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Goldfish Plant Care (Columnea Gloriosa)

Updated: December 30, 2022

In addition to gorgeous trailing leaves, which make for a delightful and dramatic cascading display, the goldfish plant is known for its tubular red and yellow flowers that can brighten up any home. It will undoubtedly make a stunning addition to your living room décor. But before you introduce this plant into your home, you should familiarize yourself with its care. This guide delves into the topic of goldfish plant care, reviewing how to propagate, water, prune, and fertilize this beautiful plant.

Does The Goldfish Plant Have Any Other Names?

The goldfish plant, scientific name Columnea gloriosa, is also called the lipstick plant or candy corn plant due to its bright and colorful flowers.

Different Types of Goldfish Plants

The Goldfish plant (Columnea Gloriosa) is available in numerous varieties, such as ‘Superba,’ its most popular cultivar. There are also other cultivars that are hybrids of various Goldfish plant species such as gloriosa, including Lava Flow, Gold Spice, and Orange Sherbert.

Main Uses of Goldfish Plants

The Goldfish plant is mainly used as a centerpiece or decorative piece for living room décor. It is ideal for hanging baskets due to its spectacular foliage and flowers and dark green leaves. Furthermore, this exotic trailing plant can be placed on a pedestal table as a perfect way to show off its delightful foliage and blooms.

How to Prune Goldfish Plants

Due to the fact that goldfish plants grow quickly when they are healthy, they often benefit from a trim, preferably in the late winter or early spring. Pruning a goldfish plant involves removing any old and excess vegetative growth that discourages flowering. Use sharp pruning shears to cut not more than 1/3 of the plant’s stem to avoid stressing the plant too much.

Best Soil for Goldfish Plants

The goldfish plant normally grows on branches and trees rather than in the soil. Consequently, it best grows in well-drained soil. Most of its flowers are also epiphytes, which means it also grows well in an orchid potting mix. If you prefer buying pre-mixed soil, look out for a soil mix labeled for orchids. You can also make your own soli mix out of well-draining materials such as fir bark, peat moss, coco coir, and perlite. A good ratio for this mixture is:

  • One-part perlite
  • One-part coco coir or peat moss.
  • One-part fir bark

How Much Light Do Goldfish Plants Need?

Goldfish plants can successfully grow under bright light indoors but should not be directly exposed to sunlight. Consider placing your plant next to an eastern-facing window, especially in the winter.

How Often to Water Goldfish Plants

Watering your goldfish plant is vital in encouraging better blooming. How often you water your goldfish plant will depend on the season of the year. During the summer, you should water it generously to keep the soil continuously moist. Reduce the amount of water in winter to allow the soil to dry slightly.

Ideal Temperature Conditions for Goldfish Plants

Contrary to popular belief, not all tropical plants require high humidity and high temperatures to thrive. Goldfish plants grow naturally under the green, leafy canopies of other plants where the temperature is usually cooler. As such, your plant will do better in a room with temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity Conditions for Goldfish Plants

The goldfish plant thrives in humid conditions that are similar to their natural habitats. This translated to mild to moderate humid conditions in your home or about 60 percent. If you live in a dry environment, consider spraying your plant daily with room temperature water. Cold water will damage the foliage.

Best Fertilizer for Goldfish Plants

During the growing season, feed your goldfish plant weekly with a weak liquid fertilizer that contains micronutrients to encourage early blooming. Your best is a water-soluble fertilizer or high-phosphorus liquid such as 15-30-15, diluted by half and applied every two weeks.

Tip: Once you dissolve it in water, you can spray the fertilizer onto your plant’s leaves or irrigate it into the plant’s soil.

How to Propagate Goldfish Plants (Stem Tip Cuttings)

The following are easy-to-follow steps on how to propagate your plant via stem tip cuttings:

  1. Obtain a cutting – Using a sharp pair of shears, remove the tip of a stem as you aim for a piece that is 4 to 6 inches long and contains at least two leaves.
  2. Add rooting hormone – As soon as you cut the tip of the stem, simply dip the tip into the rotting hormone. Completing this step increases your chances of successful propagation.
  3. Prepare a Pot – Put an inch of the cutting into a pot containing potting mix. Cover the base so the mix lightly but entirely covers it.
  4. Give it Time – It typically takes a maximum of four weeks for a cutting to form roots. Continue to provide optimum environmental conditions as you would a mature goldfish plant.

Growth Rate of Goldfish Plants

The goldfish plant naturally grows in a cascading manner, and its stem will grow up to three feet long under optimum conditions. It takes at least 6 to 10 weeks to flower.

Ideal Pot Size for Goldfish Plants

If you are choosing a new pot for your goldfish plant, you should remember that these plants have shallow roots. Therefore, you should look out of medium-sized containers between 6’’ and 8’’ pots.

Repotting Tips for Goldfish Plants

Gently repot your parent plant every two to three years to encourage new root growth. Like other tropical plants, the goldfish plant likes to be slightly pot-bound. So, avoid repotting it into much larger pots as the plant might fail to bloom properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Goldfish Plant (Columnea Gloriosa) Edible?

The goldfish plant is generally regarded as safe. However, this is not to mean that you should ingest it as it could trigger a severe allergic reaction in sensitive individuals or cause vomiting and an upset stomach.

Are Goldfish Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

The goldfish plant is non-toxic to pets, including cats and dogs.

Is the Goldfish Plant Poisonous?

The goldfish plant is not poisonous to human beings or pets.


The goldfish plant makes a stunning addition to any home, thanks to its beautiful trailing dark green leaves and colorful leaping flowers. For the plant to thrive, you should keep the humidity moderate, expose it to a minimum of 12 hours of indirect light daily, and keep the room temperature ranges between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.