Goldfish Plant, Columnea Gloriosa – A Room Guest From South America
For a long time, Columbians were considered collector’s plants, as amateur growers found them very difficult to grow at home. The spread of Columnea Gloriosa or Goldfish Plant began in the 1950s, when two botanists, Robert Lee and Harold Moore, Jr., created a series of hybrids that were easy enough to grow in captivity. The pot sellers were very impressed and the Columnea Gloriosa gained its well-deserved fame.
Without a doubt, the Goldfish plant has many qualities to recommend as an interior decoration. The genus Columney of the Gesneriaceae family, to which the flower belongs, includes about 200 species of epiphytic grasses and shrubs.
Tubular flowers, painted in different shades of orange, yellow or red, outwardly resemble a bright fish, due to which the columbine is popularly nicknamed “the flying Goldfish plant” and “dancing dolphin”.
Very small, leathery and shiny leaves of the “flying goldfish” are located on short petioles. And also there are specimens with soft and slightly pubescent leaf blades. Their shape is slightly elongated, and the color varies from dark green to purple.
Young shoots of the plant stretch up, but as they mature, they begin to fall. The vines are quite fleshy, but fragile, reaching a length of 8-10 cm. The leaves are either oval or heart-shaped, while the surface is smooth (glossy), with a sharp tip. In this case, the branches often have a dense, light pubescence.
The length of the leaf plate is 4-10 cm. The flowers are located closer to the central part of the shoot, emerging from the base of the leaf sinuses. The petals are pink, orange, or yellow. The flowering period falls in winter or early spring, when it is summer in the southern hemisphere.
In the tropics, Goldfish plants grow like epiphytes on rotten tree trunks or settle in crevices of boulders. Frequent rainfall provides the roots with a constant supply of moisture, and the stones serve as excellent drainage, which ensures that there is no stagnant water.
The plant lays flower buds in the fall. During this period, Columneans undergo a significant decrease in temperatures (the difference between day and night is about 10 degrees). If you provide the flower with suitable conditions that resemble natural, then it will become an excellent decoration for your home.
Exotic flowers are very interesting. They are tubular and colored in different shades of fiery red, yellow, salmon or orange. The buds are collected in small inflorescences or are located singly in the axils of tiny leaf blades. In indoor conditions, the Goldfish plant blooms both in summer and in winter.
Columnea Gloriosa fruits are white berries.
The flower is decorative, it is grown in pots and hanging pots. Among the variety of species, there are semi-shrubs.
Types & Varieties of Goldfish Plant Columnea Gloriosa
There are more than 200 species of columbus, many of which have remained to grow in their usual habitat. However, some types of these flowers have long spread throughout the world and are grown as ornamental indoor plants on balconies, terraces, as decorations in flower beds and in gardens.
One of the popular types of columbus is the Carnival view. This flower has many dense leaves of small size, which are covered with a glossy bloom and small whitish pubescence. The flowers of the Carnival are bright yellow, but there is a burgundy border around the edges.
Columbia Allen came to us from Panama. This country, which is located in the south of North America, has sheltered a beautiful plant in its jungle, the flowers of which are large enough (about 8 cm) and have a red-orange color. The leaves of this species are small, elliptical in shape. Shoots are creeping or hanging, which are constantly increasing in size.
Columnea Krakatoa is probably the most common type of this plant in our country. It was bred by breeders specifically for cultivation and care at home.
Bred Krakatoa from the Banks Column, which is considered the birthplace of a huge part of South and Central America. Krakatoa got its name in honor of the eponymous volcano, which, during an eruption, gives out all the same colors that can be seen during the flowering of Columnea Krakatoa.
Columnea blood-red is also a frequent guest of lovers of exotic ornamental plants in our country. This flower is slightly different from its counterparts: it has larger leaves (up to 30 cm), flowers are formed in groups and have a pubescence of bright red color, shoots are lignified and long (up to 1.3 meters). The birthplace of the blood-red plant is considered the mountainous regions of the Antilles.
Columbus Banks has rather long semi-lignified shoots (the length reaches 1 meter). The leaves are covered with a waxy coating, the underside has large red spots. The flowers are tubular, orange-red-yellow, reaching a length of 6 cm.
The native land of the Chida Columbians is the rainforests of Mexico. Shida has thick bare shoots reaching a length of 1.5 meters. The flower grows as a vivid representative of shrubs. It has oblong-oval, pointed, slightly pubescent leaves, the lower part of which is covered with reddish spots.
Columnea Shida blooms quite beautifully, has many flowers of a red-brown, yellow-beige shade (reminiscent of the color of a cheetah). Other subspecies were derived from this type of flower by the method of selection, which are widely used in decorative and landscape design.
There are other varieties of this beautiful flower, the care of which is quite simple, because the Goldfish Plant belongs to picky plants.
