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Light Bio Firefly Petunia Glow in the Dark Plant

Courtesy of Light Bio 

As the sun sets, your new petunias start to emit an otherworldly green gleam in your garden. The scientists behind biotechnology startup Light Bio are now selling Firefly Petunias—a genetically modified version of the petunia that glows gently in the dark.

By using genes from a naturally bioluminescent mushroom, scientists have created a self-sustaining bioluminescence in the flowers. More genetic modifications were able to enhance the visible light by 100 times. The bioluminescent blooms transform energy from the daytime sun into nighttime light—creating that gorgeous glow that we’re obsessed with. It’s what Light Bio calls “living light.” 

Light Bio Firefly Petunia Glow in the Dark Plant Close Up

Courtesy of Light Bio

Light Bio CEO Keith Wood has been a part of the decades-long scientific advancements that make Firefly Petunias possible. He was on a team discovering fireflies’ bioluminescence gene and helped create the first glowing plant in 1986: “In the forty-odd years since, we have discovered a new bioluminescence technology that now allows us to bring these delightful plants to consumers.” 

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The Idaho-based company received USDA approval in September to grow and sell the plants, launching its first batch of 50,000 plants in the spring. Now, the plants are available in the continental U.S. for $29 a pot

@mossgardencenter These gorgous firefly petunias glow in the dark! Stop by the garden center to get yours today ✨ #firefly #petunia #fireflypetunia #glow #plants #ketchum #sunvalley #idaho #moss #bioluminescence ♬ MILLION DOLLAR BABY (VHS) – Tommy Richman

Much like standard petunias—one of the most popular and fuss-free decorative plants—Firefly Petunias don’t take specialized care to mimic moonlight. They’re beginner friendly, especially for those who have dabbled in simple houseplants.

“Light Bio is bringing us leaps and bounds closer to our solarpunk dream of living in Avatar’s Pandora,” says Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, a biotech company partnered with Light Bio. This futuristic plant option is guaranteed to turn heads.

But some customers on social media have complained about receiving plants that are moldy, dying, or struggling to glow. Light Bio has posted online guides for “Troubleshooting Your Petunias,” offering potential solutions and inviting customers to reach out to customer service. The company also received complaints about high shipping costs and has since reduced the price to $24 for one plant and $2 per additional plant, with free shipping on orders of 10 or more.

Looking ahead, the Light Bio and Gingko teams have more in the works, like plants that glow ten times brighter, as well as more options for colors and plant types. Beyond aesthetics alone, Light Bio and Gingko anticipate applying their developments to realms like food security or nutrition, not just decorative flowers.

Whether you’re looking for a natural night light for your home or an edgy statement piece to spice up your outdoor areas, Firefly Petunias are a blend of beauty and innovation that is out of this world.