Goldfish Plant

A Beginner's Guide to Goldfish Plant Care | All you Need to Grow!

Family: Gesneriaceae
Common Name: Goldfish Plant, Flying Goldfish Plant
Botanical Name: Nematanthus gregarious, Columnea hirta

Goldfish Plants have a bit of a reputation for being finicky but they will flourish if they have a few basic needs addressed.  Nematanthus gregarious and, Columnea hirta both require above average humidity levels and consistently moist soil to survive and thrive! Learn how to care for these blooming beauties with these growing tips!

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Light

The Goldfish Plant can handle medium to bright indirect light. Medium indirect light supports the plant, but it is not always enough to encourage blooming. This houseplant requires plenty of bright indirect sunlight for at least 9+ hours a day if you want them to promote flowers! The more indirect light it gets, the more flowers it will produce. If you place your goldfish plant outdoors in the warmer months, put it in a shady spot. Avoid direct sunlight as this can be damaging to the leaves! Learn about light levels and how to determine where to place your plant!

Water

Goldfish Plants prefer consistently damp soil, but be careful not to over-water. Wait until the top few inches of the soil dry out before watering. Nematanthus gregarious and Columnea hirta may need more frequent watering when the plant is blooming and less water while dormant.

Soil

Goldfish Plants loves loose, nutrient-rich potting soil. Use a soil medium that can retain moisture but also allows for draining excess water to avoid root rot. Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soils that contain moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend re-potting your goldfish plant into a compost-rich soil mixture with fewer drainage materials, but remember that these epiphytes cannot tolerate soggy soil! Learn how to create your universal soil mixture for all of your indoor plants!

Temperature

Average room temperatures are acceptable for a goldfish plant. It prefers warmer temperatures as a plant that hails from a tropical climate, so anything between 65-75°F is ideal. If you want to promote flowering, then provide it with warmer temperatures. These indoor plants do not like temperatures that fall below 60°F. A sure sign that your goldfish plant is too cold is when the leaves start to fall off!

As is the case for most houseplants, drafts can be problematic. Avoid placement near drafty windows, exterior doors, and heating and cooling vents, as temperature fluctuations can prevent flowering and possibly result in leaf loss.

Humidity

These houseplants can handle most indoor humidity levels, but you may need to increase the humidity if your levels are below 50%. Keep in mind that winter air can be dry in many areas, so the plant may need a helpful boost from a humidifier or a pebble tray with water to help increase the dampness and offset a dry environment.

Fertilizer

Fertilize your Goldfish Plant when the houseplant is actively growing to help promote new growth and blooming. A diluted complete liquid fertilizer, a fish/seaweed emulsion, or a slow-release fertilizer can work very well for Lipstick Plants. If you are using a liquid fertilizer, dilute it to ¼ of the recommended strength and add it to the pre-moistened soil every two weeks during the growing season. Take a break from fertilizing when the plant is dormant or when the last of the blooms are over.

Growth Rate

Goldfish Plants are fast growers once established. Their vines can grow well past 18-20" long!

Pet Friend or Foe

These plants are toxic to pets! Foe

Pro Tips

  1. Cutting back your houseplant can seem counterintuitive if you want a large, lush plant, but routinely prune your goldfish plant to maintain a fuller look. Trimming the vines can prevent the plant from becoming leggy while promoting new growth on the top of the plant.
  2. Propagate your goldfish plant through cuttings. Take a cutting about 4-5 inches long or use a section you remove while pruning and remove the leaves towards the bottom. Place the cut end in the soil and keep the soil damp for the first couple of weeks. (Please note that some plants are patented, and propagation is prohibited! Check the patent status of all houseplants before you propagate.)
  3. Promote blooms by providing the ideal conditions. Give them lots of bright indirect light, warm temperatures, and adequate humidity. This easy-care houseplant can survive in a wide variety of conditions, but the tradeoff is the plant may not bloom.
  4. Goldfish Plants like to be slightly root-bound, and it is only necessary to re-pot them when the roots are filling up the grow pot!
  5. Always use a planter or pot with a drainage hole for Nematanthus gregarious and Columnea hirta 

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