Goldfish Plant: A Fishlike, Fun Flower

Should you had bother conserving your pet goldfish alive, you may need extra luck with the goldfish plant! This houseplant isn’t named mockingly – it actually does resemble tiny goldfish swimming in a sea of foliage. You’ll be impressed not solely with the goldfish plant’s enjoyable look but in addition with its distinctive rising habits.

The goldfish plant is native to Latin America. It’s a tropical plant, which suggests it solely grows year-round in zones 10-11 in america. Nevertheless, it’s simply grown as a houseplant anyplace else on the planet. So long as you preserve the appropriate situations, a goldfish plant can thrive in your house backyard.

You’ll get a complete flame of coloration with these stunning, non-aquatic “fish”. The colourful flowers are available in shades of purple, orange, yellow, and even sizzling pink. The stems are trailing, so goldfish houseplants are good as a dangling or desk plant. In an out of doors backyard, you may place the plant so its stems and red-orange flowers are cascading down a rock wall (think about how nice they’d look by a pond!). Your goldfish plant can even entice hummingbirds to the yard. With a lot to like, we’re excited to share develop goldfish crops in your individual backyard!

Good Merchandise At Amazon For Rising Goldfish Vegetation:

Fast Care Information

Columnea microphylla is one number of “flying goldfish plant”. Supply: Geoff J Mckay
Widespread Title Goldfish plant, Flying Goldfish plant
Scientific Title Columnea, Nematanthus
Household Gesneriaceae
Peak & Unfold 3 toes tall, 6 toes vast
Gentle Vivid, oblique gentle
Soil Properly-draining; African Violet or orchid combine
Water Constant
Pests & Illnesses Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, botrytis mould, mosaic virus

All About The Goldfish Plant

Columnea spp. goldfish plant
A Columnea species goldfish plant in bloom. Supply: KHQ Flower Information

Goldfish crops are regular growers, however they are often extra finicky with their care than different crops from the tropics. Why? Because it seems, these are epiphytes! They didn’t evolve to develop in a dangling basket, backyard mattress, and even soil – goldfish crops naturally develop on high of different crops, normally timber. The timber are merely for supporting the crops although. Epiphytes get their vitamins and water from the air and rain so that they aren’t parasitic. As a result of they’re self-sufficient like this, gardeners are capable of swap out the timber for a dangling basket. 

When cared for correctly, a goldfish plant can stay to round 10 years. As we talked about, it likes to be heat and is unquestionably not frost-hardy. On the flip aspect, it doesn’t care to be too sizzling or humid. As soon as the appropriate situations are met, the goldfish plant likes them to be the identical all 12 months lengthy.

Goldfish crops sometimes develop flowers within the spring and summer time, after which some inexperienced leaves fall off and the plant goes dormant. Nevertheless, there are some hybrids that bloom year-round. After planting, it solely takes 6-10 weeks for purple flowers to seem. Every colourful flower has fused petals that type a bent fish form. Some varieties have a bulge on the underside of the flower, making it much more goldfish-like. Whereas they’re uniquely stunning, these tubular flowers sadly don’t have a notable scent.

Supporting the college of fish flowers are woody stems that develop to three toes lengthy. Every stem is lined with barely succulent, darkish inexperienced leaves. Most varieties have waxy leaves, however some are fuzzy like their cousin, the African Violet. No matter texture, this plant is considerably toxic to people and animals.

Forms of Goldfish Vegetation

Goldfish plant isn’t really a single plant, however many various species inside the Gesneriaceae household. They’re cut up into two genera: Columnea and Nematanthus. There are some noticeable variations, which we’ll talk about, however the care necessities are the identical for every genus. 

Goldfish crops within the Columnea genus are sometimes referred to as Flying Goldfish crops as a result of their flowers are thinner and extra arched, just like the fish are leaping out of the water. Columnea is native to international locations throughout South America and has a number of species. The most typical ones are Columnea gloriosa and Columnea microcalyx (they’re so comparable that it’s practically unimaginable to inform them aside).

The Nematanthus genus usually options tubular flowers with a decrease bulge. It’s additionally native to South America, significantly Brazil, however can be present in southern Mexico. Nematanthus gregarius is a typical goldfish plant species, although it’s usually mispelled as Nematanthus gregarious.

These two genera are typically confused with Aeschynanthus, also called lipstick plant. They do look very comparable, however lipstick plant comes from Asia – a great distance away from the goldfish plant’s residence!


