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8 of the Most Expensive Plants from Around the World

Throughout history, plants have held cultural and spiritual significance. They have become religious icons, national treasures, essential food sources, and household items. Today, plants range from humble to luxurious, with some costing thousands or even millions of dollars when the breed, pruning, and coloration are just right. Continue reading to learn about the history and biology of the 8 most expensive plants that money can buy.

Philodendron Pink Princess Galaxy

Color: Mitsubishi Region: Colombia

Native to Colombia, the philipdendra or “pink princess philodendron” is extremely rare. Its leaves are variegated, meaning it contains multiple colors, in this case pink and green or brown. The pink mottling is the rare aspect that takes these plants’ sale values to extreme heights.

One particular example, called the Philodendron Pink Princess Galaxy, sold on etsy for $3,500 due to its high quality, rarity, age, and color.

Did you know?

A similar plant known as the Philodendron Pink Congo is easily confused with the Pink Princess and can therefore be used to trick unsuspecting buyers. By contrast to the Pink Princess’s natural coloring, the Pink Congo is a normal Philodendron with chemicals injected into its leaves, which wear off in a few weeks.

Hochstetter’s Butterfly Orchid

Price: $6,000 Color: Peach/yellow Region: São Jorge

This plant was discovered less than ten years ago on the island of São Jorge in the Azores in the North Atlantic. This is significant because the orchid was long thought dead, but as recently discovered, it still grows wild on a specific mountaintop on this remote island, showing off its peach-yellow complexion and butterfly flowering pattern.

Invasive flower species introduced by overzealous settlers have beaten the Hochstetter’s Butterfly Orchid from the rest of its natural habitat, even elsewhere on São Jorge. Due to its immense scarcity, the flower can sell for up to $6,000 per stalk.

Did you know?

Hochstetter’s Butterfly Orchid is one of three orchids known to flower in the butterfly configuration. They were all discovered in 1838 by a botanist named Karl Hochstetter, though he incorrectly only identified two species among three flowers (and mislabeled them to boot). But since he made the discovery, this rare orchid still bears his name.

Hoya Carnosa Compacta

Price: $6,500 Color: Green/Yellow Region: India

The Hoya Carnosa Compacta is a hanging plant with twisted leaves that grow from vines that look like ropes, which is why this plant is sometimes called “Hindu Rope” or “Rope Hoya.” This Hoye Carnosa cultivar will keep growing until it eventually graces its lucky owner with pink flowers shaped like little stars.

Like many expensive plants on this list, the specimen sold on Trade Me in 2020 for $6,500 had variegated leaves, meaning they contain multiple pigments, in this case a creamy yellow color on top of the green on the inside of all its leaves. Normally, Hoya Carnossa Compacta plants sell for around $40 to $100.

Did you know?

Hoya Carnosa plants all have waxed leaves, but this version has a crinkled, curly texture to the leaves that sets it apart, almost like fortune cookies growing on the vine. The plants are native to India but have become popular houseplants in North America because of their clumped growing structure and their viability as hanging houseplants.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Price: $27,100 Color: Green/White Region: Thailand 

This plant  is a plant found in Southern Thailand as well as parts of Malaysia. It has broad, vibrant green leaves with a unique pattern of wavy leaves, almost like cut paper.

Some very rare specimens of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma have variegated leaves, which means that they include splotches of a secondary coloring, in this case white, becoming extremely rare. The trading site “Trade Me” saw one of these plants in June 2021 from a seller in New Zealand. Its final sale price was $27,100.

Did you know?

Different colored zones on a plant’s leaves, or variegation, can take many unique appearances, including stripes, spots, and other patterns. It’s an interesting phenomenon when you consider that plant leaves are all green by default. However, when pigments are lacking for some reason, or have a genetic mutation that makes another color unusually dominant, leaves can become variegated.

This rarely happens in nature because a variegated leaf lacks chlorophyll, which is vital to a plant’s survival. Even though these plants are destined to die before their all-green siblings, successful breeding of variegated plants yields valuable results.

Adansonii Variegata

Price: $38,000 Color: Green/white Region:

Adansonii varigated is a plant that is well-known as a luxury houseplant, sporting broad leaves. While most of these plants are unassuming, all-green houseplants, some are punctured with wide holes like Swiss cheese between white and green coloring. “Fenestration” is the word used to describe this growing pattern. Adansonii Variegata that have it are considered incredibly valuable.

Even a root cutting of a verified Adansonii Variegata can sell for hundreds of dollars. One gorgeous specimen sold on Etsy for $38,000, making it one of the most expensive plants ever.

Did you know?

The French botanist Michael Adanson (b. 1727) was the one who discovered this now coveted plant. Despite creating a complex system of botanical classification based on physical characteristics (he also developed one for mollusks), the more successful Linnaean classification turned his work into more of a footnote. However, he still has the Adansonii Variegata to his name (literally).

Shenzhen Nongke Orchid

Price: $217,000 Color: Red/pink/white Region: China

Orchids are well-known for being valuable plants due to their delicacy, rarity, and beauty. The Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is the world’s most expensive despite being an unnatural creation. It was bred in a lab by architectural scientists at Shenzhen University in China over the course of nearly a decade of research.

This rare orchid only blooms around once every 5 years, making the already rare plant’s flowers even more mind-numbingly valuable. In 2005, a Shenzhen Nongke Orchid was bought by an anonymous bidder for the Chinese Yuan equivalent of $217,000, making it the most expensive flower ever sold.

Did you know?

Despite its unreal value, the Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is known to have medicinal properties. Its few buyers may have eaten them to take advantage of its therapeutic potential, which theoretically includes enough Vitamin E and Vitamin C to serve as an adjunct therapy for patients with certain eye diseases.

The Kadupul Flower

Price: Unknown Color: White Region: Sri Lanka

Even though no kafupla flower has ever been successfully sold, it is a strikingly valuable plant. We didn’t put it in the first-place spot because of this, yet it must be mentioned on any list of valuable plants. It is the national flower of Sri Lanka and only grows on its native land. However, the plant has the fatal flaw of dying as soon as it’s picked, making it impossible to collect or sell (so far).

Even flowers that are not picked and preserved with care in their little plot of soil die within hours of blooming. This means that short of visiting Sri Lanka, the absurdly expensive perfume made from the Kadupul flower is the only way foreigners can experience this floral phenomenon.

Did you know?

In Sri Lanka, the Kadupul Flower is known as the Queen of the Night. When the Kadupul starts blooming, it can produce dozens of flowers within those precious hours, which have dainty white petals. The flower also has a spiritual symbolism as the ancient Sri Lankans believed that the blooming of the Kadupul flower calls Nagas (holy snake people) from heaven to give flowers to Buddha.

Bonsai Pine

Price: $1,300,000 Color: Green Region: Japan

The most expensive plant is a Bonsai pine. Bonsai is an ancient art that involves growing large trees in small containers. When done right, the trees have the proportions of massive monuments to nature despite being only a few feet tall. Many Bonsai trees are sold for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. But one, a Bonsai White Pine, sold for $1.3 million in 2011, making it the most expensive plant that has ever been sold.

Seiji Morimae’s S-CUBE organization brought the unique tree to the Asia-Pacific Bonsai and Suiseki Convention & Exhibition, where it sold on the second day. Other valuable examples of high-priced bonsai trees include a Juniper bonsai ($350,000), and another white pine priced at $160,000.

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