Rare bulbs are a perfect choice for the home gardener who wants to grow something distinctive. Finding them, however, can be a challenge. Rare bulbs are just that--plants rarely seen in cultivation. Many can only be found through collectors' exchanges or specialty nurseries. Most are tropical and should be grown indoors or in a greenhouse.
Amazon Lily (Eucharis Grandiflora)
This spring-blooming bulb plant is native to South Africa. Desirable for its deep green leaves and ability to bloom in the shade, this rare plant features white, umbrella-shaped flowers with pointed petals. The flowers dip gracefully from the tops of the long, tall stems. This plant is easy to grow, according to Gardino Nursery, but it cannot tolerate freezing temperatures or soil fungi. For these reasons, the Amazon lily grows best as a container plant.
Blood Lily (Scadoxus Multiflorus)
The blood lily features round, red flowers, but the flower gets its common name from the red splotches on the plant's white flower bulb. The markings look somewhat like blood stains, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The flower balls are composed of hundreds of florets and can be as large as 6 inches in diameter. The leaves average a foot long, and the stems 1 to 2 feet tall. This rare tropical bulb is native to South Africa and will only grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 9 through 11.
Devil's Tongue (Amorphophallus Bulbifer)
Devil's tongue is an aroid native to India. The plant features 3-foot-long, deep green leaves and a distinctive-looking, pink spathe about 8 inches long. The bloom appears before the leaves sprout. This rare bulb likes to be pot-bound and will thrive in cool, moist soil rich in nutrients, according to the University of Oklahoma.
Pineapple Lily (Eucomis Spp)
Pineapple lilies are so named for their shape, which is reminiscent of a pineapple. Most of the species are native to South Africa, according to the Pacific Bulb Society, and many have an unpleasant scent. These rare bulbs are frost-hardy and will grow well in the shade. Eucomis bicolor is a species that has creamy white flowers with deep purple margins. Eucomis comosa, on the other hand, has green flowers and purplish leaves. These bulbs grow best when planted deeply in rich, moist soil.