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Geogenanthus Ciliatus Care in a Nutshell

Geogenanthus Ciliatus Care in a Nutshell

Today’s rare plant is Geogenanthus Ciliatus pronounced jee-oh-je-NAN-thus sil-ee-ATE-us.

According to Kew Science, it is a flowering plant that comes from the Commelinaceae plant family, otherwise known as the dayflower & spiderwort family.

This rare plant needs a regular potting mix that drains well, such as the African violet potting mixture, but the soil pH should be from 6.1 to 7.3. In terms of temperature, you have to keep it at 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 23 degrees Celsius). This adaptable plant will thrive in low to medium indirect sunlight.

This plant is native to Ecuador and Peru, where it grows on the rainforest ground. You can grow this annual in a pot or plant it in the outdoor garden, where it makes an attractive ground cover.

The deep-purple and green foliage is the unique feature of this Geogenanthus plant.

Whether it’s the unusual foliage or the stiff growth, this plant can serve as an attractive decoration at any location.

Did you know that the plant genus Geogenanthus has only three species, and only two of them are available for houseplant trade?

So owning a Ciliatus is great, but understanding plant care is the first step to enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous plant.


Geogenanthus Ciliatus Care in a Nutshell 1

Photo Credit: @atropicaldepression_ on Instagram!


Basic Plant Care for Geogenanthus Ciliatus



Any average houseplant potting mixture is acceptable for Geogenanthus Ciliatus. I would suggest an African violet potting mix. You can use any of the following recipes depending on the ingredients available:

  • Two parts peat moss, one part vermiculite and one part perlite.
  • One part peat moss with one part vermiculite or perlite.
  • One part African Violet potting mix, one part peat moss and one part perlite or vermiculite.

Another recipe is to go for a loam-based heavy potting mixture that contains peat moss and sand.

This rare plant will require a slightly acidic to neutral soil so keep the soil pH from 6.1-7.3. If you want to grow it outside, I would recommend USDA hardiness zones 10a to 12.



This attractive species has truly exceptional foliage. But you need to put in some effort to maintain the beauty of this plant, and watering is one of the most important features. This plant comes from a mesic habitat; therefore, it needs a regular water supply.

Check the soil every few days to make sure it’s moist. Do not let the Geogenanthus Ciliatus plant dry out completely as it prefers to stay on a wetter side.

As an indoor plant, Geogenanthus Ciliatus will require water more often, so check the soil to monitor soil dryness.



As an outdoor plant, this species will succeed in moderate shade where it is protected from direct sun rays.

For indoor cultivation, choose a dim spot within your house. I would suggest giving partial or dappled sunlight as light is important for the coloration of the leaves.

Regarding sunlight, remember that Geogenanthus plants are low light species, including Ciliatus; therefore, you can choose artificial lights as the light-medium. As artificial lights like inflorescent bulbs will give you more flexibility to create a low light environment.



This plant can thrive in a range of temperatures conditions from warm to cool. But I would recommend maintaining the temperatures within the required range as this will ensure optimum growth.

The minimum indoor temperature that is tolerated by Geogenanthus Ciliatus is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celcius).

I always ensure that my Ciliatus plant is positioned away from cold or drafty windows and doors because temperature fluctuations can hinder the growth of this houseplant.



This species will like high humidity. The good news is there are more than one ways to raise humidity. The first one is to mist your plant regularly during the day. It is best to do this in the morning because later in the evening, the rate of evaporation is low.

Misting in the morning will allow the water to evaporate throughout the day to create a humid environment and will also protect the foliage from rotting or fungus.

Another foolproof method for maintaining the necessary humidity is to run a humidifier.

During the day, the humidity should be 60 to 90%, whereas at night time 70 to 90%.



This species has an active growing phase in spring and summer; therefore, it needs some extra nutrients during that period.

I would suggest using a good quality organic liquid fertilizer that is diluted at half strength. You can go for a balanced ratio of 10-10-10.

This ensures all nutrients are equally distributed.

Diluting the fertilizer is important because overdosage can cause chemical burns or toxicity. It can also disturb the soil pH leading to ineffective soil mix.



Geogenanthus Ciliatus has a tuberous root system that is robust and healthy.

This root system differentiates Geogenanthus from its close relatives like Cochliostema and Plowmanianthus. This plant should to be repotted after 1 year.

If your plant does not need repotting after one year, leave it in its previous pot but refresh the potting mix using a fresh batch of African violet potting mixture.