Nematanthus 'Emma', Miniature Goldfish Plant
Nematanthus ‘Emma’ can be referred to as miniature goldfish plant. Supply: cultivar413

Like most tropical crops, goldfish plant care is difficult. You’ll need to take further care to imitate the plant’s native situations. Right here’s what you’ll must do.

Solar and Temperature

Place your goldfish plant in a really vibrant location with oblique gentle. An excessive amount of direct daylight and intense warmth burns the darkish inexperienced leaves, so place it in an east or west-facing window. Nevertheless, you may transfer it to a south-facing spot through the winter when the oblique daylight is much less intense.

Until you reside in zones 10-11, preserve your goldfish plant indoors year-round. These tropical crops favor temperatures from 65-75°F, which is ideal for indoor gardening. Should you preserve them exterior, place them someplace that will get gentle shade within the warmth of the afternoon. To maintain your goldfish plant alive, the temperature should keep above 55°F.

Water and Humidity

The important thing to goldfish plant care is consistency – particularly in relation to watering. You’ll must preserve the soil moist however by no means soaking moist (soggy soil is a beacon for illness). Water at any time when the highest few inches of the soil dries out. Use room temperature water as a substitute of chilly water that may stun the roots. Within the winter, you may reduce barely on watering.

Goldfish plant requires average humidity – not an excessive amount of or too little. In case your fundamental family humidity isn’t chopping it, you’ll must mist the leaves each day with tepid water or use a humidifier. Alternatively, you may fill a tray with pebbles and water, then place it instantly beneath the goldfish plant. This DIY humidity tray gained’t produce as a lot water vapor as a humidifier, but it surely does assist a bit.


Epiphytes don’t normally have their roots within the grime, so we want a really well-draining soil. Search for soils that comprise sphagnum moss, peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite. African violet soil works properly right here, together with potting soil meant for orchids. The hanging baskets or containers you employ should have enough drainage holes.

Whether or not you employ African violet potting combine or a selfmade combination, guarantee it’s a wealthy potting soil that’s barely acidic and drains rapidly. Be happy so as to add compost to the combo so as to enhance soil fertility and drainage.


Flying Goldfish Plant Columnea hirta
Columnea hirta is a goldfish plant with an nearly dolphin-like form. Supply: KHQ Flower Information

Within the spring and summer time, feed your tropical native each 1-2 weeks. Use both a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer or one which’s excessive in phosphorous. Alternatively, you may apply a slow-release formulation firstly of the rising season. Within the fall and winter, when progress slows down, solely fertilize your goldfish plant month-to-month.


Goldfish plant grows 3 foot lengthy stems, but it surely’s really helpful to maintain them trimmed to 1 foot. Doing so helps the plant redirect its vitality into extra blooms. It additionally helps encourage branching, constructing a bushier plant as a substitute of a leggy one. Prune your goldfish plant in early spring, earlier than it begins to develop these beautiful purple flowers.

Even once they’re actively rising, these indoor crops wish to be barely root sure. Solely transplant your goldfish plant each few years, when there’s merely no room left within the pot for brand new root progress. You’ll be able to prune some older roots whilst you’re at it to construct a more healthy root system.


Goldfish plant is fairly respectable at vegetative propagation, so you may technically preserve the identical plant alive for approach longer than 10 years. The most typical approach is to make use of stem tip cuttings, which you’ll usually have a plethora of after pruning!

Take stem tip cuttings which might be 2 inches lengthy and have just a few darkish inexperienced leaves. Don’t use stems which have any flowers or buds – we would like all of the chopping’s vitality centered on rising new crops, not flowering. The father or mother plant ought to be wholesome and mature.

Dip the lower finish of the stem into some rooting hormone and stick it straight up in a small pot of well-draining potting combine (be certain it has good drainage holes!). Maintain the soil and leaves persistently moist whereas the chopping develops its personal roots. You’ll be able to even place a transparent plastic bag as a brief, high-humidity dome, so long as it doesn’t contact the chopping. Give your chopping an excellent quantity of vibrant gentle and also you’ll quickly have a model new goldfish plant! The brand new crops ought to flower the next 12 months.


Nematanthus wettsteinii
Nematanthus wettsteinii is usually referred to as “sweet corn plant” in addition to goldfish plant. Supply: AndreyZharkikh

Goldfish crops include their share of issues. If you recognize what to search for although, you’ll have the ability to deal with no matter gardening points come your approach!

