‘It almost looks like it’s from Mars’

FCI Opinion: Mike Rimland is a plant hunter and global ambassador for Costa Farms, North America’s largest indoor plant nursery; he writes for June 2022 FloraCulture International.

Mike Rimland of Costa Farms.

“It’s not often a new genus is introduced into mass-market production of indoor plants. That’s one factor that made Geogenanthus ciliatus the Best New Foliage Plant Award winner at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo in January 2022.

When I first saw Geo about five years ago, I knew it was something special. It almost looks like it’s from Mars.

Today, indoor plant nursery Costa Farms is releasing some 100,000 pots of it throughout 2022 at retailers across the United States and Canada. This supply is much to the delight of houseplant consumers, who are excitedly sharing their findings about this plant across social media.

Building awareness and excitement around a variety new to consumers can be challenging. Costa Farms has been promoting the plant in its digital-marketing channels, and the efforts are boosted by consumers posting photos/videos across Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Interest was further buoyed by a feature in The New York Times, a publication with a global reach of more than 160 million people.

A second challenge around new varieties is ensuring consumers know how to care for them to be successful, as information about little-known plants can be difficult to access.

In my testing of the plant, I have found that it does best in bright light (within three feet of an unobstructed east- or west-facing window) and consistent moisture. Treat it like a Spathiphyllum and consider the plant’s high water uptake. I also advise relative humidity levels around 50 per cent or more and protection from hot or cold drafts.

Geo’s rich purple colour and glossy appearance set it apart from other indoor plants, and these qualities are sure to make Geogenanthus ciliatus a staple for decades to come.”

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