How to Grow, Care and Propagate Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa)


Goldfish Plant, Columnea gloriosa

Botanical name: Columnea gloriosa
Family: Gesneriaceae
Common name: Goldfish Plant

Description

Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa) is an attractive plant which bear abundant yellow or orange-red tubular flowers year after year and is ideal for the hanging basket or a pedestal where the trailing stems can be allowed to hang freely.

The tubular flowers look like leaping fish and hence the common name "Goldfish".

Goldfish Plant requires a moist atmosphere around the foliage and it also requires regular feeding over the growing season and trimming back of the stems once flowering is over.

Though it may survive in poor conditions, the leaves will fall and flowers will fail to appear.

Size

The stems in Goldfish Plant can grow up to 3 ft and are densely covered by thick, waxy, dark-green leaves.

Origin

Columnea are native to tropical America and the Caribbean where they grow as epiphytes attached to the tree bark.

Toxicity

According to ASPCA, Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa) is non-toxic to humans and pets.

Varieties

There are numerous species of Columnea. Columnea gloriosa is an old favorite houseplant.

Other popular varieties are Columnea banksii with small, dark-green foliage and yellow marked flowers.

Columnea microphylla which has 4 ft long stems and Columnea gloriosa like flowers.

Columnea stavanger bears smooth leaves, yellow and red flowers and branching stems but the leaves and flowers are larger.

Columnea hirta is a smaller plant with creeping stems which produces flowers very freely.

Where to Buy

Goldfish Plants are readily available online on Etsy. Buy Goldfish Plants online from Etsy.

Goldfish Plant, Columnea gloriosa

Columnea gloriosa Care Indoors

Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa) prefers bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.

Columnea gloriosa requires trimming back of the stems to rejuvenate growth and encourage blooming. Repotting is only needed when the plant is pot-bound as it blooms best when root-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Watering

Water Goldfish Plant liberally during the growing period while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Water less during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Light Requirements

Goldfish Plant grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth with a minimum of 160C is ideal for Goldfish Plant. Keep it away from cold and hot draughts to prevent sudden changes in temperature.

Goldfish Plant requires high humidity inorder to thrive. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer

Feed Goldfish Plant every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer for a lush growth. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is reduced and it can lead to fertilizer burn.

Once in a while flush out excess fertilizers from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage holes and allow it to run for at least 10 minutes.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Goldfish Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal. Buy quality Potting Mix from Etsy.

Repotting

Repot Goldfish Plant during the growing season only when the plant is pot-bound as it blooms best when root-bound.

Do not repot a plant that is in flower as the repotting shock can shorten the flowering period.

Use a pot that is only one size larger than the current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to avoid rotting.

Pruning

Pruning Goldfish Plant is easy. Remove dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy and also discourage pests and disease infestations as these are their breeding grounds.

Remove the spent flowers to encourage more blooms and pinch off the growing stems to encourage a compact and bushy growth.

Cut back the straggly stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings.

How to propagate Goldfish Plant from stem-tip cuttings

Take 4-6 in. stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Goldfish Plant and strip off the lower leaves.

Dip the lower cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting.

Insert the cuttings in moist free-draining soil and place the set up in a warm, well-lit spot away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist through out until the new Goldfish Plants are well established after which routine care can begin.

Goldfish Plant, Columnea gloriosa

Columnea gloriosa Common Problems

Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa) growing problems include leaf spots, lack of blooms, leaf drop, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaf marks

Brown leaf marks in Goldfish Plant are sunscorch marks caused by exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight. The plant requires bright light away from direct sunlight.

Keep the Columnea gloriosa away or shield it from direct sunlight by installing a light curtain to filter the sunlight.

No blooms

Goldfish Plant will not bloom if the light is too low as it requires bright light away from direct sunlight.

Position the plant in a brighter spot where it will receive bright light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Dropping leaves

There are two possible causes of leaf drop in Goldfish Plant. One possible reason is cold drafts which cause sudden drops in temperature.

Place the Columnea gloriosa away from cold drafts like windy doors and windows among others to prevent sudden drops in temperature and maintain an average room temperature.

The second possible cause of leaf drop in Goldfish Plant is too dry air (low humidity).

To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Pests

Common pests in Goldfish Plant are Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and treat pests in houseplants.

Diseases

Goldfish Plant is prone to root-rot disease, botrytis, leaf spot and viral diseases. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases. Read on how to identify and treat diseases in houseplants.

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