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Goldfish Plant Care

Goldfish Plant Care

Botanical Name: Columnea gloriosa and hybrids

Goldfish plant gets its common name from the long, tubular orange or orange-red flowers that look like everyone's first pet -- goldfish.

This is a perennial and will last for several years with good care. Long stems can reach up to 3 ft (90 cm) and are densely covered with thick, waxy, dark-green leaves.

Many named hybrids are available, offering a colorful variety of leaves and flowers. 'Firebird' and 'Aladdin's Lamp' have red flowers and dark-green leaves. Yellow blooms edged in red make 'California Gold' a stunning house plant. 'Chanticleer' is a prolific bloomer with a compact growing habit.

Put this exotic trailing plant in a hanging basket or on a pedestal table to show off its spectacular foliage and blooms.

Get the most blooms. You can expect dozens of blooms on mature plants in spring and summer. Some plants may also bloom at other times during the year. You'll get the most blooms by providing plenty of bright, indirect light. Keep the soil slightly dry in the winter to help promote heavy flowering in spring. Just be careful not to allow the soil to dry out completely.

Pinch your plant. Pinch off the growing tips often to encourage branching. You'll be rewarded with a much nicer-looking plant that is compact and bushy. It's a good idea to keep the stems at 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) to prevent it from getting leggy. If you want, you can propagate the stem tip cuttings for more plants.

To repot...or not? This one likes to be slightly root-bound, and blooms best this way. Repot in spring when it has outgrown its pot. Columnea likes loose potting medium, so don't pack it down. Use a container with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil. If you want to use a decorative planter without drainage holes, use it as a cachepot. Just slip a plain nursery pot inside the cachepot. I put pebbles in the bottom of my cachepots to keep the inner pot above any drainage water.

Don't put this tropical native outdoors for the summer. Keep it indoors year-round. Goldfish plants don't like high heat or direct sunlight, which can cause leaves to turn brown.

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