Goldfish Plant

About

If you have a high lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. area that calls for a hanging or table plant that flowers, a Goldfish Plant, Columnea nematanthus, is a perfect choice. A Goldfish plant, native to Southern Mexico, Brazil, and Costa Rica, comes in over 25 different varieties. In nature, it is an epiphytic plant, meaning it grows on other plants, rocks, or trees for support. It’s a member of the Gesneriaceae family and a relative of the Lipstick Plant, Episcia, and African Violet.

Goldfish Plant Description

Goldfish plants have long stems, that grow up to 3ft in length, covered in hundreds of small, thick, shiny, dark green leaves and colorful tubular flowers that resemble tiny goldfish. The flowers can be red, orange, or yellow and usually appear in the spring; however, several of the new hybrid varieties produce flowers all year.

Goldfish Plant Varieties

“Columnea gregarious” produces clusters of bright orange, tubular flowers during the summer

“Variegated Columnea”  has bright green shiny leaves with a cream-colored variegation and puffy orange goldfish shaped flowers

 “Columnea Banksii” has dark green leaves with a reddish underside and 2.5” bright red flowers with a yellow inner lining.

 “Columnea Gloriosa” has reddish hairs on the leaf and tubular 3” red flowers with a yellow center.

 “Columnea Carnival” has bright yellow flowers with a reddish/burgundy border

    Red/Orange flowered Goldfish Plant

Quick Care Tips for a Goldfish Plant

bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. but no direct sun

Warm temperatures above 55°F

Keeping a Goldfish plant a little rootbound encourages more flowers

Trim stems once the flowers die to keep the plant full

High humidity if possible

Conclusion

Goldfish plants are easy to care for, drought resistant, and with proper care bloom on and off all year. My favorite way to show off a blooming Goldfish Plant, with its long vines, is in a hanging basket. These plants are considered slightly poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants

 

FAQ

Why Are the Green Leaves Are Falling Off of My Goldfish Plant?

Goldfish plants lose leaves when the plant is too wet or too dry. If it doesn’t appear to be a watering problem, your plant may just be going into a “rest period.” Trim back the bare branches, put the plant in lower light, and let the soil stay fairly dry. After about 4-6 weeks return it to a bright warm location and it should start to grow again.

Why Does My Beautiful Goldfish Plant Never Get Flowers?

Bright light is essential for a goldfish plant to get flowers. Stress the plant a little by letting it get dry every once in a while also helps it to bloom.

Can I Root My Goldfish Plant From Stem Tip Clippings?

You can try rooting a goldfish plant using stem tip cuttings. Keep the planted cuttings plants in a clear plastic bag; this increases the humidity and helps the plant develop roots.

I Think My Goldfish Plant Has Mealy Bugs. There Is White Sticky Stuff and I Can Even See the Tiny Bugs. How Can I Get Rid of Mealy Bugs?

It’s difficult to get rid of Mealy Bugs on a goldfish plant because there are so many leaves where the bugs can hide. Spray every part of the plant, especially both sides of all of the leaves, with the “ green solution”, undiluted alcohol mixed with a few drops of mineral oil, and a few drops of biodegradable soap. Repeat every 10 days for at least a month