Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Southern Plains Regional Reports

Discovering Fun and Unusual Houseplants

A field trip to Tillery Street Plant Co. in Austin, Texas

The greenhouse at Tillery Street Plant Co. Photo: Karen Beaty

A lifelong love of gardening often springs from early experiences with houseplants or a vegetable garden. As a young adult living in apartments and rented spaces, I accumulated a large collection of houseplants that I could move along with me from place to place. My houseplants also help satisfy my gardening itch during the winters when I crave the color green. But no matter what season it is, houseplants are always a great way to bring life and vibrancy into a home (or any other indoor space). Here is a profile of Tillery Street Plant Co., a locally owned nursery in Austin, Texas, that carries a variety of houseplants, including some hard-to-find species and varieties.

Calathea
Calathea. Photo: Karen Beaty

Tillery’s houseplant greenhouse is packed to the gills with a variety of species, including over 10 species of ficus (Ficus spp. and cvs., Zones 10–12), at least half a dozen begonias (Begonia spp. and cvs., Zones 6–12), and dozens of monstera (Monstera spp. and cvs., Zones 10–12), pothos (Pothos spp. and cvs., Zones 10–12), philodendrons (Philodendron spp. and cvs., Zones 9–11), and calatheas (Calatheas spp. and cvs., Zones 8–11). I saw the ubiquitous (and beautiful) ficus trees that I grew up with as well as a lovely specimen I’d never seen before: Bayan fig (F. benghalensis, Zones 10–12), also known as Ficus Audrey. It has glossy ovate leaves with white veins and is much easier to care for than the popular but notoriously finicky fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata, Zones 10–12).

Philodendron melanochrysum x verrucosum
Philodendron melanochrysum × verrucosum. Photo: Karen Beaty

Tillery Street Plant Co. propagates some of the plants they offer, including several of the more unusual varieties. If you ask nicely, the houseplant specialist, Melissa, might show you the mother plant for her personal favorite, Philodendron melanochrysum × verrucosum (Zones 10–11). This philodendron hybrid doesn’t have a specific common name, but it is characterized by large, slightly droopy dark green leaves with pale veins. The velvety leaves invite touch.

Hawaiian finger leaf philodendron
Hawaiian finger-leaf philodendron. Photo: Karen Beaty

Another unusual find in Tillery’s greenhouse is the Hawaiian finger-leaf philodendron (Zones 9–11), whose exact species name I’ve been unable to confirm (the genus is Philodendron). The large shiny green leaves do resemble fingers on a hand. It is easy to grow, like many philodendrons, and it reportedly can even survive a light frost. I’ve never seen this plant for sale anywhere else, and its unusual leaf arrangement is very distinctive, making it a fun addition to anyone’s houseplant collection (even that of a seasoned collector).

Swiss cheese vine
Swiss cheese vine. Photo: Karen Beaty

Of all the houseplants I saw at Tillery, my favorite was Swiss cheese vine (Monstera adansonii, Zones 10–11). I am partial to monsteras in general, but this one stands out for the multiple holes in each leaf, which earn it its nickname. In addition to being interesting, it’s very easy to care for. Melissa says that this one sells out quickly every time they offer it.

Giftshop at Tillery nursery
Tillery’s gift shop. Photo: Karen Beaty

Tillery Street Plant Co. offers some houseplants already potted up and ready to gift. Another gift option is to pick out a plant and a pot from their selection, and they will pot it up for you for a small fee. They have some interesting and unusual pots, planters, and hanging baskets that make unique housewarming gifts. The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming. Their central East Austin location is colorful, charming, and makes a great side trip for any Austin adventure.

—Karen Beaty is a horticulturalist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

View Comments

Comments

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."

Video

View All

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, become a member today.

Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine.

Start your FREE trial