Goldfish Hanging Plant
If you want a spectacular flowering houseplant for a hanging basket or pedestal then consider the goldfish plant (columnea gloriosa).
A native of Costa Rica this plant has wonderful trailing stems that can reach 3ft in length.
Paired dark green leaves clothe the stems which are covered in red oranges hairs and the leaf edges have a tendency to turn under.
The flowers are normally freely produced from late autumn to early spring. They are extremely showy, being bright scarlet with a yellow throat and covered in fine hairs and each bloom can last several weeks.
Flowers are solely formed on the new growth so to prevent long lengths of stem only bearing foliage cut these back once the display is over.
Prune stems to half their original length. If you prefer to maintain the wonderful trailing effect, leave some stems alone cutting these back once the new growth has become well established.
Goldfish plants prefer bright indirect light but avoid hours of direct sunlight. A constant temperature is very important, ideally 16 to 21C (60-70F), with a winter minimum of 13C (55F).
It also needs a moist atmosphere and this can be difficult to maintain in a hanging basket. Use tepid water for misting to prevent brown spots from forming on the foliage.
Being epiphytic, Columnea gloriosa has a limited root system and so avoid the compost getting too wet.
Always allow the surface to become dry before watering again and while resting just give enough moisture to prevent the compost from completely drying out.
How to Grow a Goldfish Houseplant
The proper medium for growing epiphytes and goldfish houseplants is essential to avoid many of their problems. The potting mix must be both light and coarse, and it should not hold water for long periods of time, despite the plant’s need.
You can use either sphagnum or perlite in equal amounts. How to grow goldfish houseplants is dependent on the temperature. Although many people believe tropicals require high heat, the reality is that most tropical plants thrive in cooler climates.
Your goldfish houseplants will be at their best when the room temperature is between 65-75 F (18-24 C).
Your goldfish hanging plants require 13 hours of bright sunlight per day, as so much of their energy comes from light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can dry out the plants and cause scorching. Good grow-light is a great addition to the growing of goldfish plants.
Humidity is an important factor in growing goldfish houseplants. These epiphytes are tropical and require mild to moderate humidity. They should be lightly misted daily with room temperature water.
The foliage will be damaged by cold water. In areas with dry air, a room humidifier or humidity tray can be very helpful. Spring and summer are good times to bloom.
It should be given a half-dose of high phosphorus (10-30-10) liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Spring through fall, water your plant well. However, let the top 2 inches (5cm.) dry completely before you water again.
Allow the plant to dry completely before watering again. Reduce watering in winter by reducing the volume of watering.
Problems with Goldfish Plants and Additional Care
The majority of problems that goldfish plants have, including leggy growth, leaf fall, and lack of flowering, can be directly attributed to daily goldfish plant care.
Overwatering is the main problem for plants that require a moist environment. Columnea is not fond of being left alone and will also struggle to grow in a cramped environment. Low light can cause legginess. However, normal plant growth may also cause it.
To encourage branching and bushier growth, pinch your goldfish plants after they have bloomed. There are many other problems that goldfish plants can face, including disease and pests.
These plants are susceptible to botrytis, fungal leaves spots, and mosaic viruses. Common pests include spider mites and cottony cushion scaling. You should inspect your goldfish plants regularly for any signs and symptoms.
Goldfish houseplants are a great choice for those who don’t mind their fussiness. They offer high returns on their care. When fully bloomed, these unique plants can be a show-stopper.
Dropped leaves? This tropical native despises cold temperatures, which can cause leaf drop. Maintain the humidity around it as well; dry air can cause leaves to fall off.
Brown leaves? Don’t leave this tropical native outside during the summer. Keep it indoors all year. Goldfish plants dislike high temperatures and direct sunlight, which can cause their leaves to turn brown.
Now that you have an idea of what it takes to grow a houseplant from goldfish, why not give it a shot?