Columnea 

(co-lum' nee-ah)

Common name: Columnea, Goldfish Plant

Family: Gesneriaceae, Gesneriad

Height x width: trails or hangs 24-48"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: opposite ovate to elliptic, usually dark green, occasionally hairy, generally 2-3" long

Flowers: tubular, single or in small clusters, in leaf axils; 5 lobed, 2 upper petals joined to form a hood, stamens and style sometimes exserted (extend beyond the hood); colorful reds, oranges, yellows

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: average to warm

Watering: moderate

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid

Soil: well-drained to epiphytic

Pests and Problems: botrytis mold, fungal leaf spots, mosaic virus, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies; leaves drop from drafts and too dry air, leaves brown from calcium excess from fertilizer, soil or water

Growth habit, uses: hanging, trailing, groundcover

Other interest:native to the moist rain and cloud forests of the American tropics; named after 16th century Fabio Colonna, author of the first botanical book with copper plate illustrations; unbranched indoors but often branched in native habitats, rooting at nodes on soil surface; many are vines (lianes) or epiphytes in native habitats; not to be confused with another "Goldfish Plant" (Nematanthus), another gesneriad with flowers actually resembling goldfish

Other culture: avoid wetting foliage when not in active growth, less watering for 6-8 weeks often stimulates best flowering

Propagation: stem or tip cuttings

Species:

x banksii (bank' see-ii)--ovate shiny leaves; scarlet hairy flowers 2-3", yellow lines in throats

crassifolia (cras' si-fol-ee-ah)--elliptic, shiny leaves; bright scarlet, solitary, hairy flower to 4"

erythrophaea (ee-rith' row-faa' ee-ah)--elliptic glossy leaves; 3 or more yellow to orange 2" flowers in clusters

gloriosa (glo-ree-o' sah)--ovate leaves densely purple hairy, margins reflexed (turned under); bright red with yellow throats, hairy, solitary flowers 3" long

hirta (hir' tah)--oblong hairy leaves; orange red 2" flowers, hairy; var. pilosissima with colorless hairs on stems

linearis (lin-ee-air' iss)--narrow lanceolate 3" leaves, shiny, thick; bright cherry-red 2-3" flowers

microphylla (mii-crow-fill' ah)--ovate leaves with reddish hairs; scarlet 2-3" hairy solitary flowers with yellow throats

pilosissima:hirta var.pilosissima

sanguinolenta:Trichantha sanguinolenta

scandens (scan' dens)--oblong leaves with red marginal hairs; red or yellow flowers, few hairs, solitary or paired. 2-3" long

schiedeana (she-dee-a' nah)--lanceolate 5" long leaves red-veined; red-tinged yellow flowers with maroon spots and lines, 2-3" long, solitary or paired, red hairy flower stalks
 
 

Cultivars:

The following are some of the most commonly seen cultivars.
 
Cultivar species flowers foliage
'Bon Fire' hybrid orange/yellow, solitary, 2-3" shiny, thin, pointed
'Camp Fire' hybrid red, solitary, 2-3" dark maroon
'Cayugan' hybrid orange-red, 2-3" linear 2-3", hairy
'Chanticleer' hybrid yellow tube, red tips, 3" ovate, hairy
'Cherokee' hybrid yellow tube, red tips, 2" shiny, elliptic
'Early Bird' hybrid yellow base, red, 2-3" ovate, shiny
'Gold Spice' hybrid yellow-orange, 2-3" dark purple
'Great Horned' hybrid yellow, 2-3" dark purple
'Julia' hybrid orange-red, solitary, 1" hairy, red margins
'Mirage' hybrid bright orange, soliary, 2" variegated
'Robin' hybrid bright red, solitary, 2-3" hairy
'Stavenger' hybrid bright red, solitary, 3-4" shiny, tiny, old and popular
'Superba' gloriosa orange-red, solitary, 2-3" maroon, hairy
'Variegata' microphylla scarlet, solitary, 2-3", hairy grayish, cream margins
'Yellow Dragon' hybrid yellow, solitary, 4" velvety hairy, thin
       


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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