Goldfish Plant: Care & Growing Guide
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How to Grow Goldfish Plant
The goldfish plant (Nematanthus gregarious) got its name from the many reddish-orange flowers that appear in spring and summer and look a bit like a bouncing goldfish. If you've ever seen a fully mature plant in a hanging basket in full bloom, it's a wonderful sight. They bloom profusely when cared for and add pops of color.
Indoors, these are great cascading plants for a bright window sill or can be used in baskets. They are relatively long-lived plants, surviving nearly a decade, giving you a cool rinse when needed (but not very often!) And keeping them out of very dry or cold air. The original plant has been extensively hybridized, so choose a plant-based on its vigor and flower color.
A goldfish plant takes six to ten weeks to flower. If you are planting from seed, wait until after the risk of frost.
|Botanical Name||Nematanthus gregarious|
|Common Name||Goldfish plant|
|Mature Size||Stems 2 to 3 in. long, branches up to 3 ft. long|
|Sun Exposure||Bright light but not direct light|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer, fall, winter|
|Flower Color||Red, orange, yellow|
|Hardiness Zones||10 to 11 (USDA)|
|Native Areas||Central America, Caribbean|
Goldfish Plant Care
Goldfish plants are very rewarding. Outdoors, they want to grow up to 3 feet, but it's a good idea to pull out the new stems and keep the plant under 2 feet tall. This will encourage better flowering and shrubbery.
Larger, older stems will cascade down the sides of the vase and make a nice display when in bloom, especially in hanging baskets.
These plants are somewhat sensitive to high temperatures and humidity in their leaves, so if you start to see darkening or shedding of the leaves, it could be because the temperatures are too high or the leaves are wet. Also, pay attention to aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs as they are common pests on this tropical plant.
Other problems can be attributed to improper daily care. Some signs of problems are long-legged growth, leaf drop, and lack of flowering. For a plant that needs a humid environment, overwatering is often the culprit. Plants are also prone to mold and mildew growth. Careful inspection of plants should be part of your care routine, which can help stop problems before they become serious.
Goldfish plants prefer strong light but do not like direct light. An east-facing window is perfect. They can also be grown successfully under indoor lights, especially during winter.
A light, fast-draining potting soil is perfect. You can use fortified soils. In nature, goldfish plants are epiphytes, a type of plant that grows on top of other plants. It usually grows on a tree.
During the summer, water abundantly and keep the soil continually moist. In winter, reduce the amount of water and let the soil dry out a bit. This seems to favor better flowering. Keep in mind that the soil should never dry out completely.
Temperature and humidity
Many people assume that tropical plants need a lot of heat and a lot of humidity to thrive. In nature, most tropical plants grow under a lush green canopy of other plants, so the temperature is cooler.
Goldfish houseplants are best at room temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They need light to moderate humidity and can be sprayed daily with room temperature water. Coldwater damages foliage. In particularly dry environments, a humidifier near the plant is useful.
Feed weekly during the growing season with a weak liquid fertilizer that includes micronutrients and encourages flowering. Controlled release fertilizer granules are great too.
Goldfish Plant Varieties
The producers did significant work with the basic breed and produced a variety of flower colors and even leaf shapes. There are now at least 25 different varieties of goldfish plants. These plants are cousins of the African violet and some of them have the same hairy leaves.
As with African violets, avoid watering the leaves directly to avoid fungal problems. The varieties have red or yellow flowers, and the 'Fire Light' variety has beautiful variegated leaves.
Propagating Goldfish Plant
These will easily root from the cuttings at the tip of the stem. Choose stem ends that do not have flower buds and are two to three inches long. A rooting hormone will increase your chances of success.
Place the newly planted seedlings in a warm, bright area and keep them moist until new growth appears. The new plants will not flower until the summer after they are propagated.
Potting and Repotting
Like many tropical plants, goldfish like to be lightly attached to pots and seem to respond with greater vigor and better flower displays. As a result, only re-plan the plant every two to three years.
When you plant again, you can gently prune the root of the mother plant to stimulate new root growth. Don't grow in much larger pots, but limit transplanting to a larger size.
Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Goldfish Plant Care
Source: Dreaming in Jungle
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