Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for Goldfish Plants

Goldfish plant, also known as lipstick plant or Columnea, is a tropical perennial valued for its ornamental flowers. The plant is commonly grown in hanging pots to maximize the appearance of the long, trailing stems that extend over the side of the container. Goldfish plant blooms during winter and early spring, producing numerous flowers in shades of red, orange and yellow. The flowers resemble small goldfish, both in color and shape, hence the common name. Native to Central America, goldfish plant requires consistently warm temperatures to thrive, but can be cultivated as a houseplant in temperate regions around the world.

Keep goldfish plant in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight each day, such as a south- or east-facing window. Maintain a consistent temperature of 55 to 65 degrees F at night and 65 to 75 degrees F during the day.

Mist goldfish plant twice per day during spring, summer and fall, once during the early morning and again at mid-day, to increase the relative humidity around the plant. Use a spray bottle. Run a humidifier near the plant during winter to increase humidity, as furnace heat dries out the air quickly.

Water goldfish plant once every week during spring, summer and fall months to keep the soil moist, but not too wet or soggy. Reduce watering frequency to once every 10 days during winter, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications.

Feed once per month during spring and summer using a high-phosphorous 10-20-10 NPK liquid fertilizer. Water lightly before applying the fertilizer to prevent root burn and help the fertilizer penetrate the soil. Apply following the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage.

Re-pot goldfish plant during late spring once every two years to provide additional room for root growth. Increase the size of the container by 2 to 3 inches in diameter each time. Use a growing medium made of equal parts peat moss, potting soil and perlite for adequate drainage and fertility.


Goldfish plant benefits from spending time outdoors during the warm spring and summer months. Transfer the plant back indoors before the temperatures rise above 75 degrees F or drop below 55 degrees F. Keep a humidifier running near the plant throughout the year if routine spraying during active growth is not practical.

Garden Guides