How to Buy Exotic Plants


Exotic plants are a joy to collect and can create a unique atmosphere in an outdoor or indoor garden space. An exotic plant are those plants that are not native or commonly available in your region and those that may require special care to thrive in your location, according to the University of Wisconsin. The key to purchasing exotic plants is to buy from a reputable dealer, ensuring that the plants are healthy and sustainably sourced. You also need to carefully consider the type of plants you can reasonably sustain within your space, climate and maintenance constraints, whatever those may be. Exotic plants that are not native to the soil and climate of your region will always require more care and cosseting to perform optimally.

Step 1

Seek out a specialist dealer for the specific type of exotic plant you seek, such as rare orchid or cycad species and establish a purchasing relationship. Alternatively, choose a breeder or exotic plant nursery that carries a wide array of exotic plants to learn about, build and expand a diverse collection of plant species, over time. Expert help will be a support to you should questions on care and maintenance arise.

Step 2

Choose a exotic plant dealer that propagates or clones their plants themselves, or harvests the plants from the wild in a legal and environmentally sustainable manner without depleting the local plant populations. A good dealer in exotics will disclose how they source and come to possess their plants.

Step 3

Select a reputable exotic plants dealer that clearly identifies and states the limits to where plants can be shipped in order to prevent breaking any quarantine or importation laws. These can vary widely state by state in the United States and by country. Choose a plant dealer that knows and abides by the rules and uses above-board business practices.

Step 4

Know the facts about the setting where you want to house your exotic plants. Knowing your USDA Hardiness range, annual indoor temperatures winter and summer, ambient humidity, exposure, etc. will all help to identify the exotic plants that you can and cannot grow successfully and what efforts will be required to grow the plants on in your conditions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never buy exotic plants on the black market or from anyone that cannot reasonably identify and verify their sourcing. These could be poached plants stolen from the wild, could be disease borne and may be illegal to import into your state. If you doubt where the plants came from, do not make a purchase.


  • University of Wisconsin Stephen's Point: FAQs on Native & Exotic Plants & Native Landscaping
  • U.S. National Arboretum: Hardiness Zone Map

Who Can Help

  • Logee's Tropical Plants: Respected Catalog and Online Tropical Plants Dealer
  • Rare Exocitcs: Online Catalog Of Hard To Find Exotic Plants
Keywords: buying exotic plants, exotic plant specialists, choosing exotic plants

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.