13 Best Unique Flowers to Grow in Your Garden

Echinacea 'Secret Lust,' a type of coneflower

The Spruce / David Beaulieu

There are many plants that boast floral beauty, but to qualify as having unique flowers a plant must go beyond the call of duty. Its blooms must be unusual in one way or another. In some cases, it will have bicolored flowers; in others, the blooms will be unusually large or oddly shaped. Growing these plants is a wonderful way to set yourself apart from your neighbors and bring visual interest to your garden that you likely won't see in many other places.

Here are 13 of the best unique flowers to grow in the garden.

Warning

Some of the plants on this list are toxic to people and/or pets. Before planting in your garden, ensure that you and your family will be safe.

  • 01 of 13

    Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

    Bird of paradise flower

    Martin Sandberg / Getty Images

    The flowers of bird of paradise aren’t just bicolored; they’re also uniquely shaped. The plant gets its name because the blooms somewhat resemble the bird species of the same name. This tropical plant is indigenous to South Africa, growing in hot, humid jungle climates. Northern gardeners will either have to grow it as an annual or attempt to overwinter it indoors. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
    • Flower Color Varieties: Orange, white
    • Light: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist but well-drained, acidic
    • Mature Size: 3.5-6 ft. tall, 3-4 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 02 of 13

    Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)

    Blue poppy flower

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    The unique flowers of the blue poppy resemble blue umbrellas with a fuzzy yellow center. These showy blooms can stretch 4 to 5 inches across, and they appear in the summertime. This plant can be somewhat temperamental to grow. It likes a consistent supply of moisture—but not too much. And it wants summers that aren’t too hot, as well as winters that aren’t too cold.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 7
    • Flower Color Varieties: Blue
    • Light: Partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist but well-drained, acidic to neutral
    • Mature Size: 3–4 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 03 of 13

    Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)

    crown imperial with its orange flowers

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Crown imperial is a spring bulb plant that can grow fairly tall. The flowers stink, but don't hold that against them. They are still quite unique and beautiful with their clusters of bell-shaped blooms that form a "crown" atop the plant. Cut the foliage to the ground after the plant goes dormant in the summer. And mulch the plant for the winter to insulate it.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red, orange, yellow
    • Light: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, loamy, well-drained, acidic to alkaline
    • Mature Size: 1–3 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 04 of 13

    Secret Lust Coneflower (Echinacea 'Secret Lust')

    Echinacea 'Secret Lust' in bloom

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Secret Lust belies its common name of coneflower. Rather than displaying a cone at the flower's center, it sports a puffy center disk. The flowers stretch roughly 1 to 3 inches across and are quite fragrant. They’re also good for attracting birds once they go to seed. Make sure to select a spot with good drainage for this plant, as it can tolerate most conditions except for soggy soil.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red-orange
    • Light: Full
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, loamy, moist but well-drained, acidic to neutral
    • Mature Size: 2–3 ft. tall, 0.5–3 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13

    Purple Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)

    Flower of purple pitcher plant

    Guenter Fischer / Getty Images 

    The purple pitcher plant is quite a unique specimen that’s perfect to grow near a pond. Like the better-known Venus fly trap, it’s actually a carnivorous plant that traps insects in its pitcher-shaped leaves. Its flowers start as a tight ball before unfurling into their interesting shape. Make sure to keep the soil evenly moist for this plant, as its natural environment is boggy soil.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 8
    • Flower Color Varieties: Purple
    • Light: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist, acidic
    • Mature Size: 8–12 in. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 06 of 13

    Sundew (Drosera capensis)

    Bug caught in a red sundew plant

    jonathanfilskov-photography / Getty Images

    Sundew is another unique plant that’s carnivorous. Insects are tricked into thinking its faux flowers are real by the namesake dewdrops that glisten on its tiny stalks; they look like drops of nectar to insects. But when the insects land on them, they become trapped in the sticky drops. Like the purple pitcher plant, sundew prefers boggy conditions. So make sure to keep the soil consistently moist. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: White, pink
    • Light: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, moist, acidic
    • Mature Size: Less than 1 ft. tall and wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 07 of 13

    Red Hot Poker Plant (Kniphoff spp.)

