Columnea Care Guide – (Goldfish Plants)

Columnea plants, usually of hanging habit, are very popular for their cultivation as houseplants. They are very decorative and eye-catching, especially because of their brightly colored flowers.

If you want to know how to take care of the Columnea to have it at home, do not go away and keep reading this article where we tell you everything you need for your plant to grow radiant.

Characteristics Of the Columnea Plant

These are the main characteristics of the Columnea plant:

  • Columneas are a whole genus of plants with more than 150 species of shrubs, most of them epiphytes, that is, in their natural habitat they grow on the bark of trees and absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.
  • They are usually called golden carp and belong to the Gesneriaceae family, being plants with origins in the tropical rainforests of Central America.
  • Most of those sold in stores and gardening stores are hanging plants, although there are some climbing Columneas.
  • The plant has long stems, evergreen leaves facing each other, and a rounded shape, but what stands out most are its tubular flowers, with showy shapes and very bright and striking orange, purple or red colors.
  • The flowers usually emerge in autumn from the axils of their leaves, being the hummingbirds are the main pollinators in their natural environment.
characteristics columnea plant
Characteristics Columnea Plant.

Climate For the Columnea Plant

As tropical plants, Columneas need a stable and slightly warm temperature. Their ideal temperature is between 59 and 64 °F (15 and 18º C), although they can withstand temperatures as low as 50 °F (10º C) occasionally and not for long periods.

If you expose your Columnea to cold below this point or to heat that is too intense, the plant will most likely not be able to withstand it.

Location For the Columnea Plant

Given their temperature requirements, these species are often grown as houseplants, since our homes tend to offer a temperature similar to what they need. They are usually placed in hanging containers, or placed on top of shelves or elevated furniture so that their stems drape decoratively.

Like many tropical plants, they need a well-lit location but are protected from direct sun, as they naturally grow in the shade of tree canopies. Find them a semi-shaded location in a well-lit room, safe from drafts, and you will see how they grow in the best conditions.

location columnea plant
Location for Goldfish Plants (Columnea)

Watering Goldfish Plant

Although it needs a certain level of ambient humidity, the Columnea is not at all friendly to waterlogging. It should be watered frequently without exceeding the amount, always avoiding waterlogging.

Always keep its substrate slightly moist. If you notice that the leaves of your plant begin to yellow, it means that you should increase watering a little. Likewise, if the leaves seem to shrivel, it means that the plant does not have enough humidity, so you should gently spray water on the leaves once or twice a day. However, when you do so, never wet the flowers.

In any case, always water with water at room temperature and free of lime. If you cannot get mineral water for watering, be sure to let the tap water stand for 24 hours before using it, so that the limescale is deposited and remains at the bottom.

Soil For the Columnea Plant

As with many epiphytes, the most important thing about the soil is that it is very light. It should not contain an excess of organic matter, which could damage its roots. In addition, the Columnea is a slightly acidophilic plant, so the pH of the soil should always be kept slightly acidic, which is why we avoid watering with lime water, which would make it alkaline. Learn more about How to Measure Soil pH.

To prepare a good substrate for your Columnea you should mix loamy soil with peat in equal parts, which will result in a good mix. The plant will also need fertilizer twice a year, but given its particular needs, it is best to use a specific mineral fertilizer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dosage and frequency (Order Acid Soil for Columnea Plant).

It will also help to stir the substrate very carefully from time to time, aerating it and thus avoiding the appearance of one of the plant’s main enemies: fungi.

soil columnea plant
Soil for Columnea Plant.

Pests and Diseases of The Goldfish Plant

To finish commenting on the care of the Columnea, it should be noted that these species are susceptible to common threats, such as aphids or fungi. In any case, the solution is always to check its condition often and always avoid waterlogging and excessive humidity.

Nevertheless, these plants are quite resistant, so if you identify the problem in time, you will have no difficulty in applying ecological solutions in any of the cases and save your plant easily. Remember that you can make both insecticide and fungicide homemade and ecological at home with very common materials, so do not be in a hurry to resort to chemicals. Learn more about How to Mix Neem Oil for Plants.

pests and diseases goldfish plants
Goldfish Plants.
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Morgan, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.