Goldfish Plant - Knowledgebase Question

Traverse City, MI
Avatar for LtlChrsyGrl
Question by LtlChrsyGrl
November 28, 1999
I just purchased a "goldfish plant" (Nematanthus nervous). Can you give me a history on this new member of my family? She has a couple of buds and alot of shiny leaves. Tell me everything you know.

Answer from NGA
November 28, 1999
The plant most commonly called 'Goldfish Plant' is Columnea banksii. This is an easy plant to care for and will survive under poor conditions, but thrive under the proper conditions. It has small, dark green foliage and 2 1/2 inch long scarlet flowers with yellow lines. This plant prefers average household warmth (minimum 55F in winter), bright light but no direct sun, and moist soil during the growing season (but allow the soil to barely dry out in the winter). For best bloom and growth, mist leaves daily.

Goldfish plant can also be Alloplectus nummularia. This is related to the African violet, with similar cultural needs. It produces foot-long, arching branches closely set with shiny oval or roundish leaves. The flowers are about one-inch long, orange, puffy, and roundish, pinched at the tip into a pursed mouth, like that of a goldfish. Provide ample warmth and humidity for bloom all year around.

Nematanthus is called the Guppy plant. It prefers bright light but needs protection from direct sunlight. Ideal temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees. Low humidity may create some problems with flowering.

So, whichever plant family your newest acquisition is from, you should enjoy the flower show!

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