Columnea billbergiana

Scientific Name

Aeschynanthus pulcher (Blume) G.Don


Columnea percrassa, Columnea scandens

Scientific Classification

Family: Gesneriaceae
Genus: Columnea


Color: Red
Bloom Time: Sparingly throughout the year


Columnea billbergiana is a lovely epiphytic plant, recognized by its branched, brown stems, paired leaves, and red, elongated tubular flowers covered in short, visible hairs. The leaves are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, smooth and dark green above, pale below with short, fine bristles. Fruits are white berries filled with pulp and yellow seeds. It flowers sparingly throughout the year, but especially during the rainy season from May to December.

Columnea billbergiana
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USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Columnea plants like plenty of humidity. If the plant is in a regular pot, you can place a saucer full of pebbles under the pot and put water in it. As the water evaporates, it creates a high humidity spot for the plant. Do not let the water touch the Goldfish Plant's pot, however. If it is in a hanging basket, mist the leaves daily to keep them happy. Use room temperature water as cold water will cause brown spots on the leaves.

Fertilize weekly during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer with lots of Phosphorus to encourage blooming. Do not fertilize during the winter.

Use a good, well-draining potting soil when potting these plants. Columnea plants seem to do better when slightly root-bound and produce better flowers in this condition. Every two to three years, repot the plant in a pot one size up from the one it is in. Gently trim the roots to encourage new root growth. Place the plant in fresh potting soil when repotting for maximum success. Make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes to prevent root rot in the plant from poor drainage. See more at How to Grow and Care for a Goldfish Plant (Columnea gloriosa).


Native to Panama.


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