Everything You Need To Know About The Goldfish Plant

A goldfish plant are known for their masses of red-orange flowers that appear in the summer and spring seasons; these plants look like leaping goldfish, which is why the plants are known as goldfish plants. For the most spectacular sight, you should see a fully-matured plant in full bloom.


Goldfish plants are profuse bloomers if you follow the proper goldfish plant care methods. They tend to live longer than most other houseplants (at times, even up to a decade), provided that you tend to them and re-pot when necessary.

Since most of these plants you will find in the market are hybridized, you need to pick a plant, based on the color and vigor of the flowers.

About goldfish plant

goldfish plant

Goldfish plants, or scientifically known as Columnea gloriosa is a native to the South and Central American tropical regions and derives its name from the unusual shape of the flowers.

Under typical growing conditions, these plants can bloom different colors of flowers like yellow, orange, and red. The dark green, waxy, thick, and long leaves mostly measure up to 2- to 3-inches; the leaves are also hairy. The vine-like stems can reach up to three feet high.

Due to the care instructions, the goldfish plants have earned a reputation of being some of the fussiest house plants today. If you want to successfully grow goldfish plants, you will have to pay attention to the minutest details. Hence, you need to understand the natural state of these plants.

As mentioned above, goldfish plants belong to the genus Columna. These are also epiphytes, a category of plant that grows upon other plants, mostly trees. However, they are not parasitic and will not retrieve their nutrition from the host plant; the host plant is used as a perch or anchor.

Similar to other types of epiphytes, they will get their nutrients and moisture from the surrounding air and energy from photosynthesis. The main function of the roots is to anchor the plant, not for deriving nutrition from the soil.

Goldfish plant: Care basics

goldfish plant

The longevity of your plant lives depends on how you take care of them. As said above, you need to take proper care of goldfish plants for them to thrive. Here are some ways that will ensure the proper growth of your plants:


When it comes to soil, the goldfish play is anything but delicate. If you are new to this, choosing the right soil is very easy. All you need is a regular potting mix.

Alternatively, you can also opt for hydroponics (method of growing plants without soil), since the roots are not used for extracting nutrients from the soil. Another great choice is the African violet potting method, where the soil contains perlite and peat moss).


Goldfish plants love a well-lit or a semi-shady location. Direct sunlight should be avoided as the leaves can burn under this condition. Or, you can make use of an artificial lighting system as well.

For the best results, you need to place the plant around a meter away from the window. Because the lighting conditions tend to change throughout the day and the season, it may take some time to find the perfect spot for the Columneas.


Always use lukewarm water for the goldfish plant, throughout spring and summer. If you pour cold water, you will see that the leaves will develop brown spots.

The soil needs to be moist at all times. During the winter season, you can decrease the amount of watering; the only time you need to water is when the top inch of the soil becomes dry.

Temperature and humidity

Goldfish plants are considered some of the best houseplants today. One of the reasons is because they thrive in average room temperatures between 18° and 24°C throughout the year.

As for the humidity, it should be moderate to high; since goldfish plants are tropical plants, they prefer high humidity levels. However, moderate humidity levels work sufficiently as well.


It is recommended that you make use of any fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, like the Hi-Yield fertilizer.

The dosage should not be more than the recommended level, as over-fertilization is not good for the goldfish plants. During the spring and summers, fertilization is required once every two weeks. As for winters, fertilization once a month should be more than enough.

How do you propagate a goldfish plant?

If you want your goldfish plant to last for a very long time, you can choose to propagate this houseplant. There are six different methods of propagations:

  • Growing new plants from seeds
  • Simple layering
  • Rooting leaf cuttings
  • Rooting stem cuttings
  • Division
  • Air layering

While all these methods are effective, not all of them may work on goldfish plants; in this case, you can make use of the rooting stem cuttings method. To do this, you need to follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Look For A Plant That Has A Healthy Non-Flowering Stem; Cut The Stem Tip (Only!) You Want To Propagate With A Sterile And Clean Knife
  • Remove The Leaves At The Bottom And Dip The Cutting In Rooting Hormone, Like The Hormex Rooting Hormone Powder.  
  • Root The Stem Cutting Into A Container With Any Soil; It Is Recommended That You Use A Light Mix Of Perlite And Peat; Water The Newly-Propagated Plants Very Lightly

You can watch this video to get a more concise idea.

What are some problems with growing goldfish plants?

Some of the most common problems related to goldfish plants include lack of flowering, leaf drop, and leggy growth; all these issues are related to how much you know about goldfish plant care. You will be surprised to know that for a plant that thrives in wet environments, overwatering is the biggest problem.

Additionally, excess spacing can also prove to be problematic, since these plants prefer to be pot-bounded. Low light results in legginess and could also be a result of normal plant growth. If you want to encourage bushier growth and branching, you need to pinch back your goldfish plant.

Apart from these, there are a lot of different problems related to goldfish plants, involving both pests and diseases. They are highly susceptible to mosaic viruses, fungal leaf spots, and botrytis mold.

Also, cottony cushion scale, spider mites, and aphids are some common pests. Hence, you need to carefully inspect the plants regularly so that they are free of these pests and diseases.

Where can you find goldfish plants?

These houseplants are often soul in nurseries as hanging plants. Most of them have trailing pieces, thereby making them perfect for hanging baskets. It is suggested that you do not waste your time and energy looking for the seeds, as they are extremely tiny and not easy to handle.

Opt for pre-grown plants. Even if you go for the seeds, do not plant them immediately; wait until there are no risks of frost ahead.

Varieties of goldfish plants

With careful mixing of genetics, breeders have managed to come up with a wide range of leaf forms and flower colors with this basic breed. Goldfish plants are a distant cousin of the African Violet and often have the same fuzzy leaves.

Varieties may have yellow or red flowers – the most famous of them is the ‘Fire Light’ variety, which has beautiful variegated leaves.


We hope that you understand everything there is to know about the goldfish plants. These are extremely adorable houseplants that also double up as outdoor plants. They have red, orange, and yellow flowers that pop out of the stems and resemble a goldfish.

If you are looking for plants for your indoor garden, then the goldfish plant is a beautiful and fun addition. Of course, you will have to dedicate some time to take care of this plant; however, you will be rewarded with beautiful indoor décor, thanks to these goldfish plants.

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