News ‘Like a diamond’: The hipster plant worth $300 we can’t get enough of
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‘Like a diamond’: The hipster plant worth $300 we can’t get enough of

People are going crazy for this small indoor plant.
People are going crazy for this small indoor plant. Photo: Verdant Dwellings
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Hipsters have a new craze.

The oligarchs of cool have branched out from almond milk and all-black outfits.

No longer do they care about serving milkshakes out of glass jars or pretending to be poor – now it’s all about the boutique plants.

And at the top of the list is the eye-catching “Thai Constellation” variegated Monstera.

Plant-obsessed Australians are going crazy for this small indoor vine, which comes with an eye-watering price tag.

For $300 the dappled leaves are all yours.

And that’s just for one that’s around 25 centimetres tall – including the pot.

The “Thai Constellation” variegated Monstera. Photo: Pistils Nursery
The “Thai Constellation” variegated Monstera. Photo: Pistils Nursery

On eBay, the adult versions can fetch upwards of $1100.

At that price, you wouldn’t want to forget to water it.

The weird and wonderful house plant may come with a large price tag – a normal Monstera will set you back $40 – but they’ve only been available in Australia since March.

Jeff Nielsen, who co-owns Verdant Dwellings with his wife, says it’s not just hipsters who adore the patterns on the plant, but also rare collectors.

“It’s called a plant unicorn, which means it’s hard to find,” he said.

“They’ve only become available recently.”

Mr Nielsen was the second person in Australia to supply the plants to a local market, and he says they’re only going to continue to gain in popularity.

On eBay they are fetching upwards of $1000. Photo: eBay.
On eBay, some plants are fetching more than $1000. Photo: eBay

Other sellers have confirmed they fly off the shelves fast.

Kayla Nesson, owner of Unique Pots and Plants said they sold the first eight in just two weeks.

“It was pretty quick,” she said. “Customers like the look, the colours, they go together.”

Unlike the conventional Monstera, most of the variegated versions come from a plant lab in Thailand.

“Basically, there’s a tissue culture lab in Thailand,” Mr Nielsen said.

Baby ones go for $300. Photo: Unique Pots and Plants.
Baby ones go for $300. Photo: Unique Pots and Plants

“In the lab, they basically have the stock plant, they go through and cut out the cell and from that cell, they put it in agar, and that’s enough energy to start sprouting.

“So this guy in Thailand is manipulating the plant to continue the variegation.”

If the plant was left to its own devices, it would only produce that level of colouring in one in every 50,000 plants, Mr Nielsen said.

“To get one that has nice big spots, you’re talking about one in every 50,000 seeds that may have the genetic mutation.

“It’s really rare. I used to propagate 90,000 seeds and out of that you would get one or two that would get half green, half white.”

But with demand comes supply.

Plant lovers who have previously bought a unicorn may soon be disappointed theirs has dropped in price.

In one Facebook group where plant aficionados buy, swap and sell rare finds, one person from Victoria asked: “I keep seeing the Monstera Thai Constellation labels a lot lately …

“Is it fair to say that these beauties will soon flood the market and start appearing in Bunnings like many of the other plants have?”

The answer is inevitably, yes, Mr Neilsen said.

They're now available in some Bunnings stores.
They’re now available in some Bunnings stores. Photo: TND

“You can go to some Bunnings and purchase them now,” he said.

“The sales have started to slow down, so I’m sure the grower is looking at what’s happening and saying the price will come down a bit.

“But they’re a bit like a diamond – they need time to age.”

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