Although a low maintenance plant, this ornamental species can be pruned for a fuller, bushier look.

I would suggest pruning your Geogenanthus Ciliatus in late winter so that your plant has new growth in the coming spring season.

Trim any wounded leaves or stems because these can host diseases over the winter season.

The plant becomes dormant in winter, so the virus and bacteria can easily spread during this phase.

One extra suggestion while pruning your Ciliatus is to use sharp tools that allow you to make clean cuts as these will heal rapidly.



This species is mostly propagated by either stem cuttings or rhizome division. The best time of the year for the successful propagation of a Geogenanthus Ciliatus is spring.


Stem Cuttings

  • Collect all the necessary tools for propagation; this includes pruning shears, rooting hormone, a small pot, a regular houseplant mix.
  • Make sure you take the cuttings when the plant is actively growing and not in the dormant period.
  • Choose a short stem that is at least a few inches long. Make sure the cutting has at least two leaves. If your plant has very few leaves on it, choosing a stem with one leaf is also fine.
  • Make a sharp cut after sterilizing your tools. Sterilization is important because it eliminates the risk of disease and fungus spread.
  • Let the cut dry for few hours and later dip the end/node in a rooting hormone powder.
  • Now take a small pot, fill half of it with a free-draining mix. You can use African violet potting soil, as mentioned previously. Gently place the cutting in the middle of the soil.
  • Hold the cutting straight with your hand and pour the remaining soil. You can use a wooden stick to support the cutting. Press the soil with your hand or a small spatula to firm it.
  • Water it to moisturize the soil. Maintain a temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius).
  • You can also root this cutting in plain water for water propagation instead of soil.


Rhizome Division

  • The tuberous root system of this species allows you to perform rhizome division.
  • Take out your plant from its pot. Make sure you don’t damage any foliage during this process.
  • Dust away the soil around the tubers. You can also inspect the root system for any diseases or damage.
  • You can apply a strong stream of water using a garden hose.
  • After inspection and cleaning, take sterilized instruments for the division.
  • Divide the plant into 2-3 sections. No of the sections will depend on the size of your Geogenanthus plant.
  • Plant each section in a separate pot with a fresh batch of the potting mixture.



The flowers grow on pedicels that are 2 inches (5cm) long. Each flower has three greenish-brown sepals and three petals that are either blue or purple in color.


The young leaves are bright green with a purple stripe in the middle; however, as the plant matures, the leaves change their color. The stems also have a beautiful color.

The upper surface of the leaves becomes dark green with a glossy finish, whereas the underside is dark-purple or maroon with a velvety surface. The leaves of this plant are classified as succulent, and each aerial stem has 2 leaves. The mature leaves are 6-8 inches in size.

A mature Ciliatus plant can get 6 inches (15 cm) high. This species is an understory plant; therefore, it can withstand dryness and low light.

Other Uses for Geogenanthus Ciliatus

This plant was originally harvested from the wild for medical purposes; therefore, it is often classified as a medicinal herb. Some of the uses are:

  • The leaves are boiled, and the decoction is utilized as a remedy for swollen knees.
  • It is mashed with cold water to create a mixture. This mixture is given to infants orally as a remedy for worms.


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Common Problems for Geogenanthus Ciliatus

Lush and dark foliage makes this a must-have plant, but you might find some issues while growing this plant. These are discussed thoroughly in the sections below.

Chemical Burns

Fertilizing your Geogenanthus Ciliatus needs special attention because overfertilizing it can hinder the plant’s ability to absorb water, nutrients and burns the rhizome/tubers.

This will weaken the plant making it more susceptible to stress caused by drought, cold, and heat issues.

Geogenanthus Ciliatus plant deprived of the necessary nutrients fails to reach its maximum size. Using the wrong type of fertilizer is also harmful because an abundance of one nutrient can also stress your plant.

I have tested the soil I use for my houseplants through my local gardening center. This allows you to accurately know which nutrient is missing so you can add the right type of nutrient.

Because otherwise, you might end up over or under fertilizing your Geogenanthus Ciliatus.


Geogenanthus Ciliatus can get diseased in three cases: your plant is highly sensitive and weak, unsuitable environmental conditions, and a fungus/virus.

The best solution against diseases is prevention. I would suggest a careful examination of your houseplants before buying them.

Clean the surroundings of your plant in the fall season and look out for any bugs or damaged parts while cleaning.