Rising Issues

When one thing goes improper with a goldfish plant, its first response is to drop some leaves. Whereas this misery sign is simple to acknowledge, it might imply quite a few issues. Normally, the wrongdoer might be some form of insufficient care, corresponding to:

  • Dry and/or chilly air
  • Excessive humidity
  • Excessive warmth
  • Overwatering
  • Chilly water within the soil

Typically, leaf drop generally is a signal that your goldfish plant goes dormant. That is normally accompanied by slowed progress and disappearing flowers. It’s best to reduce on watering till new progress resumes (normally in about 6 weeks).

In case your goldfish plant isn’t dormant, overwatering is the most definitely reason behind leaf drop. You’ll additionally discover wilting and discoloration. To assist your mockingly drowning fish, repot the plant in recent soil and reduce on watering. It’s essential to repair this downside earlier than the additional moisture invitations mould and fungal progress.

Lastly, if it doesn’t get sufficient vibrant, oblique gentle you’ll discover some leggy progress. Known as etiolation, the stems are stretching out looking for extra direct daylight. Whereas this doesn’t essentially harm your goldfish crops, it does make them much less enticing. Since stretched stems can’t shrink again, you’ll need to prune them shorter, transfer the plant someplace sunnier, and wait for brand new, bushier progress.


Goldfish crops could also be unique, however their pests are very acquainted. To begin with, they’re very prone to aphids and mealybugs. These are each sap-sucking plant pests that may drain your goldfish plant of its juices. Together with bugs dwelling underneath the leaves, you’ll discover yellowing foliage that ultimately turns brown and dies. These pests additionally go away behind a sticky honeydew that pulls ants.

Should you’re solely coping with a small inhabitants, merely clip off the infested leaves and destroy them away out of your backyard. Should you’re rising this plant outdoor, give it a powerful spray of water to scrub away the pests. For giant infestations, apply neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or – in excessive instances – spinosad or pyrethrin spray.

Spider mites are teeny-tiny mites that spin silky webs throughout a plant. They’ll feed on the leaves, leaving yellow or brown stippling. If left alone, these mites will ultimately kill your goldfish plant. You’ll be able to deal with them equally to aphids and mealy bugs. Attempt spraying them with water, eradicating infested leaves, or coating the plant with neem oil. To forestall these mites, preserve the plant clear, moist, and wholesome.


Goldfish crops are very weak to botrytis bunch rot. This gross mould spreads fuzzy, grey spores throughout the leaves which, evidently, we don’t need in our gardens. Botrytis likes excessive humidity, which explains why the moisture-loving goldfish plant is so prone to it. 

To forestall botrytis mould, be sure that your goldfish plant is pruned sufficient to permit good air circulation between the leaves. You must also take away any particles from the plant, corresponding to spent flowers and leaves. In case your preventative efforts are in useless and botrytis exhibits up in your crops, strive utilizing neem oil, copper fungicide, or potassium bicarbonate.

Mosaic virus is one other menace to our funky goldfish crops. Sadly, there isn’t a remedy for this virus, so it should be prevented or no less than contained. Should you discover any leaves with mottling, instantly clip them off and destroy them far-off out of your backyard. Completely sanitize any gardening instruments you employ to forestall the virus from spreading to different crops. It’s difficult to forestall this virus from displaying up totally, however you need to all the time purchase your seeds from a good purchaser and carry out a cautious inspection of any new crops you convey into your backyard.

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Goldfish Plant Columnea spp.
The goldfish plant has spectacular, fish-shaped flowers. Supply: Bernard Dupont

Q: Is a goldfish plant a succulent?

A: Sure, but it surely’s not as succulent because the chunky rosettes within the Crassulaceae household. The goldfish plant has succulent leaves that make it considerably drought resistant.

Q: Is the goldfish plant toxic?

A: Barely, sure. Not like African violets, the goldfish plant has poisonous quantities of chemical substances corresponding to oxalates and glycosides.

Q: Can a goldfish plant go exterior?

A: Provided that you reside in zones 10-11 or Central America. Anyplace else, you need to preserve your leaping goldfish plant indoors 12 months spherical. Even when it’s heat out through the summer time, Columnea gloriosa will dislike the sudden change in its humid setting if moved exterior.

Q: How lengthy do goldfish crops stay?

A: Goldfish crops normally stay round 10 years. Nevertheless, you may propagate these wonderful houseplants in order that they technically stay longer.

The Inexperienced Thumbs Behind This Article:

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings