The goldfish plant is a beautiful plant that has earned its name from its blooms that resemble leaping goldfish. When properly cared for they can bloom for years adding a splash of color to any room. Goldfish plant care is a bit tricky, but with a little work anyone can grow this beautiful plant. Those that do will be well rewarded with beautiful blooms, and a plant that will live with them for well over a decade.
What Are Epiphytes?
Goldfish plants are epiphytes, or plants that grow on other plants. In nature, you’ll often find goldfish plants growing on the sides of trees. This isn’t a parasitic relationship, the goldfish plant doesn’t get any nutrients from its host but simply uses it for support.
This is important to keep in mind as it influences how you need to handle your goldfish plant care. These plants don’t typically get a lot of nutrients from their soil but instead tend to use their roots for anchoring. This places an increased importance on humidity and light. Keep this in mind when growing your goldfish plant.
Soil and Planting
With proper care, a goldfish plant can grow to over 3 feet tall but you can always pinch off new growth to limit their size. This gives you lots of options in container size, and gardeners have successfully grown them in everything from small, 4” pots up to larger containers.
Goldfish plants also work very well in hanging baskets. Older, larger booms will naturally benign to trail out of their container. You can however prevent this by occasionally pruning back larger growths to keep the plant contained.
In any case, you’ll want to plant them in light, well draining soil. Most commercial potting soils will work perfectly fine for goldfish plants.
Goldfish plants are very light hungry and want lots of bright but in-direct light. Too much direct sunlight can burn them out, so place them somewhere sunny but not in direct sunlight. An easterly facing window is a great choice that usually satisfies this.
For timing, look to get them 10-12+ hours of sunlight per day. That’s a lot, and it’s usually a good idea to supplement with grow lights to help hit that amount. Take special care in the winter when light intensity wanes that your plant is getting enough light.
Watering and Feeding
You should look to water on a consistent basis and keep the soil slightly moist during the growing season. Check the soil, and water when the top inch begins to dry out to ensure that the soil remains moist. In the fall/winter you can cut back, and let the soil dry a bit more between waterings.
Goldfish are heavy feeders during their growing season and should be fed consistently. Slow release fertilizers are a good option as they can cut down the time needed to feed your plant. If you’re looking to do so yourself, use a water soluble, phosphorus rich fertilizer and look to feed every 1-2 weeks. You can stop feeding in the winter and resume again in the spring.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity are areas where a lot of gardeners go wrong in their goldfish plant care. Despite being a tropical plant, goldfish plants don’t like high temperatures. This is because they tend to grow under the jungle canopy where the temperatures are lower.
Typical indoor temperatures of about 65-75°F are ideal for goldfish plants. Many growers try to place them in a warmer area, and this can harm the plant and lead to yellowing/browning leaves.
Goldfish plants do enjoy moderate humidity, and you should look to mist them daily. You can also follow other humidity boosting techniques to keep the relative humidity around your plant slightly higher than the rest of your home. This is especially important in the winter when the air is naturally dryer.
Goldfish plants have a unique bloom that looks like a goldfish jumping out of water that is bright and colorful. This makes them excellent as a focal point of a design as the striking blooms really draw the eye. While the blooms are typically a bright orange, there is still enough green foliage to not make it overwhelming. This means they can still work well in a design that doesn’t necessarily fit with orange. Also, keep in mind their size as a larger plant is more likely to draw the focus of the room. Keep the plant smaller if looking for more of an accent piece.
Goldfish plants respond well to repotting, but only when done in moderation. Look at repotting roughly every 2-3 years. For increased growth, move them to a container slightly larger than their previous one. Many gardeners report larger blooms the season after repotting. It should be done in early spring just before the plant starts it’s normal growing season.
Goldfish Plant Care
While they can be tricky to grow, the goldfish plant is well worth the effort. The delightful blooms are truly a unique sight, and can add a big splash of color to any room they’re in. Follow the above care tips and hopefully you’ll have your own beautiful plant to show off in your home.
Goldfish Plant Care FAQ
How Long Do Goldfish Plants Live?
A well cared for goldfish plant can live for well over a decade, even when grown indoors.
How Long Does It Take To Bloom
Generally, it takes about 6-10 weeks from planting for a goldfish plant to bloom. Add a few weeks onto this if growing from seeds.
Goldfish Plant Leaves Browning?
Browning leaves are usually due to too intense of sunlight or too high of temperatures. Despite being a tropical plant goldfish plants tend to grow in more shady locations that can indirect sunlight and don’t get too hot.