,000 developing the variegation.
The species is native to Brazil and French Guiana and can be found near water and trees as it likes moisture.
A note here is that if this plant does not get the care and conditions it needs, it will revert to a regular plant. This is another reason why the plant is rare.
2) Philodendron Erubescens ‘Pink Princess’
A 6” pot with a small plant in will set you back around $229. You may need to put your name on a list to get one because for a rare plant, this has become very popular recently.
The plant has this name because of its beautiful pinkish leaves. In fact, the Latin word for Erubescens means ‘to blush.’ The stems are a deep red and leaves can range from pink to chocolate brown.
The Pink Princess is a climber and can grow to around 5’ in the right conditions. It needs a pole for support.
Maintenance is straightforward – if you cannot keep it in the shade, then indirect light will suffice.
3) Philodendron Joepii
A small plant will cost you about $129.00
Many people have difficulty pronouncing the name – it is pronounced Yoo-Pee-Eye and was named after a Dutch researcher Joep Moonen who first found the plants in French Guiana.
The story of the discovery is interesting also as Mr Moonen found it growing on an ant’s nest. The plant itself is unique because it has green leaves which look like those of upright rabbit’s ears.
This plant does well in medium, indirect light and must have well-draining soil. Like most tropical plants it needs watering every week or two.
4) Philodendron Mamei
These plants cost about $99.99 for a 6” potted plant.
You may know these rare philodendrons by the nickname which is ‘Silver Cloud.’ This is due to the green leaves with silver cloud-like patterns.
This rare species was first discovered deep in forests in Ecuador in 1883. It is a fast climber and known for the ruffled stem as well as its leaf colourings.
In optimal growing conditions the plant can reach up to 6’ with leaves of about 18” in length. The plant will occasionally produce red flowers.
If you want the leaves to retain the silver/green colourings you must keep it out of direct sunlight.
You can grow this plant inside or outdoors because the temperature range is between 60–75F. Even though it is classed as rare it is one that you may see in your local garden centre.
5) Philodendron Royal Queen
This plant will cost in the region of $189.00
What you will like about this plant are the beautiful glossy leaves. New leaves gently unfurl and change into deep burgundy before fading to black and back to deep green as the plant ages.
What makes this such an exciting plant is that you end up with an array of different coloured leaves on the same plant, some old and others new – and everything in between.
6) Philodendron Hastatum ‘Silver Sword’
This is another very popular houseplant and will set you back about $55.00
The plant is named this way because of the shape of the leaves which resemble sharp spears of a silver colour.
While this has recently become more popular, the plant is in fact on the endangered list so you may still need to wait for it.
This plant loves to climb trees and if you make a support for it, you will be rewarded with a plant that has sharper leaves. With good support it will grow to several metres in height.
7) Philodendron Moonlight
This will cost around $44.95 for a plant in a 6” pot.
The plant has a bushy style of growing with lime-green leaves. The name comes from the way the foliage looks when it unfurls and appears luminescent before turning green.
This rare plant produces spikes or an orange/red colour which turn into flowers. It grows to a medium height although in the perfect conditions it will grow much taller.
It may tolerate up to 3 hours of sunlight each day, although it does better in low sunlight areas.
8) Philodendron 69686
You can expect to pay up to $69.00 for a 6” plant.
This philodendron comes from French Guianas. The question is often asked as to why the plant is named by a number.
The answer is that the person who discovered it simply gave it the name of its identification number.
What makes this plant stand out is the shape of the leaves which are reminiscent of bunny ears with upright green leaves.
Humidity is essential if this plant is to survive, and the soil needs to be kept quite moist although not waterlogged.
9) Philodendron Tahiti
This plant in a 6” pot will cost around $53.00.
The leaves are larger than many others and deeply cut. They are deep green and have a slightly cascading habit.
This philodendron is classed as easy to care for and requires little water once it is established. It will thrive in very low light areas.
10) Philodendron Florida Ghost
Of all the rare philodendrons, this is one that you may have heard of the most. It will run you around $70.00 for a plant in a 6” pot.
The new leaves start off either white, pale green or yellow and then change to green, either light or dark.
This plant enjoys a little more light than many others, which makes it easier to keep healthy. While it does not enjoy direct sunlight, it will do well in brighter spots.
You may also like: how to care for a philodendron tiger tooth
Where can you Buy These Rare Plants?
Some of them will be available at local garden centres although you may have to order then and wait some time until they arrive.
For plants in the higher price bracket, you may have to find horticultural societies who specialise in tracking down and obtaining rare plants.
A note here:
If you are looking for a specific plant and are offered if for a vastly reduced price, beware! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Better to go through a reputable society than waste your money on a plant that may not be the real thing.
Is Philodendron Imperial Red Rare?
This plant is classed as rare although it is relatively easy to obtain, and you should be able to order the plant through a good garden centre.
You can expect to pay around $20.00 for a 6” pot.
This is a low maintenance plant and tolerates shade very well. Leaves are bright red at first then mature to red/purple and then glossy green.
Are Philodendron Micans Rare?
A plant in a 6” pot will cost you around $35.00. Your garden centre should be able to order this plant for you.
This rare plant is also known as Philodendron Velvet leaf because of the velvet texture of the heart-shaped leaves.
The leaves are bronze/green with red/brown underneath and the stems are long and graceful.
Are Philodendron Birkins Rare?
Although this plant is classed as rare, the variegated plant was specially bred as a ‘designer’ plant.
Having said that, it is quite hard to get hold of, and you may have to order through a horticultural society.
A plant in a 6” pot will set you back around $40.00
This is one of the smaller philodendrons and perfect for smaller indoor areas. It is low maintenance with glossy large leaves with white/yellow stripes.
Although you should avoid direct sunlight, it will tolerate filtered bright light. The plant should reach a size of about 3’ tall and 3’ wide.
Final Thoughts: What is the Rarest Philodendron?
As with many plants parts of the philodendron is toxic and can be fatal if ingested. They are poisonous to animals so care should be taken in a household where there are curious pets.
While owning a rare plant may seem somewhat daunting, there is no reason why, with a little research into the requirements of your plant, that you should not have a rare philodendron of your very own!
Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues: