Goldfish Plant Care

The Goldfish Plant, scientifically known as Columnea gloriosa, is a vibrant, flowering houseplant that is prized for its showy flowers resembling leaping goldfish. As an indoor gardener, you can enjoy its lush foliage and quirky blooms with proper care. By understanding and meeting its basic needs, you can keep your Goldfish Plant healthy and thriving. Let’s explore how to best care for this unique plant.

Scientific Classification

Every living organism, including the Goldfish Plant, has a unique scientific classification. This classification places the plant in a system that shows its relationships to other organisms. Here is a list of the Goldfish Plant’s scientific categories:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Family: Gesneriaceae
  • Genus: Columnea
  • Species: C. gloriosa


Your Goldfish Plant will do best with a lot of light, but not direct sunlight. Imagine it like a forest floor, where the light filters through the trees. You should place your plant near a window that gets plenty of light, but where the sun’s rays won’t touch it directly. If the light is too strong, the leaves can get burnt; if it’s too dim, the plant won’t bloom well. A perfect spot could be a room with a sheer curtain, which lets in light without being too harsh. Your Goldfish Plant loves this kind of “bright indirect light” because it mimics the light of its natural habitat in the wild.


Watering your Goldfish Plant properly is key to its health. This plant likes its soil to be slightly moist. You should water it when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. During the growing season, spring and summer, you’ll need to water more often. In the cooler months, fall and winter, water less often. Use room temperature water and try to keep it consistent. Remember, the Goldfish Plant does not like to sit in water, so make sure excess water can drain out.


The Goldfish Plant flourishes in soil that is both well-draining and rich in organic matter. Think about the kind of soil found in a dense forest; it’s full of decomposed leaves and other natural stuff. You want to mimic this type of soil at home for your Goldfish Plant. You can use a mix specifically designed for African violets or create your own by blending peat moss with perlite or vermiculite. This mix will help keep the roots moist without letting them sit in water, which could cause them to rot. It’s vital to give your plant a solid foundation, so choosing the right soil is a step you don’t want to skip.


The Goldfish Plant thrives best when the temperature around it is just right. Think of it like you enjoy being in a room that’s not too hot or too cold. The plant prefers a warm environment like you would find in a cozy living room. It loves temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature dips below 60 degrees, the Goldfish Plant might get too cold and have trouble growing. In simple terms, keep your plant in a place where you would feel comfortable in a long sleeve shirt. Too much heat is also a no-go. If it’s too hot for you, it’s likely too hot for the plant. Therefore, remember to keep your plant away from chilly windows in the winter and hot, sunny spots in the summer. Your Goldfish Plant will thank you for it by growing well.


Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. The Goldfish Plant thrives in moist air, much like what you would find in a rainforest. It prefers a humidity level of around 60% to 80%. When the air is too dry, the plant may struggle and show signs like brown leaf edges. To keep your Goldfish Plant happy, you can mist it with water from a spray bottle or place a humidifier nearby. Another trick is to put the plant’s pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water, which increases humidity as the water evaporates. Remember, proper humidity helps the Goldfish Plant grow healthy and produce its striking flowers.


Fertilizer feeds your Goldfish Plant the nutrients it needs to grow. Think of fertilizer like a vitamin for your plant. You should use a liquid fertilizer made for houseplants. It should be high in phosphorus, which is what helps your plant flower. Apply it every two weeks during the growing season, which is spring and summer. But when it’s not growing much, in fall and winter, you don’t need to fertilize as often. Once a month is enough. Always follow the direction on the fertilizer package. Too much can harm your plant. Remember, a little goes a long way.

Size & Growth Rate

The Goldfish Plant, scientifically known as Columnea gloriosa, does not grow very large. Its size makes it perfect for indoor spaces. You can expect it to reach a length of up to 3 feet when it trails from pots or hanging baskets. Its growth rate, however, is on the moderate side. This means it doesn’t grow very fast, but with proper care, you’ll notice steady progress. During its growing season, which is mostly spring and summer, you will see more growth. That’s when it’s important to give it the right care to help it thrive. Keep in mind that when it comes to plants, growth can vary depending on many factors, like the amount of light and water they get.

Common Issues

When you take care of a Goldfish Plant, sometimes you’ll run into some problems. Pests like spider mites and aphids might attack the plant. These tiny bugs suck on the plant and cause damage. Leaves that turn brown and fall off could mean your plant is too dry. If leaves get black spots, it’s often too wet. Another issue is when the plant doesn’t flower. This can happen if the plant doesn’t get enough light or the right care. Make sure you check your plant often for signs of trouble. If you spot these problems early, you can usually fix them before they harm your plant too much.


When we talk about the toxicity of a plant, we’re discussing whether it’s poisonous to humans or animals. For your Goldfish Plant, you’re in luck because it’s non-toxic. This means you don’t have to worry about it harming your pets or young siblings if they accidentally chew on the leaves. However, just because it’s not toxic doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to eat it. The leaves and stems aren’t meant for snacking, so it’s best to enjoy your Goldfish Plant’s beauty by looking, not tasting. Always be careful and teach kids and pets to leave houseplants alone.

Pro Tips

When you care for a Goldfish Plant, there are special tips to help it thrive:

  • Prune Regularly: Trim back the stems to keep your plant bushy and full.
  • Avoid Direct Sun: Place your plant in bright, indirect light to avoid leaf burn.
  • Check Water Needs: Before watering, stick your finger in the soil; only water if the top inch feels dry.
  • Clean Leaves: Wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and help the plant breathe.
  • Propagate with Ease: You can easily start new plants by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in water or soil.
  • Rotate the Pot: Turn the pot every few weeks so all sides of the plant get even light, ensuring balanced growth.
  • Be Observant: Keep an eye on your plant and respond quickly to signs of trouble, like drooping leaves or pests.
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