Goeppertia micans

Family: Marantaceae

Countries: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, South America, Venezeula

I bought this endearing little plant about ten years ago.  For me this is a truly charming terrarium plant.  I adore Goeppertia micans leaves; their foliage may appear to be lovely, but fairly ordinary, plain green, narrow leaves, but when you touch this foliage it’s a delightful surprise to discover that these leaves are sumptuously soft!  The undersides of every leaf are smooth and silky, they feel like the softest velvet.  When I purchased this plant at the garden centre it was rather unhelpfully labelled as ‘Plant Mix’, but I believe this is Goeppertia micans, or some type of miniature Calathea.  Over the years, I’ve found that this is a slow-growing, miniature plant that is a great size for most terrariums and bottle gardens.  In the photograph above you can see my Goeppertia micans plants growing inside one of my terrariums.  I divided my original plant and I now have three plants, all of which are precisely 20cm tall.

My Goeppertia micans plants are growing in a fairly shaded spot, where they seem very happy.  These plants grow steadily but very slowly.  Most days I administer my Goeppertia micans with a light mist of rainwater over their leaves, but other than this I’ve not given my plants any other special care or attention.  I grow all of my terrarium plants, my houseplants, and all my garden plants in peat-free compost.  This terrarium was filled with a mixture of spent compost, coir compost, perlite, and vermiculite.  I guess these plants have been grown in the same compost for a couple of years now and they seem very happy.  I’ve never given them any fertiliser; my Goeppertia micans plants are simply misted with rainwater.

It’s very easy to propagate Goeppertia micans, it’s simply a case of looking for the thinnest connection of plant growth – the area where dividing your plant will cause it the least trauma and damage fewer roots, and then gently pulling the roots apart.  However, please remember to water your plants a few hours before you separate them and immediately afterwards.  I would advise only dividing plants that are large enough in size to tolerate being divided.  Plant in peat-free compost, inside a terrarium or bottle garden.  Once you’ve planted up your new Goeppertia micans plants, take care to devoutly mist their leaves at least once each day for the next few weeks.  I mist my plants, spraying a light mist of rainwater over them, almost every day, but this is especially important for newly planted or divided Goeppertia micans plants – established plants will be more forgiving.

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