From Central America, the goldfish plant makes a dramatic specimen for a high position or hanging basket where the trailing stems can fully develop. In the right spot, the stems, which branch only at the lower ends, can reach to 3 ft. (90 cm) long.
Oval, green leaves, up to 1 ¼ in. (3 cm) long, are carried in pairs and have a dense covering of red-purple hairs. The 3 in. (7 cm) flowers are borne singly and are scarlet with a yellow throat. C.g. ‘Purpurea’ has purple-red leaves and deep scarlet flowers.
Size: Stems to 3 ft. (90 cm) long.
Light: Indirect sunlight.
Temperature: 65—85°F (18—30°C).
Moisture: Water sparingly at all times, only enough to keep the soil barely moist.
Feeding: Give liquid tomato fertilizer at quarter strength with every watering from spring to fall.
Propagation: Take tip cuttings, 4 in. (10 cm) long, in spring.
Special needs: Columneas are very susceptible to root rot, so both mature plants and cuttings need an open, free-draining soil mix. The foliage, however, needs high humidity, so mist regularly with warm water — cold water will mark the leaves.