Whether it’s the spooky season or your morbid fascination with human anatomy, skulls have always been kind of cool. What if there were plants out there you could plant in your garden that look like skulls? What kind of plants most resemble human and animal skeletons? We aim to answer all these questions and give you some insight into planting your own skulls in your garden. Legally, of course.
Skulls have represented many things to many cultures throughout human history. They are a way to remember and honor the dead. They could be a sign of good tidings or bad omens. It doesn’t matter where you go. You’ll always come across some form of life with a skull. Even plants sometimes have skulls. Here are a few plants that look like skulls:
- Monster Orchid – this interesting Orchid has a core that resembles a skull, with holes for two eyes, a nose, and a mouth.
- Skull Orchid – this Orchid looks like a hooded figure skulking through the night in a cloak. It resembles a skull shrouded in darkness with only the nose and chin sticking out.
- Darth Vader Orchid – this eerie-looking Orchid looks like the Star Wars character Darth Vader. It resembles a skull with hollow, sunken eyes and a protruding jaw.
- Dried Snapdragon – when this plant dries out, its leaves resemble ancient skulls unearthed by a would-be grave robber or a professional archeologist.
- Skullcap Flower – this flower looks like a skull when viewed up close. You can clearly see the suggestion of a head and jawline.
- Swaddled Babies – this plant might be the single creepiest plant on earth. It resembles a baby being wrapped in a blanket.
- Monkey Face Orchid – this Orchid is more adorable than it is scary. Its wide leaves and curious center make it resemble a monkey’s face.
If you want to create an air of mystery in your garden and enjoy your guests doing a double take when perusing your plants, consider planting a few plants that look like skulls. Let’s look at these 7 plants resembling skulls more closely.
1. Monster Orchid (Catasetum Sanguineum)
The Monster Orchid (Catasetum Sanguineum) is a relatively rare orchid found in Venezuela’s east- and eastern central parts. This magnificent Orchid resembles a human skull with deep, dark, hollow eye sockets and a large purple hood fanning out to frame its “face.”
The Monster Orchid is a medium-sized orchid that enjoys warm to hot environments and typically blooms between spring and fall. They can grow up to 12 inches tall and require light to moderate shade. Their flowers which resemble skulls, usually grow to one and three-quarters of an inch wide.
Orchids are, by nature, fickle plants that require a lot of experience and care to keep them happy and healthy. Some orchids are easier to care for than others. The Monster Orchid forms part of the latter. They are difficult to cultivate and even harder to keep alive all year.
2. Skull Orchid (Catasetum Integerrimum)
Skull Orchids (Catasetum Integerrimum) can be found natively from Mexico through Central America, all the way to Nicaragua. They prefer humid forested areas and have been known to grow abundantly on coffee plantations.
The Skull orchid’s unique shape and light green colors make them look like hooded figures from a shady cabal organization bent on world domination. At night they almost resemble a swarm of insects clinging to the side of their host like parasites.
Skull Orchids prefer partial shade but can withstand short bursts of full sunlight if partial shade cannot always be guaranteed. It is highly recommended that a high-nitrogen fertilizer is applied weekly if you intend to cultivate a Skull Orchid at home.
3. Darth Vader Orchid (Aristolochia Salvador Platensis)
This sinister-looking Orchid is called the Darth Vader Orchid (Aristolochia Salvador Platensis) for a good reason. Its large hood, deep eye sockets, and protruding jaw closely resemble the iconic mask worn by the main antagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy movies.
The deep purple colors inside the “mask” and the bright white outer shell give the Darth Vader Orchid a unique appearance that will leave you and your guests talking for hours. Combine its striking appearance and powerful odor, and you have a strong contender for the creepiest Orchid on earth.
Darth Vader Orchids can be grown at home, provided your home environment is warm and has a tropical climate. Planting your Darth Vader Orchid in well-drained soil and placing it in partial sunlight will yield the best results.
4. Dried Snapdragon (Antirrhinum Majus)
Dried Snapdragon (Antirrhinum Majus) leaves are probably flora’s most anatomically correct skull representations. These dried-up flowers look identical to a human skull, down to the iconic hinged jaw, eye sockets, and dome.
Snapdragon can grow almost 40 inches tall and covers a large area in your garden, bringing a bright burst of color before turning pale white. In formal gardens, Snapdragon is planted uniformly next to walkways to form an almost hedge-like row of gold, white, pink, and yellow.
If you want to try your thumb at growing Snapdragon in your garden, keep in mind that Snapdragon prefers full sunlight but not intense heat. They flower in winter and early spring and need well-shaped fertile soil. Planting them at least 10 inches apart will give them plenty of room to stretch their roots.
5. Skullcap Flower (Scutellaria Lateriflora)
Skullcap (Scutellaria Lateriflora) is native to the northern parts of America and has been intensely studied for nearly two centuries. Skullcaps are a useful relaxant and have strong antioxidant effects. Some studies suggest that Skullcap can help protect people against neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Skullcap has small blue and purple flowers sprouting from long, slender stalks. These pretty blue skull-like flowers bloom yearly around July and grow as high as 4 feet. Skull caps can be found growing wildly in meadows and forests.
Due to its potential use as a medication, it is not advised to grow and consume Skullcap at home. The potential risk outweighs the decorative appeal Skullcap could bring to a garden and should therefore be avoided.
6. Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora)
Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora) might possibly be my personal favorite plant that looks like a skull. Its eerie white blanket, seemingly swaddling a small infant inside, gives it an uncanny appearance when viewed up close, invoking an almost primordial flight response.
Swaddled Babies are best suited for cooler environments with lots of moving air. Swaddled babies will take as much sunlight as you can provide. Thus planting them in full sunlight will yield the best results. You don’t need to water Swaddled Babies too much, only enough to keep the bulbs from drying up.
If you intend to keep Swaddled Babies indoors, consider planting them in fine soil, akin to the soil used for cymbidiums. Ensuring that they are fertilized at full strength when watering them will keep them happy and fresh year-round.
7. Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula Simia)
Monkey Face Orchids (Dracula Simia) are small to medium-sized plants that look almost other-worldly. Their short, colorful petals resemble a monkey’s face and have long slender tails trailing off their tips. These curious plants enjoy cool to warm climates and lots of shade.
If you want to plant a little monkey of your own, you need to consider how much time you have available in your schedule to care for it. Monkey Face Orchids can be quite fickle and requires precise conditions and care to thrive.
Monkey Face Orchids grow best in baskets using Sphagnum moss as a potting medium. Diluting half to a quarter of balanced fertilizer and applying it every second week will ensure that your Monkey Face Orchid isn’t overwhelmed by accumulated salts.