Give Your Garden the “Wow” Factor With These 5 Extraordinary Flowers

We all love our roses and tulips and look forward to seeing their blooms every year. But have you ever witnessed the blooming of a black bat flower? How about the twisty-turny, bright-blue seed pods on a prickly caterpillar bean?
Unique flowers make perfect conversation pieces for your backyard barbecues, and planting them is an excellent way to add some zing to your garden. Check out these 5 attention-grabbing beauties!
1: The Exotic Parrot Tulip
Tulips are one of spring’s greatest beauties, and you can even grow them in a vase to enjoy their blooms for months at a time. But parrot tulips take this classic favorite and turn it exotic: parrot tulips have frilly edges that make them much showier than their more common relatives, and they also tend to come in very bright, vibrant colors reminiscent of the tropical birds that give them their names. Parrot tulips are also often two-toned, which makes them even more eye-catching (see photo above). For example, “Texas Fire” is a vivid red parrot tulip with purple accents that really make the red pop. These aren’t your mom’s tulips!
2: The Curvy Snail Vine
The Caracalla bean, also called the snail vine, is a fast-growing vine that produces strikingly curvaceous blooms with spiral shapes that resemble snail shells. Blooms come in various combinations of white, gold, purple and lavender. Snail vines are easy to plant and care for, and you can grow them from seed or from cuttings.
3: The Quirky Prickly Caterpillar Bean
The most eye-catching feature of the prickly caterpillar bean isn’t its small yellow flowers, but its curly, prickly, electric blue seed pods. The seed pods almost look like little party streamers, and are sure to ignite your guests’ curiosity, whether they see these little wonders out in your garden or at the dinner table as colorful salad garnishes.
4: The Whimsical Allium Flower
Allium flowers are the famed “truffula trees” from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. These eye-catching cousins of onions and garlic grow 36 to 60 inches high and sport large, poofy balls made of tiny individual purple blooms. They are perennials in USDA Hardiness zones 5a through 10b. Allium flowers bloom from early to mid-summer, and their whimsical beauty will make your garden feel like a fairy tale! Bonus: these beauties also attract butterflies.
5: The One-of-a-Kind Bat Flower
If you’re looking for something truly exotic, look no further than the bat flower. Bat flowers are tropical flowers from Asia that come in many colors, even black (see photo above), which is one of the rarest bloom colors of any flower. Bat flowers’ large wing-like petals and odd, dangling whisker-like appendages give them their name, and we can almost guarantee that you’ll be the only gardener on your block with one of these exotic beauties!
(Photos courtesy of Rick Ligthelm, Mike Ball, Domenica Crea,, Richardobeirne, and Jean.)

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?


Join the conversation

 1 comment