Blooms! Sort of?

My Columnea ‘Light Prince’ is deciding to bloom.  It looks like it should be a nice heavy crop of blooms too, just in time for Christmas (because nothing says Christmas like bright orange blooms shaped like a fish).  You can see a couple buds in the picture, they’re the little light green teardrops scattered around the stem)

On this subject I’ve decided I’m going to start trying to come up with little care sheets for all of my plants.  I’m sure I’ll never finish this project so I’m going to start with my more unusual plants and end (if I ever get to that point) with my common ones that already have 5 billion things written about them online.  I’m not going to do any research or anything, I’m just going to talk about what works for me (which means there is probably a better way to be doing it but oh well!). Why am I doing this?  Because I’ve noticed that about half of my plants have absolutely no information about growing them indoors available and those that do are often wildly different from conditions that seem to be working just fine for me.  I am going to try and only post about plants I’ve had for more than 6 months so that I know I’m actually keeping them alive and not just prolonging a long slow death. All of these will be linked to on the “Cast of Characters” tab at the top of the page.

Anyways the first post will be about caring for Columnea ‘Light Prince’ otherwise known as a variegated goldfish plant or (if you bought it from a big box store/anyone selling Exotic Angels plants) Columnea ‘Prince’.  I’m just about 99% certain ‘Light Prince’ is the real cultivar name.

Light:  I’ve got mine growing in a hanging basket in a north window.  It gets a little bit of direct light in the summer and almost no direct light in the winter (though there is a west window right next to it, the whole set up is in the corner of my room).  The window is unobstructed though so the light is always bright (assuming it hasn’t been cloudy for weeks on end).

Watering: One thing I do know about Columnea is that they’re epiphytes and as such I keep it in a free draining soil that I water about twice a week.  I soak the soil until the basket feels heavy again.  Every day I check to see if it feels light and when it does I water again.  Columnea would much rather be on the dry side than the moist side.

Temperature:  We keep the apartment at 72 during the day and 68 at night.  It’s quite a bit cooler by the windows though, due to the age of the building.  I might be crazy but my plant actually seems to prefer the slight chill coming from the window (it generally looks happier in the winter than it does in the summer), and the massive flush of flowers seems to say that it does indeed like the chill.

Fertilizer: I fertilize once a month using a 12-4-8 liquid Miracle Grow and it seems to work well.

Other tidbits: This plant seems to be pretty slow growing.  I’ve had it for about a year and a half and it still hasn’t grown much more than inches.  I’m not complaining though, as long as it blooms and looks clean I’ll continue to love it.

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6 thoughts on “Blooms! Sort of?

  1. I would rather hear someone’s personal experience with a houseplant – it’s so much more helpful.

    My Columnea cuttings were doing great, until the mealies came. Now they are a mess. Boo!

    • That’s kind of what I figured. Who really cares if the plant prefers 900% humidity with sunlight beaming in at exactly 45º, I want to know what it can take and still look nice. A lot of info just isn’t practical for the home grower.

      That stinks about your cuttings! Any idea what variety they were?

  2. I don’t know, actually, and I can’t ask. I moved the plants from the house of a lady who died to her brother’s house. Her brother told me she called that plant her lipstick plant. It has fuzzy leaves like a Columnea. After I moved the plants, I found a single cutting in my car, so I rooted it and planted it and it was doing fantastic. Until the day it wasn’t anymore. So sad!

  3. The internet lacks practical information. Personal experiences are best, written in a manner that anyone can understand. I would like 85% humidity and 75 degrees, a half cup of water, and a lullaby. Plants are recipes, tell us what works Mr Tom. ! ! !

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