Columnea produces tubular flowers in shades of brilliant red, orange, or yellow, or combinations of all three. It has branches that arch horizontally or distinctly weep. It is a good choice for an indoor hanging basket. Under the right conditions, Columnea will bloom on and off almost the year around.
Get to Know Columnea
- Plant type: Tropical vining plant
- Growing Zones and range: 10-11
- Hardiness: Tender; prefers temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°-24°C)
- Height and width: Vining 2 to 3 feet (61-91cm) wide
- Foliage: Leaves are often hairy and range in size from ¾ inch (19mm) to 6 inches (15cm), on stems measuring up to 4 feet (1.2m).
- Flowers: Tubular flowers appear in yellow, red, orange, and pink, ½ inch to 3 inches long.
- Bloom time: Blooms on and off year-round; blooms last for several months
- Uses: Houseplant in a hanging basket
- Botanical name: Columnea
- Common name: Columnea
Where to Plant Columnea
- Indoors bright light from eastern, western, or lightly shaded southern exposure with several hours of direct sun in winter.
- Does well under artificial light, needing 14 to 16 hours daily.
- Plant Columnea in all-purpose potting mix.
How to Water and Feed Columnea
- Keep the soil moist like a squeezed-out sponge; use tepid water.
- Mist around the plant but not directly on foliage to avoid spotting. Humidity of 70 percent is ideal. Place in a naturally humid room such as a kitchen or bathroom
- Fertilize columnea every two weeks while blooming; use a complete liquid fertilizer.
- Columnea prefers to be potbound; repot only when roots occupy ¾ of pot space.
- Prune after flowering to encourage branching.
- Start a new plant every few years as old-growth tend to become woody and leafless.
- To encourage flowering, cut back older branches by 1/3 to ½ in spring.
- To promote flowering, reduce water in fall then withhold completely for a month before resuming a normal schedule.
- Columnea is susceptible to attack by mealybugs and spider mites. Soggy soil may cause root or crown rot.
- Start new plants from tip cuttings taken immediately after flowering. Also, propagate from seed.
Columnea Varieties to Grow
- C. arguta features trailing stems with large waxy leaves and salmon-red flowers.
- C. gloriosa has small leaves and trailing stems and red flowers with yellow throats.
- C. hirta has scarlet-orange flowers.
- C. linearis grows upright and bears slender, shiny leave, and pink flowers.