Each type of plant is beautiful in its own way. They require almost the same care, transplant and watering. According to the reviews, it is clear that many housewives like such a plant. It has a wonderful appearance. In any room, the flower will be a wonderful decoration. It also goes well with other plants.
Whichever columbine is chosen, at home you can take care of every species. plants are uncomplicated. The flower can be placed indoors, but sometimes you can take it outside. You need to choose a favorable place, control its condition, and then it will bloom.
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Columnea Gloriosa Care Secrets
A capricious inhabitant of tropical forests, when grown at home, requires special care, therefore, novice growers need to accurately observe all conditions of keeping and reproducing of a beautiful flower.
If you have never grown a Goldfish plant, then first select the lightest species. The most common is the columnea with dark green leaves and red-yellow flowers. Do not immediately buy plants with pubescent leaves. With a lack of skills in caring for such a plant, it may not live long with you.
Planting and soil
Columnea Gloriosa has a small and sensitive rhizome. After purchase, it is recommended to transplant it. In the future, frequent transplants of the liana are not needed. It is enough to do this as the roots grow.
The pot is chosen medium in size and shallow, it should have holes at the bottom for water drainage. First, place a thick layer of drainage material and then pour out the potting mix. You can buy ready-made land for semi-epiphytes or compose the substrate yourself. For him you will need:
- sod land (4 parts);
- sheet land (4 parts);
- peat (2 parts);
- a mixture of sand, sphagnum moss, charcoal (1 part).
It is advisable to add to this mixture store fertilizer, some small sawdust, and sphagnum. Caring for this flower also includes regular feeding. It is necessary to fertilize the Goldfish plant during the period of active growth, namely, in spring, summer, and autumn.
Top dressing should be applied approximately once every 2 weeks, or a little more often.
During the period of active growth, top dressing is not used, during wintering and at the first signs of budding, it is important to fertilize the soil in a timely manner, for which multicomponent fertilizers and ready-made, store-bought mixtures are used.
It is best to provide regular feeding of the Columbus plant with mineral fertilizers, which include components useful for plant growth, such as potassium and phosphorus, they fertilize the soil with them no more than once a week.
Columnea Gloriosa can be transplanted immediately after flowering. You need to take a wide and shallow pot. A variant of a mixture of earth (the main requirement is the absence of lime): equal parts of sod and leafy land, 1/2 part of peat, charcoal, sand and chopped sphagnum moss – 1/4 part. Goldfish plant will also grow well in purchased universal soil.
The transplant is carried out by the method of transshipment of an earthen coma, so as not to injure the thin roots.
A transplant, as a rule, is required once every 2 years, when the roots of the plant are entwined with an earthen lump. It is not necessary to clean off the old soil, the columnea is carefully taken out, rearranged together with the earth in a new pot, sprinkled with fresh substrate.
When planting a Columnea Gloriosa in a pot, there must be drainage!
Air humidity and watering the Goldfish Plant
To make the flower feel comfortable, caring for it should include periodic spraying. To do this, you can use a spray bottle with water, the temperature of which is about 25-30 degrees, but not higher. Since the Columnea Gloriosa is a tropical representative, it loves high humidity.
If a columnea is grown with pubescent leaves, then it is not necessary to spray the plant itself, but the air next to it. Do not spray flowers during flowering.
A good place to grow a columnea is to locate the bush next to a humidifier or close to the aquarium. Some flower growers specially place a container with water near the Goldfish plant, this is the right care that the columbians will definitely like.
Air humidity is perhaps the most important condition for keeping this tropical vine at home. Therefore, to maintain the normal state of the Goldfish plant, it is necessary to spray it daily or install a humidifier.
In addition, you can build artificial humidifiers: cover a wide pan with large pebbles, fill it with water, and put a pot with a plant on top.
The water must be soft, do not allow the presence of lime, otherwise the plant will die. Adjust the frequency of watering as the top layer of the soil dries out, avoiding stagnation of water in the pan. Thanks to drainage, the water will not stagnate in the pot, but it must be drained from the pan.
Optimal lighting level for Goldfish Plant
Necessary flower care at home includes choosing the right lighting mode, taking into account the origin of the plant, which loves bright sunlight, without direct exposure to foliage and flowers.
Diffused lighting has a beneficial effect on flowering, with it the plant is completely covered with buds, and then with blossoming flowers, similar to large, exotic butterflies.
In natural conditions, the Columnea Gloriosa grows on trees, so the best place for this flower would be a flowerpot or a hanging pot. Thanks to the roots, the Goldfish plant is firmly fixed and receives all the necessary nutrients.
This flower needs a lot of bright, but diffused lighting, therefore, it is necessary to place a pot with a plant in the middle of the window sill so that the column receives light from all sides.