Doing this in the fall is the most practical option because the disease can overwinter on the debris and dead leaves. These diseases will eventually attack the new leaves that emerge in the spring season.


Houseplants pests cause severe damage to your Geogenanthus Ciliatus.

The damage is much more than the aesthetics or physical appearance of the plant because heavy infestations can lead to a dead plant.

Ciliatus is susceptible to insects like spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips.

All these pests chew and feed on the leaves and foliage, leaving the plant vulnerable to viruses or bacteria.

It is important to trim these damaged parts because the viruses can easily enter the plant system via these openings.

These bugs also act as a carrier of different fungus or bacteria. Aphids and thrips are famous for this.

Therefore you should immediately treat them once you notice any pests. For small infections, you will need neem oil, rubbing alcohol, and cotton.

Rub the alcohol cotton pads on the plant, especially the areas where you notice the bugs. Later spray your plant with neem oil.

For heavy infections, destroy the plant or the damaged parts. You can also use the help of insecticides or pesticides, but this should be your last resort because the chemicals in these can also damage your Geogenanthus Ciliatus.


Temperature Issues

Geogenanthus species are very tender plants that react to temperature fluctuations.

This particular plant is sensitive to temperature drops below 61 degrees Fahrenheit ( 16 degrees Celsius). This species is also sensitive to low indoor humidity.

To avoid any issues, follow the requirements discussed in the previous sections for temperature.


Species of Geogenanthus

Geogenanthus Poeppigii – also known as the Seersucker plant, this variety has leathery leaves in shades of light, silverish-green as well as dark green.

The unusual leaves have puckered surfaces. It is native to Amazon and is considered an easy-to-grow plant.

The name seersucker indicates its resemblance to the seersucker fabric.

Geogenanthus Rhizanthus – this is a herbaceous plant that is native to Peru. This one is often not available as a houseplant.

Tips for Growing Geogenanthus Ciliatus

  • Maintain high humidity for your indoor Geogenanthus Ciliatus plant.
  • In nature, this plant grows under the shade of larger plants; therefore, low to medium sunlight is the best option for this species.
  • You have to keep the potting soil moist, but it should not be wet or soggy.
  • Always remove any blockage from the drainage area as this plant requires excellent drainage in pots.


Frequently Asked Questions about Geogenanthus Ciliatus 


Is Geogenanthus Ciliatus a small-sized houseplant?

This is a medium or large-sized terrarium plant.


How is the coloration on the leaves?

The leaves are deep-purple and appear as almost black with a glossy polished finished.


What is the best potting soil for Geogenanthus Ciliatus?

This plant is not fussy about the potting soil. You can use any soil that fulfills the criteria of being free-draining, humus-rich, and fertile.


Can I use a pan pot for my Geogenanthus Ciliatus?

This underground rhizome likes to spread freely; therefore, a pan-pot or any other flat container is one of the best options.


What is the most suitable indoor location for Geogenanthus Ciliatus?

This plant will look beautiful in a houseplant terrarium. This delicate plant will be protected from any damage and thrive faster within the terrariums compared to an open environment.


It’s been more than 1 month, but my Geogenanthus Ciliatus is not showing any sign of growth; what is wrong?

This is normal because your plant is trying to acclimate to the new environment. Mine also took more than two months to grow any new leaves.


When should I water my Geogenanthus Ciliatus?

Water your Ciliatus plant as soon as the soil gets slightly dry. Over drying the soil is not a good idea because Geogenanthus Ciliatus prefers moist soil.


How is the growth rate of Geogenanthus Ciliatus?

This species has a slow-spreading habit.

Can this plant tolerate dryness?

Based on its growing conditions in nature, this species can tolerate occasional dryness. But I would not recommend doing this frequently as watering is a major requirement for this plant to thrive.


Is Geogenanthus Ciliatus poisonous?

This plant is not poisonous, so it is safe around humans and pets.


What other plants can accompany the Geogenanthus Ciliatus?

You can combine the Geogenanthus Ciliatus plant with other foliage houseplants like Begonias and Pothos.


This is the coolest looking plant I have ever seen with amazing coloration on the foliage.

Geogenanthus Ciliatus is an adaptable plant that can tolerate low light conditions of dappled sunlight.

This plant will look ravishing in a hanging basket that is kept in a low light window. It can even thrive in a terrarium.

Geogenanthus plants are well-known for their flower petals that are fringed with moniliform trichomes; Ciliatus also has flowers that vary in shades of blue, purple, and brown.

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