    Red hot poker plants blooming against an ocean backdrop

    Andrea Ricordi / Getty Images 

    Red hot poker plants get their name from their cylindrical shape and the warm tones of their tall, narrow flower spikes. Some varieties even have bicolored flowers that look almost like flames. This plant benefits from deadheading, or removing the spent blooms. This will help to encourage further flowering.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red, orange, yellow
    • Light: Full
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, neutral
    • Mature Size: 2–4 ft. tall, 1–3 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 08 of 13

    Snake Lily (Amorphophallus Konjac)

    snake lily

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Snake lily grows from a corm that is actually cooked and used as a food source in some places, namely China and Japan. Each corm sends up one giant leaf and one flower stem per year in the spring. The flower has an unpleasant smell of rot that attracts flies and other pollinators; once pollination has occurred the smell dissipates. Aim to keep the soil moist but not soggy through the growing season, and then back off on watering for winter dormancy. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: Red, purple, brown
    • Light: Partial, shade
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy, moist but well-drained, acidic to alkaline
    • Mature Size: 4 ft. tall and wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13

    Amethyst in Snow (Centaurea montana 'Amethyst in Snow')

    Flower of Amethyst in Snow Centaurea.
    David Beaulieu

    Amethyst in Snow provides a plethora of interesting flowers in the spring and summer. The delicate bicolored blooms feature white petals surrounding a purple center. This plant is ideal to use as a ground cover because of its spreading nature. You can divide it every few years to limit its spread and promote fresh, healthy growth.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
    • Flower Color Varieties: White/purple
    • Light: Full
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, acidic to alkaline 
    • Mature Size: 1–2 ft. tall, 12–18 in. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 10 of 13

    Batik Iris (Iris germanica 'Batik')

    Batik iris in bloom

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    The Iris genus contains some of the toughest, prettiest, and most fragrant flowers in the plant world. Even if they had nothing else going for them, this triad of qualities alone would make them unique flowers. But Iris germanica 'Batik' sweetens the deal by offering bicolored flowers with irregular streaks and blotches of purple and white. This plant has a clumping growth habit. Divide clumps every few years to keep them vigorous and blooming profusely.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Purple/white
    • Light: Full
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist but well-drained, neutral
    • Mature Size: Up to 2 ft. tall and wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 11 of 13

    Perfect Storm Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

    The large bloom and dark-colored leaves of Perfect Storm hardy hibiscus

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Perfect Storm hibiscus is a hybrid hardy hibiscus cultivar that is more compact than its larger cousins. Thus, it’s good for small gardens, and it likely won’t need any staking to keep it upright. Its bicolored, showy blooms appear in the late summer and stretch an impressive 7 to 8 inches across. Even when it’s not in bloom, its dark green foliage provides ample visual appeal. Fertilize annually in the spring to promote blooming and healthy growth. 

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: White/pink
    • Light: Full
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist but well-drained, acidic
    • Mature Size: 3 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 12 of 13

    Nora Leigh Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Nora Leigh')

    Nora Leigh phlox plants in bloom

    Nakano Masahiro / Getty Images

    Nora Leigh garden phlox not only has variegated leaves but also bicolored flowers—an unusual combination. Even though both the blooms and foliage are small, their bright colors cause them to pop in the garden. The flowers also have a mild, pleasant fragrance, and they’re good for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden. Plus, thanks to their sturdy stems, they are excellent cut flowers. If you deadhead the spent blooms, this will help to prolong the flowering period.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
    • Flower Color Varieties: White/pink
    • Light: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist but well-drained, neutral
    • Mature Size: 2 to 4 ft. tall, 2 to 3 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13

    Rodger's Flower (Rodgersia pinnata)

    Rodger's flower in bloom

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu 

    Rodger’s flower offers irregularly shaped plumes of flowers that can stretch up to 18 inches long. And just as unique as the flower cluster is the foliage. It gives you a perennial with leaves looking ever so much like those on horse chestnut trees (Aesculus). Rodger’s flower is also a big enough plant to make a statement in the landscape. It does have high water needs, so make sure the soil remains consistently moist.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink, ivory
    • Light: Partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, clay, moist, acidic
    • Mature Size: 3–4 ft. tall and wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes

Tip

If you want your unique flowers to be a focal point in your garden, make sure to take into account their mature size, as well as the mature size of nearby plants. That way, the other plants won’t impede your view of your special plants.

Article Sources
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