It is advisable to place the column on the east or west side of the house. If you put it on the northern windowsill, then the plant will receive insufficient light, and if you put it on the south side, then the leaves can get sunburn.
Therefore, the flower should not be placed in the open sun, because of which the leaves will become pale, their edges will begin to dry out, and the leaves will begin to become covered with spots.
If the Columnea Gloriosa receives light in insufficient quantities, the plant will not bloom, therefore, proper care is the location of the flower in a well-lit room, and even in winter and autumn, caring for this plant includes providing it with a lot of light, you can even supplement it with a phytolamp.
Proper care of the Goldfish plant means creating a high temperature for it. The plant grows naturally in tropical forests, in warm climates, so if the flower is grown in a room, then caring for it includes maintaining the temperature in the range of 23-27 degrees. It is allowed to briefly increase the temperature by a couple of degrees, only if the air humidity is high.
In autumn and winter, when there is much less sunlight, it is necessary to reduce the temperature to 15 degrees. If the temperature drops below, that Columnea flower will freeze over, which will cause various diseases to appear.
The Goldfish plant also does not tolerate drafts very well. In order for the flowering of the Columnea Gloriosa to be abundant and long, it is necessary that flower buds are laid in the winter. To do this, you need to reduce the temperature in winter to 15 degrees during the day, and to 10 degrees at night.
In the warm season, in spring and especially in summer, a temperature of 18-20 degrees is sufficient for a plant for normal growth, the cessation of growth is accompanied by the laying of a bud, during this period of dormancy it is recommended to reduce the temperature to 10-12 degrees.
For a short-term wintering period, which lasts no more than 50 days, it is better to choose a warmer place for the flower in the house, while the formation of buds up to 0.5 cm in size is observed.
Diseases and Pests
Poor indoor air permeability, as well as excessively high air and soil humidity, can cause gray rot in the Goldfish plant. The first sign of this disease is a gray fluffy mold that covers the leaves and shoots of the Columnea Gloriosa.
To combat gray rot, you first need to carefully remove the affected areas and then treat the entire plant with Zuparen, Fundazol, or Topsin (use according to the instructions for use).
Sometimes the “goldfish plant” can be affected by pests, one of which is the whitefly. These insects are small in size, live on the back of the leaf and often fly around the flower.
To fight insects, you need to use special chemicals (“Actellik”, “Akarin”, “Fitoverm”), which should be processed according to the instructions 2-3 times with an interval of 3-4 days. You can also hang fly sticks around the plant.
Important! If you water the Goldfish plant with cold water, then spots will begin to form on it.
The spider mite is probably the most annoying pest of indoor plants that can infect a Columnea Gloriosa. The first signs of the appearance of a spider mite are yellow specks on the leaves.
In addition, the affected leaves begin to fall off prematurely. It happens that a small cobweb appears at the junction of the leaf with the stem, which also signals the presence of a spider mite.
If you have never been involved in the cultivation of exotic Goldfish plants before, then the above information will be enough for you to start doing this business. The main thing is to adhere to the correct technique for caring for the plant, and the beauty of the flowering “goldfish” will delight you regularly.
In case of excessive watering and stagnant water, gray rot may appear on the shoots and roots. In case of detection, it is necessary to act quickly, without starting the process.
The entire affected area (if it is small) must be removed and transplanted by treating the roots and the cut with a fungicide. Before transplanting, check the roots, if there is a lesion, then also remove the affected part.
If the infection was detected at a late stage (completely affected roots), then pruning of healthy shoots into cuttings is carried out.
Columnea Gloriosa is sometimes attacked by aphids, scale insects, thrips, and spider mites that settle on leaves and stems. Treatment consists of spraying with insecticides.
From excessive watering and stagnant moisture, a fungal infection begins to develop and the plant is affected by gray rot. It is better to act in the early stages: cut off the affected areas, and treat the cuts and the substrate with a fungicidal preparation, be sure to normalize watering.
With a severe lesion, an emergency transplant will be required:
- Remove the plant from the container, shake off the earthen ball and cut off all affected parts of the plant (including roots), disinfect the cut sites with a fungicide, and transplant the Columnea Gloriosa into a new container (to use the old one, it must be disinfected with a fungicide).
- If, during transplanting, you find that the plant is badly rotted, cut the cuttings from the surviving shoots and root.
Columbians do not note other diseases.
Why Don’t Flowers Appear On The Columnea Gloriosa?
Some people ask why this plant does not bloom? Usually, flowers do not appear on the Columnea Gloriosa due to improper care. Most often, the reason why the Columnea Gloriosa does not bloom is the too high temperature in the room. When the flower enters a dormant state, this period usually lasts one and a half to two months from December to January, it is necessary to reduce the temperature in the room.