Facts about the Goldfish Plant
One of the best attributes of an indoor hanging plant is that it looks great year round; an apt description of the goldfish plant. Though it may take a bit of work, this intriguing and attractive plant is capable of blooming throughout the year.
A plant that originates from Brazil, Costa Rica and the southernmost regions of Mexico, it is named “goldfish” because of the appearance of the flowers. Brilliant orange and puckered, the blossoms take on the likeness of a goldfish through its arching back to which the “tail” is attached. The flowers can reach about 3 inches in length, so it truly is similar to the actual fish for which it is named in color, shape and size. It is perennial in nature, meaning it will be around to delight and beautify your home for many years to come. In fact, it will likely become quite a conversational piece when friends come to call.
The goldfish can be propagated either by seed or by taking cuttings from a mother plant anytime between springtime and the end of summer. Using a rich potting mix containing peat and perlite, press seeds or cutting in gently; making sure the potting mix covers the seeds or the cutting end. Moisten the pot well, and place a large plastic bag to fully encase the pot. Secure the open end of the plastic bag to keep any moisture from evaporating and place the covered pot in an area that will receive indirect sunlight. After the plants have established, the bag can be removed.
The established plant should always be kept in a good potting soil, like the mix used for an African Violet. It can also be kept in the peat / perlite mix it was started in originally, with an amount of sphagnum added. This type of foundation allows good drainage, yet retains enough moisture to nurture the plant. Each week, feed the goldfish plant with a fertilizer that dissolves easily in water. If your plant shows signs of hibernating for any period, discontinue feeding until such time as the plant begins growth once more. Misting the plant once or twice a week will be rewarded with happy looking foliage, but ensure that the water does not have a heavy concentration of lime which will “stain” the leaves.
Your hanging plant should be kept moist at all times. Since it will be receiving good doses of direct sunlight, it will tend to be dry on the surface yet could still be moist at the roots. During rest periods, decrease the watering to allow the soil to dry out slightly. When plants are regenerating their strength, extra water and food are not as necessary as when the plant is exerting its energy in the production of blossoms.
The goldfish plant is best used as a hanging houseplant; it will not do well outdoors. It can be kept in a greenhouse outside, however, which will afford the plant the warmth and humid conditions that it craves.
To encourage the plant to continue blooming throughout the year, make sure that it is receiving plenty of sunlight and has the humidity it needs. If blooms fade with no indication of new ones forming, provide a greenhouse effect by enclosing and securing the plant in a plastic bag after watering and moving it to indirect sunlight. The extreme moisture should encourage the plant to begin flowering once again within a few weeks.
For an interesting and lovely hanging plant with year round blooming capabilities, the goldfish plant is a perfect choice. While it may take some extra care, the view will be well worth the effort.