The Rare Houseplant That Could Cost You More Than A Bathroom Remodel

If you're into houseplants, you might have found yourself splurging once in a while to find the perfect plant, one that stands out like a shining jewel in your collection. But you might be surprised to learn that some plants can cost as much as a precious stone — the ones that go for several thousands. Plants, like the philodendron joepii variegated, can actually cost you more than a bathroom remodel.

The philodendron joepii variegated is a rare tropical plant with long-hanging bunny ear-like stripped leaves. TikToker @hipyoplants said his local plant shop, Peace Love Happiness Club, carries philodendron joepii variegated that go for $10,000 to $25,000. Even a tiny tissue culture of the exotic plant costs hundreds of dollars on sites like eBay.

According to the National Kitchen + Bathroom Association, the average bathroom remodel costs around $16,000, with $10,000 suggested as the remodeling budget for a house valued at $100,000 or less. That cost can go as high as $75,000 for a high-end bathroom remodel. So, you could potentially remodel two bathrooms for the price of this rare houseplant.

Why does a philodendron joepii variegated cost so much?

The rareness of the plant is what drives up the cost for species like the philodendron joepii variegated. Several factors determine how rare the plant is. Plants with a scarce supply are more expensive, and demand also comes into play: If a plant goes viral on social media, it pushes up the demand. If the supply can't meet the demand for the plant, then it is considered rare, and the prices go up.

Another factor is whether or not it's variegated. This is a plant that has leaves with two or more colors that create a border, spots, or stripes on foliage. Plants can be naturally variegated, or become variegated due to a genetic mutation or infection. Furthermore, variegation can be unstable, causing the plant to revert to a solid color. Variegated plants are expensive because they take longer to grow, mainly due to their reduced chlorophyll, and there's only a 1 in 100,000 chance that the variegation will be successful and permanent.

Because of this, some plants are patented, which affects cost. Philodendrons also only grow in very specific areas and certain species might only come from a single country. The highly sought-after philodendron joepii comes from South American jungles and is considered on the verge of extinction, and a variegated one is even rarer. 

Is a philodendron joepii variegated worth the price?

Is a philodendron joepii variegated a better investment than a bathroom renovation? Daltile puts the average return investment on a bathroom makeover at 70 percent, which doesn't factor in the relief of not having to share a sink with your spouse, or the joy of settling into a jet tub after a long day. So, a bathroom remodel is a pretty darn good investment. The same can't be said about your philodendron joepii variegated. While investing in rare plants has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic, they only offer a good return if you put work into it. And even then, it's still a risky investment.

For starters, unlike a rare plant, your bathroom won't die if it catches a draft or you forget to water it, which would flush all of the money you spent down the toilet. You could, however, propagate your philodendron joepii variegated. You can sell cuttings of your philodendron joepii variegated, or grow cuttings into full plants and sell those instead. This carries a risk that your plant can go out of style before they finish growing, making it harder to sell. But if demand stays high and you get really good at propagating, you can literally make money that grows on trees, and a lot of it.

Philodendron joepii variegated are also said to bring an invigorating energy to a space, creating a lively atmosphere of peace and positivity — something you can't really put a price on.